What would keep BAE in Scotland?
When Alex Salmond set out to fulfil his “independence” dream and started dithering over the date of the referendum, there was concern that the uncertainty created would damage our industries.
Are the chickens now coming home to roost, with the prospect of BAE stopping shipbuilding on the Clyde (your report, 26 November)?
While it is still possible that Portsmouth rather than the Clyde shipyards may be closed, is it logical for BAE, which will have to rely on the Westminster government for future defence contracts, to keep yards sited in a “foreign” country open rather than one in the remaining portion of the UK? Perhaps if Mr Salmond gave BAE an idea of his requirements for a future “Scottish navy” it might help influence its decision.
Then again, would the prospect of building vessels tantamount to fishery protection ships really entice BAE to stay in Scotland?
On Sunday, a BBC reporter told us that Portsmouth was the most likely shipyard to close in the BAE review because it had most workers on short-term contracts and BAE would wish to hang on to the expertise of the workers in the two Scottish yards.
In Monday’s Scotsman, Labour’s London lackeys are telling us that because of the possibility of independence it was most likely that a Scottish yard would go.
Ian Davidson (the Labour MP for Glasgow South West, who represents the yards) tells us that the type 26s would be placed with Portsmouth because there “is no danger of separation”.
Funny – I would have thought that if Scotland (and her shipyards) was separated from England, then England (and her yard) would be separated from Scotland. Despite having the yards in his own constituency, it doesn’t seem to have occurred to Davidson that an independent Scotland will be having ships built for her own navy, modest though the requirements will be.
BAE will be a possible contender for those and other Scottish defence contracts and will no doubt bear that in mind, so may not wish to rush to closure.
Meanwhile, you quote Jim Murphy as saying: “We know for a fact independence would close the Scottish shipyards.”
Really? So now Labourites are claiming to have psychic powers.
Keep it up, lads: convince BAE to close a Scottish yard and then you can claim the usual line about how “uncertainty over independence is costing jobs”.
Don’t worry about sacrificing Scottish livelihoods – you weren’t too fussy about sacrificing lives in Iraq and Afghanistan, after all.
Thomas R Burgess
St Catherine’s Square
Once again we are agonising about losing major defence contracts in fields where we have an excellent track record.
Two of the three yards are based in Scotland, but voting for (or even thinking about) independence would, we are told, ensure that Portsmouth would be likely to be saved at the expense of Govan or Scotstoun.
Shadow defence secretary Jim Murphy has pointed out that the Royal Navy has not built a warship in a foreign land in living memory.
This may be true but does not have to be set in stone. It certainly does not apply to other defence contracts. The Tornado multi-role combat aircraft was built by a consortium involving other European countries.
This is the curse of our current dependency on the political whims and bullying of Westminster and its unionist allies.
When we are independent we will be able to market our considerable skills and experience not only to England, but to Europe and the rest of the world.
In the past we have built ships for foreign navies in Scotland. I, myself, remember being present at the launch of a patrol vessel for the Mexican Navy at the Ailsa yard on the Firth of Clyde.
We just need to regain our old entrepreneurial spirit and confidence in our ability, and stop waiting in trepidation for Westminster largesse.
Newbattle Abbey Crescent
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