Blair's children fed on organic food
As a result, in 1999 Downing Street was directly challenged by the media over whether this GM-evangelist would actually feed his own children GM foods. Blair had no hesitation in letting the world know that he did, prompting front page comment.
Yesterday (11 June 2008), during a book signing at The Great Hall, the Royal College of Physicians, Queen Street, Edinburgh, the former Prime Minister's wife Cherie Blair commented, "I always tried to feed my children organic food". (Today's News, Soil Association - 12 June 2008)
Below's an extract from an article that gives a flavour of the Blair years.
GENETIC MODIFICATION - No support from the public...
by Geoffrey Lean
Independent on Sunday, Oct 19 2003
There have been striking similarities between the way the Government has handled the unfolding Iraq crisis and the controversy over genetically modified crops. In each case deeply unpopular policies have been zealously pursued by Tony Blair. The difference between GM and Iraq is that, following last week's unfavourable verdict on the GM crop trials, the truth has emerged before major damage has been done, writes Environment Editor Geoffrey Lean
Does this sound familiar? The Government - led from the front by the Prime Minister - has vigorously pursued a controversial policy, bitterly opposed by most of the British people. The supporting evidence is weak to non-existent, but the policy pleases President Bush and stands to benefit big multinational companies. Tony Blair believes unshakeably in the rightness of his cause, and in the folly of opponents who warn of 'unforeseen' consequences. Then the truth starts seeping out. The facts turn out to be the opposite of the case that has been so eloquently talked up. Public opposition increases. But there is no U-turn, no reverse gear, no admission that Mr Blair might ever have been mistaken. Instead there is an attempt at damage limitation, a concentration on saving face, and a quiet search for a way out.
As with Iraq, so with GM, it seems. A succession of government reports critical of the technology over the last months - culminating in last week's publication of the results of official trials proving that GM oilseed rape and sugar beet damage wildlife - have become the equivalent of the failure to discover Saddam's weapons of mass destruction.
Virtually no one, supporters and critics alike, expected the reports to come down against GM, any more than they expected the weapons to be a mirage. Yet, like the non-existent WMD, they have changed the terms of the debate. And just as Britain and America have begun to secure agreement at the once-despised UN over the future of Iraq, a bewildering plethora of Whitehall committees are starting to try to find a way out of the Government's self-made GM morass.
The analogy is tempting, and can be extended. Both over GM and the Iraq war, of course, opposition to the disastrous policy has been led by The Independent on Sunday. GM even has its Dr David Kelly, in Dr Arpad Pusztai, another quiet scientist, respected as the world's leader in his field, who was belittled and persecuted when he challenged the official line. After a few incautious but accurate words to a broadcaster about research that was unexpectedly turning up alarming signs of damage to health in rats fed GM potatoes, Dr Pusztai was driven from his job, his data was confiscated, and he was roundly and unfairly denounced by the political and scientific establishment. He suffered a heart attack. Happily, he survived.
But there are also important differences. For, over GM, the truth has begun to stream out before the damage is done - at least as far as Britain is concerned. And the weight of evidence that is now emerging may yet be enough to prevent it occurring altogether.
Not that there is much change to be seen on the surface. Ministers are publicly saying much the same sort of things as they did last week, last month, and last year. Not even the faintest flutter of a white handkerchief has been spotted at the windows of No 10.
"I keep listening for the sound of rowing backwards," one senior civil servant told me last week. "But the oars are silent." At least the boat is not moving forward. The rowers appear to be resting on their oars wondering what course will now be steered. There have been such pauses before. It is easy to forget that, despite the Prime Minister's evangelism, despite his professed readiness four years ago to feed GM foods to his children, and despite all the spin and subterfuge, the Government has so far acted quite cautiously.
When Labour came to power, the biotech industry was on the verge of victory. Several GM crops were ready to go into British soil, and there was little public opposition. Monsanto - which last week inelegantly announced its intention "to exit from its European cereal seed business" in frustration - was riding high.
Within days of the change of government, senior civil servants at the old Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food tried to get the new ministers to sign off well-prepared papers that would have uncritically endorsed the technology, and started the approval process for the crops...
READ ON AT http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qn4159/is_20031019/ai_n12746927