About the GMO: other people blame the EU for blocking the development of GMO agriculture in the UK. Someone must be wrong, they can't all be right about this?
They can be right about some aspects of the problem and wrong about other, IMHO.
On one hand, it's hard not to be right about something obvious: feeding the overgrown human population requires industrial agriculture - including GMO.
On the other, a familiar example: do you remember when we talked about the park grass experiment? (the longest lasting scientific experiment ever, by Lawes and Gilbert, in London)
They wanted to show that artificial fertalisers are as good as manure. They confirmed the hypothesis, but as a side effect they observed a staggering loss of biodiversity with consequences lasting decades. The unnatural fertilisers acidified the soil, pushing out many plants and animals, which normally coexisted and interacted with each other to the common benefit, and thus sustained and regenerated the manure-cultivated ecosystem. Insecticides and pesticides, either sprayed or released by genetically modified plants, make a similar impact.
What's more, every victory of our genomic weapons over some voracious caterpillars moves us to the next, more difficult level - the whole population of enemies mutates and develops resistance. We can't "quantum search" their weak spot - the new allele. So far we've been relying on hints from the natural world (which GMO destroys) and luck. Those will end soon, though. I think GMO will have the same problem as antibiotics - namely, pest resistance, faster than we think. We won't be dying from flu but from hunger. Currently, there are voices that the basic control (toxicity and alergenicity testing) are neglected, not to mention the multifaceted analysis required to assess the effects I described above. I'm obviously not a GMO expert, but consumers like i realise the range and scale of issues with GMO.
I think I fell asleep in the middle of writing the above post last night (but continued to write anyway). Apologies, edited and amended.