Tuesday, March 26, 2002

Brits in space

Iain Murray has highlighted a Telegraph leader on the European Galileo project.

At first it looks like a classic grand projet, with no justification past grandstanding. But this is for once unfair. The Europeans at the moment are relying on American geo-positioning system. Her militaries, what there are of them, rely on this. Therefore Europe's independence from America is compromised by her not being able to control a GPS system.

This is not an argument for Britain being involved, as being dependent on Europe is marginally worse than being dependent on America. The Telegraph worryingly sees a taste for independence being a symptom of grandeur. Isn't this the paper that (rightly) bangs on about Britain losing her sovereignty to Europe?

However Britain should develop her own positioning system - one that is controlled by British technicians on British soil. This is especially acute as our nuclear weapons are actually steered by the American system. So:

1) Only nuclear armed countries can reasonably be called independent in todays world.
2) Britain's nuclear deterrent is controlled by a foreign country.

3) Is Britain independent?

An independent British system would not need a state of the art white elephant, merely a number of cheap sattelites and the launching and supporting capabilities. We're not talking about holidays on Mars here.

Are there any readers who would know how much a bargain basement independent GPS system would cost?


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