Imperial vanity

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The recent announcement of yet another cost increase to £6.2 billion from an original £3.9bn for the construction of two aircraft(less) carriers is further evidence of the staggering incompetence of Westminster governments, be they Labour, Tory or coalition.

There is also the additional £4bn-plus cost to be found to equip just one of the carriers with US-built aircraft some time after 2020.

If we suspend belief for a moment and assume no further cost increases, that will be £10.2bn for one carrier and one useless hulk.

But it gets worse. There will be no support fleet for the one completed carrier and so its use will be restricted to goodwill visits where there is not the slightest risk of hostile reception.

Basically, it is a grotesque vanity project.

That apart, what possible defence of UK citizens is served by providing Westminster politicians with the means to project death and destruction on people thousands of miles from our shores?

Remember, these are the same politicians who are incapable of securing the coastline, ferry terminals or airports from impoverished economic migrants equipped with nothing but their wits and a nagging hunger.

An independent Scotland, released from Westminster’s follies, would be in a position to allocate a sensible defence budget on personnel and equipment suited to the actual as opposed to fantasy defence requirements of the country.

The other advantage would be that the considerable savings that would accrue would become available to spend on debt reduction or areas of national improvement, both social and structural, as Holyrood democratically determines.

Clive B Scott

Hillhead Drive


Deputy First Minster Nicola Sturgeon is once again ranting about “weapons of mass destruction” (your report, 18 December.) This is the language of a CND activist, not of a senior government minister.

May I remind Ms Sturgeon that a short time ago she and her party decided to seek the security of a nuclear alliance but to avoid any associated cost?

Could we consider this action to be just a little bit cheap?

(Dr) A McCormick

Kirkland Road

Terregles, Dumfries