From the US to India, the GMO biotech industry appears to have a ‘contaminate first then push for regulatory authorisation later’ policy. The contamination of our food seems to be a deliberate strategy of the industry .
In the UK, there is a multi-pronged approach to try to get GM food onto the nation’s plates. The majority of the British public who express a view on GM food do not want it . However, we are experiencing a consistent drive to distort the debate over the GM issue, hijack institutions, co-opt so-called ‘public servants’ and pass off vest commercial interests as the ‘public good’ .
The GMO industry is mounting a full-fledged assault on Britain via the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs department, the Business, Innovations and Skills department, the Agricultural Biotechnology Council, the Science Media Centre, All-Party Parliamentary Group on Science and Technology in Agriculture, strategically placed scientists with their ‘independent’ reports and the industry-backed Science Media Centre [4,5,6].
Monsanto and other agritech companies are also lobbying hard for the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) , which aims to throw Europe’s door wide open to GM food imports from the US with unchecked, uncheckable and unlabelled GM food . The same companies are also behind the drive to weaken the pan-European regulatory framework currently in place by attempting to push through legislation that will allow them to pick off each state one by one and force their GMOs onto people [9,10].
The industry, its mouthpieces and proxies are moreover pushing to do away with European process-based regulation , which would effectively side-step any effective process for assessing and regulating GMOs.
As if these tactics aren’t enough, the contamination of our food with GMOs is occurring right now via imported GM food from the US, which is finding its way onto the shelves of supermarkets, sometimes unlabelled. Even when it is labeled, it may be buried in the small print.
GM food in UK supermarkets
Sean Poulter writing in the Daily Mail (7th November) notes that Marks & Spencer does not use GM in own-label products . However, it now sells products from other brands which contain GM soya or corn. Marks & Spencer had a policy of selling only GM-free food, but the chain is now selling six products containing GM soya or corn despite having long presented itself as being opposed to such engineered products. The six are teriyaki, ginger, and hibachi sauces from the American TonTon brand and three flavours of Moravian Cookie – sugar, chocolate, and cranberry and orange.
Other stores are also selling an increasing number of imported US foods from brands including Reese, Hershey and Oreo that contain GM ingredients.
Last year, M&S, Tesco, Sainsbury’s and the Co-op abandoned pledges to ensure animals supplying milk, eggs, chicken, pork, and beef were not fed a GM diet.
While some food on UK supermarket shelves comes from animals fed on GM crops, without this fact needing to be declared on the label, (the EU imports about 30 million tons a year of GM crops for animal consumption), what we now have are GMOs appearing in various food products.
There was a row last year when it emerged Tesco was stocking American Lucky Charms cereal, which is made from GM corn (declared in small print on the package). The cereal also contains artificial colours that the Food Standards Agency has linked to hyperactivity in young children.
Britain’s House Price Crash – 2016 Predictions Mount
Housing in many countries, especially Britain, is no longer an investment; it’s now made up of three fundamentals: consumption, crime and concern. The general public getting on the bandwagon with cheap loans is consumption. The crime slot is taken now that over 40% of Britain’s housing stock is bought in cash with property used as an international laundrette to wash hundreds of billions and concern comes from savers who quite rightly think that the banks and government will steal their hard-earned (low or negative savings rates), tax-paid money that drives a reluctant middle class into becoming landlords.
Cheap loans will prevail but credit is drying up the world over. The criminals have stopped buying in over-heated Britain and even George Osborne, who has fueled the bubble, is taking action against amateur landlords that make up the vast majority of property investors in Britain.
But don’t take my word for it. Predictions of a house price crash in 2016 are now mounting thick and fast, something unheard of in previous property recessions and particularly back in 2007 just before the last epic fall.
We kick off with consumption. The Week has a piece from Pete Redfern, the chief executive of Taylor Wimpey, Britain’s biggest house builder who says that “The UK is in a “borderline place” on home ownership as a result of rampant price rises and more needs to be done to rein in the pace of (property) inflation”. It also makes the observation that “London, where the housing market is becoming so detached from the wider UK that it has been called “another country”.
Then we have dodgy dosh from overseas; as RT reports – “Asian and Russian luxury homebuyers are deserting London’s property market amid economic uncertainty. Property buyers from Asia made up 26 percent of those buying homes in wealthy areas of London such as Kensington, Chelsea, and Belgravia in the first three quarters of last year. That figure has dropped to 6 percent according to figures compiled by estate agent Hamptons for the Financial Times”.
And not forgetting those poor fearful middle class reluctant landlords about to lose their shirts. From industry expert Letting Agent Today – “Osborne has slashed rental sector confidence ‘to below crisis levels’. Landlords’ confidence in the buy to let sector has collapsed to an all-time low and is now “worse than levels witnessed during the financial crash” according to a trade body. Richard Lambert, chief executive of the National Landlords Association, says confidence in landlords’ business expectations has tumbled by more than a third over the past year – down from 67 per cent to an all-time low of 43 per cent. The current level of confidence in the BTL sector is now five per cent lower than levels witnessed after the financial crash in 2007”.
The property bubble will burst and London will be its epicenter. But it’s not just London that is causing it. Back in the early 1990s I was already a few years into my 25-year career in residential property. Chancellor Nigel Lawson decided to abolish MIRAS in 1988 – a mortgage relief scheme which saved homeowners thousands on their payments. Stupidly, Lawson gave about six months notice. This pushed up prices as buyers rushed to snatch up a property before the tax break disappeared, much the same as Osborne’s increase in tax and subsequent epic run by property investors to beat the deadline this April.
On that day in April 1988 I saw the entire property industry implode. Property prices fell by around a third, 1.5 million homeowners declined into negative equity, annual repossessions doubled, tripled and then quadrupled in a matter of months. At one point repossessions represented 1 in every 130 households of Britain.
A few years later I switched from selling property to renting and ended up managing one of the biggest residential rental portfolios in the UK. I had 11,000 repossessions to manage because the government had offered tax breaks to banks and building societies to stop these units reaching the market via auctions (called Business Expansion Scheme Companies or BESCo’s) and utterly destroying what little remained of the housing market. I also had another 2,000 high-end units where building companies had gone bust with no one to buy them. We filled them with all those that had lost their homes or where the government were paying housing benefit – obviously.
Over 40% of Thatcher’s right-to-buy disaster ended up being repossessed. Cameron has just made the same mistake, except he’s a bit late in the game announcing it this time around.
Like last time, the bubble will burst where the price is most inflated – London. Unlike previous deflations, this one is predicted, and the writing is large and loud.
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