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TITLE:  The Gloves are on!
        GM Pledge Throws Down The Green Gauntlet To Blair
SOURCE: The Green Gloves Pledge, UK
        www.greengloves.org
DATE:   Sep 24, 2003

------------------- archive: http://www.genet-info.org/ -------------------


Stop GM Growing


"This is Iraq Mark 2: there is no supporting evidence ... the public don't
like it and the Government seems determined to overrule all opposition."
Former Environment Minister Michael Meacher on GM Crops.


After five years of massive public opposition to GM and a nationwide
public debate, Tony Blair will decide in October whether to allow
commercial growing of GM crops.

There's every indication that he'll ignore the results of the public
debate and even the advice of his own economic advisors. Planting could
begin as early as spring next year, contaminating our countryside with
GM. That would please a handful of powerful corporations and the US
government but bulldoze democracy.

If Tony Blair gives the green light for GM, then a nation of gardeners
will put on their gardening gloves, take GM crops out of the ground and
make sure that the people have the last word on protecting our future.

You are invited to join with others who have signed the Green Gloves
Pledge, below. This is a pledge to take, or support others who take, non-
violent action to prevent genetic pollution and its damage to life and
livelihoods. You will be acting in the public interest with the support
of many others. The number of people signing the pledge will indicate to
the government how many people are willing to actively defend nature and
democracy. It will remind Tony Blair where real power finally lies: with
the will of the people. Perhaps, just perhaps, he might even listen.


Some facts

- Only 14% of the British public support GM food (MORI, June 2003)
- All UK supermarkets have told the government they will not use GM foods
in the foreseeable future
- The government's own economic review concluded that there was no
benefit in the near future from growing GM crops and that organic and
non-GM crops would be threatened.
- The head of the committee overseeing the government's public debate on
GM, involving over 20,000 people, reported that the results are
overwhelmingly against GM commercialisation.
- Only 4 countries worldwide grow 99% of all GM crops: the US, Canada,
Argentina and China. GM farmers there are seeing problems.
- In New Zealand over 3000 people signed a similar Green Gloves Pledge in
12 weeks. New Zealand currently has an official moratorium on growing GM
crops, as do increasing numbers of countries around the world

*****

For immediate release
Wednesday 24th Sept 2003
PRESS RELEASE

The Gloves are on!
GM Pledge Throws Down The Green Gauntlet To Blair

A pledge to pull up GM crops was launched today as the results of the
Governments public debate on genetic modification were announced in
London.[1] The Green Gloves Pledge, a pledge to peacefully remove GM
crops or support those who do [2], was formally announced this morning
with the delivery of a six and half foot green glove to Tony Blair at the
gates of Downing Street bearing the question Which part of No GM do you
not understand?. An accompanying letter to the Prime Minister was also
handed in.

Delivering the glove, Kathryn Tulip, one of the organisers of Green
Gloves pledge said.

Once again Tony Blair looks set to ignore the overwhelming sentiment of
the British people who do not want GM. The British people have clearly
said no to GM again and again. Now we are underlining our resolve with a
promise of action ? either this government agrees to deliver a GM-free
Britain or a nation of gardeners will put on their gloves and take that
decision into their own hands. We are here to let him know that for every
GM plant he allows to be planted there will be many pairs of hands
willing to pull them up again.

The launch of the Green Gloves pledge to pull up GM crops comes as new
leaked letters from Margaret Beckett suggest the Government is still
intending to press ahead with GM crop commercialisation despite the clear
public sentiment against GM expressed in the Public Debate. The
governments own advisors recently warned in an economic review of GM
crops that there were no near term benefits for UK economy and that any
decision to press ahead with GM could result in widespread civil unrest.
Tony Blairs decision to hire Monsanto spin doctor David Hill further
suggests that the PM is once again going to ignore public opinion in what
former environment Minister Michael Meacher has called Blairs Iraq mark II.

Although it has not been formally announced until today already many
hundreds of people have signed the pledge including farmers, scientists,
clergy and politicians. The names of those pledging are currently being
kept confidential but the number signing will regularly be made public,
starting on October 16 when the results of the Farm Scale Evaluations of
GM crops is announced. A similar green gloves pledgelaunched in New
Zealand to stave off the lifting of the GM moratorium there, gathered
over 3000 names in 12 weeks of people willing to pull up GM crops. The UK
organisers also expect thousands to sign the pledge in the UK, increasing
pressure on the government as it enters the run up to the next election.

Ends

Contact (24 September only): 07752 106 806 (Lawrence) or 07796 430 141
(Kathryn)
The Green Gloves Pledge
16b Cherwell Street, Oxford, OX4 1BG.
+44 1865 243 772 (24 September only)
+44 1865 727 972 (after 25 September)
pledge@greengloves.org
www.greengloves.org

Notes to Picture Editors
Photographs and video footage available from Hugh Warwick +44 7815 042 452

Notes to Editors
1.The results of the GM nation public debate are due to be announced at a
press conference today, Wednesday 24th September, 10.00am at Institute of
Civil Engineers, 1 Great George Street, SW1 (off parliament Square).
2.The Green Gloves Pledge states If the UK Government gives the go-ahead
to commercialise the growing of GM crops against the overwhelming wishes
of the British public, I pledge to non-violently remove GM crops from the
ground or support those who take action to remove GM crops. The pledge
can be signed online at www.greengloves.org or by text message or by post.

*****

Green Gloves
16 B Cherwell Street, Oxford, OX4 1DD

Prime Minister Tony Blair
10 Downing Street, London, SW1A 2AA


Tuesday 23 September 2003 

Dear Tony Blair

I write to you on behalf of the hundreds of people whove already signed
the Green Gloves Pledge - a pledge to peacefully remove Genetically
Modified crops or support those who do, if GM crops are grown
commercially. The collection of pledges is continuing and the number of
signatories is expected to be in the thousands within weeks. A similar
pledge in New Zealand collected 3,000 pledges in 12 weeks.

There are so many ways in which the British public have said no to GM
food and crops. Numerous polls since 1996 show a consistent no thank-
youto GM food and crops. Pollsters MORI show that support for GM food has
fallen and is now only 14% of those surveyed. When the Euro-barometer
looked closer, they discovered that the more people knew about GM crops
the louder they said NO.

When Monsantos advertising campaign ran back in 1998, they said we want
to hear your opinion. In response Monsantos own pollster noted a society
wide collapse of support for GM foods. Today Monsanto no longer even try
to grow GM crops in the UK.

Then there was the rush from the shelves. Supermarkets and food producers
who admitted carrying GM in their own food were punished at the
checkouts. Hundreds of thousands of customers phoned up and politely
explained what NO meant . UK Supermarkets and food producers now say that
they can not imagine re-stocking GM foods in the foreseeable future.

And then there were the parents. School cafeteria after school cafeteria
were told by parent governors to stop feeding children GM foods and
complied. The local authorities extended their non GM policies to other
cafeterias and even the prisoners received non-GM grub after the inmates
started saying NO.

There was even a little yesthat was really a great big NO! Sales of
organic food started growing faster than the computer industry, and
hundreds of celebrity chefs from Nigella to Anthony Worral Thompson
stopped arguing over pesto and agreed that GM was one thing they could
all say NO to.

Then there was the aid agencies - Christian Aid, Action Aid and others
pointing out that that GM crops had no part to play in solving world
hunger - another lie nailed, another simple NO.

Then there was Middle England. The rank and file of the Womens Institute,
The Townswomens Guild, the RSPB, church groups all passing motions saying
NO to GM. Not to mention the 120 national organisations calling for a
freeze on GM. Was your government listening?

Then there were the public meetings, thousands of impassioned public
forums in little village halls up and down the country as community after
community impressed on their farming neighbours that the greasy pound for
planting a trial crop of GMwas poor recompense for loss of community trust.

Then there was the non-violent action pulling-up GM crops, thousands of
people by night and day, removing GM crops from the ground, held up as
heroes. Even Tommy Archer had a go. When the magistrates and Jurors were
asked whether these people were guilty of a crime, they joined in and
also said NO.

When GM food and Crops were themselves put on trial by several
independent citizens jurys, both in the UK and abroad, then they decided
that the introduction of GM food or crops should be stopped.

Then there were the investors. Deutsche Bank declaring GMOs are Dead!,
Swiss Reinsurance saying they wouldnt insure GM with a bargepole and
Monsantos share price ringing at its rock bottom lowest .. the NOs it
seemed could be heard as far as Wall Street and the City.

And then there are increasing number of the GM-Free local authorities -
from Cornwall to Cumbria to the Welsh Assembly. No-go areas for GM food
and crops.

When your own Cabinet Office were asked if there was an economic case for
GM the answer was a sheepish NO.

And now belatedly, the under-funded public debate, GM Nation?in which
20,000 people participated is to say NO, according to the head of the
committee overseeing it.

Recent messages from your ministers indicate that you intend to press
ahead with GM commercialisation regardless and we are left wondering
which part of NO GM you did not understand? You have recently said that
you intend to listen more to the public than you may have in the past. In
that spirit will you now announce that your government will respect the
clear wishes of the British people and halt the commercialisation of GM
crops in this country?

I look forward to receiving your reply

Yours sincerely
Andrew Wood, on behalf of Green Gloves.




--


GENET
European NGO Network on Genetic Engineering

Hartmut MEYER (Mr)
Kleine Wiese 6
D - 38116 Braunschweig
Germany

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