Malcolm Chalmers writes: “With or without a special defence relationship, an independent Scotland would remain profoundly dependent on its southern neighbour for security, even while absent when vital decisions are being made” (Comment, 6 November). Would that be the “security” provided by the London-centric MoD and experts who failed to predict the end of the cold war or the rise of al-Qaida, failed to respond adequately to the diversification opportunities (especially at the shipyards) that arose from the fall of the Berlin wall, took Britain into an illegal war in Iraq and a misplaced decade-long “war on terror” in Afghanistan, propose to modernise the UK nuclear “deterrent” (while simultaneously encouraging targets in Moscow and Beijing to invest in strategic British infrastructure, including nuclear energy), manage an out-of-control procurement process where major defence platforms arrive late and grossly over-budget and, above all else, would sell their own grannies (or spy on every UK household and European ally) in order to retain the “special relationship” with US interests?
Dr Ian Davis
• The common consensus on the decision to keep Scottish shipyards open at the expense of Portsmouth has been seen as a political trump card played by the Tories. Vote yes to independence and lose the shipbuilding contracts seems to be the message. Once the political fallout has finished, there will be time for contemplation up here in Scotland as to whether or not we as a nation want to be subject to such political skulduggery for our jobs. Independence would remove such a threat.
As for Scottish defence, I am astounded by the political commentators who harp on about Scotland being able to defend itself. Against whom? During the IRA attacks on mainland Britain, not one such incident took place in Scotland. There has been one botched attempt at “terrorism” at Glasgow airport, where the assailants were apprehended by the locals. That apart? Nothing. How would Scotland be able to defend itself therefore becomes less of an issue than the media and politicians make it out to be.
Were there to be a yes vote then Faslane would become the real issue for Scottish defence as the SNP has committed Scotland to rid itself of the nuclear deterrent. Perhaps this could be accommodated at Portsmouth given the closure of the shipbuilding yards there? But surely if Scotland becomes an independent country and the threat is to remove the shipbuilding capability from it, the same would be true in reverse – in that what is left of the UK could not also be without a nuclear deterrent? Interesting times ahead.
• The Scottish secretary says it would be difficult to award work building warships to Scotland if it were to leave the UK (Report, 7 November). Really? A UK minister believes that? In a UK where my bottom rests in a train seat part-owned by SNCF? In a UK which borrows a monstrously expensive nuclear deterrent from the US and pays them to service it? In a UK that …read more