The public emphatically don't want GM crops. What to do if you're the Labour leadership? Launch 'GM Nation?' a national consultation bringing in people from all walks of life, experts, novices and random punters.
The report from the consultation showed majority hostility. Ah, all based on ignorance, luddites and anti-science fearmongering, right?
Nope. Among those random people, the more they learned about what GM is and how it's planned to work, the more they came to oppose it.
The Agriculture and Environment Biotechnology Commission was also founded by the government as a classic 'consultation' exercise. By getting anti-GM campaigners and staff from GM corporations on the same advisory committee to discuss the social and ethical issues, it was a safe bet that no firm decisions would ever be made.
But even the AEBC came out with some strong and unequivocal blocks to rolling out GM.
The Environment Minister, Michael Meacher, gave an interview in which he clearly opposed GM crops.
'Grumblegrumble, off with his head, can't have such bias in an Environment Minister, resign' was heard throughout medialand.
Never mind the conflict of interest with Lord Sainsbury being Science Minister - the man responsible for national policy on GM - even though he's a founder and funder of the Sainsbury Laboratory which does GM research and development, as well as being personally involved with biotech firms Diatech and Innotech. After he became Science Minister, government funding for the Sainsbury Laboratory trebled.
Still, keep it quiet as we can, it'll blow over.
Tell you what - shuffle Meacher out quietly, put a proper party loyalist in his place. Margaret Beckett will do - she so loves Labour power that she vocally opposes any change to the voting system. Realising it can't be defended on any kind of democratic terms, she says that the first past the post system - in which a majority of votes are always cast against the winner - should stay because 'it's the system the British people understand'.
Ah right then. When all the Soviet Bloc countries shook off communism in the 1990s, not one of them chose first past the post. They knew it's laughable. But we have it here because it's what we understand. We're simply too thick to understand anything else.
Beckett has solid party allegiance and contempt for the masses. Just what we need in someone charged with foisting unwanted and damaging technology on us that benefits only the wealthy.
When Beckett took over, the GM issue was too hot to be forced. Indeed, it still is. But an industry with so much invested is not going to roll over and die just because it's unwanted due to being environmentally destructive and designed to price the poorest out of the food market.
So goverment, as the political wing of corporate interests, must ignore the results of the consultations and tests, and keep the door open for GM.
It's going to be a tough task. The ground must be laid stealthily and over a long period of time. Any obstacles must be cleared.
Next up in this plan, the Agriculture and Environment Biotechnology Commission is to be disbanded, on orders of Margaret Beckett. If your advisory committee won't give you the advice you want, abolish it.
Make no mistake, the campaign against GM is not over, only in a lull.
= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =
UPDATE 7 JAN 05:
Remember, the benefits of GM are obvious, there is no need for the pro-GM lobby to shy away from any tests of environmental impact. The corporations will win the case for GM by consistent use of solid scientific argument.
I'm doing a two-week run at the Edinburgh Fringe
2 months ago