While setting aside the article headed “Scotland could be better defended for less” (13 November), it was the other articles on the same page which caused me some confusion.
The UK Minister for International Security Strategy, Dr Andrew Murrison – appearing with the Scottish Secretary, Alistair Carmichael – confirmed that the new Type 26 frigates would not be built in Scotland were it to vote for independence.
But immediately below, in the following article, it was stated that the UK is to buy three spy planes from America to replace the UK’s grounded Nimrod fleet.
I recall that in 1984, Rosyth, already specialising in refitting the Royal Navy’s nuclear submarine fleet, was chosen as its sole refitting base, and in 1986 extensive infrastructure was built to enable this be achieved.
However, in 1993, the government switched the refitting role to Devonport Dockyard – where these same facilities had to be replicated. But that was a political decision as there was a Tory marginal seat in Devonport and they wished to woo the electorate – just as they are now threatening the Scottish electorate. “Stick and carrot”?
But, on the replacement aircraft, it could be claimed that the UK has a “special relationship” with America so is Alistair Carmichael suggesting that, if there is a democratic vote in Scotland to become independent, that the remainder of the UK would have a “hostile” relationship with Scotland?
Does that decision to purchase the aircraft from America not give lie to the assertion that Britain does not buy defence equipment from abroad? Has there ever been any consistency in the UK defence policy?