I find Matt Ridley an interesting commentator on GM. After I'd slated his review of Fields of Gold I looked at what he has written about the human genome and modern technologies; a lot of it is worth thinking about. He is, at least, a scientist and an original thinker. Have you read this article? http://www.onlineopinion.com.au/2002/Mar02/Ridley.htm

I feel it was probably unfair of me to dismiss Ridley - especially as he talks a lot of sense on wind power and the new "environmentalist" agenda. He sees the new technologies as giving a chance to make sure we do have enough of things AND look after conservation...."Using hydroponics, inorganic fertiliser, electric light and genetic modification we could in theory feed the entire world from a multi-storey farm the size of Wales. The rest could be returned to wildlife conservation. I don't think it will go that far. I think there will always be a market for local produce and for food produced in traditional ways. I hope there is, because I like that kind of food. But I have no illusions that my preference is good for the planet; it is the most selfish thing I could do. The people who deserve our accolades for saving the planet are not the hair-shirted ones wandering around saying 'Woe is us!'....."

Well - it is a novel way for me to look at the issues and I think he sounds sincere even if completely wrong about the nerds at Monsanto - and he is dead right about how some views are now held to be heresy.....

If only we could get a debate on GM that isn't polarised and where each side isn't contemptuous and furious with the other ( hunting is the same). It is so difficult being a non scientist - and knowing full well that one cannot trust the majority of today's men in white. One's instinct is to be wary and suspicious. Those who really believe that GM is a good thing have signally failed to make their case credible to those of us who are genuinely interested but lack the scientific knowledge. Propaganda and Blair's schoolmasterly irritation ( I imagine we all remember bad teachers who used this patronising tone of voice) only push us the other way.

Gill isn't a scientist either and, like me, dares to pronounce on science and vaccination for foot and mouth. I wonder if - like me - he ever questions his most strongly held views? To imagine he does is like imagining King, Krebs, Anderson, Whitty, Morley and all having the humility to stop and think "Good God...what if we were WRONG?....." And then allowing a proper public debate to find out if they really were. Bit unlikely....