Thursday, May 24, 2007

Galileo is dumb

Trixy has picked up a nice little quote from the EU Commission's Vice-President.
Handelsblatt reports that Commission Vice-President Günter Verheugen has made the latest in a series of gaffes. He told journalists that the Galileo EU satellite project was “in some ways a dumb project”. His spokesman quickly moved to correct the Commissioner saying that his remark had been misunderstood and that the Commissioner naturally thought Galileo was “extremely important”. He explained that “Verheugen indeed said ‘dumb’, but he meant ‘simplistic’”.

Which, of course, is sooooo much better.

He might also have added that, up until this point, it has also been a spectacular failure. It is seriously behind schedule and the private funding agreements seem to have collapsed. As EU Referendum has highlighted a number of times, Galileo is in serious trouble and the EU is looking to force member states' taxpayers to bail out this massive fucking vanity project.

For make no mistake, vanity project is what this is.
Member states, therefore, are to be asked to sign what amounts to a blank cheque, something in the past they have been very reluctant to do. M. Barrot might find it even more difficult to extract the money, especially as budget commissioner, Dalia Grybauskaite, has said that the project was "under serious question" with doubts about "its ability to perform at all".

Although she adds that, "Galileo is very important and Europe needs to invest in it," an executive close to Galileo has declared that the market for commercial (paid) services "is just not there." We were too optimistic, he says: "GPS (Navstar)is fine for most purposes. Besides, who gets the money from satellite navigation services? Usually the maker of the device, not the satellite operator."

Whatever the funding options, the EU is asking the taxpayers of the EU to bail the project out to the tune of nearly €10 billion (£6 billion). Now, this may be made through increased donations from EU member states, but it is entirely possible that it will be made through chargeable schemes, such as road pricing.
As someone whose portfolio includes the European Union, [Hague] really should know that road pricing using satellites is a nice way of the British taxpayer funding this black hole [Galileo] in the EU budget, which has already cost them £200 million. As UKIP have pointed out:
This government signed up to Directive 2004/52 which will ensure the entire road pricing schemes in EU countries are the same, and can be linked to Galileo.

And as I have written before:
Galileo satellite system: Multi billion pound 'grand project' that is driven by delays, costs and technical problems. Will be superseded by competition. The need to pay for this project is the main reason for the hated road pricing scheme.

Which is why it seems that road-pricing will go ahead, but the government is pushing for schemes to be introduced by local councils (so that they get the blame); however, the technology will have to conform to a particular manner of operating.
The draft Local Transport Bill will give councils more flexibility to match road pricing schemes to local conditions, while ensuring they remain compatible with schemes in other areas.

That technology will not, of course, be conforming to a British national standard, but one set by EU Directive 2004/52 [PDF].

And let's be absolutely fucking clear about this: if local raod pricing schemes are introduced, the charging will be in addition to the current car and fuel taxes (because these last are dealt with on a national level).

But that won't stop Galileo tracking your movements (assuming that the fucking thing ever works).


Mark Wadsworth said...

Something else in the FT yesterday, another foul excuse for building nuclear power stations (a peculiarly French obsession) is that we Brits are need something to replace our coal fired power stations which have to be shut down.


Coal prices have gone up in parallel with oil prices and some mines are now profitable again. Apparently there's enough coal for a century - the seam goes all the way to Belgium.

But, oh no, we can't be self-sufficient in energy or anything like that, can we, because the EU says we have to shut down perfectly serviceable coal-fired power stations because of all this emissions clap trap.

Ah well.

Iain Dale said...

As a German speaker let me assure you that 'dumb' does not mean 'simplistic'. What an Arschloch!

Vicola said...

I live in Manchester and today the gtr Manchester authorities reveal their grand scheme for fleecing a small fortune out of us, sorry, road pricing in our area. Every single artery into the city centre will cost you a fiver a day to use and yes, we do still have to pay road tax and fuel tax. Bastards. That fucking Alistair Darling cancels the Metrolink expansion so people have to still use the roads and now we are going to get charged for it. You couldn't make it up could you? Welcome to Rip Off Britain.

John Lancaster said...

Galileo sprung from the European Commission's obsession to win one over the Americans in the field of technology. It has been misconceived from the outset, because it never had a real purpose other than political. Its cost is obscene, and to link its future to raod pricing is totally dishonest and deserves our vociferous contempt and your ripest use of English, DK. Keep at it!

DuSanne said...

I liked the explanation offered by Jacques Barrot, the ethically-challenged transport commissioner, said private investors are:

"afraid to take risk at this early stage", but

"impatient to be able to use its services once it starts running".

It's a double win-win for them - Hang around long enough and the the polititans will stump up the up front costs out of vanity, then they can wait for the same twats to compel the use of these services as a face saving exercise when the system becomes exposed as a white elephant.

mitch said...

if they stick a black box in your car
simply buy a disposable camera rip the flash out connect wires to black box press button and rip box.wait a month no bill oh dear how did that happen.Watch the bastards estimate them like gas.did this to a pc at work very amusing.look it up on net homemade tazer.

Anonymous said...

As someone who is already going to be forced to stick my passport and ID card in the microwave to frazzle the chips and scoop the bug out of my wheelie bin, how many more bits of spyware am I going to have to deal with before the Revolution?

John Lancaster said...

More on Galileo - I have just read that this project was first proposed by Neil Kinnock - need I say more?

Oh yeah? So what has happened for the last ten years, exactly?

Over at the ASI, they are posting some of the winning entries of the Young Writers on Liberty. One does not want to put such keen minds off,...