Still at the conference - it was strangely patriotic. I was caught completely off-guard by the nationalism.
Everyone is boasting about British technology, how many millions Britain is spending, what the industry is worth to Britain. A British sensor, a British subsystem, a British payload and especially a British astronaut. Again and again and again. It was the message I would have expected from the US, or a developing country with with threatening neighbours, or a teenager with self-image problems.
At first I thought it was simply to tell (British) students that there is a place for them, that they can contribute something, make a difference. But when a speaker highlighted the differences (and indifferences) in reporting about space here and in Europe, it started morphing into something darker. Us and them, agian. Pride? Or fear?
Yet, as soon as someone talks about the ideals, it is about the good of mankind.