With support for Scottish independence at a seemingly all time high and next year’s Holyrood elections – Covid 19 permitting – in the offing, it’s little surprise that the debate on Scotland’s future constitutional status is once again in the news.

There are a number of major issues here, membership of the EU, currency, and the economy to name but three. But the topic of how an independent Scotland might organise its own defence forces always seems to crop up, this despite the fact that defence is a Westminster retained competency and really nothing to do with the Scottish Parliamentary elections. 


This article represents the opinion of the author and is part of UK Defence Journal efforts to highlight a wide range of views on topical defence issues.

This article was submitted by Stuart Crawford, a regular officer in the Royal Tank Regiment for twenty years, retiring in the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in 1999. Crawford, a former SNP defence spokesman, 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 and Thinkscotland.org.


Be that as it may, I have been writing about this particular topic for at least that last 20 years or so – until I’m blue in the face, if you’ll excuse the rather obvious pun, me being an independenista and all that.

For anyone who has the time and inclination, the main thrust of my thinking is in a 2012 RUSI publication entitled A’ the Blue Bonnets: Defending an Independent Scotland, and the Scottish Centre on European Relations published Defending an Independent Scotland Post-Brexit. These should be read consecutively to get a real sense of how thinking has developed. 

HMNB Clyde at Faslane.

Whilst many observers are happy to examine in detail how many ships, aircraft, and battalions a Scottish Defence Force (SDF) might field and what the budget might be, all of which has its place, the elephant always in the room is the UK’s Trident-carrying SSBNs (submarine/submersible, ballistic missile armed, nuclear powered) based at Her Majesty’s Naval Base, Clyde, commonly referred to as Faslane (although it encompasses the weapons storage facility at Coulport as well). When it comes to talking about iScotland defence all roads lead eventually to Faslane.

Perhaps I should outline my personal position on the UK’s nuclear weapons before going further. Firstly, I believe that from a moral and ethical standpoint it is so indiscriminate as a weapon – sophisticated targeting systems notwithstanding, it is so powerful that huge collateral damage to people and property is unavoidable – that no civilised country would ever use it.

Next, I don’t believe it is truly independent in that I cannot imagine the UK ever employing it without at least the tacit approval of the US (although I also understand that technically it can be used independently), nor do I think it is a universal deterrent – it didn’t deter the Argentinians in 1982, nor the Iraqis in 1990, nor the Taliban and/or Al Qua’eda. Nor do I truly believe there exists a credible nuclear threat to UK interests from so-called rogue states like Iran or North Korea. (It may stop the UK being bullied by Russia in the final analysis but I’m not convinced of this).

HMS Vanguard near Faslane.

What I do firmly believe is that Trident is essentially a political weapon, not a military weapon, whose main function is to maintain the UK in the front rank of global powers and guarantee continuing national membership of the UN Security Council, NATO etc etc, a posture supported by successive Westminster governments over the past 50 years plus.  Furthermore, its maintenance, and eventual replacement, places an enormous burden on the MoD’s budget and soaks up vast funds which would be far better spent on the UK’s conventional forces – more ships for the RN, better equipment for the army, better pay and conditions, and better provision for ex-service personnel when they leave the armed forces. Or, indeed, on other things like education and the NHS.

In summary, I think Trident is in fact a weapons system which has no conceivable use and which is far too costly when other priorities should prevail.  Therefore I do not think it should be replaced when it comes to the end of its lifespan by anything similar.  The best thing that could happen here is that the Vanguard class SSBNs should soldier (sailor?) on until they are obsolete and then not be replaced by the Dreadnought class, which should be cancelled forthwith.

Against that personal background, let’s look at the options for the UK’s nuclear deterrent post Scottish independence. The prevailing orthodoxy in the broader independence movement seems still to be that Trident would be removed from the Clyde almost immediately after Scotland seceded from the UK. This is the stuff of fantasy for a number of reasons. First and foremost of these is the fact that there is nowhere else for it to go, not in the short to medium term anyway. For example, Barrow on Furness is tidal, Milford Haven is already home to a major oil terminal and therefore doubly vulnerable, and the traditional ports on the south coast of England don’t have the close proximity of weapons to submarines that Faslane/Coulport offers. 

Vanguard class submarine HMS Victorious.

Nationalists are wont to say that “this is no’ our problem”, an easy get out, but actually it is. Because a newly independent Scotland and its anti-nuclear weapons campaigners are only two of the players in this particular debate, and two of the smaller ones at that. The rest of the UK (rUK) will have something to say, as will NATO, and perhaps most influential of all, the USA will want its penny’s worth. I have been advised on pretty good authority that if an iScotland demands early removal of Trident then its accession to NATO would be blocked by the US. And iScotland would want to be part of NATO, believe me.

It is unlikely to come to this, however, for wiser heads must surely prevail. As an academic chum asked the other day, why would an iScotland make the process more difficult than it need be? Why would any government let its policies be driven by, let alone be in thrall to, small, but well-intentioned, vocal pressure groups which are only one or two of the players in a multi-participant debate?

There is a danger of prioritising process over purpose here. The purpose is to remove nuclear weapons from the Clyde; the process by which that is done should be a matter of negotiation. It seems to me that the best way of approaching this is to acknowledge that there are difficulties in relocating the SSBNs and their missiles and accept that a measured withdrawal of them from the Clyde is most likely, perhaps whilst other arrangements are made in the rUK. Most observers seem to agree on a timeframe for this of between 10-20 years. 

HMS Vigilant shown alongside at HMNB Clyde.
She had recently returned to her home port, Faslane Naval Base, after a successful operational patrol.

I think even the SNP is coming round to this. The party has never put a firm timeframe on denuclearisation, and has tried to keep all the footsoldiers on board with the weasel-worded (and I paraphrase) “as soon as safe and practicable”, which can mean all things to all men. What is certain is that the removal of the Trident submarines, along with presumably the rest of the UK’s submarine fleet and at least some of the mine counter measures and offshore patrol vessels – ie those not inherited by the independent state – will leave a huge economic hole in the west of Scotland that the SNP’s plan to put the Joint HQ of the SDF there in its place cannot hope to fill.

In the interim period between Scottish independence and the withdrawal of the Trident fleet, however, there might be a little good news. The SSBNs presence at Faslane is, as I have said often times before, the biggest bargaining chip an iScotland is likely to have. Allowing them to remain temporarily can be traded for either payment of an annual lease, which I have suggested (conservatively) might be in the order of £200 million per annum, or to defray part of iScotland’s share on the UK National Debt, another emotive topic, or indeed for anything else that the government of the day might decide. The chip should be spent wisely.

© Stuart Crawford 2020

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Stuart Crawford
Stuart Crawford was a regular officer in the Royal Tank Regiment for twenty years, retiring in the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in 1999. Crawford attended both the British and US staff colleges and undertook a Defence Fellowship at Glasgow University. He now works as a political, defence and security consultant and is a regular commentator on military and defence topics in print, broadcast and online media.
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Dave Wolfy

The primary purpose of the UK deterrent is to ensure that USA keeps its promise.

After that it is s profound political tool.

Darren hall

And just when have we used this ”profoundly political tool”?

Jonathan

Since their very inception. Nuclear weapons are probably the single most important factor in controlling the destructive cycle that began in 1914 ( If you really look at it there was never Really an interwar period as 10s millions died in the continuation of conflicts from the 1918 until the 1939 or end to WW2 as we Simply moved to another stage of the cycle….moved to Korea and the Cold War) it was likely this cycle would have never ended, nuclear weapons allowed the Cold War that slowly allowed a normalising of geopolitical tensions ( the last act of the… Read more »

Darren hall

Having a Big stick, and using a big stick are two very different thing. Yes I agree, war is politics by another means, but, our big stick, the French big stick and the bigger US and USSR stick, did not stop Korea, Vietnam, The Falklands, the nationalisation of Suez, The Gulf War, force Saddam out of office, end the conquest of Afghanistan by the USSR, stop the Taliban, end the need for French and now British troops in central Africa… the list goes on. Why do we not ”use” this political tool to stop the Chinese acquisition of territory in… Read more »

Jonathan

Darren you have to remember the level of violence that was consuming humanity in the early 20c was in no way normal. Cultures, people’s and nations were being removed a a rate never before seen in human history.make no mistake the Soviet communist state was planning on removing our society from history as well as our culture, religion and probably any part of the population considered a risk. The existence of Nuclear weapons Stopped this unusual level of destruction. You can track a decline in casualties in the second half of the 20C post the development of nuclear weapons. The… Read more »

John Clark

Spot on Jonathan, I totally concur. As unpalatable and vile as nuclear weapons are, they have been a guarantee of peace between major powers since WW2.

I simply don’t buy the disarmament argument, it utterly fails to take human nature into account.

As had been said, the horror show of a complete meat grinder that was WW1, totally failed to stop WW2 barely 20 years later.

There’s always another angry little man with a power complex waiting round the corner and only the nuclear mallet will keep him under control…..

The Dreadnoughts are our guarantee…

Rudeboy1

Every single day its in operation…

Darren hall

see my response to Jonathan

Daniele Mandelli

What promise Dave?

Dave Wolfy

To unleash nuclear hell on the Soviet Union/Russia on our behalf.
This was a rash promise made by the US before the Russians could reach the USA.

Daniele Mandelli

Oh. OK had not heard that cheers.

George Royce

Me neither.

john melling

Considering the USA congress committee, certainly just after the Falklands war.. knew the USA was completely outgunned and being out manufactured! They were crapping themselves. USSR was way ahead and by the time the US had decided to build one type of new jet and The use of the subs in Scotland is as a deterrent and a useful part of the armed forces as we don’t have the “triad capabilities” of the US only 4 submarines. The cost of aggression outweighs the gains and that’s the deterrent in the form of the subs telling Russia and China we are… Read more »

Darren hall

The cost of aggression outweighs the gains and that’s the deterrent in the form of the subs telling Russia and China we are watching

Ok i concede that point as logical..

But, where has it stopped Russian or Chinese aggression or land grabbing?
Has it stopped the mass murder of Chinese citizens?
Has it maintained Hong Kongs democracy?

Has it stopped none Nuclear nations from squaring up to a nuclear nation?

AlexS

Why your absolutist, binary thinking Darren?
Where the Perfection Game leads us too? To zero, nothing.

Darren hall

Wow, Whats up Alex, my different view offensive to you?

Meirion X

It called Checkmate! If Argentina had Nuclear warpons at the time of the Falklands War(A fiction), the UK would have deployed NWs in the region to Checkmate Argentina from using them or a threat to use them.The conventional war would have continued.
But if the UK did Not deployed NWs in the region, the Argentineans could have Checkmate the British Task force.
And have force the UK to retreat.
Again, just a scenario!

Meirion X

Sorry Alex, this reply is ment for Darren.

Andy P

Are you suggesting that we shouldn’t have it as its not a ‘one size fits all’ wonder weapon ??? Our tanks, aircraft and ships haven’t stopped Russian or Chinese aggression either. Its part of the deterrent, not its entirety. Turning your logic on its head, do you think Saddam would have invaded Kuwait if either they or the Saudi’s had nukes. The thing is, we’ll not know how effective a nuclear deterrent is as ‘touch wood’ its worked so far and in the last 75 years countries that have them have kept them to themselves instead of lobbing them at… Read more »

Darren hall

My logic is ok the way it is… Would Saddam have attacked Kuwait if they had Nucs… IMHO, yes he would have. Like all Dictators, the guy would have done anything. So a couple of Questions for you to ponder over… Have nuclear weapons prevented attacks on nuclear armed nations or their interests… Yes or No? So why would a none nuclear nation attack a country with the ”deterrent”? Why does the deterrent not work? No weapon in the history of mankind has ever stopped aggression and that is the same with Nucs. No wonder weapon, one size fits all… Read more »

Andy P

You’ve lost me along the way. You think the UK should have an independent nuclear deterrent but you don’t think it works as a deterrent. Is your issue that its labelled as a ‘deterrent’ (even by yourself) but there have still been conflicts since their introduction ???? Not trying to be clever I’m just not following your train of thought on this. As for Saddam invading Kuwait, we’ll never know how it would have panned out but I’m not sure your logic of Dictators doing “anything” is accurate, we’ve had and have plenty dictators with nukes and even they seem… Read more »

Darren hall

My Train of thought is Nucs are bad… The ultimate (after Bio) weapon.
Britain needs them because others have them.
No they are not a deterrent from war, too many dead since 1945 prove they have failed at keeping the peace.
Did they stop the cold war getting hot?
Debatable.
Because it never happened does not mean its because of having them… There were many factors economic etc as to why it stayed cold…

Dictators with Nucs.

Besides North Korea, I can’t name any…

Andy P

“My Train of thought is Nucs are bad… The ultimate (after Bio) weapon. Britain needs them because others have them.” Yeah, plenty on here saying the same. “No they are not a deterrent from war, too many dead since 1945 prove they have failed at keeping the peace. Did they stop the cold war getting hot? Debatable. Because it never happened does not mean its because of having them… There were many factors economic etc as to why it stayed cold…” They might have stopped war but they seem to have stopped nuclear war or nuclear ‘bullying’. Countries have conventional… Read more »

Andy P

Sorry can’t edit but the above should read “They might NOT have stopped war”

Andrew

Darren, I’d argue against your logic…. after the end of the 2nd world war/mid to late 1940’s, I’d suggest it was the existence of American Nuclear bombs that provide the deterrent to stop Stalin from continuing to expand into Western Europe and introducing us all to the wonderful communist way of life…
France/Uk/America/USSR/Russia/China have all been free from major attacks, so that in itself suggests something…
As to stopping the Cold War going hot, they certainly had the effect of proxy wars where the superpowers continued the ideological and physical war through their proxies…

Meirion X

There was once Joseph Stalin!

Meirion X

See my reply below, I mistakenly gave to Alex!

AJP1960

Personally, I feel that the “outgunned and out-manufactured” argument to be totally incorrect.

The “missile gap” where it was perceived that the USSR was so far ahead of the USA was proven to be the result of the beliefs of US secret services. Whether the beliefs were deliberately promoted to push US arms manufacture (at the behest of partisan politicians perhaps) or was a genuine belief is yet to be explained

Darren hall

Is that written down for use to look at?, or recorded in a video / audio for use to listen to?

dan

Keeps it promise to do what? The U.S. taxpayer already shoulders 90%+ of the nuke deterrence for NATO and the rest of the free world at a tremendous financial and personal cost. Are you worried that if the Chicoms or Russians nuke Britain America won’t retaliate?

Wish people would stop believing everything they see on the leftist media and just use common sense.

Always Right

No it isn’t Dave, it is to act as a nuclear deterrent for the UK. Moron.

Dave Wolfy

Ahhhh! A four year old using long words.

Your mummy must be very proud.

Harold

A good read and written by a well qualified person. Scottish freedom will occur – as will Welsh – and it is helpful that despite the deniers, plans are made now during the UKs twilight years.

Airborne

There he is! Missed your inane nationalistic rantings and ravings. Did you actualy read the subject content, or skim read the big words? Looking forward to a well thought out reply from you…..

John Clark

Obliviously released from the asylum for Christmas Airborne…
Still Harolds howl at the moon comments always make me smile, so long may his madcap comments continue!

Airborne

Nurse incresed his meds, he has woken up mate.

Pigeon

I actually doubt it will (although personally as the only place on earth Ive received racism, I wouldnt be sad to see Scotland gone). Short term blips in sentiment aside, the UK is far stronger bound together than the EU is or was. As Brexit has shown, leaving even that Union has mammoth political and practical problems that really are unsolvable. Certainly unsolvable within the promises made of a campaign. Actual Scottish independence would make Brexit look like a walk in the park. I have to wonder at rhe sanity of people who are against Brexit but for Scottish Indepencence,… Read more »

James

If Scotland did vote to leave I very much doubt the remaining UK government would be or even attempt to be as anywhere near as awkward as what the EU has been to a party that has democratically voted to leave.

I dont see exactly what is unsolvable about Brexit, everything has a solution unless the other side of the table wish to make it unsolvable which they are doing which then leaves a solution that no one particularly wants, no deal.

Andy P

Something that seems to get lost in all this (I blame the media to a large extent) is that IF there is a no deal Brexit, there is nothing to stop the UK and the EU to get round the table and thrash out deals the next day, week or month. Once the ‘no deal’ dust has settled and both sides see where they stand they can have another wee chat about things.

James

Completely agree, once the German, French, Italian, Swedish business communities start lobbying the governments it wont take long for a proper discussion to be had and in such an eventuality the EU has lost most of its bargaining points to hold us to account. After 3 months of awkward trading we would probably end up with a massively better deal which would cover the cost of those few months pretty much immediately.

expat

Maybe but unlikely Scotland will be denuclearised in the process. The US will demand iScotland entry into NATO will demand access to Scottish airfields as minimum to forward base nukes. iScotland won’t be offering NATO very much, real estate is Scotland one bargaining chip for entry into the club.

Darren hall

You forget Harold…

If the people of England were given the vote, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland would already be independent.

But alas, the largest group in the Union is not allowed to voice what they want to happen.

And before you jump on your high horse… I ain’t English…

Daniele Mandelli

Hi Darren.

Not being funny, and respect your opinion, but, I’m English, and I don’t have that opinion that other English would wish the other nations gone.

We Brits have intermingled so much over the centuries. It is not them and us.

If there was, heaven forbid, another Indy ref, I’d want the whole UK to vote, not just the Scots, as it is a decision that affects all.

And I’m confident most English would say no.

Having said that, first and foremost I’m British. And damn proud of that.

And Scotland, Wales, and NI too.

Captain P Wash

upvoted………

Robert Blay

Agreed, well said. Id vote to keep the Union together as a proud English man. Sorry for repeating a political pun, but we are all better together. More devolution.Yes, definitely, but we need to stay a United Kingdom. 🇬🇧

Darren hall

As i Said, I ain’t English, I’m British, and damn proud of being British. My family are from Scotland and England and I believe in this Union the most out of all of them. But the fact remains, England has never been given the vote. As much as Tony Blair said it was to enhance the democracy of these isle, devolution has not. I want this Union of ours to endure, but if I say I’m a British Nationalist I’m seen as a Racist, same as if you were to say I’m an English Nationalist… But my cousin can be… Read more »

George

Completely agree Daniele. Proud to be British and for the four nations to be kept as one UK, and I’m English from birth.
Cheers
George

4th watch

From English, Irish and Scots. How can I live with myself but I do?!

David Nicholls

I tend to agree, but even worse is that the Scottish, Welsh and NI MPs have a full vote on “domestic” issues (by definititon of current devolution) for the English but…….. Is that democratic?

barry white

Im English and have lived in Wales since 2003
I happen to live in an area that has one of the 3 yes 3 Welsh Nationalist MPs and believe me apart from the odd one or two there is no call for independence
When you saw the Welsh flag waving indie marches on the beeb it seemed a lot but the camera lies If you zoomed out the camera there was about a thousand there
So please dont bring the Welsh into the equation

Meirion X

The English Hater has emerged from his other disguises!

Meirion X

@H
You Kremlin Masters scraping the bottom of the barrel again with your cheap rants!

Alan Reid

Hi Meirion,
Och, Harold’s alright, really – and he’s part of the furniture of this forum! lol

Alan Reid

Harold, Not again! I think you’re suffering from some bizarre freedom-fantasy.

This isn’t the 14th century, and we’re not extras in the movie, “Braveheart”.

Scots are already a free people; I know we are – cause I remember queuing up to vote in the 2014 referendum – the greatest democratic exercise in Scotland’s history!

But if it makes you happy, by all means, paint your face blue !

Damo

Freedom hahahaha

Captain P Wash

Don’t forget Cornwall. oh and Northern Ireland, what about North Devon and Portland, come to think of it Portsmouth and Southampton too. all seeking Freedom too.

geoff

Disagree with the author on many fronts. Where to start-the UK would NEVER use or threaten to use a nuclear missile in a conflict such as the Falklands or Afghanistan. It is a weapon of absolute last resort and your suggestion that it would have had ANY influence in say the Falklands conflict is absurd. Equally ridiculous is the suggestion that it is a political tool to maintain inter alia, Britain’s membership of the Security Council. The simple truth is that is necessary insurance. The likes of China, Russia,North Korea will NEVER relinquish theirs so why or more to the… Read more »

Darren hall

I agree one hundred present…

How would the world react to a nation threatening to ”nuke” a none nuclear country in a conventional war scenario…
(WW2 USA in Japan, twice… excluded)

How would the people of the UK react a Prime minister here was to do it?

geoff

Thanks Darren

Paul T

Im sorry,i disagree with Both of you Entirely,to my Memory the British Government never Threatened the Use of any Nuclear Weapons in 1982.As the UK’s Principal Means of Deterence it should prevent any Act of Military Aggression against the UK and its Interests by both Nuclear and Conventional Means – and in that to my mind it Failed.

Darren hall

Hi Paul, I think you should reread Geoff and my posts.

You disagree with us both by saying you agree with us

Alan Reid

Hi Paul
I agree that the British Government didn’t publically threaten the use of nuclear weapons against Argentina in 1982.
Just to build a full picture though, I believe ships of the Task Force did carry tactical nuclear weapons in the South Atlantic – albeit not used.
I think these were removed from warships like Hermes and stored on RFA vessels during the period of hostilities.
I also remember media reports emerging after the war that a Resolution-class submarine had been dispatched into the southern oceans during the crisis.

4th watch

Did the British and French undertaking to Poland stop Hitler? He was a gambler and cunning to boot.

Darren hall

So the Deterrent didn’t work…

Dan

Didn’t Margaret Thatcher threaten to use nuclear weapons during the Falklands campaign? I remember reading somewhere that she reportedly told Francois Mitterrand that if France didn’t stop supplying Exocet missiles to Argentina, the UK would be forced to resort to using nuclear weapons.

James

I think that story came from a published book (I cannot remember which one) not actually something that was said, well id hope anyways.

Pigeon

All weapon systems are political, as Clauswitz said so wisely “war is politics by other means”. It really frustrates me when people, especially military people, mistake Nukes as being “different” and so should say, be funded seperately. The entire military structure is there to acheive political ends – everything it does is political in impact and control, be that nuking Russia, conventionally invading somewhere, not annoying cvilians with training, following H&S processes and so on. Thanks to technology politicans can now decide even the course of small scale ops. Politicsl control is total, and so it should be as otherwise… Read more »

geoff

I think it is a gross oversimplification to say that the entire military structure is there to achieve political ends. The means to wage war are rooted in the very genetic makeup of mankind, in his culture and social structure. It is so entrenched in the identity of nations that it has a self perpetuating volition. Also no one says that Nukes will never be used-the odds are that they will, but they are profoundly different from the other elements of the arsenal and the fact that they have only been used in two operations in one war and despite… Read more »

Pigeon

The last para is intended to be patronising. Despite all the noise, this is a non issue with a very obvious outcome that both sides would rapidly get to. The devil would be the detail of time and payments – but this isnt even as difficult as fish or standards. Anyone who thinks centuries of shared military should be upended overnight, or alternatively that the rUK could somehow insist on a perpetual SBA is deluded. Of course the military structure is there to acheive political ends, what else is it for? Why else would you “let slip the dogs of… Read more »

Darren hall

wow… I took the time to read you post a few time.
And whilst I can agree on a few of your point, this one;
I also suspect that their usage will not be quite so bad as feared
I suggest you look into the effects of a ”limited” nuclear war beteween states with ”small” arsenal. i.e. India and Pakistan…
Yes after a nuclear war, the would will endure, just not like it is now and most likley, without humans…

Pigeon

I suggest you look at the human cost of conventional wars. We saw “limited” nuclear war in 1945.

I’m not suggesting it wouldnt be horrific, but it is hyperbolic to claim an exchange say across India-Pakistan would see no humans left. Clearly in and around the impacts, but the world is truly vast and most warheads are concentrated in targetting. That is, assuming they work.

Darren hall

Having spent 19 years on active service, I fully understand the human cost, that is why I’m now in a civilian job, the cost But that is an aside…

As to the ”limited nuclear war in 1945”.
Never heard Hiroshima and Nagasaki referred to like that before.

The limited bombs used were Atomic devices, as removed from modern Hydrogen device as an arrow is from a Sidewinder.

you need to look a bit deeper into the effects of a limited nuclear war

Pigeon

I think you need to do a bit more digging on arrows and sidewinders really. Atomic vs Hydrogen is irrelevent when devices are kt range by design. There are a lot of asumptions in “world ending” nuclear exchanges, not least that an awful lot of the Earth (90%+) wouldnt be hit, many areas would be hit repeatedly (to account for failure – but simply rearranging the debris), many systems would fail and so on. A limited nuclear exchange has global impact in many ways but does not end the world. That would be sheer hyperbole. The actual technical difficulty of… Read more »

Darren hall

Ad there by is the issue. You are completely unaware of the difference. The Atomics in the 45 were in the mt not the kt An arrow is a missile, so is a sidewinder. and having shot arrows and worked with Sidewinders I am fully aware of those these weapons and the differences. You seem to be under the typical modern mistake that modern Hydrogen devices would do the same as a 1945 device. Sadly you are so wrong. You seem to think a nuclear war will kill a couple million people and that’s it. What about the radiation what… Read more »

Pigeon

Sigh. Little Boy and Fat Man were 13kt & 21kt devices, check your facts. I know the Arrow/Sidewinder analogy probably wasnt your own idea, and you’ve been told it at some point and are just repeating it to gain credibility. Even if you have handled an Arrow (well done you – I did that at 7 I think on a school thingy), and of course Sidewinder in all your19 years service (I claim 18 ongoing, with Sidewinder, ASRAAM, AMRAAM and Meteor to name just the AAMs), although I’ve no idea what that is supposed to add although I assume you… Read more »

Darren hall

Sigh… so the true colours come out.

I answer your questions and you belittle me because I’m ex service. Well done you. So what sort of engineer are you?

beside an arrogant one?

Captain P Wash

Well I’m thinking he is Just Correct and you haven’t a clue.

Captain P Wash

Might want to check the KT and MT facts again mate….. would love to see what you reply with.

Levi Goldsteinberg

Yawn. Too much attention paid to the Scottish “independence” pipe dream. Moving on…

Meirion X

Agreed! Scotland would need to close its Budget deficit first before it could use the Pound. Or have a hyper inflation currency instead?

Andy P

That’s not the case, if Scotland or indeed the UK wanted to use the US dollar they could. Plenty of countries do, there are a lot of negatives with using a currency that you have no control over though.

Not being pedantic, just putting it out there.

Meirion X

Surely Andy, the US would impose stringent terms and conditions, if iScotland was to use the US Dollar?

Andy P

A country can’t really stop another using their currency, at least that’s my understanding. If a country wants to trade in a particular currency they can, plenty smaller countries use bigger countries currency, mainly the US dollar. I’m no economist but I’d guess there would have to be some kind of transition where they ‘spend’ the old currency and ‘sell’ in the new one. You have zero control over the currency you use if its another country’s though and I doubt an indy Scotland would. Just flagging up that an indy Scotland COULD use the rUK pound although I would… Read more »

Andy P

As it happens, this has just crossed my youtube path. Nearly half an hour if you can be arsed to go through it but pretty much sums up a lot of my fears about a future Scottish independence.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MJiq3Y4c4C0

James

A lot of countries peg an independent currency against the dollar for exchange rate purposes, only a handful of very small countries actually use the US dollar as a currency.

Andy P

Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t suggesting Scotland should or would use the dollar, just that it could. I was replying to a post further up the thread. I even pointed out I wasn’t trying to be pedantic but they COULD use the pound.

James

It could in theory but the disruption it would cause in the short to medium term would be horrendous.

Im sure it would continue with the pound but its grand dreams of joining the EU would require it to have its own central bank and independent monetary policy and we would end up with two versions (values wise) of the pound going over the border, until they could get the Euro in of course.

Andy P

Yup, totally agree.

The SNP have started a central bank of sorts, baby steps for them I suppose and I would guess its logical for them on a couple of levels, its that first step and also it will keep the SNP supporters sweet that they’re working towards ticking the boxes.

https://www.reservebank.scot/#gsc.tab=0

Just a warning, if you do open the link its full of the Gaelic guff, ya know the stuff that we all speak fluently across all of Scotland….. Apparently.

If its stuff you’re in to James, that interview with Andrew Neil I linked above is quite interesting.

Last edited 26 days ago by Andy P
John Clark

The key to keeping the Scots under control has always been to threaten the vital Irn-Brew industry.

At the first wispier of independence, we should quickly occupy and threaten to destroy the Irn Brew refinery, it will bring them to heel quick enough…..

Andy P

Step away from the ‘Jock juice’ John, the Irn Bru is innocent in all this….. there’s no need for this to escalate… ;-

John Clark

Don’t make us do it Andy …. 🤣🤣

Andy P

You win….

Barry Larking

Correct. But the chief and immediate problem would be Scotland’s borrowing. Tis would needs be at a much less favourable rate than England’s. The obvious way out would be to cut national spending – by a lot more than the suggested rental on Faslane.

peter wait

When Shetlands and Orkneys break away they will be economic basket case !

Barry Larking

At last! Someone with some common sense! Don’t engage with bonkers Nationalists.

Billythefish

I am not sure why this site is so obsessed with the prospect of Scottish ”Independence”.

There is zero chance Scotland will break away from the UK, for many many reasons.

There will not be a referendum on this subject certainly in the next 50 years.

RobW

George is Scottish and he constantly debates/corrects his fellow Scots on defence issues on social media. The impact of independence on defence is obviously a subject close to his heart. It is his website after all.

Daniele Mandelli

Because the site owner is Scottish?

And it is a subject that concerns him?

Pigeon

It’s a bit manical though. I dont think it comes across well in that it seems a bit pettily anti-nationalist – which is tricky I accept as nationalists are by definition, very petty themselves.

If the focus is Scotland, why the unending ads attacking Sadiq Kahn? Those are also becoming counter-productive.

Barry Larking

If one lives in Scotland as George does, the subject of Scottish Independence is not petty. It is however lunatic; Scotland could chose independence but would also lose any prospect of influencing monetary policy that it enjoys today as an important part of the U.K. and at once. Everything depends on economics in the end, not just defence posture but the whole of society; housing, health, education and transport. The present very favourable situation of the country (remember Scotland is a separate kingdom and makes its own laws whilst voting on the laws of England and Wales, who have no… Read more »

Mark B

The thorny issue of defence (amongst other things) needs to be resolved before the UK next considers independence. NATO would take a dim view of losing the strategic benefits afforded to it by operating out of Scotland. The mere suggestion that for example the Americans would be charged to operate from Scotland is utter nonsense. The question that the Scots need to ask themselves is how much commitment is needed by them to reassure the rest of the UK and NATO that Scottish independence will not put the security of the west at risk.

maurice10

The original agreement made between Mc Millan and Kennedy was for a British deterrent. If the SNP get their way on independence, then the Trident system has to immediately move to England. A temporary base will need to be established in England so the boats can continue their duties uninterrupted. An ‘Urgent need to build’ order would then be required to establish a fully operational English base in the most expedient build time possible. A UK nuclear deterrent can only be based in the UK and not in a foreign country, and that is the end of the matter.

pkcasimir

Finally some reality inserted into the discussion. First, there is no way in hell the US will agree to Trident being stationed in an independent Scotland for even one day. Second. The US will block NATO membership for a Scotland that opposes nuclear weapons. Third. The US is unlikely to support NATO membership for another parasite state like an independent Scotland even if it should assent to nuclear weapons. An independent Scotland would start off bankrupt and totally unable to provide a credible military force. Third. NATO and the US can well work around the loss of Scotland. Iceland and… Read more »

Airborne

Damn, what is happening, I find I am agreeing with your post pk. Vast majority of your posts are quite well informed and well said, albeit with that angry yank “we are great, you should worship us” slant! Having said that, get the chip off that shoulder and your contributions are well read and informative.

pkcasimir

My “chip” is nothing compared to the British “We are better at everything than the Yanks” chip.

Airborne

Maybe its your insecurity coming through? Who knows?

pkcasimir

I know, you don’t.

Airborne

Wow that’s quick, your angry, it’s ok, understandable, don’t let it eat you up son.

Pigeon

To be fair – everyone tends to playup their strengths and successes and downplay their weaknesses and failures. Your current commander in chief has an ever so slight tendancy to this perhaps? Having worked with Americans and in America a lot for decades, the UK is far ahead in some aspects, and far behind in others. My American colleagues agree! I wouldn’t write Scotland off like that – yes its exactly what the US will say until independence actually happens. Then realpolitik takes over and Scotland does have strategic geographic advantages and is much better in the tent than outside.… Read more »

pkcasimir

And in what is the UK a world leader and ahead of the US?
It doesn’t matter what you think about Scotland. It’s what the US thinks about Scotland that matters. And the views I’ve presented are in tune with the current thinking in an America that you obviously have not been in the last 4 or 5 years and don’t understand how the mood of the country has changed.

dave12

Jesus pkcasimir if you are hurt so badly by reading comments on this website you dont have to go on this website, are you a hurt Trumpski supporter?

Pigeon

Wow you are seriously thin skinned! And I suppose evidence is just something other people do? Ahead? Well covid vaccine for one…, and having seen NHS vs US medical system (using the word “system” in the loosest possible sense since it seems an awful lot of people dont actually get to use it, and the propensity to make profit with unnessecary work) – give me the NHS any day (and I’m no fan of it!). I could also point to Government actually able to govern without descending entirely into partisan pork barrel and insanely expensive elections characterised by it seems… Read more »

dave12

Yeah pkcasimir I’ve not come across to many post referring to us British being better at everything than the yanks maybe from me in reply to your anti uk rants ,in fact if you read most of the post we are very critical on ourselves.

pkcasimir

Look harder, then, because they are there.

Airborne

It seems your insecurity chip is seeing shit that isn’t there. Oh dear how sad, never mind son.

dave12

Oh I’m sure their is a few , but most is what we call banter!!!!

Jonathan

You don’t really find that to be honest, we do some things differently and as such they are better for us, all nations have their strengths. health care is a classic example I consider the US system on one level completely broken and on another level world leading. you have the IHI which is the most respected organisation in healthcare safety and quality in the world, you also have some brilliant trauma centres and the best examples of integrated care organisations tha5 can be found anywhere. But at the same time your nations ability to manage whole health systems is… Read more »

pkcasimir

On the contrary. You are the one being dishonest. Just read the comments section on this blog. Comment after comment from Brits how this British weapon system is better than that US weapon system, how British doctrine is superior to American doctrine, how British troops are superior to American troops, ad nauseum. I think you need to get out of your little bubble and see the world around you. Brits actually think that the NHS is superior to any other health system on the planet. To the point where the London Olympics actually featured the tag that the NHS is… Read more »

Airborne

Oh dear your angry, and when your angry you talk total shite! I see very little demeaning of the US on this site, only a sad grumpy wannabe who has a serious chip on his rather nationalistic shoulder. Can I advise that once you get your internal affairs sorted, ie BLM rioting, Trump supporters and the ongoing conflict, a president with limited concept of democracy, a new president with serious family corruption issues to address, no heath service and continued racism and police brutality, then get back to us and lecture us when you have cleaned up your own dirty,… Read more »

maurice10

The UK Government is very keen not to make too much political noise about Scottish independence, in fear of turning it into an international issue. That said, Trident is the obvious elephant in the room and as long as it remains in Scotland, surely there can not be independence, it’s as simple as that. With that in mind, some sort of timetable could be created as follows:- (1) Establish a new base location in England. (2) Seek rapid approval for construction, after public consultation. (3) Commence construction. (4) New base commissioned. All of the above will take time, and in… Read more »

Alan Reid

pkcasimar “The proponents of Scottish independence live in some kind of fantasy world where Scotland is this highly important country absolutely vital to the defense of the West. It isn’t. It’s a tiny little bankrupt country unable to govern itself”. Hmmh ….. but we’ve debated this before. An independent Scotland will not be East Germany or Venezuela! Neither would my wee country be an arch-enemy of the United States – or NATO! I’m one of the majority of Scots who doesn’t support independence – but it is a perfectly viable independent country, but will have undoubted economic challenges – which… Read more »

pkcasimir

The US has plenty of its own whiskey and beef and lamb and petroleum and woolens. It doesn’t need any of those from Scotland. As an aside, I used to drink “Scotch” but since the US/EU tariff wars made it rather expensive in the US, I’ve switched to Jameson and I’ve found it a better whiskey at a fraction of the price. The Irish may be insufferable, but so are the Scots.) Scotland exports less than $20 billion per annum to the world outside of the rest of the UK and the EU. That’s Scotland’s economic importance. I’d label it… Read more »

Airborne

It’s not worth it, but still you take note, listen and take the time and effort to comment……….mmmmmmm interesting.

Alan Reid

Many thanks, pkcasimir, for those generous sentiments towards my wee country – you’re a real ambassador for the USA! But never mind, you did make me and some friends (fellow Lilliputians) chuckle !
Sincere best wishes from Scotland for 2021, and I certainly recommend a few whiskys (whatever brand takes your fancy, my friend) to ease in the New Year. Happy Hogmanay!

Pigeon

Wrong. Part of independence would be an agreement to host Trident for a defined transition period. Moving it ASAP would be unsafe and nobody is going to be forcing that because they’d look stupid. Most lilely the requisite areas would form some kind of dual special access area, with a 10 or 15 year transition for Trident to move and these areas be handed over. I say dual because the Scottish Govt would want access for select (and vetted) military personnel, and in effect not much different in concept to how the US stations nukes on continental european territory. Locally… Read more »

maurice10

No Pigeon, the national deterrent is not on the table as both NATO and the US would most likely end up not allowing Trident, to be based in a nuclear neutral country? The only way around this would be to make the Faslane area a sovereign part of the UK, (for possibly 10-15 years) and possibly, no indigenous people allowed anywhere near the heart of operations? The only short term-ish option is to base the subs in England, and instigate ‘urgent permission to build’ an all-new Trident base. The costs would be astronomical, and additional to the new Dreadnought budget,… Read more »

Pigeon

Sorry, but that simply isnt realistic at all. Trident will in no way impose a brake on a referendum occurring or if “won”, its broad implementation. That would so obviously be morally and constitutionally wrong it really isnt worth even discussing. Trident would be negotiated as a UK area until such period it could be safely removed. “Indigenous” is offensive to people who right now are at the very core of UK defence. To disentangle Scotland and the UK would be so much harder than UK and EU that defence wise a transitional period more akin to “Indianisation” in India… Read more »

Alan Reid

Maurice, Trident on Scottish (UK) soil did not stop an independence referendum in 2014. If the SNP wins big gains at next year’s Holyrood elections – and that’s not a certainty – I don’t see how the issue of Trident will stop another referendum in about 2022. Such will be the separatist clamour that politically the UK government would be unable to resist a new Section 30 order – certainly not for 5/7 years. But strangely, many Scots who vote SNP don’t favour independence! They like the idea of a strong “Scotland” party to leverage more funding/resources from central government… Read more »

Robert Blay

Is it just me, or does there seem to be an overload of Scottish related articles on this site, just to stare up argumentative debate.

Mark B

Shhhh – You can choose between Santa or the prospect of Scottish independence at this time of year. For any small children reading this they are both coming quite soon

Robert Blay

🤣😂🇬🇧

Captain P Wash

Yes there is Robert.

Jonathan

It is a very interesting issue. I do think Scottish independence is now balanced on a knife edge and the UK needs to both begin trying to repair the rift causing this and put in place planning for if it occurs. I do have a very different view of nuclear weapons than the author, while respecting the sentiment and wishing I could share it, I can’t. No matter the horror or indiscriminate nature of a nuclear weapon and our individual repulsion at such horror. history shows with exacting clarity that humanity is always willing to unleash such horrors of mass… Read more »

Matt

Evening all, While I respect his opinions, I have to disagree with the author on the use of Nuclear weapons. He is correct in saying that it doesn’t deter every possible war like the Falklands and Islamic State, but not every bit of metal you stick into some wood needs a hammer.. sometimes it needs a different tool like a screwdriver. And that’s exactly what the nuclear deterrent is, a tool. And it has a very specific purpose. To say that it has never been used is interesting because it’s actually been used for 50 years already… Always on duty,… Read more »

peter wait

Portland in Dorset could be expanded to be a new base for the subs.

Jonathan

There’s nothing left at Portland beyond a sailing academy.

Gunbuster

Except for the jetties, deep water berths, coaling pier, underground fuel depot, miles of underground tunnels, a large area that used to be an airbase…

I say this because Mrs Gunbuster and the Gunbuster sprogs where all born in Weymouth. We lived there for years between foreign jobs and most of the in-laws still live there. I worked at Portland when it was a base

Jonathan

Hi Gunbuster it’s almost 22 years since the RN moved out, I’ve been sailing the harbour and bay all that time it’s change so very much, the changes are huge, I suspect time and tide has not been kind to whatever was left behind.

Captain P Wash

Ha…. what a load of Tosh….. Mate, seriously, you need to do a bit of basic research before typing stuff like that.

peter wait

Don’t see why its a problem building a sub base there, think it would be easy compared to HS2 !

Jonathan

What like sailing around the bay all the time, walking the land and actually spending a huge amount of my time there….

Captain P Wash

Crikey, you do all that with your eyes shut ?????

Jonathan

Only when I’m really tired.

Airborne

Having read Mr Crawfords contribution a few times, to try to fully understand his thought process, I am shocked that an ex Reg, Lt Col retd, can show such a simplifed view of the reason and purpose of the Deterrent. Simply put its not a “universal deterent” never was or has been! We have a convential military, which should be strong and effective enough, with the plans and purpose (and will) of effective use, to be a convential deterrent. The nuclear deterrent is there, to be, a nuclear escalation deterrent. And even then, back in the cold war, we still… Read more »

Andy P

Aye, we didn’t use tanks in the Falklands so what’s the point of having tanks…. We have a multi tier of defence, and whether its to keep us as a ‘big boy’ in the UN or to deter other ‘big boys’ the nukes are part of it even if it is indiscriminate. As long as the ‘other guy’ thinks we’ll retaliate with it then it works. In a world with nuclear weapons then I see it as vital that we can respond in kind for that MAD (and when you stop and think about it, it really is mad) option.… Read more »

AV

Spot on, couldn’t have responded better myself.
Plus a much easier read than the original article!

Daniele Mandelli

Well said mate.

Jonathan

The biggest flaw seems to be an assumption that a weapon would not be used because it’s simply to awful. Not sure there is much evidence to support that view.

Airborne

Not really an assumption, since 1945 used twice against a none nuclear armed enemy, and in the last 75 years, never used, while every single hour and day, somewhere on the planet, conventioanl munitions are used.

Airborne

conventioanl…..ah crazy fingers!

Jonathan

I suspect thats more about the awful coming back. Everything I have read in regards the USSR strategic aims suggests they would have deployed nuclear weapons if they thought they could get away with it along with any other tool in the box to defeat capitalism and free the masses. Not using a weapon because it’s so awful to be morally wrong is a different driver from not using a weapon because your scared you will get the same or some other awful back. The authors working assumption is that nuclear weapons would not be used because they are to… Read more »

TrevorH

The author has peddled his prejudice before. He uses the suggestion that Nuclear deterrent is not needed because the prerequisite for making the deterrence an irrelevance in Scottish independence. And it’s convenient that current SNP politicians are peddling that it would take 20 years to remove Trident. 20 years to keep rUK paying them and no responsibility for them for economic consequences.

It’s wrong to suggest that Scottish Independence is some how inevitable. Recent polling showed popularity has fallen. YouGov said 51-49 recently. In August it was 53-47.

geoff

Well said Trevor.

BASRA

The UK’s independent deterrent certainly served its purpose in the Cold War from a military standpoint just look at 7 days to the Rhine. It now servers a purpose which is largely political but no less important if the UK wants to stay in the front rank of military powers. For all the old school CND bluster of some in the SNP it’s important to understand that the party has become more mainstream and more Glasgow centric in the past 10 years as such jobs on the Clyde are a much bigger issue than moralistic debates over Nuclear weapons. A… Read more »

david

I think Ukraine is a fair example why this article is flawed. It was agreed that Ukraine should remove and decommission all its nuclear weapons in exchange for a guarantee of sovereignty by the US, UK, France, Russia etc. Does anyone here actually believe that Russia would have invaded Ukrainian territory if they still had those weapons? I don’t think so!

Pigeon

Yes, Ukraine – both Russian aggresion and Western weakness (parallels of Anschluss and the Sudetenland again) has kyboshed any denuclearisation – you’d be an idiot to give up such weapons.

The point is made above that actually they are the most used of our weapons – on patrol deterring every single day. Even QRA doesnt get used that much!

dave12

Well said david I’ve been saying that for years.

Nscnick

AN excellent analysis, and does not detract from some of the powerful arguments made below. Relinquishing nuclear weapons has to be undertaken pragmatically. Yes they did cut down significantly on state on state aggression which has allowed unconventional and terror actors an enhanced role. Scotland and indeed rUK does not need nuclear for real defence purposes, it is only a means of political bargaining or bullying. And therein lies the conundrum, a bully with nuclear weapons can only be countered by nuclear weapons, and as part of this argument what does any state gain by obliterating large swathes of someone… Read more »

Meirion X

The bullying can be both ways.
It called Checkmate! If Argentina had Nuclear warpons at the time of the Falklands War(A fiction), the UK would have deployed NWs in the region to Checkmate Argentina from using them or a threat to use them.The conventional war would have continued.
But if the UK did Not deployed NWs in the region, the Argentineans could have Checkmate the British Task force.

And to have forced the UK to retreat.
Again, just a scenario!

Jonathan

Unfortunately human history is splendidly full of obliterations going back to antiquity, The third Punic war and Carthage being the classic example. Carthage after a minor treat breach in defending against a third party, went so far as to surrender to Rome, but Rome used the excuse refused surrender, slaughtered and enslaved the whole pollutions burnt the city to a rubble field and went so far as to salt the land so no crops would grow. The only guarantee of safety is the ability to hurt an opponent so much that to attack you leads to a totally unacceptable outcome.… Read more »

Dave Wolfy

Who start wars? Politicians.
Would you start a war if you were in the front line?
Strategic nuclear weapons put politicians in the front line.

Jonathan

I’m very much afraid lumping all the Blame on politicians is to miss the key drivers of conflict. It’s very true that conflict in say the Middle Ages was very much driven by the agendas of powerful dynasties and individuals, but the rise of the distinct nation states and multi ethic empires very much changed that dynamic and the forces that cause conflict are much more complex. no one wanted to fight World War One, it was driven by a very complex set of stressors within nationstates. . Hitler did not cause the Second World War, it was inevitable and… Read more »

Herodotus

I’m having a little teacher moment about the use of ‘none’ instead of ‘non’! A helpful little guide follows from Google (ref)

Non reflects negation or absence of something whereas none means no one or nobody. Non is mostly used as a prefix while none is a common word in English language. Similar pronunciations of non and none often make it difficult for people to pick the right word.

So it’s ‘non-nuclear countries’

🙂

Grant

Would it help prevent the break up of the UK if it were moved? If so let’s just move it to Portland.

Not replacing it or retaining it is unthinkable. The cost is actually tiny compared to how much we spunk up the wall on benefits.

Herodotus

So which is preferable Grant, helping those in society that need support or, incinerating the citizens of Moscow?

Grant

Well £220bn a year on benefits, £160bn a year on NHS ans £140Bn a year on state pension vs. <£1bn a year on the deterrent? How much of that £500bn+ is well spent? Whereas £1bn a year on Trident is great value, with benefits for jobs, our standing in the world and provides the ultimate insurance.

Herodotus

And a happy Christmas to you Grant! What is a country if it is not its people? Are those that need support worth less than than the others? How can you say that spending on the health and welfare of our people is not a good use of the nations wealth. Do I not deserve my pension after 40 years of contributions? Lets just scrap it all and buy hundreds of missiles that sad fantasists can pull out of their pants and scare our neighbours with. If that’s the sort of country you want, best go and live in North… Read more »

Grant

I think I was more getting at the cost is tiny in comparison to what we already spend on welfare, so scrapping the deterrent won’t suddenly free up masses of cash to ‘help those in society that need support’

Herodotus

Point accepted!

John Hampson

Here’s some basic FACTS on the Scottish economy. In 2019/20, the SNP govt had an income of £65.9bn. But it spent £81.0bn. So it spent 23% more than collected. SNP spending was subsidised by Westminster by £15.14bn. Since the SNP came to office in 2007, revenue has totalled £759bn. Expenditure totalled £925bn. So SNP have spent £167bn or 22% more than the Scottish economy generated. In 2019/20 spending per head, in Scotland was £11,566 while in England £9,604. So £1,962 or 20% more was spent on the Scots than the English. In 18/19 it was 21% more. Without the Westminster… Read more »

Meirion X

Even worse financial situation than I thought it was.
Thanks John for the info!

John Hampson

Meirion
Sources:-
1)SNP.Government Expenditure and Revenue Scotland (GERS) published 26Aug2020.
2) HM Treasury, Country and regional analysis:2020. Published 18 Nov 2020

geoff

Good Morning All. This has been a well subscribed discussion! Here is my brief idea for a solution going forward. Firstly, a 4 Nation Constitutional Conference to examine a Federal like setup for the UK to be convened.This is vital to fix the absolute political mess that is the UK at present. 4 Houses and a dedicated Fedral Parliament much like the USA. Second-once the Brexit dust is settled and we have some clarity on our new relationship with EU and the World, a Referendum is held on remaining a Union in the revised form or going our seperate ways.… Read more »

dave12

I would like to Just make the points Geoff that Scotland had its Referendum in 2014 and the SNP lost, despite old craggy and the SNP trying to paint the English as evil imperialist , and take no responsibility when they often mess up in government ,rather to blame parliament when it suites them,( NHS funding on PPE in Scotland is a great example). Now it would be very undemocratic to allow a second Referendum on independence and It would see remainers on brexit demanding a second go at it which would be undemocratic too( may I add I’m a… Read more »

geoff

Fair comment Dave. All the best to you and your family for Christmas

dave12

Cheers Geoff and to you to

Herodotus

Why would a second referendum be anti-democratic? The folly lies in holding referenda in the first place. Political parties publish manifestos at general elections…the winning party gets to carry out its manifesto!

DJ

Ahhh No. No-one anywhere in western democracies support a political party & it’s manifesto 100%. Not even it’s members, including those elected. For most electors, it’s a case of trying to pick the best out of what is often a rather poor bunch. Unless you are a one issue party, then the manifesto is pages long, most of which the public rarely bothers to read in its entirety. Even if you were bored enough to do so, I am sure you will find some things you don’t agree with, in the same way those that came up with it argued… Read more »

David Flandry

A so-called independent Scotland will have only a nominal defense force. In realty it will rely on the implicit promise of defense by the UK for ultimate protection. Any argument to the contrary is bogus.

rec

It’s a well thought through article, some thoughts: 1) I agree morally on Trident, and that it is primarily a political tool which enables us to justify our seat as a permanent member of the Security council. Unfortunately with our exit from the EU , it’s the one major card we have left. After all our importance to both the USA and Western Europe as the bridge between the two has disappeared with BREXIT. 2) It does squeeze the UK”s conventional forces disproportionately, meaning that they are far too weak. The lack of a layered air defence with land based… Read more »

Herodotus

Interesting ideas…and I agree with most of them. Although, the moral justification for Trident doesn’t hold water!

Meirion X

The issue of a deterrent based on Cruise missiles, has been discussed here before. It lacks credibility due to the low flight profiles, and the limited range of Cruise missiles. Also the F-35C would still Not have enough fuel for the return flight from Moscow. It would be a One way trip only!

Liam

War itself is a political tool. This piece would have been better kept in its original folder of 6th Form essays.

George Allison

It’s easy to criticise without offering anything in return, isn’t it?

Tim uk

1/ Nuclear weapons stopped the Russians even toying with the idea that invading Europe in the Cold War would be a good idea. FACT. 2/ Nuclear weapons deter not just other nuclear states but those toying with bio-weapons, cyber to take down a nation. 3/ Nuclear proliferation is happening, to think rogue elements in the mid – east would not gamble on attacking Europe with Nukes if the UK / France didn’t possess them is pure madness. 4/ Scotland ? The US will not alllow the closure of Faslane plain and simple. If the Scots proceed the Tariffs on their… Read more »