The first priority for the government of any sovereign country is the defence and security of its people. Any discussion of this was conspicuously absent from Tuesday’s debate.
At present, the UK has a navy that is unable to cope with the most basic requirements of national defence.
Questions were asked in the House of Commons about the arrival of the Admiral Kuznetsov aircraft carrier and its task force in Scottish waters, its mooring there over the Christmas period, and the late arrival of a frigate from Portsmouth to monitor it.
Even worse, the Defence Secretary at the time, Philip Hammond, admitted his department “relied on Twitter for information” about the Russian task force.
Bearing in mind, in light of the problems with Russia in Ukraine, that planes and missiles from the Admiral Kuznetsov could easily have eliminated the nuclear base at Faslane and much of Scotland with it, can anyone really contend that the UK government is to be trusted with the defence and security of either the UK or Scotland?
Why did neither Alex Salmond nor Alistair Darling address this issue on Tuesday?
Because it has the Faslane base for UK nuclear submarines and missiles, Scotland will be a prime target for a hostile country in any possible nuclear war. As such, it needs effective defence if it is to survive, independent or not.
The combination of nuclear weapons with feeble conventional forces is a dangerous one which threatens both the UK and an independent Scotland.
With weak conventional forces, a UK government is more likely to rely on the threat of nuclear war. I hope that, at some time before the referendum, this will be discussed by the protagonists.