The government has always made a conscious effort to support British scientists on issues such as genetically modified crops and animals. It is now also considering bringing forward severe penalties for animal rights activists who disrupt the activities of vivisection laboratories.

Ministers only seem to reflect on the potential difficulties of their pro-science stance when public opinion or direct protest forces them to perform a u-turn.

The government appears to have at last recognised the ethical issues posed by genetic testing.

It is all very well promoting the possible benefits of genetic research, but ministers and their advisers don't always seem to think through its consequences.