Just before IndyRef 1 in Sept 2014, the Yes vote briefly reached 50% in opinion polls and for several weeks it seemed really possible that Scotland was about to leave the UK.

The seismic shock this must have caused in Whitehall, can only be imagined. With the loss of a third of its landmass and half its territorial seas, the UK’s strategic defence policy was on the brink of redundancy. 


This article was submitted to the UK Defence Journal by Colonel Dorcha Lee (Retd). Lee was a former Irish Defence Forces Provost Marshal and Director of Military Police.


During the latter stages of the Referendum Campaign, a distinguished former UK General was quietly touring the back rooms of Scotland drumming up support for a No vote. At one location, surrounded by sombre suited ex-military, he was asked by a TV reporter about Plan B for strategic Defence, in the event of Scottish Independence. He paused briefly as the camera zoomed in on his well-worn, and well known face. Neatly avoiding any discussion, he simply answered, “There is no Plan B” and moved along.

True or false, we will never know. However, by now you can be sure that there are many contingency plans to deal with, what can only be regarded by UK military planners, as an apocalyptic outcome.

Suddenly, however, the shape of a possible solution may have been, inadvertently, revealed in Stuart Crawford and Richard Marsh’s, recently released, short paper. Entitled, ‘Could an Independent Scotland be defended Scot-Free?‘ the latest contribution has re-ignited the defence debate at a time when IndyRef 2 appears to be on a back burner.

Back in 2012, the two architects of Scottish Defence produced the seminal Paper, ”A’ the Blue Bonnets’ on how iScotland’s national defence could be organised, followed up with an update in 2018.

The main proposal in this new 2020 Paper is to lease back bases in iScotland to the rUK, including the Faslane/Coulport base, on the Clyde, where the UK’s nuclear deterrent is based, and also the RAF bases in Lossiemouth and Kinloss, plus additional facilities.

The savings effected could be used to offset the costs of running the SDF.

Their proposal is feasible. Moreover, an additional factor can be introduced which may help their case. Given international precedent (i.e., Czech Republic and Slovakia) Scotland should be legally entitled to perhaps 9% of UK’s military assets, including 9% of its nuclear deterrent. If it were to insist on the latter, iScotland could theoretically have a veto on the operational use of this deterrent. However, Scottish independists are against nuclear weapons so that is unlikely to arise. But it could feature in the transition negotiations.

The Crawford/Marsh proposal will predictably get negative reaction from the local CND.

Their selective reaction to the temporary presence of nuclear weapons, for a few more decades, shows they have little idea which way things are trending internationally. Nuclear disarmament will ultimately take place and Scottish independents should think long past that point.

The external defence of rUK bases in iScotland would have to be undertaken by iScotland. But the overall idea of larger countries having bases, in former ‘colonies’, is well established. It provides income for the newly emergent states and enhances security all round. The sovereign base areas in Cyprus are a good example. The French have many bases in Francophonie and the US worldwide.

The big drawback is that, if the UK goes to war, which it is prone to do quite frequently, iScotland will be drawn in. These same bases would be legitimate targets for enemy attack, including possible nuclear strikes. History reminds us, that, thanks to Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain, Ireland escaped WW2 because the UK handed back its Irish Treaty ports in 1938. If both countries are in NATO, however, the problem should not arise. 

On the sovereignty issue there should be no particular problem with the Crawford/Marsh proposal. MOUs can be drawn up to sort out acceptable co-existence arrangements. However, on national defence, things are not quite so straight forward.

If we consider, first, that a nation’s operational area extends over its territorial lands and seas, we know that neighbouring countries are in each other’s area of ‘operational interest’. For example, Ireland is in the UK’s area of operational interest. Unconfirmed reports in the Irish media have stated that the Irish Government made secret arrangements for the RAF to shoot down possible hijacked aircraft over Irish territory, not to mention possible Russian Backfire Bombers, flying with their transponders switched off, in Irish-controlled air space.

This is something the UK Defence Journal covered here.

But because of the absence of Irish air defence, in my opinion, the UK has the self-defence right to protect themselves against potential air threats to the UK that emanates from Ireland, and, if necessary, over Ireland itself.  Nevertheless, Scotland should not use the Irish model to evade its own air defence responsibilities.

But the good news for the rUK is that the leasing option allows for a continuation of rUK’s assets to remain in place, and a large part of its current defence strategy to remain intact, for a defined period. As both the rUK and iScotland will have a mutual interest, in air and maritime defence to Scotland’s North, it should be possible to share defence operations for mutual benefit. After all, Belgium and the Netherlands alternate air defence patrols over each-others sovereign territory. NATO could facilitate this, but a Defence Treaty between rUK and iScotland, would be a better way to tie up arrangements.

To quote an old Irish proverb: we all live in each other’s shadow.

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Sean

Assuming in some parallel universe that Scotland became independent there would be no need to ”lease” bases from Scotland.
Instead the U.K. could simply follow the Cyprus model and grant independence except for certain Sovereign Base Areas in Scotland. Sure the SNP would protest, but if that was stopping them gain independence then they’d accept it; though obviously plot to renage on the agreement at some future point.

Ian Skinner

That would be my solution too, they would moan about it, but with no armed forces of their own, they would not be a position to do anything about it. In addition we offer the Shetlands and Orkneys crown dependency status, giving them independence from Scotland and control of their own resources- I have read that one of the local councils is seriously considering this option.

Harold

You read the article incorrectly. The Islands are not seeking independence, merely more powers. A candidate for independence did stand a few years ago but failed.

Airborne

Free the Orkneys!

Mark B

Give them devolution from Holyrood at least!

Watcherzero

They are seeking the same status as the Channel Islands and Isle of Mann, i.e. Crown Dependency status.

Nscnick

10% of the existing resources Scotland has helped build?

maurice10

On Google earth the whole complexity of the Highland bases are so extensive any attempt to replicate them in England, would cost billions. However, the American’s may demand their removal from Scotland as the weapons and their storage could possibly go against the US/UK agreements to deploy Trident? In truth, the Nuclear Deterrent has to move to England, as it could be held to ransom by successive Scottish Governments in terms of lease pricing? More importantly, the SNP’s wish to be rid of nuclear weapons would actually result in them becoming just that, a nuclear power by default! As for… Read more »

RobW

It isn’t 1960, there is no war to resolve, nor do we need to be the guarantors of peace. These were the reasons we retained Sovereign Bases on the island of Cyprus.

There is no way that as a modern democracy, having granted Holyrood the powers to hold a referendum, that we could then carve out bits of Scotland to our liking. Any rUK presence north of the border would be with their permission and paid for, anything else is just absurd in the 21st century. The days of Empire are long gone chaps.

Harold

Well said

Airborne

They would need the income from the “rent”.

Mark B

Hmmm. Would that mean England could charge for their defence. Say £10 Billion a year. Scotland would obviously owe England a lot of money for the pandemic etc. Do Scotland have a credit score?

RobW

Of course Scotland would need to take their fair share of the national debt and pay rUK for defence if that is what is agreed will happen.

That doesn’t mean however that we will be able to carve out a bit of Scotland, which is what some on here seem to think we can do.

SD67

OK it’s not a carve out it’s a 99 year lease. Plenty of precedents. Scotland surely want FOM to England, and access to UK financial markets.

Mark B

Rob the English are beginning to think that the Scots not only want their cake and eat but also want us to keep the larder stocked whilst berating us for all their woes for the next several hundred years. It is really for Scotland to explain how by separating from you guys we will not be financially disadvantaged, our defence will not be compromised etc. The problem is yours to solve. Convince us. Come up with solutions. It isn’t happening at the moment because we are all a trifle busy but better times will come. You will certainly need to… Read more »

SoleSurvivor

It’s your second paragraph that’s in a parallel universe mate

Where we also went halves with loser Trump and bought Greenland?

Sean

No it’s the the thought of an independent Scotland that is pure parallel universe.

• No Tory government will permit another independence referendum because they don’t want to risk breaking up the union – their official title is the “Conservative & Unionist Party”

• No Labour government will grant a referendum because Labour need Scottish seats to ever get a majority in Westminster. Without Scotland, Labour would be in permanent opposition.

Of course the SNP could go ahead and hold an illegal referendum on their own, but we saw how well that went in Catalonia…

Andy P

Sean, Scotland used to be a Labour stronghold, there is now only 1 (not an error ONE) Labour MP in Scotland.

Also your logic on the Tories doesn’t stack up, if you use the same argument for the Tories, why wouldn’t they want to cut Scotland lose. I’ve no idea why the Tories have been so against Scotland leaving the UK but I’d be very surprised if its because they’ve got ‘Unionist’ as part of their name or they love their old Scottish Granny.

Sean

Doh, it’s because Labour lost its seats in Scotland that they can’t get enough seats to win an election 🤦‍♂️ It’s always been the case they needed Scottish MPs to achieve a majority. Scotland used be a Tory bastion back in the 1950’s, but things obviously change. So it’s ridiculous to assume that the Scottish Nazi’s will continue to dominate seats up there. The Labour Party knows it needs to regain seats in Scotland. The Tories are, by and large British Patriots, that’s why they are against Scottish independence even though it would be apparently be in their own self-interest… Read more »

Andy P

“The Tories are, by and large British Patriots” The ones in Parliament will be just as self serving as the Labour/LibDem/SNP etc politicians. At the end of the day for a lot of them its a career. I’ve had the discussion a number of times over the years and while I don’t know the answer why the Tories are so keen to have kept a hostile Scotland in the fold, I’m sure its not because of some blind love of the UK as it is. Options that I’ve discussed/considered are water (clean drinking stuff), water (salty and full of fish… Read more »

SD67

In a perfect world where everyone was rational, rUK would keep Faslane and Lossiemouth, iScotland would keep the pound, iScotland would join the UK/Ireland Common Travel Area, the ROI would join NATO, job done.

Mark

Why include Ireland joining NATO in that list? I mean the rest I get but why add in that?

SD67

I meant in terms that it may make policing of Irish airspace easier, rather than the current official / unofficial agreements for the RAF to have access in certain circumstances

Mark

Hell a proper agreement would sort that anyway, but even that is political difficult for any Irish Government, joining NATO is not going to happen.

TrevorH

“prone” are we Col Lee? Prone to defend freedom and justice??

Goodbye Col. Lee. I dont wish to see your prejudicial comments, thank you very much.

And with a few more articles like them from UKDJ and I won’t we seeing many of them either!!

Daniel

I feel like you’re over reacting to that statement, it is after all factually accurate. In comparison to most of the world’s countries, the UK is prone to going to war fairly often. The author is not passing judgement, simply commenting on a fact and more specifically to the potential issues that fact could cause a hypothetically independent Scotland which is still heavily integrated in UK defence.

Mark

Bit harsh. I thought he laid out the argument pretty well. I am not a great fan of Scottish independence, but like all things defence related, it helps to war game options and also get views from other sides beside your own. If you close your ears to things you don’t like or want to hear, you will not be able to counter the argument or respond in a meaningful way.
This isn’t a closed “Facebook” group.

geoff

Hi Mark. I know it isn’t a closed group and of course he has every right to express a view. Just got up my nose a bit.

geoff

Wow-where to start? Firstly, am I alone in being offended that a retired ROI military officer should be commenting on how the rUK should or even might act if Scotland were to leave the UK? Secondly surely if Scotland were to opt for Independence and establish its own military, why would the rUK be interested in maintaining bases in Scotland? Also-anyone who believes that international nuclear disarmament will EVER happen is living in cloud cuckoo land and-no personal offence Colonel, but does not deserve to be taken seriously.Also-you talk of the UK having bases in “former colonies”-yes but Scotland has… Read more »

TrevorH

Correct.

Darren hall

No you are not alone.

Richard

One thing the SNP cannot run away from is the geography.
This impacts on how agricultural would be treated after independence. There would need to be controls in place for any agricultural products come from rUK or iScotland going into the EU. Think the foot and mouth desease example.
I do hope pragmatic heads are around so sensible defence arrangements can be agreed.
Scotland is going to have to develop good relationships with its bigger neighbour.

RobW

The same can be said the other way round. The rUK would need good relations with Scotland for many reasons, not least defence of the realm. Ideally we would want them to become part of NATO straight away.

Nscnick

Yes, and a realistic position. Scotland already is a member of NATO and therefore there is no problem. Too many other commentators take a blinkered and at times dismissive view, which does nothing to further the debate.

TrevorH

Let Scotland then pay its way for defence in the manner that Norway does and I deed Sweden. I find this article disgusting and disgraceful and it’s not the first totally biased pro Scottish independent article on here which peddles half truths and wishful thinking. Indeed this article piggy backs on a previous article and was happily engineered to cement it’s views. Just where are we the UK prone to make wars…? Can anybody name a war we started that at all. All conflicts I can recall (with the exception. of one famous one) are subject to UN and or… Read more »

Airborne

Mate don’t worry, the fellah waffling in the article was a member of the Irish Defence Force, and therefore would have only ever operated under a pussy U.N. banner. Plus he wasn’t even a combat arm, he was bloody provost Marshall…..If they got a combat proven General you could take notes, but instead we have a base rat remf bumping his gums in who h was clearly a political motivated spouting session.

Airborne

Mate Scotland is only a member of NATO as part of the UK, and would need to reapply if and when they ever get independent status. NATO let’s the former Eastern bloc countries join as they become a decent buffer, and pushes the border of NATO closer to the russky bear, but Scotland wouldn’t have it that easy and thsre would be criteria they will have to meet. The main issue Scotland would have that if they did get rid of the nuclear weapons that would really piss NATO head sheds off and cause a massive disruption to NATOs nuclear… Read more »

Andy P

Bloody hell Airborne, you’ve been well triggered by this one.

You mention the “Russky Bear”, well they do tend to come from the north and what would be towards Scotland first.

Just sayin’….

Airborne

Not at all, my trigger finger is always steady and unexitable, im just sometimes amazed at some peoples military naivety and lack of knowledge on what are some very basic defence related issues.

Andy P

We’ve lived in a peaceful world for years in The West, its not a surprise that many don’t see it as a priority. Even those who have more of an interest will sometimes have different views. It doesn’t matter how you or I see things, sometimes the reality of what we have won’t match up.

Airborne

You are correct, most in the West live peacefully, even if that peace is somewhat precarious and they don’t realise that. Then a few of us have been doing otherwise and see the effects conflict and politics have on those same people when it all goes a bit pear shaped. But alas, most people don’t really give 2 figs or the issue of defence and defence studies.

Airborne

Second post sorry as posted prior answer without finishing….The Russki bear, I’m not on about them coming to bloody Scotland, im talking about the fact NATO loves a poor ex eastern bloc country applying to join as it pushes NATOs border further away and closes the Russians in somewhat, a policy which I’m totally against. Scotland would not be an automatic candidate for re-joining NATO, but strategically it would make sense.

Graeme

Well, there is the matter of Scotland’s strategic location enabling the RAF to patrol the GIUK gap. That is a powerful bargaining chip they would have.

Then again, if the Shetlanders and the Orcadians respond to Scottish independence, as they look to do, by detatching from Scotland and becoming Crown Dependencies we could simply plonk an RAF Base on one of those islands and stick two fingers up to the Nats as they come to terms with sorting out their catastrophic economic problems in the wake of leaving.

Nscnick

It would be no more than a division of an existing member. So called difficulties in the process are raised for internal constitutional reasons and fear mongering. As the state of Scotland is already a member there is no difficulty in a transfer. There should be no more difficulty than was experienced by Germany when they united and that was with a previous Warsaw Pact state.

Airborne

Im afraid you cannot compare the need to get old East Germany onside in NATO, and a possible Independant Scotlands application. Yes Scotland is strategicaly located, but all these assets/tasks could be covered by bases being leased/rented by Westminster. East Germany was a political and Strategic dream, and the need to get them into NATO, as part of a unified Germany was priorty number 1. I take task to the presumption that NATO will just accept Scotland into NATO as a member (Im sure they will) however be aware if the SNP get their way, then Faslane would close and… Read more »

TrevorH

“Scotland” is not a member of NATO. The UK is. The Scottish ‘government’ had no say on NATO matters, any more than the Mayor of London does or the High Sheriff of the City of Nottingham.

Andy P

You raise an interesting point TrevorH,

Would the UK still be a member ? Its made up of GB and NI and GB is made up of England, Wales and um….. Scotland. So technically the UK wouldn’t have GB in it any more.

Grant

I believe any country has a right to determine who governs them, so if Scotland want to go their own way then only the very worst of organisations would attempt to stop them (y’know like the EU has tried to thwart Brexit) Where I struggle with it is Jimmy Crankies view of iScotland – which is essentially they want a juicy divorce deal. Independence will be very hard (but if Scotland wants it then that is their right and understandable) If Scotland did leave the rUK would be £40BN a year richer and those defence jobs would come south. Equally… Read more »

Nscnick

Well said apart from one thing you haven’t sustained. rUK would lose the app £66Bn generated from Scotland’s tax receipts. By your statement rUK donates out of the goodness of it’s heart £40Bn, yet we only get directly back around £30Bn. Also don’t forget that a any additional expenditure over and above our proportionate contribution to the Exchequer is funded by joint borrowing, which is done on Scotland’s behalf by Treasury. This additional borrowing would not be needed or justified so therefore there would not be any additional funding available for rUK. The financial models you are referring to assume… Read more »

Ron

Ermm, Scotland has about 8% of the UKs population but recieves approx 9.5% of the UKs budget, not only that but until this CORVID situation the UKs national dept was about 3% whilst Scotland has 15%. So in reality Scotland recieves more from the UK than what it pays in and has a larger % of the national debt. These are figures from the ONS and the Bank of England. Also what Grant said would be true, all defence or defence related jobs would return to GB and NI ( Scotland is not in GB, but the UK, GB is… Read more »

Tim

Scotland does pay in 66 bn but it gets given 85bn so I think the uk will be fine if I’m honest

Harold

Independence for Scotland is coming and then Wales later on. It is inevitable.

RobW

Scotland quite possibly but there is only 23% support in Wales, according to some very recent polls, that would seem far from inevitable. Once a EU/UK trade deal is signed, the Covid-19 pandemic is a thing of history, and the economy bounces back then that figure may well decline. That could be the case in Scotland too.

Meirion X

Don’t expect Putin’s agent H to know that!!

DaveNBC

Independence for Scotland is only coming in the heads of those who find it hard to appreciate the financial implications of such a disastrous move. Despite what BBC Scotland and their sycophants say, it is not inevitable.

Mark

That argument didn’t work 100 years ago, are you so certain it will this time? Hell you can even hear some of the echo’s of Irish Nationalist arguments being used by the SNP even now.

Airborne

George reels you in every time with these little articles.

Andy P

Yup, George reels A LOT OF YOU in with these articles.

He knows what ‘triggers’ folk, fair play.

Airborne

I just like to reel Harold in, as he is an easy fish to play with and land!

Robert Blay

Yep, anything to do with Scotland, Carrier Strike/F35 and anti ship missiles always gets the most comments 😄

4th watch

Nothing is inevitable.

Meirion X

I see the SNP are proposing a ambassador for “hybrid threats”.
The irony here is your postings would be blocked out north of the border!

BB85

Let’s be honest, a trade deal will be found soon enough. They are arguing over bloody fish which the SNP would be glad to hand back to the EU anyway, it’s a non issue for 99% of the UK. Once the deal is signed and the UK economy bounces back, all of the arguments for the UK to remain in the EU will be dead and buried. I think Johnston will step down shortly after as he knows he isn’t up to the job and put in someone who is a little more groomed for it. I don’t think the… Read more »

Nscnick

There is no guarantee that the UK economy will bounce back as you suggest. Don’t forget we are scrapping a very beneficial trade deal with a large population and side benefits of free travel etc, with one that will be worse than it was for potentially other trade deals around the world that are also potentially not very good and have the potential to further undermine our society and economy. The decision has been made and we have to make the best of it but that doesn’t mean it will be all sweetness and light for the foreseeable future. Not… Read more »

RobW

I was about to say I agree with you, then read the last line. Can you explain who you mean and how they yield this power?

James

Currently nothing is scrapped as you say, nothing has been decided yet. If a free trade deal is reached which it most likely will be then we are continuing with a very beneficial trade deal and also being allowed to trade with the rest of the world on much more beneficial terms than what we have now.

Yes issues will arise with certain aspects of the EU mainly thanks to the EU itself wishing to be as awkward as humanely possible throughout this democratic process.

Tim

The future of the uk isn’t tied to a trade deal with the e.u the uk will continue to grow with or without a trade deal with the e.u business doesn’t care where it buys it’s fruit from e.u trade is shrinking and trade with the he rest of the world is growing

TrevorH

Ha ha ha. Straight from The Daily Mirror playbook. Scotland is currently doing badly with its virus efforts. Mind you so are the bleedin heart Swedes.

Hopefully after these 2 vaccine break-throughs we will also get a BRITISH vaccine as well. We have just ordered 5 million more from the latest one, whilst the EU still argue about their measures. Thank you Boris.

Mark

The EU has already ordered large stocks of both the current vaccines.

Tim

Yes just like they were going to distribute PPE to e.u country’s and how the uk was terrible for not being part of that lol how much PPE came from the e.u ? Nothing

Mark

Ah, they did, but never mind.

TrevorH

As of a couple of days ago I read that the EU has not yet formally signed a deal with either of these 2 developers. We have signed deals with them and several others covering 300 doses.

Mark

Strange, a basic google has the first result from the BBC reporting the 300 million doses from the BioNtech vaccine for example, but never mind.

Nscnick

A good and well balanced article. Issues raised are for future debate and resolution. There are numerous solutions to the various options. Fundamentally there is a shared responsibility for defence, and equally fundamentally Scotland would have its fair share of existing resources that it has contributed to over the last 300 years.

TrevorH

It’s far from balanced. It’s prejudiced.

Airborne

And a shared percentage of debt.

John Hampson

Here’s some basic FACTS on the Scottish economy in 2019/20. The Scottish govt had an income of £65.9 billion.But it spent £81.0bn. In other words it spent 23% more than collected. So SNP govt spendingwas subsidised by Westminster by £15.14 billion in 19/20. Over the last 5years the SNP govt spent on average 24% more than it earned. The previous 4 years Scotland had a budget deficit of, -16.4bn, -15.5bn, -14.3bn and -13.2bn. So Westminister has subsidised the SNP’s overspending by £74.4bn over the last 5 years. The Treasury report in 18/19 spending per head in Scotland was £11,247 while… Read more »

TrevorH

Correct.

John Clark

Absolutely John, it’s all smoke and mirrors, the SNP simply cannot afford to bankroll its plans for Indipendance.

It would be draconian spending cuts and a generation of severe long-term austerity for Scotland….

On the other hand, it would be investment in Northern England, so that’s good.

You can guarantee the SNP would still blame us for the mess!!!!!

Airborne

And don’t forget the cost of decommissioning the old oil platforms, which is quietly being pushed to one side. Billions over years I am led to believe.

SoleSurvivor

You’re basing your entire argument on something that most western countries already do, which is run a budget deficit Britain has had a deficit for more or less two centuries It’s like saying Britain overspent by £40b in 2019, and needed subsidised through borrowing, which is true, but it’s not a economic death sentence like you’re spouting I’m anti Scottish independence I love the union, but I’m well aware Scotland would flourish as an independent nation, and once again people on this thread are using silly economic arguments “basic facts” with absolutely no context and pretty much treating the Scots… Read more »

John Hampson

The Institute of Fiscal Affairs review of the GERS 2020 data concluded that a Independent Scotland would have a national deficit of 8.6% of GDP in 2019-20. It continued the increase in Scotland’ deficit quote “largely reflecting higher (SNP) government spending.”  The UK as a whole had a deficit of 2.3% for 2019, including Scottish debt. This 8.6% deficit has 2 significant affects. It would make the cost of borrowing, to deal with CV19 and the loss of UK subsidies far higher than the UK pays.This would require even deeper public spending costs. The first to go would be the SNP’s… Read more »

John Hampson

using silly economic arguments “basic facts”

What an ignorant, arrogant and condescending remark. Typical of the response from somebody who would rather not hear the truth.

THEY ARE FACTS. INSTEAD OF EVASION DEAL WITH THEM.

Sources
1)SNP.Government Expenditure andRevenue Scotland (GERS) published 26Aug2020.
2) HMTreasury, Country and reagional analysis:2019. 19Nov 2019.
3)ONS. Country and regional public service finances. 2018.published May 2019.

Meirion X

What about General UK Income Tax, from Scotland does it go though Revenue & Customs? Or is it all retained by Scottish Gov.? Does Scottish Gov make a contribution to the MoD?

Meirion X

I forgot about the foreign Aid contribution!
Does Scot Gov. pay towards it?
Or UK Gov. pay their Aid bill? And of course scot free!

John Hampson

All the incomes you mention are included in the GERS Total Revenue figure for Scotland. As far as things like Defence and EU contributions, GERS does include Scotlands notional contibutions to these UK expenditures. However I do not think any Scottish contributions to all the other things like the Aid Budget or Foreign Office costs are included.

Daniele Mandelli

9% of assets?

So 9% of debt too, correct?

Plus loss of Barnett Formula?

Bye Bye Scotland.

James

Course not, the debt is in the name of the UK and not Scotland so I am 100% sure they wont even entertain discussing repaying us and our softy softy approach to negotiating with anyone will no doubt write the debt off!

Mark B

It is the heart and not the head which is driving independence. Whilst many Scots might like the idea of running their own show most Scots are wise enough to opt for a more pragmatic approach. If Ireland was a shining example of how to prosper independently then 2014 would have gone a different way. In things like foreign relations and defence we are better together. Independence has its limits.

Andy P

Mark B, I promise you, I don’t crave Scottish indy but arguably the same logic could have been used for Brexit.

People are a funny bunch and especially in the more decadent parts of the world (like The West) we can be prone to letting our hearts rule our heads. Most of us haven’t really struggled for anything for years.

Mark B

You make good points however are you suggesting that the EU are any good at Defence – or indeed ever will be?

The UK can and does manage international relations and defence well and will continue to do so. If only we had a free trade zone nearby that might be good for everyone?

We must be careful with Scotland and Ireland and not get distracted. Both will prosper from a period dedicated to the well-being of the UK. That is what we must do now rather than consider further turmoil.
.

Mark

The EU has nothing to do with Defence currently, what it might do in the future is another question.

And I presume you mean Northern Ireland, Ireland isn’t the UK’s concern.

Mark B

That’s rich Mark. You are clearly from Ireland on a UK site. I think you will find it cuts both ways.

As for the EU and defence – if the Russians ever land I wouldn’t bother going to Brussels for support. London, Paris or (for 4 years at least) Washington would be your best bet.

Mark

Yes I am, however the concerns of the Republic are our affairs and certainly don’t work for “the well being of the UK”, we aren’t part of the UK, what may benefit the UK isn’t necessarily what is beneficial for the Republic.

Russia isn’t a military threat to the Republic, that’s fantasy fleet nonsense.

Airborne

And the Military assets are also in the name of the UK, so what will they want? Cant have it both ways.

John Clark

here, here Daniele

geoff

I have calmed down a bit but whilst every man should be allowed his say, the history of Britain and Ireland is full of angsty bits so understand why I can’t be completely cerebral in response to the good Colonels article. He has a few reasonable points but much of it is interfering twaddle so I am entitled to a robust response. Think of those in the ROI who not only dont thank the RAF for their assistance in guarding their borders but react with ingratitude, rancour and hostility

Mark

You mean the statistically insignificant amount of people that even think about the issue?

geoff

I’m beginning to wonder about the amount of people who think about ANY serious issues at all. I dont think they rationally considered the consequences one way or the other about departing our 47 year membership of the EU let alone ponder the consequences of breaking up the centuries old United Kingdom!

Mark

I wasn’t talking about British people, I just meant that in Ireland outside of Shiners or those that actually want to see investment in the DF nobody even thinks about defence or the RAF agreement.

But I’d respectively suggest that it’s not a modern issue for the UK about not thinking about things, from what I can tell from history there didn’t seem to be much consideration given as to how the UK lost a chunk of one of it’s nations at the height of the Empire’s power.

geoff

Good Morning Mark. The loss of the bulk of Ireland was inevitable and hastened by many factors over centuries including the pivotal moment in the Dublin Post Office and the way the men who took part in theEaster Rising were treated. I say all this as a Unionist-too long a debate for this forum.
Cheers

Geoffrey Roach

Is there a pro independence Scot in here anywhere who can explain to me what Scotland thinks it is going to gain from independence apart from the ability to largely govern itself which it is able to do now. I am not being sarcastic or critical. I am Welsh, living in England and the idea of Wales seeking independence is ridiculous to me.

TrevorH

The SNP “oligarchy” do very well out of independence. And the Salmond business shows how they go about doing it.

Robert1

I’m not Pro-Indy, but have certainly shifted from previous staunch Unionist position. I believe your point around governance is the key one. Yes the government in Scotland has issues, yes there would be a tricky period of debt, defence & currency to sort, but fundamentally there is a growing feeling in Scotland that the politics of rUK are no longer concurrent with Scottish views. This doesn’t come down to wanting to be governed by an eternal SNP government, and more a feeling of detachment from westminster. Scotland’s COVID response has had some bloody big issues, but the arrogance/corruption of Boris… Read more »

Geoffrey Roach

Thanks Robert, I understand,I think, what your saying about the Westminster angle. It must seem detached in many ways and yet all elected in the UK have a voice in internal English affairs but not the other way around. To me this seems a genuine attempt by Westminster to allow Scotland, Ulster and Wales to run their own affairs with nothing asked in return. My biggest concern is that the Scottish people will only find out how bad things are going to be after independence if it happens.If the rest of “Britain” pulls out the Scottish economy will be destroyed,… Read more »

Robert1

I completely agree with you that there are issues around representation of Englad. Its one of the areas of fundamental mistakes I think were made post the first independence referendum in 2014. Response in mind should have been to a more federal UK, with every country/region given maximum power (Yorkshire, Cornish, North-East parliaments etc). The regional majors is a half step which doesn’t really achieve it. This maximum divestment of power would have put real pressure on Scottish Government. If they thrived under it then it may have just furthered independence argument, but if they hadn’t it’d have really killed… Read more »

Last edited 10 days ago by Robert1
Geoffrey Roach

Hi Robert I’m with you entirely on the federal idea. I had the old regions in mind as I think they have relevance today i.e. Wessex, Mercia etc. but otherwise ,yes…same principle. All would look after their domestic departments, coming together for Defence, Energy and so on. Back to Scotland…I guess it is an emotional decision in the end. On the E.U. I voted to stay and then got annoyed over the mess afterwards and decided we would be better off out. Am I right? Goodness knows. Interesting thoughts on the SNP and the move away from the party after… Read more »

Robert1

Completely agree that the decision is in huge parts an emotional one, whether that’s a good basis for decision is certainly debatable but it’s impossible to deny. I think the SNP support is an interesting one. Whilst clearly the biggest sufferers from rise of SNP have been Scottish Labour, there are SNP supporters who vote SNP based on desire for independence but who in other areas may well be politically conservative and in an independent Scotland may lean towards whatever centre-right party appears. Though I suspect Scotland may always be more left leaning (in part due to the size of… Read more »

700 Glengarried men

I found the original theory by Crawford and Marsh seriously flawed, The alternative argument would be, could I SCOTLAND afford to lose so much skilled work and tax revenue from the workers on all relevant bases and the shipyards, also re transfer of assets would there be any technology transfer issues. If I SCOTLAND chose to join NATO would it be required to permit RUK forces to be based there and SCOTLAND picking up the tab

Qbit

I’m always curious about why anglophobic racism is regarded as an acceptable form of racism.

Airborne

IDF provost marshal? Shit the bloke wasn’t even a combat arm, never mind bad enough being in the IDF and trying to give lessons in strategic planning. Methinks most of what he states can be pretty well ignored.

Andy P

Mate, I’m not sure you need to be a ‘Grand Admiral of the High Seas’ to have an opinion on matters, good job too or this place would be dead.

Airborne

Fair one buddy, but he’s still a waffling remf….

Mark

He might be the writer but just looking around, this came from the IDFOC webinar by the looks of it.

Airborne

If Dr Cathal Berry had contributed it would have been worth reading and discussing in depth.

Mark

He thinks we can pick up and support a Strategic Air Lift capacity for $10 million… Not sure outside of his area he’s got all the answers.

Airborne

A broad brush of knowledge is good, as you will always get advice form others who are subject matter experts in their areas, but personal experience, in my book does help, and Col Lee is voicing an opinion, which he is allowed of course, but not a qualified one. Methinks George likes to throw the indy hand grenade into the room occasionally…..cheers

ChariotRider

Yeh, and it usually works too. 🙂

Cheers CR

Last edited 12 days ago by ChariotRider
Andy

Just out of interest the people that say let Scotland go, would you feel the same if 51% of Yorkshire voted to leave with its cities and industry? Just thought

geoff

Exactly Andy. People often confuse the SNP and Scotland. The SNP are all about stirring up ill feeling between England and Scotland to create action and reaction in an ever escalating confrontation. My mantra is-don’t rise to their crude bear baiting and ignore point in time polls against a background of poor planet alignment on the Unionist side. I also understand what Boris says about Devolution and how his words have been twisted and presented as more Scot bashing. The whole Devolution process has been badly thought out and designed to create conflict. The worst feature is having Westminster trying… Read more »

Harold

“The big drawback is that, if the UK goes to war, which it is prone to do quite frequently” says the colonel. – so very true. This is what people in Eire and Alba, and indeed elsewhere increasingly think. We need to see a better future than that promulgated by the USA and so called UK military imperialists. There has been too much war and killing.

Airborne

Oh dear, do we go to war too much Harold? Mmmmmm if my memory serves me well it’s always been under the banner of the U.N. or an EU led agreement, both organisations which you seem to worship. As I often say, once again, the subject matter is way over your head and best left to those who don’t play troll.

Harold

“The big drawback is that, if the UK goes to war, which it is prone to do quite frequently,…” Colonel Dorcha Lee (Retired) IDF

Airborne

I refer you to my original post….sigh!

Harold

“The big drawback is that, if the UK goes to war, which it is prone to do quite frequently,…” Colonel Dorcha Lee (Retired) IDF

Airborne

Once again I will assist you, whereby I refer you to my original post.

Andy

Ok so what wars have uk started in last 40 years? We didn’t start falklands we just finished it and I believe everything else was UN or NATO? Do you pick your own mushrooms by any chance?

John Clark

Harolds on fire with this one, keep taking the blood pressure tablets Harold!

You should be relaxed today my dear chap, that lovable old racist, comrade Corbyn has been let back into the Anti Semitic … sorry, Labour party!

Starmers been made to look a complete fool, he thought he was in charge, looks like the loony left is still at the helm to me….

Harold

I am not in the slightest ‘on fire’ nor do I need to take blood pressure tablets. I have absolutely no interest at all in your Labour Party, Corbyn, Starmer or anything else to do with them. I have never voted Labour.

John Clark

Hmmmm, ‘Your’ Labour Party Harold …. I see …. You have just blown your KGB cover, no fuel ration for the Lada this month for you, one more slip up and its the salt mines!

Airborne

He is, his reply confirms you have made home bite! Gnash gnash from the old troll.

Harold

The Labour Party collapsed years ago where I live. Indeed, nowhere in my property portfolio is served by a Labour politician any more. We have the Nats, Greens, Indys and a very few Tories. So yes, your Labour Party.

Airborne

Why would a budget electrical appliances firm think we in the UK go to war to often? Mmmmmmm?

John Clark

Oh that made me laugh Airborne, Harold is really trying to hold on to that fuel ration,but his raffle ticket for Kremlin Christmas turnip has defiantly been ripped up by the KGB!

Nyet, neyt, I am not a spy….

Meirion X

What about the Wars in your Master Putin’s Empire??

Mark

Looking around,one of the few Irish defence policy groups just had a Webinar around the topic of what effect an Indy Scotland could have, wonder is this related to that?

Glass Half Full

What seems to be lacking in the Stuart Crawford paper and also this article is a justification/examples/proof of concept for leasing of bases in order to generate the suggested revenue stream. If Scotland became an independent, neutral, or non-aligned country, then yes, hypothetically, HMNB Clyde might operate like a Djibouti-on-the-Clyde and leasing might be a viable option, because Scotland would be offering a desirable or even valuable service and/or commodity, presumably without any material benefit to itself beyond the revenue. Similar argument for Lossimouth. However, more practically, if Scotland anticipates being a NATO member, or even just aligned to NATO,… Read more »

Andy P

Iceland kind of do their own thing in NATO. According to the much maligned wiki their defence budget is 0.26% too. I’m not saying Scotland would necessarily do the same as Iceland, what I am saying is there’s no point getting bogged down with the figures as they are. Now that ‘The Donald’ is away there might not be the same push for the 2% anyway.

Here’s the link for Iceland anyway, I can’t be bothered looking for further links to back it up but even if wiki is a bit out, you get the point I hope.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Military_of_Iceland

pkcasimir

The “push for the 2%” didn’t originate with the Donald and it has broad bi-partisan support in the US. The next Congress will have the Republicans controlling the Senate and the Democrats facing a House of Representatives in which five or six moderate Democrats who held on to their seats by a neck can join with Republicans and control the floor of the House.

Andy P

My point being that the 2% can be a bit ‘free and easy’. Some seem desperate to find reasons why an indy Scotland would be doooooomed… All I’m trying to flag up is that if it did happen, despite some rubbing their hands with glee at Scotland’s demise, like most other countries, it would move on. NATO might be happy to give it a bit of slack in the short term as a sort of existing member of sorts. Same for the EU for that matter, worth considering they might be happy to do it as a F – YOU… Read more »

Glass Half Full

AFAIK the 2% of GDP was established at the 2014 Welsh NATO summit. The agreement was that members not yet committed to 2% or more of GDP for defence expenditure were to work towards attaining at least 2% of GDP by year 2024. I doubt the pressure from the US will change, as Presidents from Bush on have pushed NATO members to spend more on defence. This is what probably led to the 2014 agreement, to formalise a shared commitment a bit more, although it is not part of the NATO treaty. With a rising China its likely that pressure… Read more »

Andy P

You could be right, who knows, all I’m saying is that these things aren’t as set in stone as maybe first appear. Scotland as part of the UK is already a long standing member of NATO and the EU. While an indy Scotland (I’m guessing) would be in a state of flux at the start, it might well be viewed as better to have it in the gang than out while they get their shit together after the massive short term changes of independence, something that would be pretty unusual for one of the larger players (UK) of NATO. I’d… Read more »

Glass Half Full

Its certainly a valid point that NATO member perspectives aren’t certain. Which means financial models should exist for a range of outcomes from best to worst case. So far we seem to have only seen optimistic versions. Reverting to the original point, the economics arguments behind a scot-free defence cost in the Crawford paper seem more suspect. The post-independence £1.2b of economic benefit from defence assets appears to have a significant component, perhaps £600-£700m or more, outside contributions directly from future base leasing and increased base headcount. This economic benefit would seem to already exist in the Scottish economy, due… Read more »

Andy P

Morning GHF, its worth bearing in mind there are plenty Scottish boys based down south too spending their money where they’re based/live. I’ve no idea of the finances of it all and even if I took my shoes and socks off I probably still couldn’t figure it out. As it stands, its still the UK Armed Forces with guys from all over, not sure if its still the same but there did used to be a disproportionate number of people from Scotland and the north of England in it though and a lot more bases in the south. As for… Read more »

pkcasimir

While the US would recognize an independent Scotland after a referendum approving same, don’t assume that the US would be in favor of Scotland in NATO. And if the US opposes Scotland’s entrance then it won’t occur. The SNP is hardly pro-American and the US would not take kindly to its stance on nuclear weapons. Further, there is Euro-defense fatigue in the US and the last thing Americans want to do is to add another member country that would be totally unable financially to contribute to its own defense and unwilling to do so philosophically. In other words, the US… Read more »

Andy P

Morning Pkcasimir, sorry missed your post. You could be right, the US ‘might’ be against Scotland joining but me being the eternal optimist I am will choose to believe that as Scotland would have been a member as part of the UK and of strategic geographical value then they might be willing to be patient while Scotland gets its shit in one sock economically etc. While I would expect the SNP to get at least one term after any independence, being a democracy, that could well change.

Matt C

In plain English: “We want to secede, you’ll pay us for it, and we’ll give lip service to co-operation”.

Wow there are no downsides to this at all /s

geoff

Thank you Matt-my thoughts exactly! I try to be even handed and consider other views but the Colonels offer has no merit whatsoever

OldSchool

I’m looking forward to iScotland getting it’s 9%. 9% of UK national debt that is! And NO UK pound. Sorry but that’s run by…..BoE.

So iScotland will be one of the most indebted countries in the world AND will have NO national currency….can’t wait for it….

Oh and recall why Scotland joined the Union…..because it was BANKRUPT.

Says it all really.

Harold

Nothing prevents Scotland from using a foreign currency until it establishes its own. Your exact words were said about Malta in 1959. Just a few years later it gained its independence and never looked back.

John Clark

The Ruble perhaps Harold…….

Airborne

Bartering crayons and lumps of coal maybe!

Harold

“Thugh, grunt, ugg, grung, grunt, mmm, gimme gun, gimme gun, bang, bang, ugh, grunt, grunt” (L/Cpl pink beret airborne 2020)

Airborne

Your replies confirm your age demographic, and that age can be a serious issue the more infirm you become. I can advise on organisations to assist you if you would like?

Meirion X

Lord Haw-Haw, again telling fibbs!

Malta has been a Back-water ever since their independence!

Bob2

Good to see lots of “passion” on show today.

I assume Mrs UKDJ will be expecting something nice and shiny for Xmas based on today’s adverting revenue. 😛

Stevo H

Do me a favour……. what a load of rubbish. How will Scotland pay for the so called “9% of the British Armed Forces” that it’s entitled to? The SNP seem hellbent on destroying everything about the United Kingdom because they’re blatant Marxists…… The fantastic Scottish people deserve better than the ridiculous SNP and the fantastic Scottish regiments that are loyal to the crown will continue to serve in the British Army…… as they have done so since the 17th Century. 🇬🇧🇬🇧✌✌

Darren hall

A quick google bring up this…

https://www.businesspost.ie/analysis-opinion/comment-we-are-willing-to-defend-our-homes-from-attack-why-not-our-country-8eddd752

Very interesting when read in conjuction to this article…

Dave Coull

Dorcha Lee is an “asset”. Whose “asset”, you might ask? Well, not ours. He’s not an asset to us in Scotland, that’s for sure. Officially Dorcha is an Irish officer. Colonel. Retired. He used to be Provost Marshal. That means he was in charge of the military police. I have had some experience with military police. Fifty eight years ago, in 1962, when they locked me up in the Combined Services Military Prison in Aden (now Yemen), along with other soldiers, marines, airmen, and sailors, most (but not all) like myself,serving quite short sentences. The (expletives deleted) enjoyed making life… Read more »