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Monday, August 14, 2006


Can a Liberal Democrat MP ever scale such heights again? I have just put the television on in time to hear Lembit Öpik become the subject of a question on University Challenge.

Jeremy Paxton asked with which astronomical cause is Lembit associated? Naturally, UCL got it right, though they did say meteorites rather than asteroids. Either way, Paxman gave it to them. After this Lembit just has to be the next party leader.
Do the Lib Dems have a space policy then? I’d be interested to know what the Lib Dem position is on the possibility of funding British citizens to become European Space Agency astronauts!

Paxman shouldn’t really have given them the points, because meteorites and asteroids are totally different.
I do not actually know if we have a space policy. I suspect not. We wouldnt want to be seen to encouraging Lembit! Seriously, though it is something we should consider. Have Labour got such a policy?
Space policy isn’t something political parties take a great deal of interest in unfortunately. The DTI’s OST lead on space issues, along with the BNSC, and they formulate the policies in relation to space.

I’d like to see a cross-party debate on space policy, because I think we need a national consensus on what approach the UK should take in future, especially now that the Americans have got firm plans to go back to the Moon by 2020 and then on to Mars. We need a long term, strategic approach, that all political parties can agree on, because it’s the type of issue will certainly outlast any one government.
Why do you need a space policy? What difference would it make if you did or didn't have one?
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