Web Only: the best of the blogs

The five must-read blogs from today, including why the UK is falling out of the EU.

1. Britain, not leaving but falling out of the EU

Cameron did not stop France and Germany from going ahead with what they are proposing, writes the Economist's Bagehot. That's not wielding a veto, that's called losing.

2. 'Nervous' Lib Dems toe the line on Europe

What Lib Dems are really waiting for is to see what happens when parliament returns on Monday, says Kiran Stacey at FT Westminster.

3. Cameron didn't sign EU deal because it's not in the interests of the one per cent

Cameron acted in the interests of the City of London, not Britain, says Shamik Das at Left Foot Forward.

4. Sarkozy told Cameron: "You can't have an offshore centre taking away Europe's capital"

Gary Gibbon warns that the French President is expected to renew his efforts to clip the City of London's wings.

5. Cameron's big opportunity to bring the Conservative family together

This could be a healing moment for the Tories, says ConservativeHome's Tim Montgomerie.

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Why Prince Charles and Princess Anne are both wrong on GM foods

The latest tiff between toffs gives plenty of food for thought.

I don’t have siblings, so I was weirdly curious as a kid about friends who did, especially when they argued (which was often). One thing I noticed was the importance of superlatives: of being the best child, the most right, and the first to have been wronged. And it turns out things are no different for the Royals.

You might think selective breeding would be a subject on which Prince Charles and Princess Anne would share common ground, but when it comes to genetically modified crops they have very different opinions.

According to Princess Anne, the UK should ditch its concerns about GM and give the technology the green light. In an interview to be broadcast on Radio 4’s Farming Today, she said would be keen to raise both modified crops and livestock on her own land.

“Most of us would argue we have been genetically modifying food since man started to be agrarian,” she said (rallying the old first-is-best argument to her cause). She also argued that the practice can help reduce the price of our food and improve the lives of animals - and “suspects” that there are not many downsides.

Unfortunately for Princess Anne, her Royal “us” does not include her brother Charles, who thinks that GM is The Worst.

In 2008, he warned that genetically engineered food “will be guaranteed to cause the biggest disaster environmentally of all time.”  Supporting such a path would risk handing control of our food-chain to giant corporations, he warned -  leading to “absolute disaster” and “unmentionable awfulness” and “the absolute destruction of everything”.

Normally such a spat could be written off as a toff-tiff. But with Brexit looming, a change to our present ban on growing GM crops commercially looks ever more likely.

In this light, the need to swap rhetoric for reason is urgent. And the most useful anti-GM argument might instead be that offered by the United Nations’ cold, hard data on crop yields.

Analysis by the New York Times shows that, in comparison to Europe, the United States and Canada have “gained no discernible advantages” from their use of GM (in terms of food per acre). Not only this, but herbicide use in the US has increased rather than fallen.

In sum: let's swap superlatives and speculation for sense.

India Bourke is an environment writer and editorial assistant at the New Statesman.