Home Analysis Expert outlines potential form of an independent Scottish military
A PC-9 (as used by Ireland) on a NATO exercise.

Expert outlines potential form of an independent Scottish military

Stuart Crawford, who was also a British Army officer in addition to being an SNP defence spokesman, has said the Scottish Government should focus on specialising in certain areas.

Stuart Crawford was a regular officer in the Royal Tank Regiment for twenty years, retiring in the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in 1999. Crawford was also an SNP defence spokesman. He now works as a political, media, and defence and security consultant in Edinburgh and is a regular commentator and contributor on military and defence topics in online and other media, including the UK Defence Journal.

Crawford said that the military of an independent Scotland shouldn’t feature fast jets, big surface ships, tanks or nuclear weapons. Instead, it should exploit international alliances and specialise in areas that would benefit NATO, to make it a more attractive member despite lower spending.

It is understood that the annual share of defence spending in Scotland is £3.2bn, but under Crawfords post-independence plans, this would be £1.1bn. While defence spending below the requisite level for NATO membership could cause a headache if Scotland decided to join the alliance, Mr Crawford advises that the strategically-placed RAF Lossiemouth could be used in negotiations.

“This would fall short of the NATO spending target. However, Scotland’s strategic location and military assets could be also offered, including the development of a NATO or European base at Lossiemouth or leasing Faslane.”

The report also states that an independent Scotland could shift its defence and military emphasis away from the army-focused model proposed in 2012 by Stuart Crawford and Richard Marsh.

The report advises that most, if not all, of the defence inventory would still come from Scotland’s inherited share of the UK current assets. Whether or not this will happen however is somewhat unclear as the Scottish Government 2014 white paper on independence said an independent Scotland would “inherit a share of existing UK defence assets, giving us most of the equipment we need to establish Scotland’s defence forces”.

However in March last year, Brendan O’Hara, the party’s former defence spokesman at Westminster, called the document “absolutely first class given the circumstances” but added it was now “out of date” because there has since been a UK Government Strategic Defence and Security Review. The MP for Argyll and Bute claimed that the country would now start from scratch and not inherit any assets.

“One of the big debates we want to have is what do we do with the military assets? Do we start from scratch, do we take an eight per cent share or a nine per cent share of them? If we do take a nine per cent share, what do we take? What about the maintenance contracts?

I’m personally very much of the opinion that if we adopt a nine per cent share of the hardware then you are pushed down a road from which it’s sometimes very difficult to come back. I don’t think you can have a bespoke independent Scottish defence policy if you’re immediately saddled with taking eight or nine per cent of military assets.”

Despite the lack of official clarity on current SNP defence policy regarding whether or not an independent Scotland would in fact inherit UK military assets, Crawford points out that the inheritance of assets “would be subject to negotiation” should Scotland ever vote to leave.

“There are many items which independent Scotland would either not want or not be able to afford. There would be no utility for high-end weaponry, and aircraft carriers, submarines, tanks, army attack helicopters, heavy artillery and fast jet attack aircraft can be discounted. And, of course, no nuclear weapons.”

The report also advises that a Scottish Defence Force could comprise a navy of some 20 hulls, including two frigates, Mine Counter Measure Vessels (MCMVs) and Offshore Patrol Vessels (OPVs) and approximately 2500 personnel.

Crawford believes that an independent Scotland would require an army able to produce one deployable brigade (with details of units and equipment to be the subject of further study) of some 6000 personnel, and an air force with approximately 50 aircraft and Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) with some 2000 personnel.

“With an allowance for HQ and support staff, this gives a total of 11000 personnel, about a third less than the 2012 RUSI report. A ratio of 70:30 in terms of regular and reserve personnel might be appropriate, subject to further examination.”

In conclusion, Crawford writes that geopolitical developments over the past six years require an update to the model for how an independent Scotland might defend itself.

“A full spectrum military capability is neither necessary nor easily affordable, and specialisation and exploitation of potential military alliances to cover capability gaps, particularly with European partners, are the way forward. The updated model summarised here shows a possible Scottish Defence Force model which is smaller by a third and considerably less costly than our previous one. It is also approximately half the costings identified for defence in the Growth Commission Report.”

It should be noted that the Sustainable Growth Commission prospectus proposed a defence budget of around £2.7bn.

Andrew Bowie, the Scottish Conservative MP, branded the plan “very worrying”, he said: “To propose a plan so substantially short of the 2% of GDP minimum demanded by the alliance (NATO) is frankly irresponsible and short sighted.”

A spokesman for the SNP said: “The positive debate about Scotland’s future as an independent country includes the wide range of views held across Scottish society. The SNP is absolutely clear that we should get rid of costly nuclear weapons and instead invest in conventional defence.”

Of the many forms an independent Scottish military could take, should Scotland ever become independent, this appears to be the most credible.


  1. Last time I looked all Scottish battalions were under strength, had a higher than average proportion of non-UK soldiers, and were mainly officered by non-Scots. When we lost our country battalion to >cough< 'cuts' it was at (nearly) strength and had been for over a decade and similar could be said for the other two ENGLISH battalions that disappeared at the same time.

    I think an 'independent' Scotland would end up with an 'Eire minus' size of military. The Kiwis can't deploy a brigade, heck we showed in Afghanistan that a country our size struggles with (reinforced) brigade sized deployments.

    Scotland would probably need some proper coastguard vessels, some surveillance aircraft, some rotor craft, and an organic armed police capability (riot police come gendarmarie).

    Of course an 'independent' Scotland would want to be part of the EU, so perhaps aeroplanes from France and Germany could be stationed there in this version of the future. And perhaps young Scots could go off to sign up for the EU Heer.

    • Forgot to mention Marine Scotland has 3 patrol vessels and two Caravan aircraft.

      A forward looking Scotland would push for neutrality and ape Costa Rica.

      Police Scotland has 23,000 employees.

    • Germany struggles to defend its own airspace, so I wouldn’t count on them.

      I hope Scotland stays with the UK because most of them wish it. If they decided to leave I’ll wish them all the best & hope we co-operate as much as they wish us to.

  2. Purely speculative I know but I’d expect some kind of defence deal between the UK and Scotland. Something along the lines of UK air cover by fast jets when needed (same as Ireland) in return for 10 year period for moving Faslane. Fishing protection would be an issue, especially if French et al. decide to encroach in UK waters after an independent Scotland joins the EU (assuming that could happen, which I doubt).

    At the moment, it’s a thought experiment at best.

    • I completely agree. It is sad that people even consider this. I’m not sure I will ever understand the motivation to split up the UK. Very upsetting to think about.

        • No perfectly sensible from my eyes as someone who lives in Scotland and has no wish to see my EU citizenship stripped from me against my will by voters in England when the majority here voted to remain in the EU.

          The real question is will Irish unification come first?

          Cameron’s insane idea to hold a non binding referendum on EU membership has done more to destroy the Union than anything else in the last 50 years….

          • EU citizenship? So you do not want to live in an independent Scotland ? By the way the people in Wales voted to leave the EU so why did you single out the electorate in England for your comments? Like I didn’t know…

          • (Chris H) fedaykin – If you value EU citizenship then move to one of the 27 EU countries. Enjoy the unemployment. Or better still garner enough Scottish votes to leave the UK and then persuade the EU to let Scotland join. Easy Peasy ….

            In a democracy individuals lose and gain privileges (not that I consider EU citizenship a privilege quite the contrary) and nothing was ‘taken against your will’ you inherited it through democracy and you lose it by the same means. It is not your property. I endured 13 years of a Labour Government ‘against my will’ but c’est la vie’in my view.

            Of course while I and millions of others agreed to remain in the EEC in 1975 the UK electorate were never asked about joining the EU were they? No Mr Blair promised a referendum twice and then reneged. Plus ca change. So I would argue I had ‘EU Citizenship’ inflicted on me against my will. But that’s OK in your book?

            Like the SNP (and TH) you single out the English to park your blame for losing a referendum. You Scots who lost fabricate it was a nation by nation vote when it was quite simply a UK wide ‘one person one vote’ and it was the totals that mattered. You also forget and ignore the 1 Mn Scots who voted to Leave – an inconvenient truth.

      • Mine, let me explain.

        The Scots are tired of being outvoted eg. On the EU referendum and in Parliamentary elections where they are stuck with Tories at Westminster, eve. Though they are a minority party in Scotland.

        They also don’t want to be dragged into any future versions of our failed Afghanistan or Iraq adventures as the poodle of USA. An independent Scotland will likely have a smaller military footprint and have a quiet life like other small European democracies like the Republic of Ireland or Slovakia.

  3. (Chris H) Quote:
    ““An independent Scotland would now shift its defence and military emphasis away from the army-focused model we proposed in 2012. Most, if not all, of the defence inventory would still come from Scotland’s inherited share of the UK current assets.”

    So given the population of Scotland lets see what 8% of the UK’s Naval and Air inventory (they don’t need an Army apparently) would be as of today:
    Zero carriers (8% of 2?)

    Zero Trident subs (they don’t do nuclear in the SNP)

    Zero Astute submarines (they don’t do nuclear in the SNP)

    Zero Albions (8% of 2?)

    0.5 x Type 45

    1 x Type 23

    1 x Minesweeper

    1.8 Fast Patrol boats

    1 x OPV

    Or 5 ships

    4 x F-35B (based on the 48 on order)

    1.7 x A400M freighter

    1 x Voyager tanker

    5 x Chinooks

    0.6 x C-17 freighter

    7.5 Hawk trainers

    11 x Typhoons

    7.3 Tutor trainers

    5 x Viking gliders

    1.5 x C-130 freighters

    3 x Tornados

    5 x Wildcats

    4.5 x Merlins

    4 x Apaches

    3 x Gazelle

    5 x UAV

    Or 63+ aircraft

    And before they get all that kit (the crews are free to go or stay in the RN / FAA / RAF / Army) they will have to ante up 8% of the UK national debt. Or £136 Bn. Given they have few assets and would have no central bank or currency I guess rUK might say to the SNP “Well lets call it squits – no UK military hardware and you are debt free”

    The SNP exist in a parallel universe based on hatred of the English which provides their permanent source of blame. They had their chance in 2014 and like all losers peddle every lie they can to discredit and abuse those who voted against independence. Lies like “We were told if we voted No we would remain in the EU” but have forgotten Salmond’s “Oil @ $130 a barrel” fantasy. Just as they do over Brexit now forgetting 1 Mn out of 2.6 Mn Scots voted to Leave. Their leader is nothing more than a Chief Executive of a not very large Regional Authority but has the trappings of ‘State’ with a Parliament and struts around the world like she is some international stateswoman. She and her party are an embarrassment to the Scottish people. She can’t run her own country with public services a joke despite the biggest Barnett Formula handouts ever and the second largest per capita in the UK. Even with all this money from that disgusting ‘Westminster’ she can’t balance her own budget and needs £15 Bn a year from those despised English to survive.

  4. No they take the £136 billion debt and some military stuff, we then borrow say £100 billion for split recovery including new military kit, faslane replacement (offer a port region tens of billions of new base and infrastructure spending and that would make nuke sub basing way more palatable to the Non-loons in the area) NHS support etc.

  5. Blah blah blah. All waffle until the Scots actually vote for independence. They would have to be mad to listen to the poison dwarf aka Nicola Sturgeon and her English hating cronies.
    The SNP are a joke. They want independence for Scotland but then aspire to join the EU. What? That means joining a federal superstate where Scotland’s voice will be drowned out and ignored by the EU 27.
    Also Scotland has to consider their share of sovereign debt they have in no small way contributed to running up. Somewhere around £130-140 billion pounds would appear to be their fair share.
    As to getting some of the UKs military equipment, why would we even allow that? It was paid for by the UK Scotland would be a new country therefore the Scots can build their own Navy, Army and Airforce.
    Similar situation to the UK leaving the EU we have not asked for all our investment money back or reimbursement for all those years when the UK contributed financially more to the EU than we got back.
    Nope I am afraid these notions of an independent Scotland’s military structure are pie in the sky. First vote for independence then we can talk but do not make any assumptions that Scotland will be gifted anything other than a share of the national debt. Cheers😉
    Over to dad’s army to reply….looking forward to that need a good laugh.

    • Hi Mister Bell,

      “Also Scotland has to consider their share of sovereign debt they have in no small way contributed to running up. Somewhere around £130-140 billion pounds would appear to be their fair share. As to getting some of the UKs military equipment, why would we even allow that?”

      Even from a Scot who supports our place in the UK, I can see a problem with that argument. If rUK wanted an independent Scotland to accept liabilities (ie debt), then it would be reasonable for the Scots to also ask for a share of the UK’s assets – military hardware etc

      There’s also absolutely nothing to stop an independent Scotland from using Sterling, either. (Another old chestnut which I often see paraded on this forum). The £ is simply a means of exchange – it is not an asset.

      To sum-up, if a future rUK prime minster decided not to share the UK’s assets with an independent Scotland, then in response – the Scots would be justified in not accepting their share of liabilities.

      But unlike TH, I certainly don’t see an independent Scotland as inevitable, and like Daniele – I believe such an eventuality would indeed be desperately sad.

      • One big thing would stop Scotland using Sterling as it’s currency, EU membership. All new members of the EU are now required to adopt the Euro as their currency.

        • Hi Sean, If the SNP got their big-wish, I don’t see an independent Scotland joining the EU – and adopting the Euro (certainly not initially).

          I don’t walk in those political circles, but I think current SNP thinking is leaning towards EFTA membership instead – not the EU.

          An independent Scotland could certainly use sterling (even without a negotiated settlement with the rUK), although such a policy would probably require the build-up of massive currency reserves. Money that could perhaps be better spent instead on education & health within the UK union. We somewhat debated these issues to death in 2014!

          Despite Ms Sturgeon, it’s ironic how some SNP thinking on Europe is rather close to the Brexiters!

          • (Chris H) Alan – again you make interesting points especially about EFTA rather than EU membership. Although that isn’t quite what dear Nicola is saying. But then she does tend to say one thing and mean another (forgive my anti – SNP sentiments) although adopting the Euro does partially answer the big question I raise below.

            I think you have a real problem not with currency as such but with a future Scottish Central Bank (SCB). A country can trade in whatever currency it wants that isn’t the issue after all how many countries use the US Dollar? Some don’t even have a currency of their own. The US Fed. does not guarantee anything in those trades other than the face value of any banknote and of course if Scotland did use the Pound, Dollar or euro it immediately loses the independence of having its own monetary policy like interest rates. And we have seen how good interest rates for Germany are catastrophic for Greece. To issue Government Bonds, take on debt, underwrite treaties and even contracts that requires an SCB. The Governor of the Bank of England—who, just to make things more confusing, is Canadian—has said that if Scotland were to adopt the British pound on its own, it would need huge reserves of the currency (around 25% of its GDP, or £36 billion) to convince the rest of the world it can credibly act as a lender of last resort in the event of crisis. And this is the crunch point – ‘Lender of Last resort’.

            This was where Salmond got caught out. Even taking 8% of the UK Gold reserves which stand at £172 billion ($248 billion) only gives a future SCB £13.8 Bn which pales into nothing when compared to the £136 Bn being 8% of the UK National debt. And rUK taxpayers may well ask why, given the only two banks they baled out were Scottish (RBS and HBOS), why they should continue to carry that debt rather than an SCB? A question that doesn’t even get asked in a UK context.

            Scottish Banks have always been able to print banknotes and they were legal tender. However those banks were underwritten and regulated by the Bank of England. That ceases on independence.

            What was called “Sterlingization” was a typical SNP soundbite that failed to tell the Scottish people it was not independence because when you lose control of your money you lose control of monetary and the fiscal policy. Which makes me ask how ‘independent’ is that sort of ‘Independence’?

  6. Please for the love of god stop giving these trolls air. It’s done, it’s over the SNP aren’t even a proper goverment, they’re a minority one, they barley have a leg to stand on.

  7. Very reasonable proposals for defence by a modern European country. Scotland’s independence is of course inevitable and the right wing Little Englanders should be aware that large numbers of English people resident in Scotland support independence and are engaged in the political process. Just as England seeks exit from the EU, many in Scotland seek exit from another unrepresentative Union. The England based media fails to cover the massive demonstrations calling for independence.

  8. The nastiness of some of the comments here is despicable. Do any of the unionists commenting here even live in Scotland? The only people who say that the SNP despise the English are the English!

    Scotland is a progressive, inclusive country and it is becoming more obvious that these values prove how much of an antonym Scotland is when compared to other areas of the current UK – our openness to other cultures abhors those who choose to display blatant racist and bigoted points of view.

    The snide, superior and arrogant tones of some of those who have commented only prove that point. I await the trolls…

    • Try walking down any street in Glasgow or Edinburgh with an English shirt on or a car covered with the flag of England and see how “inclusive” Scotland is.

  9. More in Scotland than the SNP support freedom from the unequal Union. Right wing possessive Little Englanders would never understand so bigoted are their outlooks. The Empire has gone and hopefully the north of Ireland will rightfully reunite with the 32 counties of Eire as soon as Brexit occurs. Get over it. It’s what you all voted for after all.

    • Unequal union where England is set to run a budget surplus but the devolved nations operate a defecit. Are you referring to us all as right wing bigots too? How very blasé.

      Always fun TH

    • I didn’t vote for and I think anyone who did is a moron. So don’t lump me in with them. I am neither right wing or a bigot. You on the other hand…

    • (Chris H) TH – Always a pleasure to laugh at your myopic stupidity but you really have excelled even your previous efforts. Quote:
      “Right wing possessive Little Englanders would never understand so bigoted are their outlooks”
      Not of course that any Irish or Welsh ever say a word against the SNP. D’UH! So I can now call the SNP “bigoted possessive Little Scotlanders”? Nah I prefer ‘Bravehearts’ !

      But you display all the bigotry of which you accuse us TH. Its in every sentence you write and then repeat endlessly. And just remember Sweetcheeks it is us ‘Little Englanders’ that fund the SNP’s annual £15 Bn deficit and that is despite a massive Barnett formula settlement. And racism? How about English students having to pay for university education in Scotland while Scottish students don’t despite it being funded by the UK Government through Barnett?

      The fun fact you completely miss is if there was ever a poll in the rest of the UK about Scottish independence the Scots would be out of the UK faster than a ferret down a rat hole. They have become adept at playing the victim, demanding ever more of the UK cake and then wanting to eat it and have more. For a once proud and brilliant people its sad to see where the SNP have led them. But that is the Scots choice. But they shouldn’t expect any sympathy or help from us when it all goes pear shaped.

      • 8Hi Chris

        “They have become adept at playing the victim, demanding ever more of the UK cake and then wanting to eat it and have more. For a once proud and brilliant people its sad to see where the SNP have led them”.

        Wonderful rhetoric – I must confess, though, I don’t recognise this description of Scotland. Mind you – I only live up here!

        And I know this forum can sometimes feel like a debate of the blind & the deaf, but it is worth pointing out (again) – that the SNP is a minority administration in Edinburgh, simply exercising powers devolved to it by the UK parliament (which includes Scottish MPs of all political hues). Currently, the SNP is not leading Scots anywhere ………….

        Good to debate with you.

        • (Chris H) Alan – while the Greens support the SNP in the Scottish Parliament the Scottish people are led by one Nicola Sturgeon. So what she and her SNP diehards say and do reflects the perceived Scottish view even if a growing number are seething at her antics. My observation was based on the SNP’s comments and demands generally but as an example I could mention shipbuilding on the Clyde.

          Its why I was also quick to write:
          “For a once proud and brilliant people its sad to see where the SNP have led them.”

  10. Scotland will inevitably achieve full independence. England used all the same tired arguments over all its now free colonies including Eire. Get over it.

    • Yes Eire has its own government. But it is tied to us both in terms of its economics and communications. Its people still come here too. So not fully independent; though probably only a few states are truly independent. And it seems eager to become a fully fledged state of Greater Germany.

      • Scotland will inevitably achieve full independence. England used all the same tired arguments over all its now free colonies including Eire. Get over it.

        • You may be the dumbest man I have ever seen on God’s green Earth. Considering I can remember Jimmy Carter that is an astounding accomplishment.

        • TH I would love to really find out what the motivation is for the desire to split up the UK. Is it historical? Do you hate the English? Do you hate the Welsh!!? Do you believe that it will lead to a better standard of living for the British north of the border? Do you feel unrepresented in parliament (you decide which parliament this question refers too)? Do you feel oppressed in some way? I am genuinely curious but… I guess I should just get over it.

      • I never met anyone in Eire who felt that they were anything to do with England yet alone the UK. Come to that, I never met anyone in the 32 Counties who wanted the Republic to return to U.K. rule. Not one.

        • Nobody even suggested anything of the sort TH. You’re the only one who’s mentioned the Irish Republic to my knowledge here. Do you just hate us English? If so why? What did we ever do to you?

        • Terry Wogan played a good hand mind and I know a good few ‘Irish’ who call themselves Londoners including a lose friend who is more ‘English’ than I will ever be by nature. What is all this delusion about some mythical understanding of a true border anywhere anyway within natural geographical barriers. Virtually every single border was created by man fighting against man, hell the Scottish one was created by Roman imperialism 2000 years ago and is no more natural than the one in Ireland or indeed any in America, Africa or Asia. The lowland scots are even more closely genetically related to the northern English than to the Highland Scots former Irish invaders. The Anglo Saxons were never more than a minority of even the lands we now call England the ‘black’ Irish clearly are later invaders from North Spain and oh the Celts never visited these Islands being but a tribe in Austria. Which is why Hitler included the mythical Celts in his pure Aryan brotherhood. All we do is create our own barriers through our own prejudices based for the most part on very little at all that is logical. As for IMperialism it’s purely a matter of scale, luck and opportunity not moral rectitude within any given group and certainly no group within the British Isles can claim the moral high ground there. Nor indeed almost anywhere on this planet for that matter.

        • Please save your electricity over there in Russia you Muppet. Stop spouting whatever your Kremlin masters tell you too.
          What a fool you are TH. One day you might wake up and realise what an utterly deranged individual you are.
          Go and lie down in a nice darkened room. Like the one next door , away from your computer, in the cellar of the Kremlin.

    • That’s the BS separatists were shovelling in Quebec for years. Economics 101 and the world geopolitics took the shovels away.

  11. I’ve been a long time member of Ukdj. In all my time I haven’t one read a comment by yourself that isn’t negative or disparaging in its commentary. I am no little Englander, nor does tear come to my ear each time Elgar’s ‘Land of Hope & Glory’ is played at last night of The Proms.
    While I do suspect yours does each time Alexander Alexandrov, ‘Gosudarstvenny Gimn Rossiyskoy Federatsii’ is played.

    • Scotland will inevitably achieve full independence. England used all the same tired arguments over all its now free colonies including Eire. Get over it.

  12. I’ve been a long time member of Ukdj. In all my time Th I haven’t one read a comment by yourself that isn’t negative or disparaging in its commentary. I am no little Englander, nor does tear come to my ear each time Elgar’s ‘Land of Hope & Glory’ is played at last night of The Proms.
    While I do suspect yours does each time Alexander Alexandrov, ‘Gosudarstvenny Gimn Rossiyskoy Federatsii’ is played.

    • Scotland will inevitably achieve full independence. England used all the same tired arguments over all its now free colonies including Eire. Get over it.

    • Matt..the trouble with TH is that I can’t make up my mind if he is a plant put here to wind us up, a spokesman for the Putin/Trump alliance or just a complete fruit cake.

      • Some people enjoy a wind up it makes them feel important when in no other way could they feel that emotion. Sad but a feature of the digital world that has freed what is otherwise a very limited occupation for its devotees. Bots are just their nuclear option that really gets their corrosive juices flowing. Probably the only thing that gets them a hard on.

      • I would go with fruit cake. Utterly deranged madman. Or a Public. Have a nice dose of Novichok why don’t you TH. Apparently there is plenty of it in Russia. Even your tourists carry it about and it is put into Russian perfume as an essential ingredient.
        Darn fool

  13. In case you all missed his 7 copy / pastes – TH said:
    “Scotland will inevitably achieve full independence. England used all the same tired arguments over all its now free colonies including Eire. Get over it.”

    The Troll Bot is in a loop … they will reboot it soon bear with them ..

  14. I never met anyone from the 32 Counties who felt the need for Eire to return to U.K. governance. It’s called decolonisation and the U.K. is well past it’s sell by date. I cannot see the cobbled together U.K. lasting much longer.

    • Na its fine we are a democracy we dont roll tanks in our backyard like in chechnya.
      I know you have to go by your kremlin script but its in vain lol!!

    • (Chris H) -TH – the ‘cobbled together UK’? Dear oh dear .. Well it was the Kingdom of England (which included Wales) before the Scots went bust and came grovelling to ‘England’ to bail them out in 1707. It sort of set the precedent because we have been bailing them out ever since. And then it became the ‘Kingdom of Great Britain’.

      Despite English kings controlling what went on in Ireland for centuries they never formally joined until 1801 to become ‘The United kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland’. And as far as I am aware the Irish weren’t beaten into submission to do so. Of course Eire was created out of that UK and carried on all of the British traditions, laws, commerce, language (yes I know Gaelic is also spoken by a third of the population) and parliamentary system. So even there the influence has hardly been dire.

      ‘Cobbled together’? No TH just three other countries being drawn towards where they knew they were better off. Alongside the English. To think Scotland could even survive on its own is laughable and they want to leave the UK where 62% of their exports go and join the EU where 17% goes. You couldn’t make this bullcrap up!

      So you really think the EU wants to take on another lame duck economy to join the other 22 supported by 6 (soon to be 5) nations? I really don’t think so TH …

      • Hi Chris

        I know you have a bit of a blind-spot when it comes to my wee nation, but I commend your contributions to this forum … opinionated, vigorous and lucid, and hugely entertaining. And your remarks on our Scottish “lame-duck” economy always make me chuckle! (And sometimes, I even hoot!) Seriously, keep them coming.

        As for the most recent instalment …
        “Well it was the Kingdom of England (which included Wales) before the Scots went bust and came grovelling to ‘England’ to bail them out in 1707. It sort of set the precedent because we have been bailing them out ever since”.

        Actually, I think one of the benefits of 1707 was a much needed injection of Scottish inventiveness, drive and entrepreneurial spirit finally turbocharged the ailing English onto the world stage. Under the wing of the Scots, the English could finally throw off their mediocre economic and military performance of the 16th and 17th centuries and emerge from the shadow of France and Spain! Indeed thanks to the Scots, the English even got themselves a proper empire in 1759!

        Certainly, the Kingdom of Scotland was poor in the 1690s – but it wasn’t backward. Since the Union of the Crowns in 1603, though, it had struggled to implement an independent foreign policy – and its overseas trade had suffered as a result. Access to foreign markets, under the protection of the Royal Navy, was the carrot which drove 1707 in the Edinburgh parliament. (With security guarantees offered to the English parliament, a key driver in London).

        Keep them coming, my friend – I enjoy the banter

        Warm Regards


        • Alan.

          Whatever the banter on here.

          Most of us I’d hope, but certainly myself, love the Scots as our own blood, our own people. British people. Welsh, Scots, English, Northern Irish.

          Long may the Union continue.

          We all have our strengths and can contribute to our great nation.

        • (Chris H) Alan – Thank you kindly for your comments. It just shows folks can have differing views without it all getting personal.

          I actually agree with your main point. My comments were aimed at the cretin peddling his ignorance about how the UK was formed and it was for economic and financial reasons. A shared throne had more than a little bearing as well … But yes after 1707 the new UK thrived and became world beaters and in no small part to the contribution of the Scots. It proved the indisputable fact that ‘United we stand, divided we fall’ and it is because of what will happen if the SNP have their way that worries me. I have to not care about the fate of Scotland as that won’t be my problem but I do fear for the Scottish people if they make that decision.

    • All countries and entities are cobbled together, even you can’t be that stupid or am I underestimating your stupidity. Generally only financial benefits or force hold any constructed nation state together. The Soviet Union, the US, even the EU have, or likely will discover that in time. Nothing unique in terms of the U.K. Which is certainly more united than the disparate states of the United States for example.

  15. Crikey Scotland wanting to pay 1/3 of the club membership fee but get all the benefits of membership. So, no change there then. Sooner they get independence the better; it’ll be like the troublesome teenager who empties your wallet and sells your stuff to fund a junkie life-style announcing he’s leaving home!

  16. Ah TH makes a return.

    Always comments on something guaranteed to rile.

    For example this.


    Someone who actually hates his own nation.

    I don’t believe TH s bit or Russian or anything.

    Just a sad person with serious issues about the UK.

    Even Elliot our cousin from across the Atlantic is irritated by you!!

    You will NEVER win. Do carry on with your bile.

    You will also never reply to the many points raised by Chris contradicting and debunking your nonsense.

    Regular as clockwork.

    Welcome back!!!!!!

  17. What a pile of croc!

    To have a meaningful military, you musty first invest in it and then you must sustain it. How on God’s good green earth are you going to do that with £1.1 Billion. That will not cover everthing that’s required to start up a military let alone the baggage that comes with it. It is one of the most short sighted documents I’ve ever read and I can see why he only reached the rank of Lt. Col.

  18. Why don’t the SNP shut up and be realistic. Let’s face it, an independent Scotland would really need to work hard to become an independent successful small nation. The SNP have many issues to address:
    Currency not completely resolved yet.
    Deficit needs to be tackled, at the moment currently 8% of Scottish GDP.
    Are there enough Scottish tax payers to pay for all current enjoyment?
    Oil based economy no longer realistic.
    Loss of jobs in the defence sector, civilian supporting UK military, and those building warships etc.
    SNP want to join NATO, and remove the UK out of Scotland because of
    trident. NATO will not be to welcoming to this and not being able to meet 2% GDP defence cost. Should be interesting.
    Why not drop independence, go for Devo max and enjoy the safety and security of being part of UK.

  19. “Well I never” it looks like we finally get to the bottom of TH, he’s a 32CSM lad.

    I’m sorry TH you can’t just airbrush out of history the fact the majority population of NI are unionists and would just tell you to F£&k off with your 32 counties.

    There is a very good and valid reason NI exists within the UK and is not part of the republic. Most tellingly (and this is my view as someone with an interest in the geopolitics of the British Isles and of Irish history and being a mix of Irish, Welsh, Scot and English and who’s been mates with people on both sides of the border ) It would have doomed Ireland to a never ending civil war not just the 2-3 years it actually had, I suspect any birth of the republic would have been a nightmare if the UK had just left the 32 counties to it. Anyway that’s history, now democracy speaks and it’s not split up the UK yet. So how about you peddle your hatred some place else.

    • Indeed it’s interesting that considerably more than the Unionist element in Nothern Ireland have certainly up to now voted to stay within the Union. The stats are there for anyone to check. Things are generally more complex and nuanced than the simplistic black and white bigotry of the likes of TH or Elliot for that matter.

  20. It seems at the moment that the SNP are intent upon spending as little as possible while contriving to sit under the umbrella of others, in particular NATO. Not sure other European or NATO members will be too keen on that having effectively being forced into doing so with east European countries already for their own sense of security. Not convinced that on that one the Scots might be overplaying their hand considerably in comparison mind.

  21. Time will tell. Meanwhile, the campaign for independence and freedom from England continues and hopefully the other fringe nations will become more vociferous in their battles. As for England, well, who cares? That’s their problem. Nobody who broke free ever requested to return despite the unionist twaddle about too small, won’t cope etc. NOT ONE STATE WHICH ACHIEVED INDEPENDENCE EVER ASKED TO RETURN. Get over it.

    • “Their”

      So you’re not English then.

      I don’t think anyone else on this forum need to get over anything. We are all happy with our UK or our England, Great Britain, whatever.

      YOU are the one with the issues.

      So it is actually YOU who need to get over yourself.

      Sweet dreams.

    • (Chris H) TH – you are without doubt one myopically ignorant character. You keep using expressions like ” independence and freedom from England” when Scotland is not, nor ever has been, part of England. It is part of the UK and one of 4 nations in it. You keep referring to ‘Little Englanders’ and yet we have done nothing on this matter. And what about ‘Little Welshmen’ or ‘Little Ulstermen’? No its the ‘Little Scotlanders’ that are causing the fuss not us and yet you find an excuse to make racist comments? Frankly my dear we couldn’t give a damn especially as we will be £15 Bn a year better off if they ever have the balls to leave the UK that has kept them going and given in to every mad idea they came up with. £15 Bn is more than the EU costs us … Ooops!

      As for “Nobody who broke free ever requested to return” well if you mean Eire no because we agreed the CTA and so basically nothing changed. But if you look globally 55 countries have remained in the Commonwealth. 16 of those choose to keep our Head of State The Queen as their Head of State. That isn’t even returning – its not changing what worked in the first place

      And what pray is the ‘it’ over which we must ‘get over’ exactly? I fear you confuse us English, Welsh and Irish with people who give a rats arse what the Scots do or don’t do.

      • For someone who doesn’t give a ‘rat’s ass’, you seem to have rather a lot to say then. I didn’t mention the Welsh by the way. They have their own ambitions as do others. Remember, not one country voted or expressed the desire to return to the UK and as for your Commonwealth, do you believe that all of the current countries in it intend to keep Lizzy as their queen? My my, you’re dimmer than imagined. Scotland will achieve independence. The UK will be no more. Get over it.

        • “Not one country expressed the desire to return to the UK” Those Countries were NEVER part of the UK. They were Dominions,Colonies,Protectorates or special Mandates. The probability that the Monarchy will fade in the Commonwealth in years to come is also nothing to do with it. we are talking of the Integrity of the UK of which Scotland is a part. Scotland is not a “Colony” but as pointed out by Alan, has played a disproportionate part in the history and existence of the UK-to its credit. You are a bitter man TH and it s apparent that your hatred is barely contained- There is no need otherwise for you to be so aggressive and nasty in your delivery. In the main we are civilized humans conducting a civilized debate. You are the one who needs to get over yourself.
          Have a lovely day

    • Hi TH
      I don’t agree with your comments, but in typical British sense of fair-play – I defend your right to state your view! (And I’m certainly not impressed by the rather more abusive comments you’re sometimes subjected too).
      But for the record, Scotland is already a free country – and Scots voted in considerable numbers in 2014 to remain within the UK. Scots have also recently occupied all the great offices of state, including Prime Minister (Blair & Brown), Chancellor and Home Secretary. Scots also exercise a considerable measure of Home Rule.
      To sum-up: Scots play a leading role throughout the UK, indeed arguably disproportionately so. I certainly don’t see Scotland as a “fringe nation” – not culturally, and certainly not politically.

  22. Can’t help but feel the Scots for cutting their noses of to spit their faces. The Scots are a fine proud people but by god surely they aren’t going to bite the hand that feeds them!

  23. Whatever military force an independent Scotland came up with, it would be a token force with the ultimate guarantor of security being the rest of the UK. And it would be a sad day for all involved.

  24. I respect the right of some to support the idea of an Independent Scotland. It is a perfectly legitimate political stance but one with which I personally disagree. I argued for the Union in the Scotsman newspaper almost daily before and during Salmonds ascent to power. He was an able and in my opinion, like able politician-far better than most on offer down South. Many of the Nats I crossed swords with were good people who argued their case as gentlemen/women. TH is one of the nasties whose hatred of the British/English is beyond all reason. The same sentiments exist in some parts of NI from where my family hails and it is present on both sides of the divide. Sad to see how Scotland has polarised around this issue and one suspects some intervention in this and other matters from the Russians to weaken the UK. I have no respect for the Governments of NZ and ROI who neglect their Defence Forces and basically sponge off their neighbours. The above sounds as if an Independent Scotland would head the same way.
    Sad if it happens.
    Surprised we have not heard from DadsArmy-his contributions to the debate are cerebral and without the kind of bitter BS that TH sprouts.
    I was born British and will never feel anything different and, if I was not to be cremated I would want a Union Jack on my coffin:)

  25. What would the Scots do about Russian bombers probing their airspace? I think they would need at least one squadron of fast jets to protect their sovereign airspace.
    They may not want large naval vessels, but they need to protect their oilrigs in the rough Winter seas. That means vessels large enough & robust enough to cope with that.

    • Exactly. Unnecessary duplication of hardware and institutions all round. This has always been one of my arguments against the breakup of the UK but as always with this issue I still believe it is largely a decision of the heart for most people

  26. I’m confused, the SNP are saying an independent Scotland will be wealthier than the UK, its potential in unlimited should they split from the UK. But they can’t afford 2% on defence! Something doesn’t stack up.

  27. Political/economic autonomy makes sense / is understandable given the present farce South of the border. who can blame the Scots for wanting out of the English/Welsh Brexit nightmare? But really, how sad and pitiful it is to read such pathetic intellectual exercises.

    What possible role (and, really, “neutrality”???) would there be for a Scottish armed forces of 11000 (sturdy, for sure) souls? Fighting off hordes of invading Icelandic fishermen? Repelling frenzied English at the border? Sending a reinforced company on peacekeeping duties? Integrating alliances and leasing (I thought the exercise was about sovereignty?) Scottish allies (I can’t think of any enemies the Scots might or could have).

    Why not just admit that the only rational course of action is to pay subs to the MOD, maintain things as they are, and refuse to use Scottish footsoldiers in particularly misguided adventures proposed by Whitehall (say, invading Iraq)?

    From a rumb British armed forces perspective, what a calamnity even to have to consider such situations. What will the MOD do for recruitment if this folly ever comes to pass?
    Sad, sad, sad.

  28. If similar sized Norway and New Zealand can have Royal Navies and Airforces, why does Scotland have to have a ‘Scottish Defence Force?’
    Scotland has a proud military history and traditions and I hope they would not be thrown out if it ever becomes independent.

  29. The Scots want more say over their affairs without the numerically greater English crowding out their voices eg. 62% of Scots voted to remain in the referendum but they are being dragged out of the EU! Scotland has been politically out of synch with the rest of the UK for the best part of 20 years. I think there is a possibility of independence in the medium term unless the overly centralised UK system of governance is reformed and a looser federation negotiated.

    As for defence, it is a minor issue in the greater scheme of Scottish politics. An independent Scotland will have a much smaller defence footprint. There will be no misadventures like Iraq or Afghanistan! Trident will no longer be based in Scotland, only miles from the central belt cities, and Scotland will be a place nothing exciting happens like Finland or Slovenia. This is the best defence policy, rather than being targeted for terrorism because the UK was foolish to ‘punch above it’s weight’ and follow the Americans without questjon.

    • I would suggest a navy similar to Denmark or Norway. 5 frigates similar to Fridtjof Nansen-class frigates or Iver Huitfeldt-class frigate and or supplemented 2 Absalon-class support ships. Cut price River-class 2’s or better/cheaper overseas designs. 16-32 Saab Grippen multirole fighters for interception, marine intervention or ground attack. Maritime Patrol Aircraft. 5 transport aircraft/marine patrol. Protecting the offshore assets and sea area offshore Scotland is important https://www.emodnet-ingestion.eu/promotion/use-cases/renewable-energy-development-data-in-the-uk/2

      Army side a few multirole battalions or two brigades, Artillery, Special forces, engineers and support. Reserves.

      No Trident, Aircraft Carriers, Nuclear subs, MBT’s or permanent overseas bases.

  30. King Arturs Britan: The Truth. We are all the same on this Island, more split west and east if anything, Lets top this nonsense!

  31. Scotland would have a navy no bigger than New Zealand’s, no subs, 2 frigates, patrol ships and boats. An air force with 8-10 nominal fighters, an army of one light infantry brigade.

  32. Why argue about it. If Scotland do leave, great. If Northern Ireland leave, great. The same goes for Wales. I could not care less, what does it really matter.


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