Defence deficit

George Leslie (Letters, 18 March) makes some pertinent comments on our current state of defence but, however grudgingly, we have to admit that for 300 years we have, however shakily at times, been rather better served in this respect than any other European country.

If savings had to be made, wasn’t it sensible to make these mainly in an area that was threatening to break away in the near future, and are Nimrod surveillance aircraft still really that important in the modern world?

Is it really conceivable that a resistible large-scale terrorist attack would not be discovered early enough to be countered from anywhere within the UK?

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Defence, like any other business, has to be costed on the required number of frontline jobs. Scotland, as Mr Leslie points out, pays its population share of this but I believe we actually have about double this proportion in the UK forces. In other words, we currently don’t have to pay for half of our forces jobs.

If, as I understand, the SNP plan is to retain this number in an independent Scotland then, however financially incompetent we may consider the Ministry of Defence to be, the cost savings are highly unlikely to be as high as 50 per cent, so either a financial black hole of some billions has to be filled somehow or we are going to have a less than adequately equipped military.

In any case, I simply don’t see that an 81 per cent force can possibly be as effective as a 100 per cent one for the same price.

A state of defence dependent on others would possibly be more plausible for Scotland than, for example, seems to be the present case for Ukraine but it is hardly one that is acceptable to the Scotland I know.

(Dr) A McCormick

Kirkland Road