A not entirely accurate map Credit - Wik

Michel Barnier is exemplifying the have cake and eat it method of negotiation today as he argues that Britain can’t be part of anything the EU does which might be useful but it will still be allowed, post-Brexit, to pay for stuff. That is, we can’t be in Galileo but we can help to pay for the foreign aid budget.

It should be said that there’s no point nor purpose to Galileo anyway. The American GPS system is just fine for anything we’re going to want to do, the only reason for the existence of the EU system is political pride. We’ve got to have what they’ve got. Rather than the sensible idea of, look, they’ve built this terribly useful public good thingie which all can use. We’ll use that and spend our money on something they haven’t done as yet, thus create a second useful public good that all can use.

But, you know, that’s sensible, isn’t it?

Britain should continue paying into EU development aid projects after Brexit, Michel Barnier has said, after repeating that British companies will not be able to participate in the Galileo space programme after it leaves the bloc.

The EU’s chief negotiator insisted that the EU was “not kicking the UK out” of the satellite navigation system and said that Britain could continue to use the encrypted signal after Brexit.

In contrast, Mr Barnier invited Britain to continue paying into the EU’s overseas foreign aid projects, which he said would help the UK and the bloc shape the world order after Brexit.

It could be, just maybe, that Britain reverts – as it should – to the traditional Foreign Office stance that we don’t give a damn who runs Europe as long as there’s more than one of them. It’s the one single power on the continent which is the danger, safety is in there being several squabbling. Given this it might well be that British foreign policy will be in opposition to that of the EU, our desired reworking of the world order be different.

But now consider that nutshell. The purpose of the foreign aid budget is to rework the world order, is it? Not to alleviate poverty? Build wealth so that the poor are less so? No wonder official development aid achieves so little, eh?

And that, of course, is why we want to run miles – 26 at least – from the EU aid budget. It’s just not very good, it doesn’t achieve the goal of lifting up the destitute out of their penury. Not that DfID is that much better but at least that’s our own money we’re pissing away in our own manner.