Updated! (below) Pre-Brexit and the UK was part of Galileo, an EU program that build, launched and ran a GPS satellite system essential for a whole host of functions on the modern economy (as well as emergency services and military and so on). Britain helped to draw up the rules of who could use the system and who could bid to get the work building and running it. Those rules, which Britain helped to draw up, excluded non-EU countries, which Britain was happy with.
That was pre-Brexit and as the UK moved to leave the EU, one of the many, many issues that needed to be sorted was Galileo. To replace it would cost £billions and take years. So the UK (under May) tried to get the EU to change the rules we’d originally helped to create. May failed. So she decided that we’d go our own way and instructed civil servants to start the process of getting our own GPS (either for real or as a negotiating tactic, not really sure?). Then May was ousted and Johnson took power and won (thanks to dark money) an election. However, the GPS issue was still there; enter some ‘out of the box’ thinking and Johnson opted to spend £400,000,000 of our money buying into a bankrupt satellite company, OneWeb, and hoped to retro fit that system to give us GPS on the cheap.
Note that the cost of not having a GPS system is estimated to be, and we type this in capital letters unapologetically, is ONE £BILLION PER DAY. Yes, B, as in a ‘billion’ and yes ‘er day’ as in every single day.
So where are we on this GPS question just over 2 months out from the end of transition? Right back where we started trying to negotiate with the EU on access to Galileo. The ‘our own’ GPS option having been closed down, at a cost of £64,000,000 and the ‘OneWeb GPS-on-the-cheap‘ option having failed to work.
“The Government has formally scrapped Theresa May’s plans for a British version of the GPS satellite navigation programme, leading to parts of Whitehall now pushing for the UK to rejoin the EU’s Galileo system” https://t.co/sTBvHzRFnf
— Shashank Joshi (@shashj) September 20, 2020
That’s a total of £464,000,000 to end up right back a square one.
Where’s the outrage from the faux ‘Tax Payers Alliance’ who (wrongly) claim to be the prudential voice of the taxpayer? Not saying much. Where’s the ‘Labour would tax and spend’ crowd on this half a billion of wasted cash? Not saying much.
There is a Bristol connection, however, as Bristol Labour MP Darren Jones’s parliamentary committee is investigating, and we’re interested in the results…
The Government’s approach to sorting the UK’s satellite capabilities post-Brexit is becoming more and more confused. No access to EU satellites, buying OneWeb merely for internet connections and now not building our own military, security and positioning satellites? pic.twitter.com/doQICSIhxz
— Darren Jones MP (@darrenpjones) September 25, 2020