The Deathly GM Crops and The Half-Wit Prince (Book 8)
Most of the time I regard Prince Charles as an amiable affable buffoon who talks a peculiar brand of new age sentiment and claptrap and dresses in a quaint Scottish (kilt commando style) way so beloved by our American friends across the water or who swans down the racecourse in top hat waving to the assembled masses on the rails. This erstwhile Edwardian who I think at heart harks back to those times when obedient yokels tilled the fields from dawn to dusk and tipped a respectful forelock in his ‘ighness’ direction as he swept by in his carriage to the big house (god bless yer guv) and people knew their place and the beautiful class structure of the realm stood in all its glory whilst he sat at the top of the pile as king (eh not yet the Queen is still very much hanging on ed.) with his subjects arraigned about him.
Now on the subject of GM crops (and about time too!!) HH has actually managed to hit a few (very few) good points but what surprised me about this whole issue was that a national newspaper gave his non-scientific bar room opinions front page coverage. I was actually about to buy a copy of the Telegraph to peruse on the train when I saw he was the lead for the day – this forced me to buy the broadsheet version of the Socialist Tribune (the Guardian) as a substitute so dear readers you can guess this was a serious setback.
As always I am interested in the purpose of these things and not in the content per se for if I want to hear some claptrap I can always talk to my pocket memo for five minutes then play it back. The point it seemed to me was to position Charles as next ruler and restate the inevitability of a continuation of the stultifying class structure we have in this country with the Windsor’s at its head. Demonstrating that he has thoughtful and erudite opinions (ok that didn’t work ed.) and in an unquestioning way accept and parade his views before the public. Also the writer sprinkled the article with discourses of justification of why this was an important piece due to the role HH would play as future monarch etc etc – not questioning the reasoning behind this rationalisation at all.
Often it is refreshing for the basis behind some scientific advances to be critically reviewed as to their consequences and costs – the debate about cloning being an example where there is not much understanding so very little control. GM crops are a potential benefit to society as a whole at least in the third world where they don’t have the luxury of choosing ‘organic’ or otherwise as we do in comfortable wet UK – and drought resistant strains of wheat may indeed be a breakthrough for them – and of course there are always the agribusiness monopolies wanting to maximise their profits which should be monitored. So there is a basis for debate which is underway but these more thoughtful insights do not get airtime or the grounds of critical debate are undercut by poorly informed half understood issues expounded for purposes of publicity and positioning of a future king.
Snippet from the Web
Lord Robert Winston, Imperial’s famously moustachioed professor of fertility studies seems to have got himself in a trouble over his comments relating to critics of GM technology.
In a speech at Whittington Hospital (somewhere in North London, apparently) last week, the celebrity ICSM Prof spoke out against those who criticise any kind of genetic manipulation, saying that many protests were “ill-advised”. He was particularly forthright on Prince Charles, whom he called one of “the most genetically modified people around”.