MEDIA: What The Papers Say - Criticism mounts over BSE crisis debacle

Lord Phillips' report was roundly criticised for being too generous

towards those deemed to be responsible for the BSE crisis. It did

however, provide a damning account of the 'complacency, incompetence and

complicity' of the Conservatives and Whitehall advisers throughout the

crisis, said Liberal Democrat agriculture spokesman Colin Breed (Glasgow

Herald, 27/10).

Tory spokesmen Tim Yeo and John Major emerged with some credit for their

forthright apologies. However, John Kelegar, who lost his 23-year-son to

vCJD, was unimpressed claiming 'they apologised because they felt they

had to' (Times, 27/10).

The BSE crisis was seen to have seriously damaged the concept of open,

accountable and responsible government. Any new official assertions on

food safety issues may be undermined by press reports that one of the

primary concerns was to sedate public fear.

If there can be an upside, it is that compensation has been assured, and

the new modus operandi of government must be based on the precautionary

principle of act first, research later (Independent, 27/10).

Analysis and commentary by Echo Research.

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