Satellite operators are now starting to make tangible moves given the British withdrawal from the European Union (EU) – a “no deal” Brexit – is likely to occur by the end of March, unless another referendum is held to attempt to reverse the original close decision to leave. The London-based mobile satellite operator Inmarsat has been forced to move a subsidiary responsible for getting the S-band signals for European Aviation Network (EAN) onto commercial aircraft into the European Union. The company has chosen Luxembourg as the base for this. Meanwhile the EU itself has moved the back up Galileo Security Monitoring Centre out of the UK to Spain. This will now back up the main centre in France.
Now that Brexit is becoming imminent, with strong arguments and strong feelings on both sides, the debate about whether to leave or stay in is becoming increasingly bitter. During January, Conservative MP Anna Soubry – a noted “remain” proponent in the Brexit debate – was “mobbed” by hate-filed pro-leave supporters outside of the UK parliament who were bent on intimidation and shouting her down. Somewhat hypocritically, she was called a “Nazi” by this pro-leave mob, who were, in effect, acting like Nazis or Fascists themselves.
However, it has not just been the Brexit pro-leave side which has caused offence with its unfair behaviour. Science fiction writers working on the BBC’s Doctor Who show (with the Doctor Timelord character now female and played by Jodie Whitaker) had a jokey pop at Brexit in the plot of its New Year one off episode. It explained via an amusing telephone call that the anti-alien UNIT military force had been stood down because of a forced government reorganisation – a very thinly-veiled hint that Brexit was the cause – followed by the caller being offered “alternative” military services. While funny, this piece of pro-remain propaganda caused much social media anger, not only from Brexit supporters, but also from those concerned about the BBC’s lack of impartiality.
Still, at least this one-off special had a Dalek involved in the plot (your correspondent has yet to see it fully). Of course, the Daleks’ sink plunger-equipped trundling robots-on-wheels personae may seem slightly ridiculous, but their “off their trolley” psychotic superiority complex combined with their usual ruthless plan for the pitiless domination and extermination of every other creature, made them the ultimate evil Nazis. The Daleks’ frighteningly determined crackly voiced entreaties to “Exterminate! Exterminate!” everyone with their painful death-inducing ray guns, caused many a child (and adult) viewer to be very fearful of them – including this writer. It is no surprise then that Terry Nation, the writing creator of the Daleks made deliberate use of the heartless Nazi ideology as a template for their character.
By the way, this writer’s favourite BBC TV Doctor Who adventure involving these evil squid-like-creature-controlled robots was probably the second one starring Tom Baker as the Doctor in Destiny of the Daleks (1979) which, itself, was a follow up to the excellent Genesis of the Daleks (1975). Its plot involved (spoiler alert) the apparent resurrection and recovery of Davros, the wizened diabolical creator of the Daleks, riding around atop his Dalek-like electric wheelchair.
While good special effects and high production values were missing from this sci-fi serial in that low budget 1970s Doctor Who era, clever writing by Terry Nation, Douglas Adams et al makes it worthwhile. It even has some humour in it (how better should Tom Baker’s good Doctor do battle with his humourless Dalek foes?) – even if its dialogue and plot logic sometimes grates against itself. For example, at one point the Daleks note at that suicide is illogical to them, before later attempting their own suicide bombing campaign!
On the subject of an impasse of logic, there is a particularly memorable scene in Destiny of the Daleks. This is when the Doctor explains, using the Rock Paper Scissors game to the slightly too glamorous looking Movellans – robot enemies of the Daleks – that their (off-screen) fleet of space battle cruisers had been locked for centuries in a stalemated battle with the Daleks’ own battlefleet because both sides had computerised battle strategies which exactly countered each other.
In other words, to win, they need someone slightly illogical on their side in order to provide an advantage. All we need now is for the good Doctor provide a solution to the Brexit impasse as well! But that one might prove to be beyond even a Time Lord as the time left to do so has so nearly trickled away.