SNP defence plans slammed


With Scotland now less than a year away from a defining moment in its history, the policy implications of independence are finally becoming clear.

Scottish independence defenceAmong the biggest issues for Scots to consider will be how to keep itself safe in an uncertain world. The publication today of the cross party defence select committee report, on the implications on defence of independence, shows why Alex Salmond has not as yet given a clear and detailed outline of what independence would look like.

In what amounts to a critical assessment of the few details the SNP have provided on what defence would look like if Scotland goes it alone, the committee has warned the nationalists that it is overplaying the moaning and groaning about the UK government not playing ball.

Noting that the Scottish government has envisaged a defence force which works closely with northern European neighbours, NATO and the European Union, the report notes:

“We have seen little evidence that the Scottish government has reached any understanding with Northern European nations regarding military co-operation. Claims by the Scottish government that its policy development has been hampered by a lack of co-operation from the UK government seem to us to be somewhat overplayed.”

The rebuke marks the start of a report peppered with doubts, raising serious questions as to the ability of Scotland to properly defend itself. Below are a series of passages from the report that amount to a damaging critique of SNP plans.

Naval Fleet

“In light of the evidence of the experience of other countries, we have serious doubts about the SNP’s stated intention to acquire conventional submarines. This could only be achieved by procurement from abroad at considerable cost and risk.”

Air Defences

“In view of the costs associated with acquiring different air defence aircraft from those the UK currently operates, we do not currently understand how the Scottish government expects, within the available budget, to mount a credible air defence – let alone provide the additional transport, rotary wing and other support aircraft an air force would need.”

Funding

“Given the information we have so far received from the Scottish government, we are unconvinced that there is sufficient funding to support both the proposed Scottish defence force and to procure new equipment.”

Job Losses

“If the nuclear deterrent were moved from the Clyde the impact on levels of employment at Faslane and Coulport would be significant. Evidence we have received suggests that instead of an increase in people directly employed at the base to around 8,200 by 2022, as projected by the MoD, a conventional naval base and Joint Force Headquarters would employ considerably fewer people than the current workforce of 6,500.”

“In the event of independence, we consider that the defence industry in Scotland would face a difficult future. This impact would be felt most immediately by those companies engaged in shipbuilding, maintenance, and high end technology. The requirements of a Scottish defence force would not generate sufficient domestic demand to compensate for the loss of lucrative contracts from the UK MoD, and additional security and bureaucracy hurdles would be likely to reduce competitiveness with rUK based companies.”

NATO Membership

“The Scottish government’s view that NATO membership could be negotiated in a period of 18 to 24 months is optimistic unless issues surrounding the nuclear deterrent were resolved through negotiation.”

More Information is Needed

“The people of Scotland and the rest of the UK deserve to be presented with as full a picture as possible of the implications of Scottish independence for their future defence and security. To date, the information published by both the Scottish government and UK government falls far short of requirements.”

It will be up to Scottish voters to determine whether this provides the basis for a credible defence policy and framework.

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  • Tony Collins

    ‘This entry was posted in A Britain We All Call Home’ ‘Indeed.

    No mention of the current huge underspend on defence in Scotland? Scotland contributes around £3Bn annually, yet current spending in Scotland is closer to £2Bn.

    No mention of the recent announcements of the closure of two RAF bases in Scotland? The betrayal of the Scottish Regiments?

    No mention of the positive effects of cancellation of trident- the democratic and economic gains- not to mention the positive impact on global non-proliferation.

    The UK has all the questions to answer not least of which is why can’t we properly equip British soldiers when they are sent ‘to protect our freedoms’?

  • Selohesra

    Whilst it may be a cross part committee I suspect it was not balanced between pro and anti independence as the mainstream Westminister parties are all pro union

  • Jake Church

    Scaremongering English shit, the arseholes from London will say any distorted twisted lie to smear the SNP, WHO HAVE REPEATEDLY SAID AS WELL THE INDEPENDENCE VOTE IS NOT AN ELECTION FOR THE snp BUT THE CHANCE TO RUN OUR OWN AFFAIRS WITH OUR OWN PEOPLE, PARLIAMENT AND FINANCES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Selohesra

    C’mon get off the fence – which side of the arguement are you on?

  • Alister Rutherford

    Yet another piece of lazy journalism from Mr Jacobs, if it can even be called journalism. No attempt to question anything asserted by the committee. A committee of Unionists be it noted. No attempt to inform readers of how similar sized countries in North Western Europe manage to maintain an adequate and affordable defence force. Think of Ireland, Denmark and Norway. They all manage very successfully, so the real question should be why would Scotland be as successful? Less scare stories and a bit more real journalism would not go amiss.

  • Ejacques1938

    Should a vote for Independence result in the removal of nuclear weapons from Scottish territory that (to my mind)would be hugely significant and positive for the Scottish people and its economy? And if that becomes a catalyst for UK people questioning the cost of this
    so called independent nuclear deterrent so much the better. Don’t you think there are better
    ways of spending hundreds of billions, in times of recession, austerity and when millions are suffering severe hardship, poverty, unemployment, homelessness, social exclusion and are having to rely on charity and food banks simply to survive? Of course it would mean our political leaders from all the main political parties would no longer be able to swan around the
    world in the naïve belief that they are part of the world’s policeman and the answer to the world’s problems. And again (to my mind) that would be no bad
    thing.

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