Prof Jonathan Jones of the John Innes Centre is unhappy with the Government's spin machine.
JJ's main complaint seems to be that they aren't up to the standard he would have expected when it comes to planting stories in the press!!
Things are, of course, far better organised at the JIC -- see "Biospinology in our science communication?" http://members.tripod.com/~ngin/biospin.htm
Few would disagree that when it comes to spin, even Tony and Alistair (Blair's notorious chief of spin) could take lessons from JJ -- see the public meeting section of the biospinology report for details of JJ's prolific crap dusting activities in Norfolk. In fact, JJ's so good he even managed to keep the JIC's name (the JIC being his primary employer) out of this article.
Meanwhile in Berkeley...
1. 'THE GOVERNMENT TRIED TO MAKE ME ITS MOUTHPIECE' [but I belong to Monsanto!]
2. JJ flies in - Apocalypse Now?
1. FOCUS- THE BOFFINOCRACY: 'THE GOVERNMENT TRIED TO MAKE ME ITS MOUTHPIECE'
Independent on Sunday (London) April 29, 2001
More than two years after he got involved with Labour's information machine, Jonathan Jones still rues the encounter. A biology professor at the University of East Anglia and a supporter of genetically modified foods, he came to the spin-doctors' attention in 1998, after The Independent published an article by him headlined: "Why I'm happy to 'play God' with your food."
In February 1999 the Government was in trouble over GM food. Dr Arpad Pusztai, forced to retire after showing that GM potatoes had harmed laboratory rats, had been vindicated, and the commercial cultivation of GM crops was on hold. "Jonathan Powell (Tony Blair's chief of staff) suggested that it might be a good time to write another article," said Professor Jones. "It was a bit of a cock-up. I was told The Sunday Times would print it, so I e -mailed it there, only for them to ask: 'What's all this about?' Then I was told it would be in The Sunday Telegraph, but nothing appeared. The next day The Daily Telegraph reported that the Government was hawking my article around. I had become the story."
The article was finally published by The Eastern Daily Press. The episode raised the question of how scientists should be enlisted to correct the misrepresentation of scientific issues in the media. "I don't feel I was a naive scientist who got roughed up," Professor Jones said. "I said what I believed. I had been offered a soapbox, only for it to be taken away."
2. Apocalypse Now?
The Political and Cultural Economy of Agricultural Biotechnology and the Life Science Industries
A Workshop on Agricultural Biotechnology and The Life Sciences / UC Berkeley 4may01
Sponsored by the Institute of International Studies, the Berkeley Workshop on Environmental Politics, University of California, Berkeley and IGCC, University of California, San Diego
Institute of International Studies University of California, Berkeley 223 Moses Hall
May 4th-5th, 2001
Friday, May 4th
9.00am Introduction: Iain Boal and Michael Watts
I. Accumulation, Organization, Science: The Political Economy of Agro-Biotechnology
Herbert Gottweis, Department of Political Science, University of Vienna, Austria "The Politics of Life Sciences and Its Critics"
Joyce Tait, Director, Scottish Universities Policy Research and Advice Network (SUPRA), The University of Edinburgh, Scotland "Evolution of the Life Science Trajectory in European Multinational Agrobiotechnology Companies"
Ignacio Chapela, Environmental Sciences and Policy Management, University of California, Berkeley "In place of a nation: research, public institutions and the privatization of Bioteck"
Discussants: Richard Walker, Department of Geography, University of California, Berkeley Michael Watts, Institute of International Studies, University of California, Berkeley
1.00pm Introduction: Michael Watts
II. Risk, Regulation, Resistance: The Politics of Genetically Modified Crops
Jonathan Jones, Sainsbury Laboratory, John Innes Centre, Norfolk, United Kingdom "Up on the Roof: Advanced Genetic Sciences (AGS) and the First GM Release"
Les Levidow, Centre for Technology Strategy, Open University, Milton Keynes, United Kingdom "Which Sustainability? Policy Dilemmas over GM Crops"
Iain Boal, Department of Geography, University of California, Berkeley "The Trials of GM Maize T25 and the 'Greenpeace 28' "
Discussants: Julie Guthman, Postdoctoral fellow, University of California, Berkeley Melanie Dupuis, Department of Sociology, University of California, Santa Cruz
Saturday, May 5th
9.00am Introduction: Iain Boal
III. Law, Property and the Science of Life Forms
William Boyd, Stanford Law School, Stanford University "Wonderful Potencies?: Deep Structure and the Problem of Monopoly in Agricultural Biotechnology"
Richard Perry, Program in Human Ecology, University of California, Irvine "Trespass of the Terminator Seed: Flows and Enclosures of Informationalized Life"
Kathy McAfee, Environmental Studies, University of California, Santa Cruz & Yale University "Economic and Genetic Reductionism in Agro-Biotechnology"
Margaret FitzSimmons, Environmental Studies, University of California, Santa Cruz Brian Wright, Agricultural and Resource Economics, University of California, Berkeley
1.00pm IV. Roundtable
Herbert Gottweis, Joyce Tait et al.