Why throw away our defence security?

In the sea of uncertainties and unknowns that would face us in the event of a Yes vote, one thing is for sure: we in Scotland would be less secure.

Not by even the most elastic thread of logic could we, as a population of 5 million, be safer on our own than as part of a Union of 63 million.

We would be a very small country, and small countries don’t have the options of larger ones. They either have to align themselves to the defence policies of big friends or take the buffeting and blasts of unkind winds in a dangerous, volatile world.

We would still depend upon the goodwill and the resources of rUK for our wider defence, but would have no influence in shaping their defence policy. “Independence” for Scotland in defence terms would mean “impotence”.

The rest of Britain would be weakened too. Security was a central element of the Union in 1707. A unified British island state with a seamless defence apparatus was, and still is, a much more secure place than two countries with separate policies, equipment and command structures.

And our nuclear weapons, so reviled by the nationalists, have been in constant use every day since they were introduced, discouraging others with nuclear weapons from trying to blackmail us, and helping to deter nuclear holocaust. Nuclear weapons are useful. Why do you think the ayatollahs and the North Koreans are so keen to get their hands on them?

Just because you haven’t claimed on your insurance policy doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have one. As long as nuclear weapons exist, we are much safer having our own too.

They also buy the UK one of the five permanent places on the Security Council of the United Nations, thus bringing us very substantial diplomatic leverage. A separate Scotland would have no part in this. The first and most important duty of any state is to protect its citizens. That was why states formed in the first place, and this subject has barely featured in the separatists’ rhetoric.

Could it be because they know that we will be emasculated by their policies, and don’t want to us to know; or are they just plain ignorant?

As it is now, we enjoy the protection of one of the finest armed forces in the world, we are major players in Nato and have a permanent seat on the Security Council of the UN.

And, through our MPs in Westminster, we play our part in shaping a coherent, effective, credible defence policy. Why on earth would we want to throw that away?

Russian aircraft and ships are regularly appearing off Scotland’s coast again and being seen off by British aircraft and ships. We may safely assume their submarines are also operating in our waters too. If Mr Putin were to be asked, you may be sure he’d want us to be voting Yes.

Ian Gardner

Former Royal Marine and former secretary to the Nato Military Committee at the Nato Headquarters in Brussels

Oxford Terrace

Edinburgh