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
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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