Saturday, 19 April 2014

After Scots independence our armed forces will be very different - on both sides of the border

Last year I went to Faslane Naval Base in Argyll - around 8000 people work there at the submarine and naval defence base there. Upon independence this would not stay in Scotland. I spoke to locals in the picturesque seaside town of Helensburgh where 1 in 2 work on the base: they were terrified of the impact of independence. One local put it simply:"it would kill the town" he said.

And so many similar questions need to be asked:
- What would become of RAF Lossiemouth or Leuchars?
- And why would the rest of the UK ever build a ship on the Firth of Clyde again, instead of Portsmouth or the Tyne?
- And the Scottish regiments?
Salmond says he will keep some on but in what role and in what army? And doing what? Are they to be purely ceremonial?
Con Coughlin puts in well recently in an article on this difficult issue:
"An independent Scotland would be required to renegotiate its relationship with Nato, just as it would with the EU. But given the SNP’s deeply ingrained aversion to nuclear weapons, it is unlikely an independent Scotland would be welcomed into the Nato fold, particularly if its total military contribution amounted to a handful of warplanes and the odd frigate. Other small Nato nations, such as Norway and Denmark, which actively participated in the air campaign against Colonel Gaddafi in 2011, boast fleets of 60 F-15 warplanes or more, and have no hang-ups about maintaining a deterrent.

Even so, if the SNP’s defence plans are patently risible, they nevertheless have the potential to inflict enormous damage on the rest of Britain’s military capabilities, with no tangible gains for the Scottish people. How could the rest of the UK hope to protect the Northern Approaches from Russian incursions if it was denied access to vital early-warning systems and bases for quick-reaction sorties? The answers to this and many other questions relating to our security matter as much to the Scottish people as they do the rest of the British Isles, and they are worthy of far deeper consideration before the Scots vote for a potentially tragic break with one of our nation’s most illustrious institutions."
Full story here: