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ref date:10 Aug 1999 (ECON)
Pay Londons taxes and stay a technological backwater

Its a sad day for Scottish and English children who'd ever dreamed of becoming astronauts. Pushing back that last frontier to London means playing junk music from the surface of Mars and wasting 750 million pounds ($1.3 billion) on the stupid 'millennium dome' in London. This rather than pay more towards NASA and European efforts to help move man into the solar system. Tokenism and London government, always the same story. London has no gumption at all. Mediocrity, Londons middle name.

Richard Taylor, spokesman for the British Interplanetary Society, said "We should give young people the feeling that if they want to aspire to be astronauts then that opportunity should be there for them. Britain has always been plagued by short-termism. We seem, almost since the days of the great airships, to have lost our way as a nation of adventurers and scientific pioneers. And to opt out of the space station is rather regrettable, because you then appear to be a nation that wants to ignore all future technology. This is increasingly becoming a characteristic of British governments. Mr Blair wants to be part of Europe, but, when it comes to being part of a major international collaboration, 100 million seems to be too much to pay. Yet, we have the Millennium Dome costing 750 million. We could have sent four missions to Mars on our own with that kind of money."