Ministers should call a halt to British involvement in a £10 billion European satellite navigation system until it can be proven to represent value for money, MPs say.
Gwyneth Dunwoody, the chairman of the committee, said: "The Government must stop this folly and endeavour to bring the European Commission to its senses.
Yeah, good luck with that, love.
"The EU now appears to be sleep-walking into a further vast financial commitment to Galileo which is likely to take the public funding for the project to £10 billion, without any realistic assessment of its costs and benefits.
"We must have independent and up-to-date evidence that proceeding with Galileo is worthwhile, and if it can be demonstrated that Galileo offers good value for tax-payers' money. Any decision on funding must be based on sound management of European Union budgets."
Well, let us leave aside the fact that "sound management" and "European Union budgets" are not concepts that sit tremendously well together, and see if we have "any up-to-date evidence" as to whether or not "proceeding with Galileo is worthwhile" or whether it "offers good value for tax-payers' money", shall we?
The Government originally signed up to Galileo on the basis that taxpayers would finance the first four satellites, and industry would pay for two thirds of the costs of the next 26 in a public-private partnership (PPP).
However, a proposed PPP deal collapsed this year. Only one test satellite has so far been launched.
Right. So, the private sector has actually assessed whether Galileo is good value for money, and they have run a fucking mile. So, what do we think?
That's right: it's going to be astronomically expensive and a total fucking disaster. Run! Run for the hills!
Unfortunately, as Timmy points out, this isn't about value for money or even utility.
It’s a political project dear: it’s not amenable to standard cost benefit analysis. Big important people have their own GPS systems. The EU is big and important, thus it will have a GPS system. It’s dick waving, not rational.
A bit like the Olympics really: the Olympics iiiinnnnn spaaaaaaaaaace...
UPDATE: EU Referendum sums up the problems.
However—and here is the rub—with the adoption of the Lisbon treaty which brings with it a space policy and an EU competence, the EU commission can go ahead with the project, on the basis of a qualified majority vote. This is on the basis of the British government (i.e., us, the taxpayers) financing 17 percent of the total costs, with two thirds of the voting members making no contribution at all to a project which, over term could cost at least £10 billion.
Thus, while the Committee's report makes highly entertaining reading, and listening to Dunwoody is even more entertaining, what they say or think makes not a blind bit of difference - the grand projet will go ahead anyway. Our role is simply to pay the bills.
Can we leave yet?