Do as I say, not as I do

Our democratically elected leaders have a nasty track record of forcing GM food on their citizens while quietly eating organic at home, says Craig Sams

We are all used to voting for politicians on the basis of promises that are broken as soon as the election is over. Why can’t they just do as they say?  Our elected leaders have power, but it is constrained. The highest and mightiest Presidents and Prime Ministers must still kneel before higher authorities: the barons of the press, industry, agribusiness, oil, war, drugs and finance.

This is the distortion that makes democracy so disappointing.  We elect our leaders so they can create the society we want, but they have to support interests that conflict with what is best for society.  The result is climate change, pollution, war, banksterism and disease

The organic movement was founded on selfish but noble ideals.  If we look after the soil on this planet, then we can enjoy the fruits of that soil in a balanced healthy diet without fear.  The Soil Association, the founding organisation of the global organic movement, built this philosophy into its name.  Sounds obvious, but if you are an agrichemical company or if you just want to rape the land and move on then such high-minded idealism can be an obstacle to enriching the bottom line.  Short-termism is where the money lies.  The more costs you can externalise, the more profit reaches the bottom line.

We have suffered inexplicable and inexcusable stupidity from successive governments when it comes to the food supply.  Whether it’s permitting toxic pesticides, GM, or subsidising biofuels, rational behaviour is absent. Organic farming has been treated by our governments as a marginal activity that is for middle class eccentrics and freaky hippies who refuse to grow up.

So what are these freaks like when they’re at home?

David Cameron – Tory Farming Minister Jim Paice tells the 2012 Oxford Farming Conference we can’t go on ignoring the benefits of GM foods.   But at home in the Cotswolds, Samantha Cameron sensibly shops at Daylesford Farm Shop, a resolutely organic store that proudly never stocks GM foods and sells organic vegetables, meat, baked goods and dairy products produced on the farm.

Barack Obama – promised GM foods would be labelled if he got elected. Now he opposes labelling.  He brutally overrode the USA Supreme Court to allow GM alfalfa and sugar beets.  But at home his wife Michelle turns the White House garden organic so that the Obama family have a safe local food supply

Mitt Romney – steered Monsanto onto the GM track in the 70s; his Agricultural Advisory Committee is headed by Monsanto lobbyist Randy Russel and packed with other Monsanto supporters.  But at home Mitt himself only eats organic, (especially his favourite peanut butter and honey sandwiches). In 1998 Romney’s wife Ann got off intravenous steroids for her multiple sclerosis and successfully restored her health with organic food and acupuncture, which she now sticks to religiously

Bill and Hillary Clinton – Bill strongarmed the EU to accept GM when he was President.  Hillary still pushes GM worldwide.  But at home, according to their executive chef at the White House, the food they ate was organic and Hillary had a pesticide-free roof garden.

George W Bush – Promoted GM and tried to weaken organic standards.  But at home Laura Bush insisted that all food in the White House was organic

Tony Blair – expressed ‘frustration’ with people who opposed GM and called opposition a ‘flash in the pan.’  But at home his wife Cherie told me: “I can’t wait to tell my husband that I met the man who makes his favourite chocolate!”

Notice a pattern here?

In China – the Special Food Supply Center supplies China’s political elite with organic, strictly non-GM food including hormone- and antibiotic-free meat. However, recent government incentives have led to 40% annual organic market growth in the past 5 years, so there is a trickle down effect

What on earth is the point of democracy if all it achieves is a healthy natural lifestyle for a handful of our rulers while they hypocritically impose dangerous, untested GM foods and carcinogenic pesticides on the rest of us?

By Craig Sams

Organic food pioneer and polemicist
Craig Sams is Britain’s best known natural food pioneer. He is the founder of Green & Blacks, a former Soil Association chairman and the author of The Little Food Book.