To ANSWER Mr Inglis’ concerns (letters 14 July) it is not naivety but realism to suggest Scotland should have devolved defence.
There are two reasons for this. Firstly, threats have changed. PanAm 103, the Glasgow Airport bombing and 7/7 were all incidents where the size of army is irrelevant. In both 7/7 and the Glasgow Airport incident the majority of the participants were English-born and radicalised by extremists driven by the policy of interfering in other countries.
To answer his point, the world is not less stable, we no longer have the Warsaw Pact and while there are new tensions, nearly all of them do not involve Scotland. The new super-powers are China and India. Both the Indian and Chinese armies, including reservists, each are just under five million, so it would be academic how big a Scottish army should be to prevent them invading.
The point he makes about cyber-terrorism actually reinforces my point for smaller forces, since the type of person most likely to counter cyber-terrorism is not the type of person to want to serve in a uniform army
Secondly, there is the money. The ordinary worker on the basic rate of tax pays around 45p in the pound when National Insurance is included.
On the remaining 55p VAT is levied, meaning that another 11p goes to the government. With only 44p of each pound free of taxation we cannot raise tax any further.
The real question is do we want to waste money on shiny military toys and keeping a large standing army which we risk in other countries or whether we spend on the real needs of our society?
BRUCE D SKIVINGTON
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