Scottish defence

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Ken Currie (Letters, 9 April) should do some research before rushing into print about defence in an independent Scotland.

Since 2000 the total number of UK ­service and civilian Ministry of Defence personnel has dropped by almost 20 per cent (53,510). The reduction has disproportionately affected Scotland where we have seen a drop of more than 35 per cent (8,800) over the same period.

Scotland has seen a bigger ­proportionate decline in MoD service personnel than any other UK nation. In 2011–12, Scotland saw a 7.5 per cent reduction in service personnel in Scotland as opposed to 2.5 per cent in England, 1.5 per cent in Wales and 6.8 per cent in Northern Ireland.

It is successive Westminster governments that are slashing defence jobs in Scotland. With independence we can save £10 billion as our share of the useless Trident replacement plus £1.5bn-a-year defence subsidy we contribute to UK finances.

The Royal United Services Institute says “the overall cost of defending an independent Scotland has is around £1.8bn a year, approximately 1.3 per cent of Scotland’s GDP, and around £1.5bn less than the costs currently paid by Scottish taxpayers as their ­contribution to the defence of the UK.

Fraser Grant

Edinburgh

David Cameron’s confidence in Trident as a deterrent against nuclear attack presupposes a rational opponent. This might apply to Iran but certainly not to North Koreans. There have been two cases since 1945 when 
nuclear weapons were almost used in irrational circumstances.

During the Cuban Missile Crisis the USSR sent three diesel submarines to the Western Atlantic. They were armed with nuclear-tipped torpedoes. One of the boats had been hunted to exhaustion by a USN Hunter Killer Group. The Captain was all for firing his torpedo. They were dissuaded by the Officer in Tactical Command, Vasili Arkhipov, who was also Executive Officer of the submarine. Instead they left the area, and the world was saved from catastrophe.

In 1983 the then ruler of the USSR, Yuri Andropov, was so spooked by Ronald Reagan’s rhetoric (and an accident with an open microphone) that he was convinced attack by the USA was imminent.

While I am no fan of Vladimir Putin, he has so far been the only leader to mention the threat from fallout if North Korea is 
carried away by its delusions.

Strontium-90, anyone?

Frank Donald

Edinburgh