Late last spring, Sri Lanka listened to anti-science activists who claimed organic food was viable right now and less progressive countries simply lacked the political will to stand up to large corporations and banned all processes but organic.

Within a few short months crops had failed, GDP was in freefall, people were hoarding food, the black market became rampant, and the government was forced to roll back their bans.

Lesson learned. Yet the UK, home of both the anti-GMO and the modern anti-vaccine movement, keeps repeating these same lessons and never seems to learn from the same mistakes. 

After getting the same cheers as Sri Lanka got from the same demographic - white people with plenty to eat - the Department for Environment, Food&Rural Affairs has undone its ban on neonicotinoid seed treatments due to rampant devastation by yellow viruses in sugar beet crops since the ill-advised ban was enacted.

Neonicotinoids, neonics for short, are modern pesticides derived from natural chemicals that treat seeds, which is when plants are most vulnerable to pests like aphids. They reduce mass spraying, which is better for the environment and critters like bees. Since the ban, sugar beets, which are 63 percent of the UK's sugar, have been down by 25 percent. So-called organic pesticides, deemed such by lobbyists who believed older, less-effective chemicals are better, were ineffective. Scientists knew that, it is why new products are invented. 

The government's statement said, "This decision has not been taken lightly and is based on robust scientific assessment. We evaluate the risks very carefully and only grant temporary emergency authorisations for restricted pesticides in special circumstances when strict requirements are met."

If they had done that in the first place, and not played political football with science, they wouldn't look so foolish. But at least now they don't look dumber than politicians in Sri Lanka.