Here's what a couple of other people on Usenet (uk.misc) had to say regarding the cost of running such an operation...
PO: >Have some sense, grow up and smell reality. What you are talking about PO: >would take loads of planning, tens of thousands of pounds and lots of PO: >people involved in the planning, execution and maintenance of it. You PO: >must have a very high opinion of yourself to think you are worth it.
PM: >But why? And why you? Do you realize how much it would cost to keep PM: >one person under continuous surveillance for five years? Think about PM: >all the man/hours. Say they _just_ allocated a two man team and a PM: >supervisor. OK., Supervisor's salary, say, £30,000 a year. Two men, PM: >£20,000 a year each. But they'd need to work in shifts -- so it would PM: >be six men at £20,000 (which with on-costs would work out at more like PM: >£30,000 to the employer.) PM: > PM: >So, we're talking £30,000 x 6. £180,000. plus say, £40,000 for the PM: >supervisor. £220,000. Then you've got the hardware involved. And PM: >any transcription that needs doing. You don't think the 'Big Boss' PM: >would listen to hours and hours of tapes, do you. PM: > PM: >So, all in all, you couldn't actually do the job for much less than PM: >a quarter million a year. Over five years. What are you doing that makes PM: >it worth the while of the state to spend over one and a quarter million PM: >on you?
Those are pretty much the sort of calculations that went through my head once I stopped to consider what it must be costing them to run this operation. The partial answer is, there have been periods when the intensity has been greater, and times when little has happened. In fact, for much of 1993 and the first half of 1994, very little happened. Although I don't think that was for reasons of money - if they can tap into the taxpayer they're not going to be short of resources, are they?
The more complete answer is in the enormity of what they're doing. Relative to the cost to British pride of seeing their country humiliated for the persecution of their own citizens, isn't is worth the cost of four or five people to try to bring things to a close in the manner they would wish? To the government a million or two is quite honestly nothing - if they can convince themselves of the necessity of what they're doing, resources will not be the limiting factor.