We write as members of the SNP in support of current SNP defence policy for an independent Scotland.
Our existing policy proposes that an independent Scotland would be welcomed into the Nato affiliate organisation, Partnership for Peace, alongside friends and allies such as Sweden, Finland, Austria and Ireland.
We believe this is a safe, principled and well considered policy, agreed after much internal debate.
As stated on Nato’s website, membership of Partnership for Peace “allows partners to build an individual relationship with Nato, choosing their own priorities for co-operation”.
At no point does it involve rejecting, abandoning or turning our back on any friends or allies. We cite three reasons for urging the party to retain this policy.
First, a newly independent Scotland will have a unique and crucial role to play in nuclear disarmament and international relations.
CND and others indicate that Nato membership is not compatible with disarming and removing Trident from Scotland.
The likely outcome is that we will have to lease or sell part of Scotland to Nato or the rest of the UK so that Trident can stay at Faslane.
This would not be acceptable to us, nor should it be acceptable to a newly independent state.
Second, our policy of nuclear disarmament and developing an ethical foreign policy should form a significant and positive part of our bid to persuade people to vote Yes in the independence referendum.
Third, remaining outwith Nato will allow Scotland the opportunity to do what SNP defence spokesman Angus Robertson was talking about as recently as 2008: “to define a role for Scotland in the world… we have great potential in peace and reconciliation… I think Scotland should take a lead in that kind of movement”.
We couldn’t put it better ourselve. This is the aspiration we should be putting to the people of Scotland between now and 2014. We urge delegates to national conference to reject the fear factor and hold firm to this positive policy for our future as an independent nation.
Jean Urquhart MSP
(Cllr) Alison Thewliss