On the Last GM trial in Wales (written 14th July 2001)

On the last G.M. trial in Wales

Like Dr Pangloss who returned in failure from the vanity of the world to work quietly behind his  garden wall, I too have been cultivating my garden, believing that others have inviolate gardens of their own and citizens rights to cultivate them as they choose.

If I object to my neighbours taste in flowers then I must expect a hurt, re-actionary, human response which might question both my sensibility, and my husbandry techniques. Thus instead of good neighbours we`d become inhuman, adjacent, warring, garden states.

I`ve thought it best to have a glass of wine, pass another over the hedge, wait for the healing powers of alcohol and to quietly hoe my own Walden Pond beans. “Study to be quiet.” says Isaac Walton and his is good advice for both Citizen and Nation State.

I must tell you though, strange things have been happening in my garden. It is no longer a retreat but a thoroughfare. Only the torn bent-over skeletons of my hedge remain and that is why you find me loitering here with cobwebs in my hair, and the haunted look of some-one blinking at the light and unsure of the language.

A strange, mechanical, militant barbarian crosses and re-crosses my land. He is the Juggernaut Sir Intellectual Property-Tron. His shoulders are draped with Stars and Stripes, though his armoured knees are patched with the Union Jack, the Red, White and Blue and a few others.. He owes however, allegiance to no flag and those he bears are but momentos of his rites of passage through national boundaries. He has, I am told, a trophy-room of flags from the Last Fallen Protectorates with the marks of his crawler tracks still on them.

Jolly little foot-soldiers dash in and out saying “That`s interesting. We`ll have that!”

They are unlike Alan Ahlberg`s Burglar Betty and Burglar Bill, only in that they work in broad day-light.

Once I saw Sir John Krebs, our food standards agent, sniff at my roses, mumbling, “There`s no scientific reason to suppose……” When I asked him what he was doing and suggested that there may also be no scientific reason to suppose not and that plain reason was good enough for most of us, he replied, “Don`t be so greenly shrill! Stick to the science.” Then like a peculiar parrot he flapped away.

In case some of you are unsure, this is not an argument between Science and Cautionary Ludism, but is in truth, one between Careless Technology and Science. Ours is the scientist`s argument. Theirs is the marketeers.

Science is larger than any of us have the mind to stretch and has been called Truth in saner times. The wonderfully complex genetic pictures of Creation itself, which we have been receiving recently from those who still stoop at the feet of Scientific Muses, is reason enough for the democratic electorate to stamp on the hands of the barbarian yahoos who reach out quick, to slap patents on each new definable fragment of life as it is revealed.

When the barbarian reaches for his technology, we must reach for our Science. When he reaches for his cheque book we must turn away to our appropriate husbandries. When he knocks down our garden walls, the peaceful gardener must speak at last.

The House of Commons Select Committee on Agriculture deplores the messianic tendency in certain entrenched organic farmers, because it is the new consumer-lead organic health-food farmers who lead the way into the arms of those companies who will sell anything so long as it sells, and who, as we have seen, have already bought the American People, most European governments and half of the third world.

Here`s an organic farmer with messianic tendencies and a tempering belief in Democracy, who says that the outrageous Sealand Field has knocked down his own hedges of quick thorn, black-thorn, oak, cherry, aspen, holly, rowan, crab-apple, willow, sycamore, ash, bramble, honey-suckle, wild-rose and hazel, and has thwarted the will of the people of Wales, clearly expressed in our new parliament.

The Sealand Field sets a precedent that is a moment in history. Let`s hope it`s one that whimpers and fades to a memory of a little scam by some half-civilised louts, who knew no better, to sell a few more barrels and sacks of already out-dated, herbicidal, agricidal, matricidal, anarchic, half-baked, technology.

Poor, nineteenth century, mechanical, simplicity-seeking minds of job`s-worth, commercial bio-technologists have been released into a Garden of partly visible, strangely balancing, awesome, unimaginably interrelated complexity. “There`s no scientific reason to suppose………” says Sir John Krebs, and now you know how those who abandon Science, to enter business politics, gain both their knighthoods and their parrot`s tongues. You could try it yourselves if you`ve a mind for a dignified infiltration. Just whisper the phrase quietly in the right company and wait.

If some of you achieve it to sit at last established in Power’s Committee Room, it must be soon that you fling off the discrete suit of the business knight and unfold the shrill, green robes of True Science and a New Economics.

Then please run with the news to Our Lady of Despair, who has been so rushed off her feet of late. She`ll need a stiff drink or a nice cup of tea. Then you must look for Hope for the Future, who has been for so long our most sensitive muse, though god knows where she is, poor thing.

                               14th July 2001

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