President George Bush isn’t the most popular President the United States has ever had. Despite actually having done reasonably well at a prestigious university, superficially, he has always given the appearance of a Neolithic sub species primate, anchored in good ‘ol southern sentiments like “Global warming is a left wing conspiracy” and science is anti-God.
Meanwhile, since 1997 in the UK, we have been governed by the Labour Party under the sub text of New Labour. This façade could not have been more different than the old model which was routed in grossly outdated Trades Union practices and attitudes. Tony Blair was young, in touch with people, and ruthless in his determination to shake off his party’s old ways and to embrace the vision of a modern, European inclined Britain. Here was a man with an ideologue that perfectly defined his predecessor’s aspiration of Britain being at the heart of the white heat of the technological revolution.
Comparing the outlooks of Bush and Blair hardly seems a fair fight, you would think.
And yet, if you examine the actual hands-on-approach of the Bush administration to that of Blair and his successor Gordon Brown in relation to the subject of science and in particular space, then George Bush looks like an enlightened, blessed saint.
I bow before you Mr. Bush.
It’s true that NASA may not have got all it wanted in its present budgetary fight and that some programmes may have to be cut back a bit, but, a few years ago you announced that America would be sending men back to the Moon and Mars, and that promise is being acted upon now. You have continued to fund the space shuttle, the space station, and various other NASA probes and activities too numerous to mention.
You are a menche George, I kiss the ground you walk on.
Meanwhile back over here in the UK, unlike the rest of our major European partners, we errrr don’t have a space programme. We’re a piss poor neo third world banana set up that’s absolutely stone broke and certainly has no money to throw away on frivolous things like space exploration. Do us a favour. We’ll pretend instead to plough what little dosh we can muster into astronomy.
But not even that any more.
Proposed miserly budget cuts from the UK Government’s Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) would axe the annual £2.5m public funding for "e-Merlin" - an upgrade to the Multi-Element Radio Linked Interferometer Network between the UK's seven radio telescopes. Jodrell Bank Observatory, an international icon, would be decimated and mothballed.
It is utterly pathetic and just about sums up the UK in 2008.
If Jodrell Bank is still standing after its proposed closure date, someone will come along and give it a parking ticket. That's what happens in Britain now.
To sign the 10 Downing Street petition in support of continuing the funding for Jodrell Bank, please follow this link