Hammond puts up a weak defence

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The Defence Secretary, Philip Hammond, comes among us to suggest that Scotland, uniquely in a world of almost 200 independent nations, cannot adequately defend itself as all the other countries do (your report, 15 March).

At the moment, Scotland’s contribution to the UK defence bill is around £3.5 billion per annum. For this we get the world’s biggest collection of dangerous nuclear weapons stored 25 miles from our biggest city and the same number of actual troops in Scotland as the defence force of Trinidad and Tobago.

He has the insolence to suggest that if we chose independence we will lose shipyards when Scotland under the UK union has lost the greatest shipbuilding industry the world has ever seen.

He seems incapable of looking across the sea to Norway, the same size as Scotland, with a navy of 70 ships, all built in Norway (which incidentally also built the British Navy ships operating in the South Atlantic) and to the huge shipbuilding industry in little Finland.

The whole Better Together campaign consists entirely of telling Scotland that we are too stupid to do the normal things that every other country in the world does.

Having Westminster ministers who understand nothing about Scotland coming up here to insult us will hugely benefit the Yes crusade. But at least they have the excuse of ignorance. What excuse do the Scottish politicians who parrot their scaremongering have?



Sandbank, Argyll

It CAN be depressing to be proved right. It is reported in The Scotsman (15 March) that Philip Hammond has admitted Trident is aimed at Russia. “We have good relationships with Russia, but we should never forget that there are very large strategic forces out there, potentially, that could be ranged against us,” he said.

It may come to many as a surprise to realise that in these post-Cold War days, Britain is still ready to flatten Moscow single-handedly. Moscow is the only city in the world that has an anti-missile missile system defending it, called “Galosh”. Trident is a first strike weapon, specifically designed to destroy the Galosh system.

In assessing a weapons function, we ignore the justification offered by the politicians who deploy it; instead, we examine its technical ­capabilities.

Thus, if we are simply going to destroy Moscow, it doesn’t matter whether we hit the Cathedral of the Saviour, or a hospital half a mile away. Accuracy is only essential if we intend to excavate the Galosh deep underground missile silos.

There is no point at firing at empty holes in the ground. Therefore, Trident is a first-strike system, and a weapon of aggression.
So all the sanctimonious guff about deterring unspecified “threats” must regarded as lies. I have always said that. Now Philip Hammond says it. Depressing, like I said.

Brian Quail

Hyndland Avenue