THE arch North British provincial merchant of doom Alexander McKay is at it again (Letters, 24 November). The man who started his campaign by belabouring the word “separation”, before cranking it up to “broken-off Scotland”, now describes Scotland as “a foreign land”. He dismisses perfectly logical plans to dispense with wasting hundreds of millions of pounds on Trident, a first strike weapon which we can never use, and create a conventional defence force commensurate with our needs with a budget of £2.5 billion as fantasy. Why the hyperbole?
It won’t surprise many that our super-efficient UK MoD has allowed the budget to double to £6.5bn to build two aircraft carriers, one of which will be immediately mothballed, while the other will be brought into service with no aircraft to fly from it. Neither should it shock us that the same department would fail to accept the logic of economies of scale by building the Type 26 frigates on the Clyde. The Chief of the Defence Staff, General Sir Nicholas Houghton, is quoted as saying: “In terms of raw business sense it makes sense to place the orders where they have the greatest capacity and the best skills, which is the Clyde.” So we have procurement politics, posturing or practicalities. I wonder which one the MoD will plump for?
As Mr McKay’s pronouncements become ever more desperate, is it possible that he is not now quite so cocksure how the referendum vote may go? Time to plan ahead if the prospect of living in “a foreign land” is so unpalatable.
Douglas Turner, Edinburgh