Tuesday, May 31, 2005
On Point

Dennis McShane, former Minister of Europe, does not appear to have fallen away from the limelight completely, given his recent appearance on Question Time and his subsequent interview for UPI. Cheerleading for Europe with Dimbleby will not tax anyone, but McShane provided some more interesting comments that may cast some light on the current thinking about Europe within the Blair administration, or what backbenchers have to say if they wish to be considered for the next reshuffle.

From the first, McShane makes a point of viewing the French referendum in the faint tones of a realist who accepts a verdict of imprisonment. It is a counsel of acceptance and stoicism, of truth-telling and endeavour; that infamous stranger to the truth, Blairite candour:

"Britain will hold a referendum if there is a treaty to hold a referendum on," MacShane said. "But a French Non means the new Treaty of Rome cannot be ratified. It was always a mistake to call a Treaty a constitution. But a constitution needs the confidence of the people and powerful, united leadership. Europe lacks confidence and effective leadership today so it was not a propitious time to hold plebiscites on the new Treaty. There may be some who hope this Treaty can be made to fly but it would be an insult to France and her citizens to say the Treaty they reject will continue on as a dead man walking. We will have to begin again."

The critique proffered is interesting, since it borrows and begs arguments from the Eurosceptics, in order to incorporate them into pro-EU swaddling. McShane recognises the hostility with which the smaller countries attacked the removal of their representation on the Commission and yet, defends the existing Constitution as a "coherent response" to the problems of the European Union. However, the Constitutional answer (to a question that none of Europe's electorates ever asked) was found wanting. The leaders of Europe could not inspire their voters and the European economy was ruined by:

"... wrong decisions by the European Commission with its obsession on over-regulation and by the failure of the European Central Bank to respond to the economic standstill," MacShane said. "Political-constitutional advances have to be based on economic and social confidence. "

The Eurosceptic critique of the project needs to respond to the flanking movement of pro-Europeans like McShane, who borrow the ideas in order to promote different conclusions. Like some grinning, drooling revenant, that refuses to die, unlike the rest of the reactionaries that pass for social democrats these days, the Third Way has been resurrected as an unlikely combination of welfarism, market economics and environmentalism to provide a new moral backbone for coercion in the name of the public good.

"The answer will not be found by the gentlemen of Brussels but by the willingness of political actors in Italy, France, Germany, Spain, Britain and the rest of Europe to rethink out-of-date 20th century economic and social ideology. We need a new 3-way historic compromise between economy, society and environment. Unfortunately we only hear the shrill protectionism and rejectionism of those who know how to say No to the future rather than work collaboratively to build a new Europe."

"I hope this shock will force pro-Europeans to unite and defeat the reactionary forces of the left and right who have unleashed a politics of fear in place of the hope all Europeans need," McShane added.

It is too early to tell if this forms an altered vision of Europe, one that may appeal to moderates and one nation Tories. By acknowledging its current failures, McShane's arguments may provide a pleasing lure for those who argue that the European Union can be reformed. As such, the Eurosceptic movement needs to counter conservatives and reformers within the EU, forcefully argueing that such approaches will prove inferior to the development of a free-trading area in the North Atlantic.
Sunday, May 29, 2005
Eighty-Eight Deaths in Iraq

Another British soldier died today after a roadside bomb exploded by their convoy. No Iraqi insurgents are being tried for war crimes, whilst our troops are sacrificed for Blair to shore up his ICC cred.

Up to 10 British soldiers face prosecution under international war crimes legislation - for the first time - in the single largest investigation into prisoner abuse during the Iraq War.

They are being investigated over the alleged torture and death of an Iraqi civilian, who died in British military custody. The soldiers, including a decorated colonel, two Intelligence Corps interrogators - believed to be a major and a captain - and seven members of the Queen's Lancashire Regiment, have been told that they could face prosecution under the International Criminal Court Act.

If prosecuted, it will be the first time that British soldiers have been tried under war crimes legislation enacted in 2001, which resulted from Britain backing the establishment of the International Criminal Court. The US refused to sign up to the treaty which set up the court, precisely because it did not want its soldiers to be liable to prosecution.....

Patrick Mercer, the Conservative MP for Newark and a former infantry commanding officer, said: "Col Mendonca is being charged for political reasons. At the time of the incident he was nowhere near the scene of the alleged crime."

Who will wish to join the Armed Forces when any misdemeanour carried out under command can lead to the arraignment of the officer in charge? This is a strong example of the ICC degrading the military capabilities of the British armed forces. Any criminal charges should be dealt with under military law, which was constructed specifically for the peculiar needs of armed service. Another charge to be laid at the door of those, corrupted by power, who send soldiers to their death, treat them with contempt and charge them for not respecting values inimical to military conduct.
Bad Loser

President Jacques Chirac has proved less than enthusiastic about the message he has received from the French people tonight, and distances himself from their views:

“France has expressed itself democratically,” Chirac said in a television address. “It’s your sovereign decision, and I have taken note.”

Like every other European pol, Chirac now talks to two constituencies: his electorate and his fellow European Council members. It is clear which he considers more important as he distances himself from the verdict of the French people.

But he added: “Make no mistake, France’s decision inevitably creates a difficult context for the defence of our interests in Europe.”

Jack Straw has held a press conference on the result of the Franch referendum. The initial position of the British government is that the strength of the "No" vote has cast the continued ratification process into doubt. Any 'reflection' upon this result will take place at a European level, negating the true lesson: that powers should be returned to the elected representatives of each nation, so that accountable politicians can be turfed out as and when required:

“The European Union is a union of democracies, the people of France have just cast their vote on the treaty and voted No by a clear margin. We must respect that result and we do. As I said a few weeks ago a no vote by France or any other member state would create a problem for the European Union. But given the issues in the campaign in France and the apparent scale of the result it is... more significant than that. Indeed, the result raises profound questions for all of us about the future direction of Europe, about the challenges to us and the rest of the world, about the ability of the European Union to respond to those challenges and the demands of its citizens. Britain should and will play a full part in these debates in the months ahead.”

This is the Scarecrow saying that the Project has hit a brick wall and they have very little idea what to do, except that any referendum in Britain may now be cancelled.
How fragile is Balkanende's ego?

Another non-binding referendum will be held in the Netherlands on the 1st June 2005. Opinion polls indicate that most of the population will reject the European Constitution and predict a 56% turnout. As 127 of the 150 Dutch parliamentarians support the Constitution, they have kindly provided guidelines where they think that they could safely ignore the vote of their electorate.

Unlike France's vote Sunday, the Dutch referendum on June 1 is advisory and non-binding. Balkenende's Christian Democratic Alliance and the Labor Party already have said the vote will be voided if the turnout falls below 30 percent.

As this is unlikely to be the case, Jan Peter Balkanende, the Prime Minister of the Netherlands will find that this threshold is a signal to his political counterparts in other Member States, his "friends", that the Dutch just will not do as they are told. Perhaps instead of sending out coded signals, he might ask his friends to "shut up" as their interventions may prove helpful to us. Here are the usual suspects (oh to line them up against a wall!!!):

Jean Luc Dehaene makes his political forecast:

``If France votes `No' on Sunday, the Netherlands should teach the French a lesson on Wednesday,'' former Belgian Prime Minister Jean-Luc Dehaene said at a political conference in Utrecht, the Netherlands, today. ``I am convinced the Netherlands will en masse vote in favor of the constitution.``

Dutch politicians fear how they will look in the eyes of Europe if their voters let them down:

Both France and the Netherlands were among the six founding countries of the European Union. Balkenende in an interview with Dutch newspaper Algemeen Dagblad today said he would look ``crazy'' in the European Union if Dutch voters rejected the constitution.

My heart bleeds. One could take a Machiavellian stance, arguing which result would suit the Eurosceptic position in Britain best. These speculations are foolish when we have our own battle to fight. I respect the right of other countries to give these self-selected elites a bloody nose, and, remember, it is best to kick a European pol when they are down.

Saturday, May 28, 2005
What Happens Next?

Antoine Clarke was speaking at Brian Micklethwaite's last Friday of the month on the impact of the referendum, currently taking place in France. Almost everybody was expecting that a 'No' vote would win, due to their lead in the polls. We learned that this differed from the run-up to the referendum on the Maastricht treaty where the 'No' vote never pulled ahead of their opposition in the opinion polls.

Much of the discussion circled around the political implications of a result rejecting the European Constitution, especially as the European politicians had proved remarkably unimaginative in their response. However, such discussions rarely take into account the legal options open to the actors. The reaction of the European elite to a 'No' vote in national referenda will be shaped by the existing rules laid down for the ratification of the Constitution. These have been summarised by Euractiv.

The ratification process was laid out in Clause IV-442. This stated that, two years after the signing of the Constitution, a European Council would be convened if the Constitution had been ratified by 2o Member States, and rejected by others (euphemistically called "encountering difficulties", or known as the will of the people) :

"If, two years after the signature of the treaty amending this Treaty, four fifths of the Member States have ratified it and one or more Member States have encountered difficulties in proceeding with ratification, the matter shall be referred to the European Council."

The strong rejection of the European Constitution by two of the founding members will undermine the legitimacy of the ratification process. Some will argue for the continuation of the process, but most Member States will desire tackling the subject at the next European Council, providing Tony Blair with some work for once. They will follow the model of Clause IV-442 for the route to resolution, although the authors of the Constitution did not anticipate such an early 'crisis'.

This crisis will test the political skills of the European elite. They have usually been found wanting and, if they follow their Pavlovian tendencies, we can expect a continued process of ratification for the Constitution. By increasing the number of countries that say 'Yes', they can place greater pressure on those countries that say 'No'. If they show some cunning, they may downplay the need for a Constitution and reintroduce these measures in two years, using the tried and tested treaty model. It is in Britain's interests that they prove true to form and continue to promote the Constitution, as this will provide us with the opportunity to hold a referendum on Europe.
Monday, May 23, 2005
Irish Republican Assassination?

A former British Army sniper, who may have claimed the lives of six terrorists, was gunned down in a London street last month.

Scotland Yard is investigating the London shooting death of a former British army sniper who was prominent in the Northern Ireland campaign.Retired Warrant Officer Michael Norman, 62, formerly of the Coldstream Guards, was found with a bullet wound to the stomach in a green BMW April 17 with a 9 mm handgun nearby.Norman, who left the army in 1989 after 22 years, built a reputation in Northern Ireland and other operational theaters as a high-grade sniper. He is reputed to have killed as many as six Irish Republican Army gunmen during anti-terrorist operations, The Times of London reported Tuesday.He was also an anonymous witness at the inquiry into the Bloody Sunday deaths in Londonderry in 1972, according to his former wife, Fiona McNab.

Further reporting in the Telegraph on the 30th April stated that the police authorities had not ruled out suicide as a cause of death. However, a more recent article in the Hounslow Guardian revealed that the police were appealing for witnesses in a death that they were now treating as murder.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005
The People have spoken but we may choose to ignore them

The Netherlands has threatened to veto the budget of the European Union unless their contribution is reduced. The Finance Minister, BenBot, has set out an uncompromising line for the latest negotiations, although they have not uttered the word, rebate.

This accompanies the latest surge in the campaign for the No vote. The Dutch are so cynical about their political elite that some expect their Parliament to ratify the constitution even if the non-binding referendum rejects the treaty. Would that not prove the 'democratic' credentials of the Constitution?
Monday, May 16, 2005
Basra Watch

Although major terrorist action was seen in those parts of Iraq held by the United States, Basra was still attacked by insurgents or other terrorists. (You can never rule out Iranian participation!).

During the latest upsurge in violence, bombs destroyed the country's largest fertiliser factory and a gas pipeline. This is a long haul for little reward.
Sunday, May 15, 2005
A Defining Myth

Richard Drayton, Senior Lecturer in History at Cambridge University, had the opportunity in his contribution to the Guardian, of providing a thoughtful and balanced analysis of how the Second World War formed a key part in the legitimising myths that defined foreign policy actions on the parts of Great Britain and the United States. Instead, the article presents a laundry list of facts designed to promote a moral equivalence between the Allies and their opponents.

An example of this is the bald assertion that fascist ideology and tactics were deliberately copying the policies and ideas of the British Empire or the United States of America.

Our democratic imperialism prefers to forget that fascism had important Anglo-American roots. Hitler's dream was inspired, in part, by the British Empire. In eastern Europe, the Nazis hoped to make their America and Australia, where ethnic cleansing and slave labour created a frontier for settlement. In western Europe, they sought their India from which revenues, labour and soldiers might be extracted.

American imperialism in Latin America gave explicit precedents for Germany's and Japan's claims of supremacy in their neighbouring regions. The British and Americans were key theorists of eugenics and had made racial segregation respectable. The concentration camp was a British invention, and in Iraq and Afghanistan the British were the first to use air power to repress partisan resistance. The Luftwaffe - in its assault on Guernica, and later London and Coventry - paid homage to Bomber Harris's terror bombing of the Kurds in the 1920s.

This Marxist structure that allows the contextualisation of Nazi Germany within a wider development of capitalism provide the moral inversion that Drayton prefers, tracing the ills of fascism to liberal democracies and eliding the radical development of totalitarianism at a time of economic crisis. Did the Nazis learn the utility of the vanguard party, the efficiency of terror, the advantages of the confiscation and distribution of property, the dehumanisation of selected, nay even fictitious, minorities from the Mother of Parliaments or Roosevelt's Presidency?

This article presents another strand in the development of a movement on the New Left to deconstruct the myths of the Second World war and replace them with a perspective that sullies the roles of the Allies in defeating Nazi Germany. There is a case for a revisionist study of the Second World War, based on a careful weighing of the evidence and consideration of the possibilities that all actors faced in the War. Sadly, Drayton's article reflects none of these complexities and merely seeks to replace one myth with another; swapping ossified nationalism for vulgar Marxism where imperialism provides a broadbrush answer for all of these ills.

The MSM will have to raise the quality of these debates if it wishes to survive...
Tuesday, May 10, 2005
The Atlantic Turn

Whilst Michael Howard is not welcomed in the White House, following his willingness to criticise the Bush administration, the Shadow Cabinet reshuffle has strengthened the Atlanticist tendency in the Conservative Party. Liam Fox, the new Foreign Secretary, has made a speech entitled "Let Freedom Prevail", which the BBC misunderstood and interpreted as a call for 'modernisation'. The initial paradigm emanating from the Tories is a familiar refrain that the Tories must seek to understand modern Britain. Fox's own metaphor for reinvigorating the brand was swapping Eastenders for the Archers. The Archers is quite emblematic of British mores these days with its moral decline but why Fox should wish to hitch the story of a sinking soap to the BBC's flagship programme surprises me, unless it is a desperate bid to acquire a higher profile on the ten o'clock news.

Joking apart, Fox's speech was a conscious effort to capture the 'modernisation agenda' by evoking the theme of freedom, linking social and economic liberalism, in a package that may attract Thatcherites, Eurosceptics and the softer sofas of the 'me-too' Blairites:

Dr Fox says the first test the Conservatives must apply to every proposal is whether it increases or decreases the size of the state.

Government should be an "enabling framework", not an "entrapping web", he argues.

He underlines the importance of freedom coupled with encouraging personal responsibility, albeit with a "safety net" for the genuinely needy.

He concludes: "Freedom is not a slogan. Freedom is not just a means to an end. Freedom is our essence. Freedom is our core. Let freedom reign."

As an article by Fraser Nelson over at Atlantic Bridge demonstrates, Liam Fox and George Osbourne have cultivated links with the Republicans to stand alongside more established figures such as the underrated Iain Duncan Smith. Both have attempted to rekindle the marriage between the Republicans and the Tories, with little success. To reward his loyalty, Bush has stood foursquare behind Blair, even though the Prime Minister's fortunes appear limited.

This may certain consequences in the post-Blair environment. If Gordon Brown becomes Prime Minister, his links are tied to the Democratic party and it is unclear if he would be able to establish a similar rapport with Bush . The Republicans may view the Tories as an irrelevance, given that they are unable to attain power and bring little of note to the conservative movement. Through ideological drift, institutional neglect, misplaced loyalties and a recognition of Britain's increasing impotence, the roots of the Atlantic Alliance may wither on the vine.
Monday, May 09, 2005
Eurosceptic Left

It is easy to forget that Old Labour was hostile to Europe in the early 1980s, viewing the nascent single market in similar fashion to the French obloquy for Anglo-Saxon liberalism (whatever that is!). Ian Davidson, MP for Glasgow Pollock, has emerged as one of the most vocal rebels on the backbenches, calling for Blair to resign.

Ian Davidson, Glasgow Pollock MP, said that plans for an "unremittingly New Labour" agenda were "a car crash waiting to happen". "We should start succession planning now and recognise that effectively Tony Blair is a lame duck prime minister from day one."

Blair has been attacked by the rebels of Old Labour and has been defended by his cabinet stalwarts. Even better for the Eurosceptic cause is that Ian Davidson has also called upon the government to show fairness in the referendum for the Constitution. The Labour Eurosceptic movement has demanded that Labour party funds are provided for both the 'Yes' and 'No' campaigns. They wish to harness the protest vote against Blair to give the 'progressive third way' another kick in the ballots (tip of the hat to the Daily Mail). Ian Davidson, their most prominent spokesman, wishes to harness the Labour movement's disillusionment with Blair, to swing the Left behind the anti-Constitution campaign. In order to achieve this, he is calling for the referendum to be held as early as possible.

Ian Davidson, leader of the embryonic Labour 'no' grouping, called for the vote to be held as soon as possible and warned that protest voting during the general election showed how hard it would be to win. 'A lot of this is going to be tied round about the question of Blair's future: a lot of people would recognise that this is an opportunity to poke Blair in the eye,' he told The Observer. 'Even though we are not quite ready to have a referendum on day two after the election, the general principle of having one sooner rather than later is one I believe in. If it's good enough for France to have a referendum now why can't we?'

As a consequence, we see the resurgence of a Eurosceptic grouping on the Left that may galvanise Labour voters to reject the European Constitution. Whilst the right is backbiting, ineffectual andweakening the power of the Tory Eurorealists, the Left may play a bigger role in this campaign than has yet been realised. At this point in time, such efforts are to be welcomed, whether collectivist or libertarian.

The Labour 'no' grouping is expected to make common cause with Liberal Democrats, Greens and trade unionists opposed to the constitution - although it is not prepared to work with groups such as Ukip or Veritas.
Sunday, May 08, 2005
Beltway Perceptions

Andrew Apostolou, Resident Fellow at the The Foundation for the Defence of Democracies (a title craving reproof), argues on TechCentralStation, that the Conservatives are the repository of anti-Americanism. Through the prism of anti-Americanism, he argues that the entire electoral campaign of all three parties revolved around this issue in their attitude to the war.

Whilst Apostolou recognises that the war became unpopular with the British electorate, he argues that this is due to an upswing in anti-Americanism. There is little evidence that anti-Americanism has increased in the last few years or that it has spread beyond its normal bastions of left-wing professionals and the culterati. The war has become entwined with wider issues of 'political trust'. These were concerns that the electorate had held with the New Labour government since the last century.

Apostolou recognises that the Conservative Party had to address these concerns, given the unending enquiries that revealed the duplicitous way that New Labour manipulated intelligence.

Faced with growing anti-Americanism in public opinion, the Conservatives have attempted to do the impossible, to support the Iraq war while retrospectively opposing the reasons for the Iraq war. Michael Howard has openly called Tony Blair, and by extension George W. Bush, a liar over the Iraq war. Britain's Conservatives proclaim that they are pro-American and then take electoral advantage of anti-Americanism. With a straight face, Michael Howard burnishes his pro-US credentials as president and founding chairman of The Atlantic Partnership, an organization devoted to fostering transatlantic links.

The effectiveness of anti-Americanism as an electoral tactic remains to be seen, but the Conservative approach has already eroded the British-American alliance. The pro-American consensus at the center of British foreign policy has been weakened, in large part because its normally vocal and reliable Conservative supporters are instead sniping at the Iraq war. The strategic necessity of the "special relationship", which brings Britain influence unrivalled influence and leverage with the US and with Britain's jealous EU partners, is no longer an article of faith. Instead, many now ask what Britain receives from being the most prominent friend of the US in a world where, if the media are to be believed, the US is hated, reviled and wrong.

If Apostolou's argument is correct, the Conservatives must never take issue with the United States and must wholeheartedly support Blair over the Iraq war, or the Atalantic Alliance will be damaged. Since their constitutional role as the Opposition is to hold the government and its constitutional vandalism to account, this argument fails to take the internal pressures of British politics into account.

Instead of asking why President Bush decided to treat the Conservatives like an unwanted guest at a funeral, with all of the damage that such *personal* treatment brings. Apostolou's own bias is betrayed by his description of the Conservatives as "vocal and reliable", an echo of Thatcher's "one of us" moments. With such actions on the part of Bush and Karl Rove, reciprocated by Howard, there is a division between British and American conservatism that may have long-term implications.

However Apostolou does not recognise that such relationships require co-operation from both parties. By punishing the Conservatives for actions that their role as the Opposition demanded, Apostolou does not understand the drivers behind British politics or the declining importance of the Atlantic Alliance at a time when more foreign policy decisions are decided through the EU. What strikes one about this article is the catching up that US analysts need to do in order to understand how European nation-states are rapidly being hollowed out by Brussels. If he did, then he would view the Conservatives as a love-in, UKIP as a marriage partner.
Wednesday, May 04, 2005
Nuclear Fictions

The Trident nuclear programme is beginning to near the end of its life and the question of Britain's continued 'great power status' is coming into view. One could view the mutual assistance pact with the United States as an outsourcing agreement for nuclear weaponry but a question mark must hang over this continued cooperation given the greater influence of Europe and the dissension that it stirs. We know that the mutual assistance pact may foster the illusion of power but that dependence has hollowed out the willingness of our elite to act in our name. It forms one part of the crutch that hobbles our defences; the other and greater support upon which we lean is Europe.

This sets the stage for the leak to the Independent that presents Blair as a hawk maintaining Britain's nuclear deterrent (deterring whom? The French?). With singular alacrity, newspapers then drag in a case of the TBGBs.

Gordon Brown has refused to commit himself to supporting Tony Blair's plans to renew Britain's Trident nuclear weapons system.

Mr Brown appeared to duck the issue on Channel Four News when he was challenged about yesterday's report in The Independent that Mr Blair had agreed in principle to replace the Trident system.

The Prime Minister confirmed yesterday that he wants Britain to retain its independent nuclear deterrent when the Trident submarine fleet reaches the end of its natural life.

Asked whether it was right to replace it, Mr Brown said: "Well, as Tony Blair says a decision has not been made. We have to look at the facts and the figures first."

However, Blair contradicted his earlier positive stance with a statement that any new system would have to be costed. What he meant to say was that it would be controlled elsewhere.
Tuesday, May 03, 2005
Democrats and New Labour

Whilst media attention has focussed on Lynton Crosby and the Tory version of Multivac, the New Labour campaign has been enriched by the experiences of Democratic activists working for the Dean and Kerry campaigns. Faced with increasing cynicism and decreasing turnout, the campaigns in both the United States and Great Britain have concentarted on "getting out the vote": persuading those voters in key marginals that New Labour is working and delivering on its promises.

Party officials cautioned against overstating the influence and presence of Americans, reflecting a sensitivity toward any suggestion of American paternalism or political superiority.

Robert Worcester, a British pollster, noted that the race remained very close in a number of districts. Mark Penn, an American pollster working for Blair, said: "Turnout is extremely important. The bigger the turnout, the better for Labour."

There are several other American advisers as well: In London, Zach Exley, also a veteran of the Dean and John Kerry campaigns, is working on the e-campaign, as it is called, building up an extensive e-mail list of supporters and enlisting them to work as volunteers in offices like the one here.

The Blair campaign turned to Penn at the urging of former U.S. President Bill Clinton himself, according to party officials. And Stan Greenberg, a Democratic pollster and former adviser to Clinton, is conducting focus groups for the Labour Party.

Bob Shrum, a senior adviser to Kerry's campaign, is a friend and sometime adviser to Gordon Brown, the chancellor of the Exchequer and almost certain successor to Blair eventually. Joe Trippi, one-time campaign manager for Dean, came to England earlier this year at the invitation of Labour officials to sit down with Blair.

It is clear that neither party accepts the patterns of 1997 or 2001 will be reciprocated. Labour is still stronger in the polls than in voting patterns and the concentration on marginal seats, the strength of tactical voting, the higher turnout from postal votes and the decrease in the Labour lead, make predictions uncertain. Will the political bets prove more accurate than the polls or is there room for surprises within our electorate?

Monday, May 02, 2005
All Aboard the Skylark

Not a testament to the election or the wars that we occasionally fight, but a reference to the last flight of the Skylark, the final testament to the British rocketry programme of the postwar years, when science fiction still set out a vision of imperial starfaring sailors bearing the Union Jack beyond the atmosphere, usually from Woomera.

The Skylark was developed by the United Kingdom and improved versions were utilised by Germany and Sweden to launch satellites for national programmed up until the present day. The Skylark has now flown one last time as manufacturing facilities no longer exist.

Now that the space industry is beginning to acquire its private sector legs, will we see a renaissance in British rocketry, sparked by an entrepreneurial spirit and capital from unlikely sources (where the US strikes an unusual model).

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