Attack on defence
With about 9 per cent of the UK population, our appropriate share of government defence expenditure would give us more than 25,000 defence jobs.
But perhaps the Prime Minister will take the opportunity while he is here to reassure the folk in the communities around our nuclear arms collection at Faslane and Coulport that the UK government will make sure they all get a fitting funerals should any madman start a nuclear war.
The people of Scotland deserve no less and are very noble indeed to accept becoming the world’s number one target by selflessly providing a nuclear shield for more important people. It is unimaginable that Scotland would consider attacking anyone else.
The nuclear weapons on the Clyde probably provide the only reason why anybody would want to attack Scotland.
Perhaps as he crosses the Clyde somebody could point out to Mr Cameron that the Norwegian navy, for instance, has 70 ships, all built in Norway, and the surest guarantee for Scotland to have an appropriate defence industry is an independent Scotland.
David McEwan Hill
The Prime Minister’s threat over defence jobs after independence is an empty vessel. The aircraft carrier contract can only be completed in Scotland.
There is nowhere else available without a delay in setting up a dock. The Type 45 destroyers have gone.
The next order, the Type 26 “global combat ship”, is not progressing satisfactorily. It needs international partners to spread the cost, but so far those approached have either rejected it or are delaying. Westminster could find itself with no orders to award.
On the other hand, an independent Scotland would need much cheaper offshore patrol vessels to protect and support the energy and fishing industries.
These orders would keep the shipyards busy for some time. Ironically, that very design of a simpler, cheaper ship would appeal to Turkey, Brazil and the members of the Commonwealth which have rejected the Type 26, generating far more production than Westminster can provide. Also, the very successful Pentalina design which provides a faster, unsubsidised service to Orkney than the heavily state-subsidised service, should be built here to replace many of our services on the west coast. These modern designs could also provide back-up ships to the Scottish defence force in a similar way to the design of the 1964 ships, Hebrides, Clansman and Columba (now sailing as the luxury Hebridean Princess).
Due to the very nature of our coastline and islands, Scotland is a maritime nation, and shipbuilding both for defence and commercial use should be a core activity.
A government in Edinburgh might realise the importance of our maritime services much more than the Westminster government, which sees Scotland as an useful place to store its nuclear deterrent.
Bruce D Skivington
Gairloch, Wester Ross