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GM crops

Ronald Bailey at Reason has a nice response to the Prince of Wales’ latest attack on GM foods. The Reason comment thread is also pretty good too. One thing that does not seem to cross Prince Charles’ mind – not a long journey – is the fact that by using disease-resistant strains of crops, it will reduce the need for pesticides, which surely any “Green” should support, right?

The Telegraph seems to have a strange indulgence for this sort of fogeyish/Green/oh-god-this-science-stuff-is-ghastly sort of thing. I wonder if snobbery has anything to do with it – “organic” food tends to be more expensive, after all. But to be fair, that newspaper has carried robust defences of modern science and farming, such as this article by Bill Emmott a few months back. Worth re-reading.

Update: Stephen Pollard thinks Prince Charles should shut up. That seems a bit excessive. I do not think that Charles is overstepping some sort of ancient constitutional rules by saying what he thinks. It seems a bit odd for an opinionated fellow like Stephen to be telling people in public life to put a sock in it. If he were King, and had to deal with tricky political issues, then Stephen might have a point. But let’s face it, being heir to the throne for decades is a pretty desperate situation to be in. If Charles wants to hold views on archicture, the teaching of English or the environment, why not?

24 comments to GM crops

  • Al

    Chuck doesn’t necessarily need to shut up, he should be surrounding himself with advisers who actually know what they’re talking about

  • Gib

    Prince Charles is an idiot. If he said the sky was blue, I’d immediately think it might be pink.

    He is a supporter of the quackery known as “homeopathy”. He wouldn’t know anything valid about science and nutrition if it slapped him in the face.

    He should choose to shut up. Unfortunately if he doesn’t, we can’t legally make him. I’d almost be willing to make an exception in his case though.

  • Prince Charles — making the case fora republic one speech at a time.

  • he should be surrounding himself with advisers who actually know what they’re talking about

    That would require him to be know what advisers who know what they are talking about sound like, and he is way too stupid for that.

  • Chuckles really is a moron.

  • Jerome Thomas

    I think its absolutely reasonable that the future king of england quit with the politically opinionated stuff. If he wants to make use of the public funds and tax breaks that are his by virtue of his utterly silly and daft role then he needs to abide by the utterly silly and daft rules and customs that that such privelige is conditional on.
    NO POLITICAL SOAPBOXING
    Don’t like being muzzled? Fine… Speak your mind. Just forsake any special privileges you currently benefit from at our expense. I think you’d find that if such a rule were enforced he would shut up VERY quickly.

  • Kevin B

    Charlie is a symptom, not the disease. Few in our ruling class, in which I include politicians, academics, media types and, sadly, many of our leading businessmen, will find much objectionable in his remarks.

    It is, perhaps, admirable that we are so rich that we can afford to consider ways to protect and clean up our environment rather than constantly having to fight to survive in it. The problem is that the environmental movement has been hijacked by the totalitarians, and our rulers lack both the knowledge and the inclination to question them on their more extreme positions.

    When the shit hits the fan, and it will, and we are heading back to the normal condition of humanity on this planet, then Charlie will make a fine sacrificial lamb, and many of those who are pushing the ‘Green’ agenda now will be at the front of the queue calling for his beheading.

    Speaking of watermelons pushing extreme positions, I just switched over to Sky News and saw this strapline in the breaking news banner:

    “General says Gore will be in Georgian Police hands by tomorrow.”

    For an instant, my heart was lifted and I was mentally congratulating the great state of Georgia, then the strapline repeated and I saw it said “Russian General says Gori will be in Georgian police hands by tomorrow.”

    Which is good, too. I suppose.

  • RAB

    I have known two people who knew Buggerlugs well.
    One taught him enough Welsh to stumble through his Investiture, and the other went to Gordonstoun with him.
    So I can confirm, that yes, he has just the one brain cell in there, and it is getting very lonely.

    But I am all for free speech, so let him say what he likes. He is doing sterling work putting the case FOR GM.
    When he becomes King, convention has it, that he will have to shut up.

    Jesus Lizzie must despair of the shower she spawned, mustn’t she?

    Only Anne is worth a light, and she cant become Queen, barring Balmoral shooting accidents.

  • JP,
    He does have a right to say what he wants. But I disagree with you on “…being heir to the throne for decades is a pretty desperate situation to be in.” From where I’m sitting Highgrove and Clarence House and the wealth and privilege look pretty cool to me.

    And I wouldn’t make a public arsehole of myself over things about which I know bugger-all.

  • bob sykes

    Why, pray tell, are these inbred idiots your royalty? Throw them into a hospital for the retarded, and become a republic. Get rid of the “Church” of England and its idiot archbishop while your at it.

  • Laird

    And this guy is really going to be your next king, huh? I guess it’s a good thing that the position is essentially meaningless (and apparently powerless as well).

    [As an aside, when you put their photos side-by-side, doesn't Prince Charles remind you a lot of George W. Bush? No editorial comment, just an observation.]

    Actually, Bob Sykes, being a republic isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, either. There is something to be said for having a figurehead monarch to handle the ceremonial duties while people of some competence handle the actual running of government (not that I’m suggesting that’s presently the case in Great Britain, mind you!).

  • Johnathan Pearce

    But I disagree with you on “…being heir to the throne for decades is a pretty desperate situation to be in.” From where I’m sitting Highgrove and Clarence House and the wealth and privilege look pretty cool to me

    .

    That is not really quite right, Nick M. For sure, Chuck has a cushy life in material terms. The problem is that as the heir to the throne, he is, according to Stephen Pollard and others, not allowed to say jack about anything of substance, on anything, whatever. He has spend his entire, gilded existence opening buildings, smiling on parade in his uniforms (sporting medals he never earned, dammit) and living the life of a sort of walking dead. It is no life for a human with any self respect. So naturally he wants to sound off to feel important. It is only human, after all.

  • Jerome Thomas

    ….he is, according to Stephen Pollard and others, not allowed to say jack about anything of substance, on anything, whatever. He has spend his entire, gilded existence opening buildings, smiling on parade in his uniforms (sporting medals he never earned, dammit) and living the life of a sort of walking dead.

    If this is such a terrible lot, he can always renounce his claim to the throne. If he doesnt do that we can only assume he finds the tradeoffs that come with his absurd and inconsequential ‘job’ to be acceptable ones. In that case why can’t he shut his uninformed mouth about current affairs? Get out or Shut Up in my opinion.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    If this is such a terrible lot, he can always renounce his claim to the throne. If he doesnt do that we can only assume he finds the tradeoffs that come with his absurd and inconsequential ‘job’ to be acceptable ones. In that case why can’t he shut his uninformed mouth about current affairs? Get out or Shut Up in my opinion.

    Well maybe he should step down from the role, since it has hardly made him a happy person, has it?

    Personally, I find the way in which opinionated folk like Pollard get all angry that others have opinions and voice them occasionally to be unintentionally hilarious. To be honest, such folk strike me as bullies and should be called for it.

  • RAB

    Our current head of State, really is a diamond.
    If we could clone her we would be quids in.

    But I’m afraid we are going to have a bit of trouble with Chuck when the time comes.

    You see he really is so thick, that he will probably refuse to shut up, as convention demands.

    Just wait for the Defender of the “Faiths” shit to hit the fan.

  • It is no life for a human with any self respect. So naturally he wants to sound off to feel important. It is only human, after all.

    This is why I don’t actually begrudge him the cushy lifestyle, however big a moron he may be and however much I wish he would simply shut up. In some other monarchies (eg Japan) the royal family gets the horrible parts of the job without the cushy lifestyle, instead being in a position that resembles permanent house arrest. This is one of many reasons that I wish the Americans had deposed the Japanese monarchy shortly after 1945.

  • JP,
    Point taken but Charles has a lot of free-time. There’s a lot of things he could do that would have meaning like his work on The Prince’s Trust for example. For this reason I think it was a terrible (though understandable in a way) shame they yanked Harry of the line in the ‘stan. It is possible for high-profile royals to do useful things. Charles though is just a gobshite. If he’d been born on a council estate (not a royal estate) he’d be a gobshite. Holding forth on different things but a gobshite nonetheless. I think it’s getting better… Peter and Zara Philips and William and Harry seem… well, normal.

  • I for the life of me cannot understand the reason for maintaining this royal order in modern british society. I understand how important tradition is and everything, but it just seems so ridiculous.

    Are most english folks happy with the royal family and all that comes with it or is it more like something you just put up with because it’s always been this way?

    It seems like a huge waste of resources that could be put to better use.

    And Prince Charles needs to have a little chit-chat with Norman Borlaug for further explanation on why GM crops are A GOOD THING your royal highness.

  • Bod

    Tman,

    I think the only cogent reason why there isn’t a greater push to abolish the monarchy really is due to Liz, who was (I believe rightly) referred to as a diamond. Even at her age, she spends a damn sight more time shaking hands and kissing babies than any other head of state I can think of.

    Now, you might doubt or discount the ROI on this kind of activity, but regardless of whether her efforts are beneficial, she works hard, doesn’t tarnish the brand and provides some degree of comfort to Brits and Anglophiles the world over.

    When I hear (over here in the States, of all places), the comments about her being the richest woman in the world, I have to point out that really, all she does is acts as trustee for what amounts to a National Museum of Monarchy – it’s not like she could just sell off all that stuff to the Saudis. Most of those assets couldn’t simply be assigned away the UK abolished the monarchy anyway.

    I’m regularly asked whether I think the Royal Family are an anachronism – and I think they are – but I’ve yet to see a compelling reason to abolish the monarchy as it stands with the current head. NuLabour’s attempts to emasculate the House of Lords and generally f*ck up the country make me want to dig my heels in further, in fact.

    A monarchy with King Chuckie as its head? Ugh. Maybe at that point it’ll be time to call the whole thing a day and elect a President.

  • Steph

    There is nothing more sensible about republicanism in the narow sense than in constitutional monarchism. Any tradition looks silly if you ant it to. Actually the british constitution ould be ok if it was followed.

  • RAB

    It seems like a huge waste of resources that could be put to better use.

    Well as I usually say at the point this gets an airing,

    However anacronistic

    The Royal Family are fuckin good value for money!

    I forget which Monarch, but one of the recent ones, gave up their personal landage and put it in the hands of the Gvt.

    To be administered by a bunch of half assed clueless civil servants, by the name of The Crown Properties Office.
    They knew mud was brown, but had never seen any.
    That’s how acute they were/are.

    Well they managed to lose money hand over fist.
    Probably still are.

    This is not our Royal Families fault.

    Now couple that with the amount of tourism we get on the back of that heritage.

    Nope, I can cope even with Buggerlugs as the last resort…
    Keep em, we will be quids in still…

  • TomC

    A particular piece of bullshit wen’t un-noticed on this. The Soil Association made much on Sky News of the fact that nowhere had GM technology added any yield advantage through this technology over conventionnally engineered varieties.

    What a shameless piece of propaganda, designed to push past the bullshit detectors of the average uninformed viewer –

    The fact is that GM varieties can give the equivalent yield of crops which are treated with pesticides, in the absence of the particular pesticide – very useful if you are economically or geographically unable to obtain the said pesticide.

    Conclusion – it’s OK for the poor to suffer so long as the wealthy Westener has his eco-conscience spared. What utter contemptible Organic bastards.

  • Tom, I agree with you, especially regarding poor countries. But there is one point that may complicate the issue, and that is the fact that GM crops are patented. I wonder how does this affect the picture.

  • Gabriel

    This prejudiced and unthinking rant is unbecoming of the heir to the throne and the sad fact that millions of Britons agree with him doesn’t change that one bit. The health of the British monarchy is dependent on the Queen living as long as possible and this adulterous, perverted quack doing the reverse. I’m not at all sure tatters of the British constitution can survive 2 decades of the would be “Defender of Faith/the Faiths”.