Time for a water-tight defence policy
Liam Fox (Perspective, 17 October) merely confirms the glaringly obvious: an independent Scottish state will have to grant a 49-year, renewable lease for Trident. It means two little square miles of pink on the map at Faslane and Coulport, each flying the St George’s Cross – akin to the Irish Treaty Ports of 1921.
In return, Scotland will enjoy a massive upside.
No longer will the ragged-trousered philanthropists of Scotland be paying towards the world’s fourth-highest defence budget (UK) and providing free nuclear cover for wealthy Germans and Swedes.
Our own defence budget will fall from the current £3.5 billion to around £2.5bn annually. The Bases Lease will give us political leverage over England, Nato and the USA. Two liberal democratic European seats on the UN Security Council will be secured. Our “social union” with England will be strengthened.
The SNP must now act as the movement for the future Scottish state. That requires a hard-nosed, water-tight defence policy for the Scottish public. Si vis pacem, para bellum (if you wish peace, prepare for war) must apply.
(Cllr )Tom Johnston (SNP)
In his article, Dr Fox asserts that “noisy and outdated” diesel submarines would be easily avoided by any intruder to our waters. He fails to appreciate that the modern conventional sub can be more than a match for the nuclear vessel, particularly in coastal waters like ours.
He criticises the defence arguments of others while his own government has stripped us of frigates, scrapped the Maritime Patrol Aircraft and left us with a massively expensive Trident system which puts us at the top of any potential enemy’s target list. This is hardly a defence posture which protects our shores.
I am sincerely glad that Bruce D Skivington (Letters, 18 October), like CND activist Bruce Kent, is not in charge of our defence.
Mr Skivington believes, against all evidence to the contrary, that “the first move by any aggressive foreign power would be to eliminate the nuclear defence facilities based in Scotland”.
Is he unaware that these nuclear facilities are the bases from which our nuclear submarines operate?
Any attack on Faslane would mean certain death to the attacker.
Our submarines are there to prevent that very thing happening. Weakness is not a way of facing down aggressive powers.
Can Mr Skivington list the number of attacks that have happened since the Second World War against British, American, Russian or Chinese nuclear weapons facilities? No? I wonder why not.
It is a fact that the SNP and its fellow travellers in the CND camp are dead set against nuclear weapons. Strangely enough, most people are, myself included.
I am also against powers that have nuclear weapons using them to blackmail weaker powers that do not. That is why we must be sure that people who would attempt to threaten and blackmail us, who may be thousands of miles away, are never in a position to do so.
Mr Skivington is right to mention cyber attacks as matters of increasing concern.
However, his persistence in using the usual tactic of talking the United Kingdom down is a constant and wearisome anti-British, SNP theme which is well past its sell-by date.
The SNP will have to consider the real world if it is to be given any credibility. Defence is a subject upon which it will be judged and, at present, it has no policy worthy of the name.
Andrew HN Gray
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