Westminster's new Environment Secretary

August 2014

Owen Paterson. Photo Wiki Commons
The Westminster/Owen Paterson plot to kick-start GM crop development in the UK [1,2,3] seems to have reached the end of its first leg.

Courtesy of (former) Environment Secretary Owen Paterson, the EU Council was persuaded to break the deadlock on GM crops by allowing those pesky GM-resisting members to opt-out [4]. This appears to open the door wide for GM development in the UK.

However, Owen Paterson has been fired from his post.

The reason for Paterson's removal isn't clear. He seems to have been very active and effective on GM, and it seems unlikely the Prime Minister noticed anything amiss with his grasp of science.


In what one journalist described an “extraordinary outburst” indicative of a “descen(t) into paranoia”, the ex-Environmment Secretary blamed his dismissal on the Prime Minister's desire to appease the “powerful”, “irresponsible” and “self-serving”, “green blob” (the environmental lobby).

Apparently the goal of green blobs was “to enhance their own income streams and influence by myth making and lobbying” (COMMENT Doesn't that sound more like the biotech industry which Paterson has been busy cosying up with?)

Perhaps the Prime Minister was trying to appease the Scots in the run up to the independence vote? Paterson's push for GM in the UK is embarrassingly out of line with Scottish opinion, and his recent failure to represent Scotland's anti-GM position during his EU negotiations for the opt-out came at an extraordinarily bad time for the NO vote.

So, now we have a new Environment Minister in the form of Mrs. Elizabeth Truss.

Elizabeth Truss, Photo Wiki Commons
The Right Honourable Truss has a background in accountancy, and has business experience. She founded the Free Enterprise Group for which she prepared a paper on allowing 'mini-jobs' subject to less-heavy regulation. This was subsequently examined by the Treasury as a policy to promote growth.

The aims of the Free Enterprise Group are to:
  • Encourage a competitive and free economic environment
  • Raise the global economic standing of the United Kingdom
  • Challenge monopolies and oligopolies
  • Free individuals to create, innovate and take risks.

OUR COMMENT


Ms. Truss has no background in science nor agriculture, and therefore has a steep learning curve to go through. It's up to the green blob to make sure the learning curve she gets on GM issues doesn't come from GM industry sources and lobbyists.

GM Freeze have suggested that you write to Elizabeth Truss and ask about her position on GM food and crops at defra.helpline@defra.gsi.gov.uk, or by post to Defra, Nobel House, 17 Smith Square, London SW1P 3JR.

You might want to voice your concerns about the inherent links between GM and the monopoly businesses controlling our food chain: links which are shored up by patents, by the global nature of our food supply system, and by the widespread loss of food sovereignty, not to mention the out-of-date, simplistic 'science' being used to develop and promote GM 'solutions’.


Background:
[2] MINISTER FOR GM HYPE - November 2013
[3] THE NEW YEAR GM PEP-TALK - February 2014

SOURCES
  • Get Active - Ask Liz Truss, Thin Ice, Issue 34, July 2014]
  • About Elizabeth Truss, www.elizabethtruss.com, August 2014
  • Andrew Sparrow, I was sacked by David Cameron to appease 'the green blob', says Paterson, Guardian 20.07.14
  • Damian Carrington, Paterson's 'green blob' tirade reveals the right's problem with climate change, Guardian 21.07.14
  • Owen Paterson, I'm proud of standing up to the green lobby, Telegraph 20.07.14

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