Saturday, April 14, 2007

Potatoes not mutatoes!

At last the first GM potato march between Histon and Girton took place and was a really excellent success. Dozens of protesters, both local news channels, trike based sound system and delicious potato soup for those who trekked across the fields.

I've mentioned before that we have been building a campaign against the new GM potato trials in the local area.

Bizarre experience with the police though. There was a cop with a long lens camera taking our pictures at the start of the demo so I wandered over to him and asked if I could help. He said no and walked away so I followed him and said "Well the police are meant to be liaising with me today so I don't think you should just walk off to be honest."

He turned round and told me he was not from the local police and I should talk to "them over there" pointing to a couple of bemused looking cops. "where *are* you from then?" I asked "HQ" Thanks for that Mr. Policeman (update: he was from this squad apparently, who also have a spoof site). Later on he came over - I think in order to smooth the waters - and told me that I hoped I understood that he had to ta
ke pictures, after all it was to "counter domestic extremism" which left me wondering which old lady or baby was the extremist... or perhaps he was referring to BASF.

Anyway - there were more people than we'd anticipated but because we are well organised, yet relaxed, "the team" made the day a real success. Lots of cool people (including a pirate trike sound system - pictured), and there seems to be a real momentum to the campaign building. we'll be sending people up to Hull next week for their demo and hopefully getting up to all sorts of tricks in the near future round these parts too.

Parts of the demo I thought went particularly well... i) having blank placards and marker pens so people can personalise their demo rather than getting lumbered with a demo dominated by one or two logos / brands. ii) having food at the end which meant that instead of rushing off the whole thing rounded off in a very social / networking sort of way - excellent.

Things we need to do more of - links with people in Hull, Girton and Histon, as well as the excellent Mutatoes people. We certainly need more people in the organising team - although due to the small social circle they are drawn from it actually meant we worked particularly efficiently together, but long term that could create a problem. Also it's good news that our links with other groups in town in strengthening and we should have every reason to feel optimistic for the future.

At the end of the day these GM potatoes are about the needs of the Tescopoly and what looks good on their shelves. They want regular sizes and shapes to their potatoes - but these are the potatoes most prone to blight.
We have blight resistant potatoes already, but they don't suit the needs of the corporations. These tests are all about sowing up the food chain and have nothing to do with feeding the third world... or even the first.

Urgent call to all East Anglians - watch the local news today (BBC and Anglia) to see me interviewed about GM... although I seem to remember just ranting about supermarkets and corporations - there you go, where are Friends of the Earth when you need them?

Indymedia reports of interest: 1,2, 3, 4.


ejh said...

Best of luck with this. If I still lived in Oakington - Arcadia Gardens, would you believe - I'd have joined you. Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately) that was twenty years ago and a thousand miles away...

Disillusioned kid said...

The NETCU links seems to be messed up.

I'm amazed that they put the clowns on the front page. Check out they're glossary to see the way that "domestic extremist" has become an official synonym for people who used to be known as "activists" or "protesters".

Don't s'pose anybody got a photo of the police snapper?

balmedie said...


was wondering if there was an email list i could subscribe to so that i can get involved with other "green" campaigns??? i would have loved to have joined the march against the killer mutatoes. . .

or are there regular meetings?

procrustes said...

Well, I support your right to protest and to not be heavied by the police.

But I think your views are pretty deluded.

Bring on GM as far as I'm concerned.