Have you ever wondered how the defence and security landscape would look in an independent Scotland and what the priorities might be?

Who better to ask than SNP Defence Spokesman and member of the Foreign Affairs Committee Stewart McDonald MP and Cllr Chris McEleny, a former defence worker and a member of the Scottish Shipbuilding and Aerospace Committee for a number of years.

The purpose of this article is present options for defence and security in an independent Scotland, not argue for or against them. I’m not going to muddy the waters by providing any commentary or opinion and instead, I will simply list the questions I asked and provide the answers I received.

So let’s jump straight into it, I asked them both the following questions.

HMNB Clyde near Glasgow.

In basic terms, what kind of structure would be considered for the armed forces of an independent Scotland and why? (for example, would they be focussed on maritime capabilities such as frigates, patrol vessels etc)

Stewart McDonald answered highlighting what he believes should be the focus of an independent Scotland.

“It is most important to understand from the outset that an independent Scotland will be no ‘Little Britain’ – this is as true for the Armed Forces as it is for everything else.  An independent Scotland will not simply be a scaled-down version of the United Kingdom. Thankfully, we are surrounded by small states of similar populations which provide a number of tested models for an independent Scotland.  We have spent a lot of time since 2014 getting to know these better, along with undertaking a detailed risk assessment that will provide a clear logic flow in support of the optimum solution for Scotland. While I’m not going to give anything away on that front, it seems uncontroversial to say that Scotland is – and will long be – a maritime nation.  With a sea area of around 470,00km² and around 60% of current UK waters, Scotland has a longer coastline than France and would have the fourth largest core waters of any European state.  It makes sense for our Armed Forces to reflect this and be structured in a way that protects our external borders, our natural assets and our sovereignty.”

Chris McEleny responded in much the same way, outlining the same overall idea and offering examples to further his point.

“The structure of Independent Scottish defence forces should in my opinion mirror the wider policy of a starting point of ‘no shared assets’. In the event of Scotland voting for independence there is a wider debate on what the economic outlook should look like. In 2014 there was the proposal for a currency union. However, much has changed in the world since then, particularly that borrowing rates are at an all-time low and it will be possible to borrow amounts of money to invest in public service and infrastructure without accruing unmanageable deficits. Therefore assets would only be shared where agreed, such as for example the 5,000 assets the Foreign office has control of worldwide.

The importance of the above point is that the Defence footprint in Scotland is of massive value and strategic value to the UK Government and NATO. A no shared assets policy would mean that sharing as part of defence cooperation between Scotland, the successor UK state and NATO would be a position that would be most advantageous economically to Scotland and the UK state would not be able to offset sharing of defence assets in the form of estates eg an independent Scotland would not want or need access to physical infrastructure in the rest of the UK. Therefore it is those circumstances that the creation of a Scottish defence force would happen. The size and format of Scottish defence forces would obviously be dependent on what are the outcomes an independent Government wish it to achieve. Those should be:

  • Protection of Scottish Maritime waters
  • Aerial protection of fleet, land forces, and Scottish Territorial waters and land borders.
  • Support of international peace keeping operations and NATO operations.

The above three components are clearly all mutually beneficial to the Rest of the UK (rUK) and NATO. As part of the ‘no shared assets’ position, in order for the rUK to continue to benefit from the strategic locations of HMNB Clyde and RAF Lossiemouth then both the exchange of capital and assets for access would be a desired approach. I would envisage that the Scottish Defence forces would be primarily naval forces for the following reasons:

  • The size of Territorial waters and the EEZ that is required to be patrolled.
  • The impact of climate change on the opening of new sea routes with the melting of ice caps in the Arctic Ocean
  • The need to patrol and enforce Scottish Fishing rights

From an airforce perspective, RAF Lossiemouth is the best location in the UK for an airbase. It would be mutually advantageous for the UK to continue operations from there with Scottish forces operating in partnership from the base but retaining their own operational independence but with a joint command structure for the purposes of defending Scotland and the rUK.

Scotland has a proud army tradition and an independent Scotland would be able to reinstate historic units disbanded by the UK Government such as the Royal Scots, The Argyll and Sutherland Highlander, and Black Watch Regiments and battalions as part of the Scottish defence force structure. Therefore I would envisage that the base of the Scottish Defence forces would be at Faslane in HMNB Clyde, with the army, the naval forces, and air force based at Lossiemouth all reporting into a new Single defence Force structure that includes in it army, navy, and air as its constituent parts. A Scottish intelligence service would also be a function within the operational control of the Scottish Defence forces.”

The Band of The Royal Regiment of Scotland. Photo by Stefan Schäfer, Lich [CC BY-SA 3.0], from Wikimedia Commons.

What kind of strategic roles do you see an independent Scotland aiming for, regional or global, peacekeeping, intervention etc?

Stewart answered this by explaining that an independent Scotland would seek to be a ‘good global citizen’ and assist with peacekeeping missions and also assist with the security of the North Atlantic:

“Being a good neighbour is paramount. With a strategic location between both the Iceland gap and the entrance to the North Sea, Scotland will have clear regional security responsibilities. Scotland will be the most northerly state not actually inside the Arctic Circle and it will be in our interests to work closely with allies to ensure that this part of the North Atlantic remains peaceful and an orderly corridor for trade and commerce. There is of course an international dimension as well: the SNP have always been clear about the importance of being a good global citizen.  Just as Ireland has been an outstanding contributor to UN peacekeeping missions, not afraid to take on more difficult tasks, and just as Norway and Denmark have shown a willingness to make active internationalism a cornerstone of their foreign relations, a strong multilateral security framework is in Scotland’s interests, as is working with like-minded states to improve it where we can.”

Chris echoes this sentiment, highlighting the aim to see an independent Scotland support peacekeeping efforts around the world where it can:

“I would not see the independent defence forces playing the same role of the UK in terms of the foreign policy that UK armed forces are used to support. An independent Scotland for example would most likely not have participated in operations such as Desert Fox, or the 2003 invasion of Iraq. The Naval capability of the Scottish Defence forces would primarily be used to patrol and protect Scottish waters, assist in peacekeeping exercises, and support the wider NATO alliance.”

The German frigate Lubeck maneuvering against fast attack craft during a SWARMEX off the Scottish coast.

What do you believe the human and financial cost implications of this would be? Would an independent Scotland seek to retain a share of UK military assets or would it prefer to ‘start from scratch’ and why?

Stewart explained to me that there’s no real appetite for retaining UK military assets in the event of a split and instead he argues the focus should be on dependable procurement in order to support industry jobs in Scotland.

“While a nation with nearly a millennium of martial history as an independent state, and three hundred years as a distinct entity within the UK Armed Forces will never be ‘starting from scratch’, retaining a large share of UK military assets is clearly not in the long term interests of a state like the one we aspire to be. Anyone who has read National Audit Office reports into the UK’s equipment plan knows that the short-termism of the MoD is certainly one legacy asset we are keen to divest ourselves of. While there would of course be cost implications to this approach, with the obsession on the bottom line in defence economics being replaced with more holistic notion of taxpayer value demonstrates that it is also an opportunity – we’ve been clear that we want to replicate the Nordic model of multi-year year defence agreements to ensure that all parties are signed up to an ongoing procurement and defence industrial strategy that leaves the days of cancelled orders behind and supports defence industry jobs in Scotland.”

Chris also agrees with the principle of not retaining assets from the UK military in the event of a split and also explains his provisional view of how an independent Scottish armed forces should look:

“Scotland should build to a footprint of defence forces that total in the region of 15,000 regular and 5,000 reserve personnel. There would be an obvious transition to an initial post independence force, building towards a footprint with key milestones in terms of size and operational capability after 5 and 10 years. The financial commitment to defence and security would be £2.5bn. I believe an optimum force footprint would look as follows:

Maritime Forces

  • 6 frigates
  • A command platform
  • 6x mine counter measure vessels
  • 2x OPV Ocean patrol vessels to patrols Scotlands Exclusive Economic Zone with the long term procurement of a third vessel to anticipate emerging threats and patrol requirements in the North Atlantic and Artic Oceans
  • 6x patrol vessels to patrols Scottish coastal waters and providing fleet protection
  • 6x Non Nuclear AIP submarines
  • 2x research ships to meet Scotland’s commitment to tackling the climate emergency
  • Tanker capability
  • Logistics support vessels in an equivalent model to the Royal Fleet auxiliary
  • Scottish Coastguard responsibilities would be best met by the relocation of command to Scotland with the vessels coming under the operation of the defence and security forces.
  • rUK support at HMNB Clyde as part of shared priorities and NATO obligations (Not including Trident successor)
  • A target of 10 years should be set for the establishment of a second squadron for an independent Scotland to fulfil operational commitments to peace keeping exercises and support of UN and NATO exercises.

Land forces

  • 2x light armoured reconnaissance units
  • 3x light artillery units
  • 1x engineering unit
  • 1x aviation unit for reconnaissance and liaison
  • 1x transport unit
  • 1xlogistics unit
  • 1x medical unit

Air Forces

  • A partnership basing arrangement at RAF Lossiemouth
  • Quick Reaction Alert Squadron with 16x Typhoon jets under the control of the Scottish Defence force based at Lossiemouth.
  • A maritime patrol capability
  • Tactical air transport squadron which would include 6x Hercules C130J aircraft
  • A Helicopter squadron

An independent Scotland should nationalise all civilian support functions as the starting point with the establishment of the Scottish Equivalent of the MOD with support functions being carried out by Scottish Civil servants, moving away from the UK MOD outsourcing agenda.

This relates to the earlier ‘No shared assets’ as the starting position. In order for the rUK to maintain access to physical infrastructure in Scotland, this will come at a financial cost or asset transfer cost. Once the blueprint for assets is produced this would be achieved by the transfer of assets to the ownership of the Scottish defence force and the gaps that required to be populated would be done as part of a ten year industrial strategy to construct any vessels required in Scotland – which would also reindustrialise the River Clyde in Scotland. A negotiating team would be established on behalf of an independent Scotland and rUK, which would be covering a multitude of areas not just defence. An independent Scotland would be in a good position to secure a footprint in the assets held worldwide which would be able to support a ‘Global Scotland’. rUK would certainly want to maintain access to Scottish Waters, and HMNB Clyde – which hosts Joint Warrior – would also be a key NATO asset which would wish to maintain footprint for the purposes of joint operations.”

Soldiers of 2 SCOTS.

How highly would an independent Scotland value offensive and/or defensive cyber capabilities over conventional capabilities?

Stewart explains that disinformation campaigns and cyber attacks are key but that Scotland should not ignore more conventional capabilities.

“I’m sure Dominic Cumming will be paying attention!  Cyber security is an area where ‘biggest’ does not always mean ‘strongest’.  Estonia, for example, is now undeniably a world cyber superpower and has shown to the world that small states are indeed able to outperform their bigger neighbours when it comes to security.  The case of Estonia also reminds us that, in an age where interstate conflict is increasingly infrequent and threats are more opaque, non-kinetic warfare should be recognised as just as much an issue for our society as conventional threats. From disinformation campaigns to cyber attacks, we now face new threats of the kind that can sneak into our home and tug at the very fabric that holds our society together.  A state could have the world’s best cybersecurity infrastructure in the world but still fail to protect its national security if its very own citizens are compelled to, for example,  go out and destroy pieces of key national infrastructure based on posts they have read on social media.  It only takes the recent attacks against phone masts to show that this is not an unimaginable possibility.  This also is a question that gets to the heart of another issue where the UK does much worse than many of our neighbours: the civil / military divide. The answer to addressing so many of the technological vulnerabilities we now face isn’t always a military one – we need a society which understands that when it comes to these issues, as citizens, businesses and government, we’re all on the frontline.”

Chris would appear to share this view, albeit with a greater focus on the conventional side of things, working with the UK until an independent Scotland manages to build up its own capability.

“The establishment of the Scottish intelligence services would be the lead player in defending Scotland from cyber-attacks. I do not see any situation that iScotland would wish to participate in offensive cyber-attacks on other states. Therefore the conventional forces would be the main capability of the defence forces. As someone with an intimate knowledge of organisations such as UKSV, in the immediate transition to an independent Scotland , as part of a negotiated, Scotland would be likely to pay for services from the UK until sufficient capacity is built up for Scotland’s on intelligence and Security services to operate as desired by the independent Government.”

4 Scots conduct night time training on the Falkland Islands

What kind of defence relationship would an independent Scotland seek to have with a) the rUK b) NATO and c) the EU?

Both McDonald and McEleny are again in broad agreement on this, placing emphasis on working with the remaining UK, NATO and the EU at a very deep level.

McDonald told me:

“Again, here I think we want to have a complete shift in emphasis. Another mantra repeated unthinkingly by UK ministers and over-enthusiastic backbenchers has been that ‘NATO is the cornerstone of our security’: I think that each of the three elements you mention here will be equally vital to Scotland’s security, and we be clear and communicate where what role we see them playing.

From our long history together to the simple fact of geography, Scotland and rUK would share many common security interests and many of the same threats.  Like any other aspect of our relations with rUK and our other neighbouring states, I would hope for as close friendship as possible in areas of mutual interest. I try and impress upon UK defence policymakers every time I speak to them that it is in both our countries’ interests to ensure a smooth transition to a secure new future for these islands: and while it is right that we as Scottish nationalists should be asked to show our working, there comes a time when it is incumbent upon rUK to think seriously about this as well. The EU is made up of states with which, like with rUK,  we share values, interests and security threats due to our proximity and history: and in Article 42.7 it has a more comprehensive and binding mutual assistance element than NATO’s more famous Article V.

While the UK has traditionally neglected the EU as a ‘hard’ security actor – despite the undoubted importance of intelligence sharing networks and the work that it does in the Mediterranean – we cannot afford any longer to neglect the fact that for our citizens, the economic security provided by the EU is just as relevant as the military security provided by NATO. In many ways, the two organisations have been mutually reinforcing elements of building a lasting peace in Europe. 

It’s easy to forget how recently its member states were at war with each other, but it’s something many would do well to remind themselves of, as well as of fact that in NATO terms, the famous Article V is greatly strengthened by Articles II and III. And let’s not forget that as a consensus organization – where Iceland has as much say on NATO missions as the US – it provides a vital forum for small states to influence common security. Finally, these three elements are not the only ones an independent Scotland will have to bear in mind, and we would want to play a role in other, more informal groupings such as NORDEFCO or the Northern Group, along with any bilateral agreements that could complete the picture.”

Chris echoes this, adding that both states might even benefit from partnership agreements.

“The relationship with all three are mutually inclusive due to an independent Scotland having the position of supporting membership of all. This is to an extent complicated by the UK decision to leave the EU but with transition arrangements ending at the end of this year the UK will have a defined relationship with the EU. This will have obvious consequences of Scotland’s relationship with rUK if Scotland is an EU member state and the rUK is not.

a) Foreign policy would be completely independent eg if there was a future event similar to the 2003 invasion of Iraq, and the rUK wished to participate but Scotland did not, then simply put Scotland would not and would not allow any sovereign Scottish assets and infrastructure to be used. Potential tensions here would arise over the negotiated share of overseas territories such as the SBA. Not withstanding that, I would wish to have as mutually a beneficial arrangement as possible. Areas such as fast jet and helicopter training could be an example of a partnership arrangement, and as earlier I spoke of Lossiemouth making sense to continue with Scottish control of the base but with a rUK presence on site.

b) An independent Scotland would maintain NATO membership. The strategic importance of Scotland’s position in the alliance makes that a realistic proposition.

c) As many NATO member states are also EU member states, it is likely there will be crossovers in criteria (demands) on membership of both from both parties.”

HMS Vanguard alongside HMS Dragon, near Faslane on the Clyde.

With regards to NATO, if Scotland elected to remain a member, would NATO nuclear submarines be welcome to stop over in Faslane?

Now this is of course a very controversial subject in Scotland, both McDonald and McEleny recognise that and make clear that this specific decision would be one for an independent Scottish government.

Stewart advises that he would like an independent Scotland to be nuclear weapons free, as I believe would many people in Scotland but opinion polls on this topic are usually divided straight down the middle so it’s hard to gauge that support.

“This would of course be a matter for the Government of an independent Scotland to decide, but I would like to think that if they did decide to make Scotland a non-nuclear power state as well as a non-nuclear weapons state, then they would agree to respect that. Denmark and Norway, founding members of NATO that have provided the last two Secretaries General, have been explicitly non-Nuclear from the start and I think what our allies will be most interested in is a reliable and predictable nuclear policy more than anything else.”

Chris goes a step further and proposes that while an immediate end to visiting nuclear submarines isn’t likely, a realistic approach would be to plan for an eventual ban:

“This answer is linked to next Q also. I do not believe that a policy of ‘don’t ask don’t tell’ would be politically acceptable to an independent Scottish Government. However I would propose a pragmatic approach ie if Scotland were to vote for independence then a timetable would be set for when Nuclear submarines would no longer be able to stop over at Faslane.”

HMNB Clyde at Faslane.

What is the expected plan for Faslane, immediate withdrawal or a gradual removal of UK nuclear assets?

Both men support the position that an independent Scotland would remove nuclear weapons from the Clyde to a timetable.

Stewart is very clear on this, if Scotland were to vote to leave the UK then the process to begin planning for the withdrawal should begin straight away in a safe and responsible manner, although this would not be ‘immediate’.

“The line from the 2014 White Paper still stands:  the speediest, safe removal of the nuclear weapons stored at HMNB Clyde. The process will be Scotland’s first opportunity to demonstrate that it is a reliable and predictable security partner, and similarly it will be the rUK’s first opportunity to demonstrate that it can be trusted to respect Scotland’s sovereignty. The priority must of course be the safety of those in the areas surrounding Faslane, and that of those in the areas of England or Wales where the infrastructure may be rehoused.  What is in no doubt is the future of Faslane as the tri-service headquarters of an independent Scottish Armed Forces, with the permanent jobs and residents that this will allow us to create in the local area.”

Chris also references the 2014 White Paper but suggests an approach that would see Trident removed once the system reaches the end of its life

“The policy would be that Trident Nuclear submarines should be removed as speedily and safely as possible. It is almost certain that NATO would make a membership stipulation that Scotland continues to allow the UK to house the Trident Fleet and the successor Dreadnought programme at Faslane and Coulport. This would not be an acceptable criteria for membership and if this was an absolute then Scotland would withdraw support for NATO. However, I believe the strategic importance of HMNB Clyde to the alliance would allow for a softening of NATO position. However, many players would be ‘in play’. To the earlier point on EU/NATO, France is both EU member and NATO member. If the SSBN fleet had to leave Clyde and the UK Government came under extreme risk in that a suitable and affordable position could not be sourced then potential options could be to house the programme in France, the USA, or to scrap the programme completely. Political pressure on the French Government would be immense if both the rUK scrapped its strategic nuclear deterrent – because France would be the only country in the alliance providing the political shield to US possession, or if British Nuclear weapons were to come to French shores. The French relationship with Nuclear power would support the second point which means the French Government may play hardball on the issue.

Therefore a pragmatic, and unpopular political, approach may be to set the deadline for removal of the Trident fleet at the end of its lifespan. With this prospect the UK Gov would likely suspend the successor programme and aim to increase the life of the Trident fleet to 2032. If Scotland were to vote for independence in 2022 then this would be a timeline that would potentially appease partner states. However, my position is for the quickest and safest way to remove the fleet from the Clyde and it should not be underestimated the difficulty for an independent Government to deviate from that position. If it did seek a compromise position to secure removal then this would naturally be a huge issue at a negotiating table.

To stray onto a less formal point: If asked in the late 60s would you accept keeping nuclear weapons on the Clyde until the late 70s, the answer would’ve been no. At the end of the polaris programme if asked would you accept nuclear weapons on the clyde until the millennium, the answer would’ve been no. And it is likely that in 2014 the answer would also have been no to allow trident to stay until into the 2020s. However all of these propositions would have now resulted in removal or the imminent removal. Therefore there is perhaps ground to be made on a timetable that will guarantee removal but will not do so the day after independence. It would then become a purely transactional issue at the end of the agreed withdrawal and decommissioning period that I do not envisage any independent Government would be able to politically renege on. In summary, an independent Scotland would remove nuclear weapons from the Clyde but there would clearly be the need to agree a timetable that accepted the principle that Trident will be going and the detail just has to be agreed regarding the when.”

Two Blackjack bombers followed by an RAF Typhoon aircraft from RAF Lossiemouth.

With regards to Lossiemouth, what kind of agreements would the Scottish government seek relating to QRA and MPA capabilities hosted at the base? Would an independent Scotland replicate these capabilities or seek to form an agreement for the rUK to continue these activities?

Stewart advises that he believes that while an agreement with the remaining UK would be possible, it would not be the only possibility.

“The UK Government has shown how it is able to cooperate on these issues with both NATO and non-NATO states, and so there exist examples of how such cooperation could work. This will be a decision that will be taken after examining not only the threat picture and the cost of such capabilities, but also an analysis of how cooperative the UK was willing to be. A UK administration similar to the one we have now negotiating a future security relationship with the European Union in a manner motivated primarily by short-term political interests, which pays little attention to shared history and precedent will require a different response to a UK administration focused on maximising our mutual self-interest and building a sustainable long term security relationship on these islands. What is clear is that while the UK is the largest potential partner in the region, it is not the only one and there exist several examples of Northern European states who have sought to address shared security threats on either a bilateral basis, or through multilateral organisations.”

Chris touched on this point earlier in the questioning, saying:

From an airforce perspective, RAF Lossiemouth is the best location in the UK for an airbase. It would be mutually advantageous for the UK to continue operations from there with Scottish forces operating in partnership from the base but retaining their own operational independence but with a joint command structure for the purposes of defending Scotland and the rUK.”

3 SCOTS return home to Inverness from Iraq.

What overall defence capabilities/initiatives would exist that do not exist now?

Chris and Stewart share the view that an independent Scotland would seek to have armed forces that are first and foremost designed to protect Scotland and assist internationally where possible.

Stewart also advises that he believes an independent Scotland could go further with how the armed forces are treated:

“As I’ve tried to show throughout these questions, independence is not at all about being able to wave a different flag: it’s not secession for the sake of it.  It’s about having the power to make policy that works for Scotland.  When you consider that it takes more than 24 hours to deploy surface warships to the principal areas of threat you quickly begin to appreciate that hasn’t always happened. Independence critically offers the chance to re-evaluate the role of the armed forces in our society and reimagine security as being less of an elite pursuit and something which is the responsibility of each and every citizen. It means being serious about breaking that civil / military divide, having less of these mysterious installations secreted behind barbed wire, and allowing those who serve to have their domicile guaranteed and to be able to put down roots among the society that they protect. This means treating personnel not as schmaltzy and quasi-mythical ‘heroes’, but giving them the dignities that civilians take for granted: simple things like a transparent contract, or an Armed Forces Representative Body that is there for everyone regardless of rank to inform personnel on their rights and advocate for them in pay negotiations or other matters. These things are the norm elsewhere in Northern Europe, and it’s high time it became the norm on these islands too.”

Chris reinforces the view that independent Scottish forces should have an eye on the world supporting peacekeeping efforts:

“I think that the shift in Foreign policy would be the obvious sign with iScotland not adopting the same strategy of projecting power and the UKs desired position on the rest of the world via military assets. An independent Scotland would have defence forces with the main purpose of protecting Scottish waters and sovereign territory, with a longer term aim of building sufficient capacity to play our part in the world in supporting peace.”

Conclusion

This article is intended to outline the thinking regarding the defence and security landscape in an independent Scotland should Scotland ever vote to leave the United Kingdom.

It is not my job to argue for or against these perspectives but merely to present them and allow you to discuss them.

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Nigel Collins

Maybe it’s time for us to consider this possibility?

People tend to follow their areas of work and Scotland is a long way from the South West coast!

Possible Nuclear Submarine Bases: Barrow-in-Furness or Devenport.

Closest RAF bases to Scotland: RAF Boulmer and RAF Spadeadam.

Ship Building Facilities with additional investment: Appledore-Falmouth-Devenport-Birkenhead-Portsmouth?

I wonder what effect this would have on the Scottish economy? How much money they would actually have to invest in defence if England relocated back across the border?

Interesting times!

Nigel Collins

04.09.2020

A United Kingdom? Five reasons why the Union’s future feels uncertain
Sky News’ deputy political editor explores the state of the Union 100 years after it was formed into what it is today.

https://news.sky.com/story/a-united-kingdom-five-reasons-why-the-unions-future-feels-uncertain-12062403

maurice10

Sadly, it’s all fairy dust, the Scottish economy can’t sustain such ambitious plans. The best I fear will be two infantry regiments, 6 coastal patrol vessels, and a pact with England to protect Scottish airspace as we do with Ireland by retaining Lossiemouth as an overseas common base?

Douglas Newell

I’m getting to the point I hope it happens just so I can see the faces on the utter idiots who voted for the SNP when the land of milk and honey the SNP snake oil salesmen have promised doesn’t appear.

Kevin Kelly

My thoughts exactly.

Robert Stevenson

Unfortunately I’d be one of those that suffered, so no I don’t want it to happen

Ps Nicol would not last to long as she would have nobody else to blame and the rest of us would be screwed

Trevor

Totally agree. There is no way an independent Scotland would operate 6 frigates and 6 AIP submarines; these would be far beyond the reach of any plausible defence budget unless the kit was effectively donated by rUK. My view (from Scotland, so I’m biased) is – think Republic of Ireland, that will be closer to the mark.

maurice10

I’m surprised the SNP wishes to pursue the notion of independence, when we simply do not know economically, what lies ahead for the entire World? COVID is a game-changer and just how much will change will have to be seen? I for one, feel the UK needs every hand to the pump from all four nations just to keep our group of countries financially afloat. The national debt is huge and any further new money to underwrite an independent Scotland may simply not be there in the quantities required? At the time of the first vote if there had been… Read more »

Dern

Not at all surprised. If the SNP could choose between saving the planet and an indipendant scotland, they’d choose the latter.

Mark

Not really, while the numbers are “ambitious”, trying to compare it to the Republic is pointless, the structural reasons for the DF are simply not going to be replicated in an Independent Scotland. Most likely something inbetween.

4th watch

The economic implications are humungus. Many Many Unemployed military personnel and ship builders. In practice all that money now spent by the UK military personnel all gone. Loss of all fishing to the EU who will want virtually all outside the 12 mile limit. In fact the EU forces will take over all the UK bases and drag Scotland as part of the USE (United States of Europe) into adventures far and wide will mean all decisions will be taken in Berlin or Paris. Meanwhile the small countries Scotland talks about will realign with rUK as a Free Market Commonwealth… Read more »

Mark

What fantasy is that?

Robert Stevenson

Fairy dust, I think he’s been smoking crack cocaine

Mike Condy

Scotland currently pays approximately £3.5bn toward UK defnce. This is proportionately higher than any NATO member of similar size and indeed proportionately higher than many larger nations too. I would expect expenditure by Scotland to be between £2bn and £2.5 based on previous commitments. I would be sufficient for the sort of armed forces described.

Stuart Crawford

Well, I recognise quite a lot of the points raised here from previous discussions and publications, proof that it’s always worth setting out your ideas in writing for others to consider! I may be moved to write a response, because whilst there’s much that makes sense there are also a number of misapprehensions and omissions in my opinion. But the first thing I am going to do is get my chum to cost their proposals!

Lordtemplar

Interesting article thanks. Although some may not agree with their views, they give a lot more detail than i would have thought.
I am no expert, but I doubt they can get all those assets for £2.5b a year. (maybe i misunderstood, but that list has quite a lot of stuff)

TrevorH

The 2 Scottish commentators in this article are talking a load of ignorant (I would say ‘lying’, but I will be charitable) gibberish. Norway has a defence budget of over $7 billion, and these self serving jokers are saying they can get all they claim for $3 billion…!

Norway is buying F35s (they already have 15)… Scotland is begging us to pay them to station Typhoons. What a bunch if infantile dissembling jokers these SNP so and so’s are.

Don’t get me started!

dan

Where’s the Sean Connery quote? haha

Mr Bell

Lord I think they just expect the rest of the UK to just handover our precious defence hardware to them free of charge. That is the usual SNP mantra. We are entitled to it as a share of UK proportional population.
Error there. The minute you leave the UK you are not entitled to anything.
Where is it written in contractual law, signed by the UK government, that we have to give SNP voting independent Scotland anything?
We have very little military hardware left. I would withdraw it all and leave them nothing.

Andy P

The problem with your logic Mr Bell is that if rUK withholds ‘stuff’ that the people who live in Scotland have paid for, Scotland could walk away without their share of the debt.

Your approach seems both spiteful and dare I say huffy.

Graeme

60% of Scotland’s “exports” are sold to the rUK. Alienating yourself from the country that does that level of trade with you is probably a very bad idea if you don’t want your economy to be flushed down the toilet even more than it already would be. The rUK could probably simply impose tarriffs on Scottish goods until the debt had been cleared.

Andy P

Graeme, you talk like these numbers are set in stone. Using Brexit as an example, both the UK and the EU are looking to smooth things as best they can, if there is a no deal Brexit and the EU impose heavy tariffs, what do you think the UK will do, just rap their hands in, throw themselves on their backs and wave their arms and legs in the air or will it be looking to expand trade to other countries. I know where the smart money will be getting placed.

Harry Bulpit

how can they seriously expect that Scottish ship building can survive. it is barely abele to stay afloat with Royal Navy orders, how can they imagine it working for a much smaller naval force. Given that they cant even produce a simple commercial ferry without issues. I know I’ve said it before but I think we must make it clear. There will be no British warships built in an independent Scotland and its time we start relocating the current work.

Dern

Unfortunately relocating current work gives fuel to the indy side.
And the SNP voters don’t believe a) that we’re giving the clyde it’s fair share of work already.
b) that RN orders will actually stop (usually citing RFA contracts in South Korea as evidence).

Ian McIntyre

I keep hearing the Royal Navy would not have warships built in a third country, I have never heard why this must be the case.

The UK buys transport aircraft, maritime patrol aircraft, armoured vehicles, ammunition, fighters and much more from abroad. Nobody has ever given me a logical reason why buying a warship from a yard that is already making them is such a big no no.

dave12

I read in the paper the other day that the scottish Government are 15 billion short from its tax’s and we all know where that 15 billion is coming from.

Cam

Oil? 😆

Meirion X

With the price of oil so low on the world markets, it would take a miracle to reach their target!

Cam

I said oil because the SNP said if they won the indy ref last time oil would bring in many many billions, but oil took a turn for the worse and tax cut was way way below what then snp said they would get! so we can’t rely on oil…

Andrew Thorne

Oil provides tax receipts of £1 billion per annum. THe Scot Nats have essentially used the oil revenue 10 times over…Their numbers simply do not add up.

Mr Bell

Correct Dave. Once you take away rUK subsidising the ungrateful SNP voting bafoons they will rapidly be needing a bailout by either the EU (if they can convince them to let them in) or the IMF.

DJ

6 frigates, 6 submarines, 16 Typhoon – I wonder if these guys have checked the sticker price? The frigates would need to be export spec T31 (ie a slightly cut down IH frigate not an oversized OPV) or similar & the submarines need to be blue water type such as long range SAAB A26 (they are not operating in the Baltic or Mediterranean). Then add missiles & the like. This is serious money.

Matt

Or perhaps they would purchase the outgoing T23s? Using what’s left of their shipyards to refit them as needed. Would be far cheaper that T31s I’d wager.
Be interesting to hear what BAE would do with their yards in an independent Scotland… keep them there or sell the land and move the equipment to another location?
[email protected]

DJ

You are kidding surely? The youngest T23 is 18 years old. They were originally designed for a 20 year lifespan. With an expensive life extension you may get 30 years. Compare this with ships designed for 30+ years. Yes, they get new engines & other upgrades, but the bones were designed with that expectation. T23 is pushing the limit already. Some like Iron Duke are probably past it.

Meirion X

It would be the cost of running and crewing them, not possible with only £3Bn budget.

Gunbuster

Forget the cost of crewing them… Who would crew them? Most Scottish matelots would stay in the UK not Scottish forces. Where would the new forces train? They would need to pay the UK to use their facilities in a similar way that foreign forces do now… At a large premium.
Then you can add in the pension liabilities for Scottish vets now and in the future….
Complete pie in the sky rubbish.

Mark

Or you know they could over time build up their own infrastructure and personnel. As for most staying in the UK forces, who knows. More than a few “UK” service personnel left to join the Irish Forces during the Civil War and afterwards in the Free State period.

Airborne

No sorry Mark I’ve done a number of straw polls with the Jock lads I use to and currently work with and while most are proud to be Scottish not one said they would move to a wholly independent Scottish army, as they join/joined the Army to do stuff, deploy on operations, travel the world, etc and not sit back scratching their are in a so called Defence Force, underequipped and underfunded, with a limited promotion and career progression due its small size.

Mark

You have straw polls, I have historical fact… The reality is declaring it “underfunded/underequipped” is jumping the gun as nobody has any idea what Scottish Force would eventually come to be, there’s always a rush to point to the Irish DF with little to no understanding as to what that is the way that it is and why a Scottish force would be highly unlikely to replicate it. There’s no reason why Scotland couldn’t have a Danish level force for example adjusted for its own needs.

Airborne

However my info is from the lads who would suppose to be members of the Scottish Defence Force, and you can read books, look at the internet all you want, I use word of mouth and for many many years, I have come across no professional Jock soldier who would want to join in independent Scottish army. Pretty simple realy, I will use the resource of communication and the spoken word, from guys with many many years of soldiering, like me! Historical facts? Hmmmm aren’t we all in the process of changing history to suit certain narratives at the moment,… Read more »

Mark

I’m impressed if you’ve managed to talk to every single serving Scot to be able to say for certain that none would serve.

As for “changing history”, well some nations are perhaps starting to have more honest conversations about aspects of their nations history that in the past have been “sugar coated” to put it mildly, but records of service are just that records of fact.

Airborne

Oh dear, patronising comment confirms you have just lowered the debate, what’s next Mark, name calling?. Where did I say I spoke to all Scottish soldiers! I have spoke to many Jock profesional soldiers and none said they will serve in an independent Scottish army. Do I have to repeat that phrase? However as in all debates and discussions actual subject matter experience and knowledge does ensure an educated and more informed opinion and response. Like many people who don’t like an opinion which is based on reality or suits their current narrative, it’s generally ignored and the direction of… Read more »

Mark

Just pointing out how strange it is for you to use your personal interactions as fact yet dismiss actual historical facts of Irish transfers post Independence.

As to your view on a Scottish Army, as I’ve pointed out here and in other forums, given that many seem to jump straight to a version of the Irish Army I can see why they wouldn’t, however nobody has a firm idea of what actual force and FP an independent Scotland would have, or the fact of how the Irish Forces came to be as they are.

Airborne

No you were being rather childish and immature…..alas remind me where did I mention Irish transfers post independence, that was you, I spoke about the Jock lads. Come on Mark, keep to the subject matter in hand. Did I mention Irish Army, no, once again that was you. Where did I mention that the Scottish army would be modeled on the Irish Defence Force, nope once again that was you. I will reiterate this once more, I have spoken to many many Jock lads and none would want to join an independent Scottish Army. So, and finally, as for my… Read more »

Gunbuster

From my talks with Jock Matelots and the English and Welsh and Irish and Commonwealth Jack and Jenny who man up Scottish based vessels (they aint all sweaties onboard!) they would not stay up north. No career prospects. No promotion. No runs ashore. Would the pay and conditions be better…doubtful? Pension rights transferable? Who knows.

I am trying to picture the fun and games in a married quarter in Helensbrough with a Jock matelot and a non scottish partner/spouse trying to decide where to live…Up north or down south…

Airborne

Spot on mate, all factors, whilst individualy not to much of an issue, but put them altogether and it becomes the perfect storm. All the little things that those who have never bothered to service cannot understand or calculate into the whole proceedings. But some people either have a narrative they will stick by no matter, or just like shiny items on a list, without factoring in the human element. Cheers.

David Shand

Your response demonstrates exactly why the the support for independence is increasing in Scotland. To address anyone as a ‘jock’ is demeaning and verging on racism.

Airborne

Incorrect silly little person as private soldiers in Scottish Battalions are called jocks, same as private soldiers in our battalion are called Toms. Oh dear you know very little….

Airborne

Dick!

Nigel Collins

Not forgetting some decent bolts and glue just in case!
SNP, dream on.

Billythefish

Good for a laugh this morning – thanks very much!!

Harold

Fascinating stuff. Watching the inevitable happening is very instructive. Once the union has dissolved, I anticipate it will have gone by 2030, it may well give England the opportunity to consider its future as well. The proposed Scottish defence plan is exactly what I would propose for England too. I strongly recommend visiting the A Bomb Museum in Nagasaki as I did many years ago and then join the increasing number calling for an end to these expensive and horrific weapons. I would also like to see England broken up as well into regions. A number of new groups and… Read more »

Steve Martin

I put myself forwards as King of the West Midlands.

Steve R

I bagsy King of the Southwest!

farouk

H wrote:
“I would also like to see England broken up as well into regions.”

Whilst I can see you are simply playing devil advocate with the above statement in which to get a rise . May I ask you to explain why?

TrevorH

He is a Russian troll. Be careful what he puts in your coffee.

Harold

Of course I am. My office is right next to President Putin’s. This website is so important, that I am employed to monotor it.

Airborne

Similar reply to previous, very weak, you must make more of an effort to know the subject matter, 2 out of 10.

Nigel Collins

Can you update us Please Harold?

Alexei Navalny: Nato says Russia must disclose its Novichok programme

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-53979820

Harold

No. I.m not in that department. My office is right next to President Putins where we have a whole department of people just monitoring this little website. Dozens of us, right here in the Kremlin next to Red Square. You could try emailing these people though. I’m sure they’d be delighted to assist you: [email protected]

Mr Bell

One dollop of Novichok or 2 with your tea Harold?

Harold

To bring democracy closer to the people.

Meirion X

A Labour win in Scotland in 2021 will most likely be the case.

Harold

Would you care to put a bet on that? The SNP will emerge clear winners

Meirion X

I touch a raw nerve of a ruSSian troll, I see!

Mr Bell

Just look at what the SNP are actually achieving in Scotland. When you do side they are getting a much larger per capita public expenditure then rUK thanks to our subsidising them, the SNPs delivery is woefully poor. There are many English, Welsh and Northern Irish councils and devolved powers that would love to have the equivalent public expenditure that Scotland has.
The SNP are all sound bites and bravado. They are unfit to govern.

Harold
Meirion X

I see, the Kremlin is now really scrapping the bottom of the barrel with their Trolls!

DJ

I would suggest he means to make a federation like Canada & Australia. At the moment the UK is dominated by England. Yet there is no English parliament. Why – because England & UK are basically the same thing. Half of Europe call the UK – England. You aren’t asked if your British, you are asked if you are an Englander. To make an Australian or Canadian style federation work, England would need to be split into at least 4 (south, midlands, north & London). House of Lords would need to go – replaced by something like the Australian senate… Read more »

Qbit

No England and the UK are not the same thing. The former is however 85% of the UK’s population with its tax payers providing disproportionate fiscal transfers to the remaining 15% as well as (until this coming Hogmanay) a net financial contribution to the EU. If, as so many people seem to think, England is such a bad place (& in fairness DJ didn’t suggest it was) then why is it so attractive to people in the rest of the UK, Ireland and abroad wanting to move here to the extent that people risk their lives on the channel crossing… Read more »

DJ

While England & UK are legally not the same thing, politically it is run as if it is & the rest of the world often see’s them as being the one & the same. 85% means you can ignore (or simply fail to register) the other 15% (both internally & externally). Hence no seperate English parliament. What would be the point? I was responding to what I thought Harold was referring to with his breaking England up into regions comment & what it would look like. Basically similar to Canada & Australia (England would have 4 or more provinces, Scotland… Read more »

Fen Tiger

Harold the 2nd.? Watch out for those Norman Archers.

Harry Bulpit

Every weapon is horrific, but nuclear weapons have preserved many more life then they have cost.

Harold

Tell the Japanese that.

Harry Bulpit

I have no sympathy for the Japanese. You play with fire you get burnt.

Airborne

Yaaaaaaaaaaaaawn

julian1

Apparently Japan may consider a nuclear deterrent of it’s own. What do you make of that?

Airborne

Oh dear your troll efforts are getting weaker and weaker and much more desperate. Needless to say, keep pulping the fruit, maintain lots of tissues for the drool and get nurse to pop in every day and clean up the mess.

Harold

Ah, the little corporal. Still playing with your action man parachutist and Airfix tanks then? Dreaming of armies that have long gone maybe?

Airborne

Oh dear oft repeated troll like replies, how very sad, expected but sad! Never mind.

Gunbuster

Still pushing the little corporal line I see. Somebody disagrees with you and so you insinuate that they are a Nazi.

You need to read a new book. Trolling for Dummies is so out of date.

Airborne

Mate he is just a bit sad and regrets never having the nads to serve, cheers mate.

Mr Bell

One dollop of Novichok in your tea or two Harold? I think you will find the Novichok in the plastic bag next to the hobnobs

Meirion X

Here we Go again! Anti British Bulls**t from an Anti British Troll, who has No idea how even countries run their finances!

Harold

Ha ha ha ha. And you do with your consistently awful spelling, grammar and capitalisation? I doubt you could even understand a spreadsheet my little u/m.

Airborne

Oh dear how sad never mind!

Meirion X

@Troll H.
Speaking of Yourself as usual! Your rants are now truly psychotic of a pathetic little man!
How sad you are!

geoff

OK-i’m going to admit to a flaw in my male personality. I get too angry to the point of heightened BP and stomach ulcer playing up when I read this stuff. No offence George-you did as always, present a great article, but the essence is that we are talking of the destruction, the dismemberment, the weakening of all the constituents of the United Kingdom and for what purpose???? Will the Scots be better off out of the Union? Will the world be better off for the destruction of one of its oldest, possibly THE oldest Union? What will the Russians… Read more »

Harold

England needs to remember that it does not own Scotland. It was meant to be a union of equals. It isn’t.

Robert Blay

Scottish people should stop moving to England then 😉👍🇬🇧

Cam

Have you seen how many English live in scotland? There’s loads in the highlands.

Robert Blay

I could imagine. I did mean it with tongue firmly in cheek. 😄

Gunbuster

There are loads at Lossie and Faslane. They would all go along with the approx 12000 jobs that those places support.

Cam

Nah I can’t see Lossiemouth or Faslane going, maybe downscaled though. They are both in great locations and would serve us well.

Graeme

That would depend on whether the Shetlands and Orkneys secede from Scotland, which is a likely possibility. If they remain part of the UK or become a crown dependency, an RAF base could be plonked on there and be an even better location for defending Britain’s northern flank and patroling the GIUK gap without having to answer to iScotland’s surly nationalist regime for our national securtity

Mr Bell

They are tax refugees cos the SNP dont tax the people of Scotland enough to pay for their exuberance. Hence £15+ billion a year deficit in just public expenditure.
They will all be running south again the minute scotland voted for independence.

julian1

Some of the biggest banks and financial institutions in the UK are run out of Scotland…..

geoff

Inasmuch as the State of Alaska is an equal partner in the USA as California then I would say the same applies to England and Scotland, however the vast disparity in population is a reality. This does not mean however that such a relationship cannot work. And nobody ever said England “owns” Scotland. That is just SNP spin to stir the pot.
As for equals, well Scotland with one tenth the population of the UK has provided, by birth and heritage one THIRD of Britain’s Prime Ministers since the end of WW2-Macmillan,Douglas Home,Blair,Brown, Cameron.
Just for example..

Harry Bulpit

Agreed. SNP just like to blame the British government on it’s own faults and the only people who will suffer are the people of Scotland.

farouk

Checking the figures listed above regards the so called Scottish Navy:
6 frigates
6 subs
6 patrol vessels
6 mine counter measure vessels
2 climate change research ships
2 OPVs

and the state of affairs regards cash, its socialist ambitions and its population, I can’t see the SNP not only politically unable to justify (or afford) such a spend , but politically unable to man such a fleet.

Also I’ve felt (and this is just my opinion) that the SNP simply to p off the English, would open up their ports to the Russian and Iranian navy.

TrevorH

If so, they would seriously p!$$ off NATO, and one of their neighbours is Norway, a country unlike Scotland which takes defence seriously.

The SNP are plain riddled with prejudice and living in wonderland.

Meirion X

Only alternative to the SNP in Scotland is Labour!
Working class Scots avoid voting Tory!

TrevorH

Working class shipbuilders are going to vote independent? It’s a possibility. Good luck to them, but I don’t expect English shipbuilders to lie down if English warships get built on the Clyde.

No one keeps talking about Scottish oil any more.

Steve R

I’m not a Labour voter but I hope that Labour do make a comeback in the next election, primarily in Scotland, to take power from the SNP.

Dern

Honestly Labour needs to come back as a credible opposition. JC’s tenure has been nothing but a complete disaster for the party, fracturing it, loosing to perhaps the most unelectable PM in the history of the the Tory Party, failing to have any sort of stance on Brexit, loosing the north, loosing scotland.

Andy P

I recall 20 to 30 years ago the SNP having this 6 frigates and 6 submarines policy and while I can ‘get’ 6 small frigates/corvettes (or whatever you want to call them) OR OPV’s I have no idea why an indy Scotland would want a submarine fleet. It smacks of dogma rather than practicality but I guess that’s the SNP for you. To be fair I don’t know if they’re any more or less delusional than the other parties, I have zero faith or affinity with any now. Then there’s the rhetoric about not wanting to be tied in to… Read more »

Mr Bell

I thought Sturgeon and all her cronies wanted all nuclear weapons and nuclear powered vessels out of Scotland. Leaving them having to purchase conventionally powered subs.
There is no way Scotland can afford 6 conventionally powered modern submarines. Decent versions like German U200 series cost £450-600 million each. A sum out of reach of Scotland’s finances.

700 Glengarried Men

If they tried that the Americans would place sanctions that would cripple Scotland export economy

Steve R

I don’t think the Iranian navy can send a ship that far.

Joe16

While I would very much like Scotland to remain within the union, these guys have clearly thought about this carefully and want to put a force in place that is fit for purpose and in many ways try to avoid some of the shortcomings that have become embedded in the current British military (poorly integrated thinking and funding between branches, domestic manufacturing preferences, etc.). Fair play to them. Having said that, I do note that this is a bit of “best case scenario” thinking, particularly if they are going to take over some of the units and infrastructure that are… Read more »

Rob

6 frigates, 6 conventional subs, a fighter sqn & 2 light Bdes, for £2.5 billion….Ha,ha!

Going to bring back the historical Scottish Regiments (presumably The Gordon Highlanders, The Seaforth Highlanders, The Queen’s Own Cameron Highlanders, The Highland Light Infantry, Royal Highland Fusiliers, The Black Watch, The Royal Scots and the King’s Own Scottish Borderers) – are they going to be Btns or incremental Coys?

Cam

Bloody platoon size regiments is more like it!!

Dern

If indiScotland founds a new Black Watch I think the current Black Watch will really be scratching it’s head.

Bob

Interesting that there is no mention of the Army Personnel Centre. That would genuinely be a huge loss to the British Army because of the decades of knowledge that sits in the civil servants there. There would certainly have to be a phased withdrawal of that to somewhere like Andover, but inevitably a reduction in service level associated with it. That would also mean that the Scottish element would either have to maintain a now oversized and expensive building in central Glasgow, or export it to Faslane. Also, I think the SNP are a bit delusional about resurrecting disbanded Scottish… Read more »

Nigel Collins

Didn’t you know, It’s being replaced by a new jobcentre 😂

Geoffrey Roach

Ho Ho Ho..Christmas soon. Nothing wrong with the article George, very enlightening but the responses would seem to suggest that our SNP friends will need to seek partners from another planet, not just Europe Scenario: The United Kingdom breaks up and the Scots go off by themselves. All former UK bases are closed; UK HMNB Clyde abandoned; UK deterrent looks to a new base in the South West…Plymouth/Falmouth and the building of UK warships stops. UK space agency facilities move to Wales. UK companies supporting these groups move with them. The magic letters here are ,of course UK. Once they… Read more »

Meirion X

The Shetland Islands would join rUK,
with a promise of a space port there!

Geoffrey Roach

Meirion …I’m a Cornish man born in Wales so maybe that’s a reason for loving Scotland on only my three visits to date.

julian1

You’ve got that sex pest Salmond with his mates on RT oiling the wheels of that relationship!

Mr Bell

True Sturgeon can get into bed with Novichok lad Putin. A match made in heaven!

Douglas Newell

Engaging with the SNP on this nonsense just allows them to shape the debate – they are perfectly happy to shout about how great it is to be Scottish, and indulge in simplistic Nationalistic Rhetoric. Meanwhile in Scotland they have achieved sweet fanny adams. The Scottish Education System which used to be the envy of the world is falling down international league tables — even, gasp, falling below that of England. The Scottish NHS is under performing with many Scots having to travel to England for treatment and they have been pauchlin the waiting list stats for years — I’m… Read more »

Andy P

Douglas, you forgot to mention Hamza Yufusf’s frighteningly draconian ‘Hate Crime’ bill that even mentions plays as a potential area where hate crime might be encouraged.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-scotland-politics-54023278

There is some scary stuff in it and there are a lot of high profile campaigners against it. I get the sentiment of it but bloody hell….

Douglas Newell

Cheers, I did indeed miss that one out.

It really shows the power that appealing to the baser instincts of people has … all those failures from Labour or the Conservatives and the media & opposition would be hammering them.

Of course they have cowed the media by accusing any who challenge them as being anti-Scottish and against the “people of Scotland”.

Douglas Newell

And another — not only can’t they build ferries – but they can’t build piers either. It seems Brodick Pier is so badly designed it’s led to increased ferry cancellations in the Arran Run and earlier this week the Waverley crashed into it.

https://www.heraldscotland.com/business_hq/17702237.analysis-new-brodick-pier-causing-misery-ferry-users/

700 Glengarried Men

Interesting article and needs in my view closer scrutiny, could the Scottish economy withstand an initial shock of the closure of BAE systems and Babcock Rosyth as well as others who support the UK armed forces followed by a closure at Faslane and Coulport and the other airforce and army bases the loss of all these tax payers to the economy would be massive . Where would Iscotland source, maintain and train the personnel for the equipment listed., and what would that cost. 2 of this 3 of that is not cost effective no mention of a Royal marine or… Read more »

The Artist Formerly Known As Los Pollos Chicken

In 1972, a crack commando unit was sent to prison by a military court for a crime they didn’t commit. These men promptly escaped from a maximum security stockade to the Los Angeles underground. Today, still wanted by the government they survive as soldiers of fortune. If you have a problem, if no one else can help, and if you can find them….maybe you can hire The A-Team.”……………..

🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿🇬🇧🇺🇸👋🏻

John Hampson

The only “Nordic” thing about this drivel, is it could have been written by Hans Christian Anderson and included in one of his Fairy Tales stories

John Clark

Excellent……

John Hampson

Just to provide some basic FACTS on the Scottish economy in 2019/20 for everybody. The Scottish govt had an income (19/20) of £65.9 billion. But it spent £81.0bn. In other words it spent 23% more than it collected. So Scottish govt spending was subsidised by Westminster by £15.14 billion in 19/20. Over the last 5 years the SNP govt spent on average 24% more than it earned. The previous 4 years Scotland had a budget deficit of, -16.4bn, -15.5bn, -14.3bn and -13.2bn. So Westminister has subsidised the SNP’s overspending by £74.4bn over the last 5 years. No further comment required.… Read more »

John Clark

And that in a nutshell is the issue John, you have cut right through the bullshit and lay out the facts.

The SNP have nothing going for it bar screaming
“Scotland the Brave”

After the party would come the hangover, a very long painful hangover with high taxes and cut services.

Without Westminster support, they face a very bleak future….

I think thankfully the SNP’s smoke and mirrors, snake oil confidence trick is wearing thin with the Scottish people and support is starting to slip backwards and away.

Andy P

John, I’m not sure that many are seeing through the ‘confidence trick’, I think its fair to say the SNP have done a much better job with covid than Westminster have which has gained respect (even grudging respect from myself, not that I’ll be changing my views on the SNP but credit where its due). Nationalism is a powerful card to play, people who see themselves as too smart to be fooled by religion or mainstream politics are still more likely to be hoodwinked by this particular ‘ism’, whatever brand of nationalism (or patriotism or whatever, its the same stuff… Read more »

John Clark

Well said Andy, I fear you may well be right…. I sincerely hope its not the case, if Scotland becomes independent, it will be the follow on government after the SNP loose there first election that will have to start cleaning up the mess and make the books balance. No point pinning too many hopes on the EU ether, the EU’s primary driver will be good relations with the UK, the second largest economy in Europe and soon to be part of a pan Atlantic trading block. Trading with this block will be “extremely important” (possibly vital) for the EU… Read more »

Mark

Just no, the EU isn’t really going to care what the rUK’s position is as long as an independence vote is held legally and without interference. If Scotland votes for Independence and then seeks to join the EU it will be treated the same as any other Accession Nation regardless of London’s view.

John Clark

Mark, you are forgetting politics, the EU will do what’s good for the trading block. Scotland brings little to the table, in fact it will require the EU to take over subsidising it’s economy as Westminster won’t be there to pick up the tab… Why would they take on another begging bowl country post Covid19, with reform and debt issued to deal with? As we appear to unfortunately ( depending on your own viewpoint) be heading for a no deal exit, the UK will rapidly pivot towards an Atlantic trading block that will possibly include Canada at some point. The… Read more »

Mark

No, this “Atlantic trading block” you are talking about is if it ever happens going to favour the US, with everyone else coming second. Moreover as ever with some British posters you seem to totally misread the EU. If it was concerned about the economic state of accession nations, most would never have been accepted after the Coal and Steel pact was created. If Scotland votes for Independence it’s foreign policies and membership of organisations will be none of the business of London, no more than Ireland Foreign Policy is currently. The EU’s position on Trading relationships is separate to… Read more »

John Clark

I respect your position Mark, however you are naive if you think there is no interplay between trade and membership. The EU is coming out of BREXIT and Covid19 crisis in a rather battered and bruised state. The second largest economy in Europe and one of the main contributors is heading for the door. The northern European states that pay into the pot are having to pay massively more to fill the financial hole left by our leaving, so with this and the huge payments nessasary to prop up the poorer EU states, why would they take on Scotland? The… Read more »

Mark

Oh yeah the EU is the only one in the World coming out of Covid bruised, and the UK in no way is going to be hit as well from Brexit. The EU will manage, as seen by the agreement already on the next 7 year budget and the Covid fund as well. There will be disagreements over who pays what as ever but that’s no different than any other period over the last 50 years. If Scotland does vote for Independence at some stage, it will leave the UK, there will be no “dealing with it as if it’s… Read more »

John Clark

So, what does Scotland bring to the EU table Mark?

How would it pay its way and contribute to the communal pot ?

Genuinely interested in the pitch it would make to join.

Mark

What did Ireland bring in 1973? What does Malta? Or the Balkan or Baltic nations? Scotland would make it’s contributions and get payments depending on the formula’s as every other EU nation does.

Graeme

“If Scotland votes for Independence it’s foreign policies and membership of organisations will be none of the business of London”

Actually, when it comes to allies and trading partners, of whom England will be Scotland’s single most important one, it is an important consideration not to alienate them by engaging in relations and policies considered harmful to their interests. There would be hell to pay for example, if Scotland decided to compensate for its massive deficit by signing up to China’s belt and road initiative and becoming a Chinese client state and would probably come with severe consequences.

Mark

A hundred years ago the Free State was told it couldn’t have independent foreign relations with other nations outside of the Commonwealth framework…Ireland ignored the UK when it was still at the height of it’s power and the UK was still the most important trading partner of Ireland and dared London to do anything, they didn’t.

London may very well be “unhappy” with a Independent Scotland’s positions as it has been on many occasion with Ireland’s positions, and may take actions based on that, but the decision process will still be for a Scottish Government, not London.

Dern

The other issue is that several EU countries have succesionist movements in local provinces too that they really do not want to encourage. I can’t really imagine Spain (Catalunia) and Italy (Sardinia) allowing Scotland to join as it sends a message that “It’s okay to leave, the EU will have you anyway.”

John Clark

Precisely Dern! They would strongly object…

To be honest, like most on here who aren’t taken in by boring SNP nationalist, rUK hating retoric, it will be a blessing when they just loose another referendum, or win, I’m past caring either way, just please someone shut them up!!

Mark

It’s funny how foreign representatives can say on the record that they don’t have an issue, yet you still ignore them.

Dern

Not ignoring them, just not beliving them in the case of Spain. Lets face it Spain isn’t exactly friendly to the UK, but it’s not in their interest to let a Scotland be an example to the Catalans.
Same goes for Italy (who have not gone on the record to say they don’t have an issue), or any of the other countries with seccessionist movements, and all it takes is one of them to say “No.”

Mark

That’s why the Spanish and Italians have held the position that it has to be a lawful vote.

Mr Bell

Darn and John. I think it is more then strongly object. Spain, Italy, Greece will all veto an independent Scotland joining the EU. They have already stated that very clearly, before the last referendum. The last referendum which, correct me if I am wrong, but was agreed to on the basis of being a “once in a generation” occurrence. so we should be safe from another referendum for at least 20 more years.
UK government can just keep on declining any requests for another referendum.

Mr Bell

So the SNP take Scotland out of the UK for reasons of independence and freedom and then join a federated super state. Where their voice will be insignificant and their ability make their own future curtailed by laws and regulations coming from Brussels not Edinburgh.
Makes perfect sense to me.

Andy P

Yes Mr Bell, its an odd one, I’ve had the discussion with friends who want independence and I’ve never had an answer that I thought justified it all. To me there’s definitely an anti English angle to it which I find both sad and disturbing that people would make themselves, family and friends poorer to separate from rUK. Saying that, you read some of the seethe and spite in some of the comments and I guess it can make sense. The main strands of the argument seems to be that because Scotland is a bit different to England we could… Read more »

Graeme

The SNP has NOT done a better job with Covid. They are better at PR I’ll grant, but under the SNP a far higher ratio of people have died in care homes due to Covid than in England because they kept discharging elderly patients with Covid symptoms back into care homes and allowing the virus to cut a bloody swathe through the residents and staff.

Perhaps that is what they wanted because older Scots are more likely to be unionists and the more of them they can kill off the sooner they can get the majority for independence they crave.

Andy P

Well Graeme, seeing as how its going to come down to perception, its seems to me that they’re perceived to have done a better job than Westminster.

As for the rest….. nah not buying it.

Douglas Newell

The SNP have done a great job of hiding that fact from the populace. But tartan and “its oor oil” and all that seems to go down well with their voters.

Mr Bell

Thanks John. I knew the subsidy was large. Says it all. I think a reasonable figure for deficit for a newly independent Scotland, due to withdrawal of taxpayers, investment. Loss of jobs. Movement of shipbuilding south of the border. Movement of submarines south of the border. Movement of QRA and MPA fleets south of the border. Closure of military bases etc etc will result in a £40-50 billion a year deficit.
In 2-3 years Scotland will be needing an IMF bailout.

Alan Reid

Hi John, We’re well ahead of you up here, we call it GERS Day in Scotland ! It’s an annual event: Unionists proclaim it shows the benefits of UK membership, Separatists that it’s a politically engineering exercise – and allocates spend against Scotland that is actually spent in the rest of the UK. If only no further comment was required, my friend. But sadly, these FACTS – or as I like to call them, facts, seem to settle nothing! But as I support Scotland in the UK, I’m happy to use GERS figures. When you delve deeper, what do they… Read more »

geoff

The best post I have read on subject in a long time Alan.

Andy P

Fantastic post Alan.

Good luck trying to foster a spirit of togetherness and spreading the love. This place seems to be mostly for venting spleens.

dan

Don’t forget to tell people how they are going to have to pay more in taxes to pay for all this “independence.” lol

pkcasimir

An independent Scotland doesn’t get to remain a member of NATO. It is out of NATO as soon as it becomes independent. It would have to apply for NATO membership and approval requires consensus of all of its members. Scotland would have to join the queue and meet certain conditions.

Steve R

Same with the EU. The SNP just assume the EU will automatically accept them.

In reality it would take yeara, if at all.

Mark

Scotland is far more ready than many that were let in in the last expansion, there’s no huge impediment to them rejoining the EU if they were independent.

Dern

Excpet the nations that have indi movments on their own soil and want to discourage them. I can easily see the EU making an example out of Indy scotland to keep those in check.

Mark

Ah, no not really, the major example use by the UK during the last vote, Spain has already stated that as long as its legally held, they would have no issues with an Independent Scotland joining the EU.

Dern

Yeah sure, and pigs can fly. Spain will veto it, Italy too.

Mark

So now the Spanish Government Minister who spoke on the record is lying because it suits you to say so?

Andy P

Mark, its the joys of internet debate sadly.

Why the hell not just assume your opinion is now a FACT !

Tim

And the e.u has been kicking itself since letting in country that shouldn’t have been let in , in the first place it’s not going to want to have to subsidise another country also if Scotland does leave the uk the uk can just demand a level playing field and control of Scottish waters just like the e.u is of the uk seeing as you seem pro e.u Mark I assume u would have no problem with London having a say on Scottish waters and it’s businesses right ?

Mark

Funny enough the UK was one of the major forces for the last expansion along with being one of the main voices for Turkish membership… As for what might be worked out between London and Scotland that would depend to a great degree on what the relationship ends up being, if the Independent Scotland wanted things from rUK then they would have to accept some other trade offs, just as we are seeing currently in the talks. Course it’s not like London doesn’t have history in this, though I doubt Scotland would accept being told they couldn’t have a Navy,… Read more »

Mark

Course Tim if you want to be a bit honest, just look at what the UK demanded from Dublin, 100 years ago, not much different to some of the arguments playing out today between the London and Brussels, just that today there’s more diplomacy involved.

Tim

Because 100 years ago things were the same as now right ?

Mark

Well its an article on a part of the UK leaving the UK, the last time a part of the UK decided not to be part of the UK was 100 years ago. Many of the same arguments the SNP use were used by the IPP and later SF before the War and after by CnaG/FG and FF, many of the same issues like the national debt payments, like control of waters, like Laws, like customs/trade, military resources…

All of these topics were live issues then just as they will be if Scotland does leave.

Mr Bell

After Freece was allowed into the EU. Due to cooking its books. The EU is much more careful about scrutinizing economies wishing to join. An independent Scotland with a structural budget deficit of £45-50 billion a year is in no way going to be allowed in.
The EU will delay the application for a few years to see how the independent country is managing on it’s own.
They might get an association agreement quite quickly mind similar to Ukraine.

Mr Bell

Apologise for spelling error. Not Freece. Greece

Alan Reid

Steve, pkcasmir,
Certainly an independent Scotland may face a lengthy negotiation to rejoin the European Union – although here’s a wee secret, despite its protestations, the SNP doesn’t want to rejoin the EU.
But such is the strategic importance of Scotland’s geographic location – I suspect a NATO application would be rubber-stamped “tout suite” by the alliance!

pkcasimir

I disagree. Given the SNP’s anti-Americanism and its refusal to embrace NATO’s nuclear doctrine, I think they would have a hard time convincing the US that it should become a member; and without US approval, there is no consensus. Scotland is of little strategic value if NATO forces (US and UK) won’t be permitted to be stationed there.

Alan Reid

Hi PK, I’m not in favour of Scottish separation – I have an emotional attachment to the UK. But Scotland is a perfectly viable independent country, although days after any big independence party there would be a public finances crisis – and the nation would need to cut its cloth accordingly, and maximise its assets. One of those assets is defence, and whatever the current public pronouncements of Ms Sturgeon, I suspect there is a deal to be struck on Trident and NATO membership – in return for economic support. Incidentally, although the current SNP leader is anti-Trump – I… Read more »

Graeme

The SNP has staked to much on removing Trident for them to make a U-turn on evicting it in the event of independence. In any case, if they did try to blackmail the rUK into paying a fortune to retain the base, it would be better to relocate the deterrent to Kings Bay. If you were going to have the deterrent based in a foreign country, its better off in a reliable ally rather than a surly and hostile one led by the SNP. As for the Scottish diaspora exacting some influence, cold, hard politics would account for a lot… Read more »

Alan Reid

Graeme, Scotland is England’s greatest ally – not the USA, we have stood together for 300 years – and seen-off Napoleon, Kaiser Bill, Hitler, and the Soviet Union in the process! What a thing to suggest otherwise! I’m not talking about “blackmail” – it would be in the interests of both Scotland and rUK to come to a mutually beneficial arrangement about Trident basing – perhaps a lease-back of Faslane/Coulport for 20 years. And an newly independent Scotland would not wish to antagonise the USA – the Scots would need its support. Neither would ships of the Russian or Iranian… Read more »

Andy P

yes Alan, whenever Scottish independence gets mentioned on here its hard to have a ‘grown up’ conversation about it as some just seem to get massively ‘triggered’ by it and go full on batcrap crazy, all sorts of wild stuff getting thrown into the debate. I’ll start reading the comments and have a chuckle at the first one or two more ‘out there’ ones but then there’s more of them and it just depresses me that so many can be so spiteful about what is still a hypothetical issue. Haters gonna hate and all that.

Alan Reid

Hi Andy P, I always enjoy reading your comments, you’re the voice of reason on this subject.
I’ve belatedly got into this comments section today, so I might be posting a few more yet in response ……… !

Andy P

Likewise Alan, you seem to be able to keep a level head on the matter. Sadly I think we’re in a minority. Enjoy the comments, you have to wonder how some posters on here function in ‘real life’ going by some of the posts. I look forward to reading your take.

Cheers.

Meirion X

The UK should retain both Lossiemouth and Faslane as British territory, and if necessary supplied by sea and air.

It is ok for France and Spain to have territory in Canada and North Africa, but Not ok for Britain to have territory in a newly independent country.

Another example of politically correctness running wild, is that the case?

Graeme

Retaining a sovereign base area in Scotland is probably not going to fly politically. A better suggestion would be to consider basing the deterrent in the Falklands where the warhead facilities and port are sufficiently distant from population centres and the local population reliabily pro-British. As for Lossiemouth, I think it would be better to offer the Shetlands and Orkney’s the opportunity to stay with the UK or become Crown Dependencies retaining the rights to exploit the fishing and oil resources for themselves and in return we get to plonk a brand new RAF base on sovereign UK territory to… Read more »

Andy P

Yes Graeme, it would be unlikely to ‘fly’ for one country to basically annex a part of another that was breaking away. Why not go ‘full Russia’ and wait for the country to gain independence and then just invade the bits you want. For starters it will give the troops a good workout…. I’m not even sure that an indy Orkney and/or Shetland would want to share their oil with rUK just so that the RAF could base a squadron of fighters there. They have a close affinity with Norway though….. Honestly, some of you boys need to have a… Read more »

Graeme

I assume “Meirion X” was refering to an RAF Akrotiri/Cyprus type deal. Somewhat plausible but probably unlikely in a Scottish context. My contention is that it would be better the have a secure base on UK sovereign territory than rely on the goodwill of a nationalist party that seems to be antipathetic to UK security and defence and would be trying to use them as leverage to mitigate the inevitable fiscal catastrophuck of Scottish independence in any seccession deal. And I wasn’t suggesting Shetland/Orkneys would share their oil and fish with the UK, we wouldn’t need it. Oil and fishing… Read more »

Meirion X

Agreed Graeme!

Andy P

It seems an impractical arrangement all round Graeme, if rUK get nothing out of it other than a military outpost then it seems an expensive way to do it. I would doubt that the islands would feel the need either and as I said, they would most likely be inclined to throw their lot in with the Scandinavian countries.

Andy P

Um…. I’m pretty sure the UK has a wee enclave in Spain too.

I do enjoy a “political correctness gone MAAAAAAHHHHDDDD” type rant so thank you for giving me something to smirk at.

Meirion X

@Andy P
The people of Gibraltar voted in the last
referendum of 2002, by a large majority to remain in the UK.

This has made me smirk as well!

It is you Andy, that needs to learn some history, I would say!

Andy P

Meirion, you do get that the SNP want to have a similar referendum aye ??? Its kind of the point of the thread, the whole ‘what happens next if there’s a vote for independence.

That you think that somehow if this happens that rUK could just keep wee bits of it (and assume that anything else is ‘political correctness’) is quite ‘out there’.

Meirion X

Andy, I cannot see No reason why a part of new independent country could remain in the mother country, if provide there is a consensus of the local inhabitants to do so.
What I tried to point out in a previous post was, I not heard of any campaign against
France holding bits of Canada or of Spain with bits in Morocco. As you have pointed out that has been the case in Gibraltar.

Andy P

It wouldn’t be ‘the locals’ who would make that call though would it. It would be the government and its unlikely that a Scottish government would give up some pockets unless there was something in it for them. The only defence policy that the SNP seem to have is the ‘NO NUKES’ policy so it would be contentious for them politically to let rUK have a hoofing big nuclear base (complete with missiles) down the road from its biggest city. From a prestige point of view they’re unlikely to hand over any part of the country anyway, there may be… Read more »

Mr Bell

Alan that’s classic. Deal to be struck? Whereby rUK has to pay Scotland for basing troops, aircraft, ships and subs there. Get real. Why would we do that. I would think a crash redeployment out of Scotland the very second they vote for independence is required out of principle. Trident can be based on Atlantic east coast of USA for a whole until a purpose built base is built in southwest or Wales. QRA for north. Northumberland and Northern Ireland. Scotland can defend it’s own airspace or better still pay the RAF for defending them. Maritime patrol aircraft. Northern Ireland… Read more »

Andy P

Mr Bell, do you think the US would be letting a rUK nuclear deterrent use Kings Bay for free ? Then there would be the expense of getting people and equipment to and from it…. Other than getting rid of those nasty nukes, the SNP have never seemed to have a strong view on defence, I really don’t think they see it as a priority so I doubt they would be looking to pay ANYONE to base aircraft/ships in Scotland. The best thing that could happen (in these circumstances) is the Russians sending a Bear over for a nosey to… Read more »

Meirion X

Lossiemouth could remain British territory, supplied by sea and air if necessary.
Just like Spain has with its territories in North Africa!

Meirion X

I forgot to add the French territory of
Saint-Pierre and Miquelon very near Canada.

Political correctness runs riot, with any suggestion of British retaining overseas territories!

Meirion X

My comments I posted yesterday, have reappeared!

Mr Bell

Macedonia joined most recently. It took 8 years of negotiations to go through the accession process. Can expect more from Scotland as there might just be a few “sticking points” raised by rUK before they can join NATO.
Of course they could go EU and hand over all their lovely new tartan freedom to a federated super state.

Cam

I think lots of Scots would want to serve in the British army instead of Scottish army, just like so many Rep Irish Choose to serve in the British millitary instead of Irish.

Cymbeline

Indeed, would Scottish policy look to base service people overseas, Navy as well as Army? this one policy alone could be a deal breaker for the professional, where is the fun in serving as a Home Guard??

Nigel Collins

“where is the fun in serving as a Home Guard??”

Serving with Fraser aka Jock from Dads Army, under Captin Mannering from across the border!

Mark

Why assume the same situations would apply? The Force Structures and policies of Ireland are highly unlikely to be recreated in an Independent Scotland.

AlexS

While i have no objection to a independent Scotland, the level of fantasism and hypocrisy is ridiculous. 6 frigates? Then we have got t getting NATO nuclear protection but no nukes/SSNs’ in their territory.

Andrew Thorne

Reading the long fantasy list of equipment that Scottish nats pretend they will be able to afford makes me laugh. I even read an argument by Scottish Nats that they legally wouldn’t have to pay for a percentage of the UK’s national debt if they suceeded from the union. Again this is pure fantasy I mean they could try that but every single investor in the world would avoid Scotland like the plague and the emnity that it would cause with England, Wales and Northern Ireland would last many, many generations. It’s also pure fantasy that the Shetland Islands would… Read more »

Graeme

“I even read an argument by Scottish Nats that they legally wouldn’t have to pay for a percentage of the UK’s national debt”

In theory, they probably could. But it would be a very bad start to relations with the country which imports 60% of Scotland’s exports and there would be a savage political and economic price to pay for such an abrogation of its responsiblity towards the shared debt.

Alan Reid

Hi Andrew, I know you mean well, but before we have another independence referendum in Scotland – I think we need to work-out what “Britishness” means today. It certainly isn’t about “England coughing up £2000 extra per head of the Scottish population to prop their government spending plans”, anymore than it was about England draining Scotland dry of oil revenues in the Eighties, while many Scots languished in appalling urban deprivation. I think in these arguments, we can see the destruction of the United Kingdom. I don’t believe we need to demonise Scottish nationalists, any more than we should demonise… Read more »

Dern

I think if Scotland leaves any idea of “enduring friendship” is a bit of a pipe dream and anyone who suggests it is living on cloud 9.
The SNP and it’s propaganda machine has had nothing but vitriol for “rUk” for years now, and the idea that indipendence will be all flowers and roses is laughable.

Alan Reid

Hi Dern, Nicola Sturgeon, Ian Blackford and the SNP do not speak for Scotland. They only speak for themselves – and their political party. I don’t want to see the arguments of the separatists prevail – but the way to deal with this phenomenon is to take the heat out the subject, and address nationalist claims on sensible grounds. It is counter-productive to suggest that an independent Scotland and the rUK would not recognise their mutual interest in making this new (as yet, hypothetical) relationship work. In my experience, the most anyone has ever suffered from Scottish independence is a… Read more »

George Parker

“Ah dinnae ken, ma heids mince!
I hate the thought of Scotland breaking away from the union. However, if that happens I would vote for a complete removal of ALL military assets, support services and related industry to South of the border. With hugely subsidised ship building yards opened in England to bankrupt Clyde-side completely. To steal a saying from the clans. “You are either with us or against us.”

Andy P

There’s a lot of this kind of thinking on here George, doesn’t do anyone any credit. “You are either with us or against us” might appeal to the more simple souls but its hardly how international relations work. Should we have gone to war with Russia over the Salisbury poisonings ? Life goes on and we’re now friends with a number of countries we’ve been at war with over the years, we trade with them, have mutual defence treaties etc. If (and probably when) Scotland becomes independent, there will still be a lot of ties, we have them anyway and… Read more »

Dern

We are? As far as I can see Westminster is doing al lit can to make sure there is no more trade or mutual security between the UK and EU. Boris seems too keen on burning everything down.

Crabfat

Slightly off-topic but relevant for this argument, I’ve been looking at what UK Government departments have branches in Scotland. They are:
DWP – 9,000 employees
HMRC – 8,200
MoD – 4,100
DfID – 900
Other – 2,300
Total – 24,500
Figures as at end December 2018.
That’s a lot of jobs down the drain when Scotland leaves the UK.

Mark

And a good chunk of them would have to be recreated for an Independent nation.

John Clark

Morning Mark, Still very interested to here Scotland’s pitch for joining the EU? Do bare in mind the servere austerity forced on Greece by the EU for bail out funds. As Scotland would have to have its economy subsidised by the EU from the moment of joining, the EU would make Scotland reduce public spending and increase taxation accros the board. There would be a cutting of cloth to fit your spending that would come as quite the shock. How many individuals and companies would relocate to the UK, I would say quite a few. However you look at it,… Read more »

Mark

The pitch would be the same as it has been for every other nation that has sought to join the EEC or EU, not sure why you think it would be any different.

As to what terms an conditions might happen, given even Germany has changed it’s position on EU spending leaving only the Frugal Four isolated it’s far from certain what position the EU would take, particularly as the GSP is currently not being enforced and may not be for some time to come.

Graeme

Yes they would, but the Scottish taxpayer would be entirely responsible for paying their wages, on top of the already considerable deficit they already aren’t able to cover.

Public sector employees don’t add value to a nation’s economy.

Mark

Best tell London that, since they are promoting “growing the customs sector and it’s workforce” as a good outcome then.

Its amazing that other small European countries manage to function really isn’t it then?

Alan Reid

John (Clark), Graeme I’ve spent a life-time debating with Scottish separatists (no offence, Mark) – They always respond with, “Its amazing that other small European countries manage to function really, isn’t it, then?” And he’s right, an independent Scotland would manage – but there would be an economic cost (IMHO) which the SNP are not being honest about. Again, IMHO, the way to deal with separatism isn’t to tie yourself up in knots about why Scots can’t manage to do something that even small Estonia and Latvia can successfully do – run their own affairs! But instead to stress the… Read more »

Mark

I’m not a Scottish Separatist, as I’ve pointed out in other threads I’m Irish, just watching from next door and considering potential impacts on stability in NI and rUK as a whole if Scotland goes Independent, and how that would affect Ireland. And of course you are right about there being costs that naturally the SNP don’t want to engage on, on the other hand the last four years have given them a textbook get out of jail card, wonder how long until good old “Project Fear” might get repurposed? Again while history doesn’t repeat it’s interesting that once more… Read more »

geoff

Well said Alan. I have never doubted Scotlands ability to function as an Independent nation but the point is that there are many parts of the UK that could do the same. The key question is why?? One can be Scottish and British-there is no real need to choose. Imagine a UK split into say 10 little nations with ten more sets of everything we have now as one. It makes no sense.

Alan Reid

Many thanks again, Geoff, for those kind comments.
I agree – I’m a Scot, and proud to call myself British.

Why give up being influential partners in the 5th largest economy in the world? Why give up 300 years of investment in the British state? Where a Scot can become British Prime Minister – or as this is a defence site, where a Scot (Stephen Hillier) can run the Royal Air Force!

Do the SNP really want me to swap all that for boring, Euro provincialism !?! lol

John Hampson

I posted below on the state of Scotland’s economy. But here’s one more fact that illustrates just how realistic the SNP Defence “plans are. Much of the SNP’s agrument for Scottish Independence is based on North Sea Oil revenues. But consider below Scottish Govt Budget Deficit 1993 to 2019 = -£289.8 billion. (Public Spending Expenditure – All Revenues) Tax generated by North Sea Oil = +£ 87.6 billion. Overall Scottish Govt Budget Deficit = -£202.2 billion. So without subsidy from the Westminster UK govt, Scotland’s annual overspend averaged £7.8 bn. Another fact to consider is most N.S. Oilfields are very… Read more »

Andy P

John, I’m not going to delve into your figures as they’re largely irrelevant to your core statement on the oil. The SNP made a point of NOT linking oil revenue to the success of an indy Scotland, at least in the lead up to the referendum. They considered it a bonus…. Not a line I choose to believe myself but that was their stance. There’s a huge debate about how an indy Scotland would balance the books, if there was a viable opposition in Holyrood (a backwater for the UK wide parties so hardly drawing in the brightest and best)… Read more »

John Hampson

Where did my post go that agrued the data on oil reveue WAS relevent????
Does somebody not like the SNP economic plans being exposed as utter fantasy based on intentional deceit or shear incompetence?

Andy P

Here you go John, this was what I was referring to.

“Much of the SNP’s agrument for Scottish Independence is based on North Sea Oil revenues. But consider below”

I know life is simple when its goodies and baddies, if I pick a hole in your logic I must be ‘one of THEM’ but for the record I’m not exactly a fan of the SNP myself, I’ve picked holes in their policies on this thread. That doesn’t mean that I will buy into stuff that isn’t factual.

John Hampson

Andy. I re-posted my reply. I cannot see that it inappropriate?

John Hampson

Incase the full repost gets removed consider this essential points, Whatever the SNP have or have not said the figures ARE relevant. 1) They demonstrate that even if Scotland had retained ALL the oil revenues, Scottish govt spending was still £202 billion more than revenue generated. 2)There appears to be increasing demands to compensate Scotland because no Wealth Fund was created exclusively for Scotland. But the data shows the subsidies Scotland received from Westminster were 330% greater than oil revenues. Further, I post below a general breakdown of Scotland’s economy (see below) but what the figures show….”Here’s some basic FACTS… Read more »

John Hampson

Andy. I accept your point that the SNP did not base their case on oil revenues, as I had not followed closely what they said. However a lot of their supporters on TV and eslewhere frequently suggest Scotland would be rich if it kept oil Revenues. Nor do the SNP discourage this delusion. The SNP said in 2019 to report on potential oil reserves, quote ” The figures were greeted by the SNP as “great news”, which “confirmed the major economic potential that North Sea oil reserves have to offer” ( Scotsman 12/3/19) Whatever the SNP have or have not… Read more »

Andy P

I agree with you that the SNP are very disingenuous about finance in general and the oil money in particular. It seems to be a case of trying to appeal to the heart rather than the head and skimming over the financial stuff with vague promises that it will all be ok. You seem to have me down as a closet indy fan, sorry to disappoint and I don’t dispute the current massive deficit, its why I find the huge push for independence quite frightening. I could get it if Scotland was lumping extra billions into the UK economy but… Read more »

John Hampson

Andy. I think the UK is far stronger together. The thing that annoys me is the SNP’s constantly blaming the English and their deceit and distortions on the economic issues.

Andy P

I agree John, there’s definitely an anti English whiff about the SNP and they do pander to that with their core support. As for telling porkies about the money, oh aye, they’re frighteningly delusional on that and probably worse than most parties but to an extent they all tell lies. As I’ve posted up the thread somewhere, I fear it will come to pass in my lifetime and it scares me, the SNP (and it could only be the SNP who take Scotland out of the UK) don’t seem willing to deal with the deficit, if they were doing a… Read more »

Meirion X

Thanks for this info John!

Jason Holmes

That naval wish list is impressive, even much richer nations would struggle to have that!

Alan Reid

You’re right, Jason, it’s the six Scottish submarines I can’t get over!

Lazarus

I doubt that NATO would admit an Independent Scotland. Other NATO allies with potential breakaway provinces like Spain may not be too keen on such decisions. Scotland probably has a better chance of joining the EU if it attains independence. What is really dangerous is when Scotland inevitably faces economic woes and gives over control of the management of its ports to China. Such a turn would be as bad for Britain as the Viking conquest of York in 866.

Mark

Yeah that doesn’t even make sense, Scotland couldn’t join NATO due to objections from the likes of Spain, but Spain would be fine with them joining the EU at the same time?

Lazarus

I think Scotland would have a better chance at joining the EU than it would NATO, but not a robust one so I agree with you.

Alan Reid

Lazarus, Let me help you here …… in the hypothetical event of Scottish independence, the new state will be warmly welcomed into NATO. If NATO has accepted ex-members of the Warsaw Pact – it will certainly accept the Scots, loyal members of the Alliance for 70 years! Neither do you need to worry about Scotland falling unduly under the orbit of the Chinese, although maybe you should be more worried about the UK allowing the Chinese to build a nuclear power station on these shores! But because of economic and political difficulties, an independent Scotia would not have full EU… Read more »

Lazarus

I think you may be overly optimistic on Scotland’s chances at NATO membership unless the split with the rest of the UK was very amicable. I would also not underestimate the lure and power of Chinese financing; especially if the new Scottish state gets into severe financial trouble. If the new Scotland continues to be dominated by the left-leaning SNP, it will continue to promise very expensive “cradle to grave” social programs. Poor economic performance will make it difficult to fund these. If the split with the UK was acrimonious and Scotland needs the money, I don’t think they would… Read more »

Alan Reid

Hi Lazarus, I enjoyed reading your post, it made me chuckle – but in a nice way! I know there are people on this forum, like spurned lovers, desperate to give this hypothetical, wee Scottish independent state a punishment beating! It will be a desolate wasteland, a failed state – a Jockistan on the edge of Western Europe. Some are even in raptures over an apparent £50B annual deficit! £50 Billion!! And now to add to this frightening dystopian vision, we will be a client state of Communist China! Unfortunately, practical politics is much more boring! In the still unlikely… Read more »

Andy P

Hi Alan, the “spurned lover” bit is about right for many on here, its almost like a “If I can’t have you I’ll cut your face so nobody will want you” level of seethe goes on whenever Scottish independence gets mentioned. Doesn’t do anyone any favours although you can get an insight into some folks psyche.

Pass the Mandarin phrase book when you’re finished please mate.

Lazarus

As one of those “North American friends,” colour me skeptical for now on the viability of Scotland and its orientation toward NATO and western defence concerns. I worry that socialist policies and lack of economic growth could make Scotland a northern version of Greece. I don’t see it as bad as “Jockistan” but your split with the rest of the UK would have to be very amicable I think for the outcomes you suggest to take place.

Alan Reid

Hi Lazarus, Firstly – many thanks for taking an interest in my wee country. The USA and Canada have a good friend in Scotland – and that would not change after independence, indeed the Scots would look to strengthen those bonds. This debate over separation from the UK is hypothetical, it is still unlikely to happen – and if it did, we would have to make it work. We certainly wouldn’t want to have a difficult relationship with our friends in North America – there are no plans to become Venezuela! I don’t know who you’re reading, of course Scotland… Read more »

Andy P

Aye Alan, its interesting to read from some posters on here their view on the SNP and how daft their policies and claims are then go full tilt in the opposite direction and come out with just as much hyperbole only a hundred percent doom and gloom compared to the SNP’s “it will all be alright in the end”.

Not getting into NATO or the EU, going to end up a a Communist China puppet state… jings and crivvens, help ma Boab ! We’re doomed….

Alan Reid

You know, Andy, I think we have both thoroughly enjoyed it! I can’t wait for the next one!

Andy P

It does pass the time doesn’t it. I’m sure we’ll not have to wait long for the next thrilling instalment. 😉

Leonidas

The SNP has ZERO interest in defense matters, and would be content to let Greenpeace patrol it’s territorial waters.

Graham Moore

I note it was the Councillor, not the MP that layered in the detail. The Land Forces wish list is ridiculous. No infantry battalions! Why two recce units when one would suffice? Why as many as three arty units when Scotland can probably only field one brigade? Does the Councillor mean a ‘REME’ unit when he says ‘Engineering unit’ or does he mean ‘Engineer unit’ ie ‘RE’. If he means combat engineer unit, where is the Equipment Support ‘REME’ unit or is it hidden in the ‘Logistic unit’ which would be at odds with UK nomenclature. Why do you need… Read more »

Mike Condy

What is proposed is potentially possible within the !.6% of GDP budget being proposed. However it appears that in shunning the take on of some share of aged UK assets the authors are forgetting the need to maintain capabilities in the form of people skills and the time taken to procure new equipment and bring it to operational capability level.