ngin - Norfolk Genetic Information Network
Date:  18 November 2000


So what are you saying minister?

“Without the right regulatory balance, we shall not be able to compete... Some estimates have predicted a £9 billion market [in the UK alone] by the year 2000. We cannot jeopardise this by over-regulating initiative and enterprise.”

- Douglas Hogg, when Agriculture Minister, spelling out the previous UK government's  approach to GM food

Don't you think it kind of sinister?

"Rest assured, the government is ready to support and enhance the competitiveness of the biotechnology industry."

- Mo Mowlam,  UK minister with current overall responsibility for GM matters

Is profit margin all that you can see?

'Biotechnology is the next wave of the knowledge economy, and I want Britain to become its European hub. This is an industry whose market in Europe alone is expected to be worth over US$ 100 billion by 2005.'

- Tony Blair, UK Prime Minister

Don't break Mother Nature's golden rule

'Work in such a way that you resist the temptations of a productivity and profit that are detrimental to the respect for nature... When you forget this principle, becoming tyrants and not custodians of the Earth, sooner or later the Earth rebels.'

- Pope John Paul II

    "So what are you saying minister?
    Don't you think it kind of sinister?
    Is profit margin all that you can see?
    You broke Mother Nature's golden rule
    Now you're feeding it to kids in school..."

        - Seize the Day ('Down on the Farm')

The added irony is of course that Blair's latest evocation of the  biotech economic miracle, in yesterday's speech, occured in the week  agbiotech went belly up and the life science model finally let out its  long-predicted final gasp with gene giant Aventis saying it wanted out  of the sector.

"With the controversy over genetically modified foods spreading across the globe and taking a toll on the stocks of companies with agricultural-biotechnology  businesses, it's hard to see those companies as a good investment, even in the long term."

- The Wall Street Journal, Jan. 7, 2000

To date the UK's biggest biotech corporation (Zeneca = AstraZeneca = now limping along as part of Syngenta), despite its massive investments in the agbiotech sector, has achieved a total revenue of *zero*

So what are you saying Prime Minister???

Of course, the current speculator's dream is medical biotech. But even in this still fashionable sector a FINANCIAL TIMES feature on the UK's  "biotech capital", Cambridge, notes: "The road to profitability in this  sector is long and hard... Even though Cambridge biotechnology employs
thousands of people and has 10 good years behind it, few of its companies make any money."

SURVEY - CAMBRIDGE AND ITS REGION: Overcoming the infrastructure problems: BIOTECHNOLOGY by David Pilling: Financial  Times ; 27-Jan-2000

Meanwhile Britain's booming organic food sector continues to suck in imports galore due to the lack of public investment in the UK in organic farming.

When those in power lose the plot
It's people power that stops the crop
- based on Seize the Day

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