There’s certainly been a lot of shouting and flinging of dung in the wider Bitcoin community. I think ultimately, they’ll have to arrive to a reasonable consensus as there’s just too much money at stake to futz about forever.
That said, there’s some really interesting things coming out of these discussions, like side-chains (amongst others). This could probably be a great adjunct to the ideas you’re espousing Mark, allowing unrelated chains to talk to each other, whilst still remaining a part of the wider whole.
One question — with all the kerfuffle and noise, why try and force the issue? Yes, Bitcoin is certainly the most prominent blockchain out there and being able to leverage it for other purposes makes sense; but why not focus on other, more open chains (Ripple, Ethereum, etc, etc)?
As for use cases for data storage, aside from the obvious trusted audit trail, there is the flow-on idea of it being a time-series datastore. And because the data is already broken up into neat chunks, M-R processing and analysis is an easy overly on top of that too.
Just my BTC0.00005 (USD 0.02 as at the time of writing) worth.