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Scottish Independence vs Military assets

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Scottish Independence vs Military assets

Old 22nd May 2021, 06:32
  #121 (permalink)  
 
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Back on topic this article from 6 months ago is interesting I think:-

https://www.heraldscotland.com/news/...issue-defence/Analysis: How the SNP has come back fighting on the issue of defence

By Professor Phillips O'Brien

Issues of national defence and strategic policy have not traditionally rested easily within the SNP.

The party in the past has been left trying to balance two very different, in many ways contradictory constituencies. There is the passionate anti-nuclear and anti-NATO community on the Left of the party, which for years held significant sway over the SNP’s positioning. Determined to make an international statement in favour of unilateral nuclear disarmament, this group supported independence as a way to force the UK to scrap its Trident missile system. On the other hand, the population of Scotland generally has not shown itself so preoccupied with issues of nuclear disarmament.

While there is conflicting data about whether the Scottish population supports the maintenance of the UK’s independent nuclear deterrent, a clear majority supports continuing membership of NATO and participation in the western alliance. To try and bridge this gap during the 2014 independence referendum, the Scottish Government in its white paper tried to appeal to both camps. The result was a policy that could be said to have lacked clarity. In response, during the campaign the unionist side regularly attacked the SNP for being soft on defence.

The intervening years have been transformational. In the first case the UK’s own defence posture has become oddly distended with heavy investment in two very large weapons systems; Trident and the two new Queen Elizabeth aircraft carriers armed with extremely expensive F-35B aircraft. This had led to significant cuts in the nuts and bolts of national defense such as the army. However even more important has been Brexit. The 2016 UK-wide vote to leave the European Union was strongly opposed in Scotland, where 62% of the electorate wanted to remain.

The reality of Scottish voters being forced out of the European Union against their will has led to a rapid and sustained growth in pro-Independence support. Many of these voters were originally opposed to independence in 2016 because they were worried that Scotland would not be allowed to remain in the EU and now have lessened their attachment to the UK as a whole. These voters are more centrist and multilateral, and their support for independence is probably conditional on an independent Scotland having as cooperative relationship as possible with other European states. This growth of support by more centrist Scots in favour of independence has seemingly be matched by an important transformation in the SNP’s defence policies—most obviously in its recently released submission to the UK government’s integrated defence review. This submission is measured, one might even call it mature. The overall thrust of which is to demonstrate that an independent Scotland would be an enthusiastic and useful member of NATO and would wish to cooperate closely with its Scandinavian partners in focussing on the High North.

To start with, one of the most striking things about the defence review is how little Trident is discussed. In an 11-page document Trident is only mentioned in two short, consecutive sentences, one of which criticizes the extremely high cost of the weapons system and another saying that money saved by not supporting Trident could be spent on other “conventional” weapons systems. This is hardly a pacifist position and is in line with the thinking of many now serving in the British Army.

If Trident is hardly mentioned, unilateral nuclear disarmament is not mentioned at all. Indeed in the discussion of nuclear disarmament it is specifically pointed out that any such achievement would occur through “multilateral” agreement (ie not forcing the UK to give up its own nuclear weapons except within a framework of an international move in this area). Considering how powerful the anti-nuclear movement had been in SNP politics to this time, such clear changes in emphasis are striking.

If unilateral nuclear disarmament is non-existent in the review, being a positive member of NATO and a serious military partner of Scotland’s northern neighbours is a constant theme. Indeed one of the most striking thing about the defense review is that the SNP is now arguing, quite cleverly at times, that an independent Scotland could actually be a more productive member of NATO than a UK which has over-invested in Trident and expensive aircraft carriers. For instance paragraph 31 of the report makes this fascinating claim. “Commitments to common NATO tasks, such as Standing Maritime Groups, must be prioritised over ‘out of area’ operations of dubious benefit, like FONOPS in the South China Sea. The United Kingdom cannot continue to ignore its own backyard while attempting to project hard power across the world – it must take a more active role in protecting regional security in the High North.”

In other words—Denmark, Norway, Holland, etc—and independent Scotland will work with you to focus on threats in our own area and won’t be gallivanting around the world playing at global Britain.

That ultimately is what makes this submission so potentially dangerous for unionists. The SNP is saying both to its European partners and the new supporters of independence who have been affected by Brexit that they can rely on an independent Scotland. The old criticisms levelled at the SNP that their defence policies are too extreme now will be much harder to make. Indeed, this review allows the SNP to argue with some force that their defence plans are realistic and directly attached to the interests of its neighbours and NATO partners. It is a serious document that will require a serious response.

Phillips O'Brien is Professor of Strategic Studies at the University of St Andrews
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Old 23rd May 2021, 23:17
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I would have expected a good european such as the professor, to be aware that Holland is a region of the Netherlands, and doesn't have a standing military of its own.
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Old 24th May 2021, 08:11
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Don't confuse him with facts; his mind is made up.
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Old 24th May 2021, 10:19
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Albeit the various lockdowns have limited the dissemination of peoples views on independence but from what I have gathered in the last week or so the opinion about Independence is still very much the same. Scotland's 'overwhelming' mandate for independence and rejoining the EU by voting for the SNP can be countered by the fact that the SNP only gained one seat in the last election. This could be explained by Nicola's unique photo and TV opportunities during Covid. In the Brexit Referendum the majority of voters voted to Remain but the turnout was only 62% as against a much higher figure for the UK as a whole. Breaking down the figures it transpires that only 42% of the Scottish electorate voted to remain.

Hardly an overwhelming number. Westminster should bite the bullet and let Nichola hold another Referendum when this pandemic is over. It should return a similar figure to last time and with luck we can say goodbye to her.
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Old 24th May 2021, 13:48
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Using that logic, only 37.4% of UK voted for BREXIT - which is precisely what rekindled all this Indy stuff in the first place.

What source are you using?

EU Referendum Results - BBC News
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Old 24th May 2021, 14:10
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Originally Posted by Spartacan View Post
It's worth reading the 2013 blueprint that the SNP produced for the Independence referendum:

The full read starts from page 232 but apparently the UK would be quite happy to hand Scotland the following hardware:
  • 2 Frigates
  • 4 Mine countermeasures vessels
  • 2 offshore patrol vessels
  • 6 patrol boats

  • 1 deployable Brigade HQ
  • 2 light armoured reconnaissance units
  • 2 light artillery units
  • 6 AAC HELICOPTERS
  • 1 Typhoon squadron
  • 6 C130 Hercules
  • 1 RAF helicopter squadron

I don't think so, somehow.
In 2012, this was utter fantasy.

In 2021, this now sounds functionally divorced from reality.
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Old 24th May 2021, 14:31
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Originally Posted by LandingCheck View Post
In 2012, this was utter fantasy.

In 2021, this now sounds functionally divorced from reality.
What's also missing from the inventory are training aircraft? How about bases for the assets? Would the Typhoons, C-130s, Helis and, one imagines, training aircraft, all be squeezed into Lossiemouth? Would Leuchars and Kinloss be open againg for various roles?

FB
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Old 24th May 2021, 17:00
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Originally Posted by Finningley Boy View Post
What's also missing from the inventory are training aircraft? How about bases for the assets? Would the Typhoons, C-130s, Helis and, one imagines, training aircraft, all be squeezed into Lossiemouth? Would Leuchars and Kinloss be open againg for various roles?

FB
They could buy back HM(S)S Gannet from the mysterious 'European Investor in Transport Infrastructure' if they have bought it by then. The current revenues appear dominated by military traffic.

According to the BBC: 'The most recent accounts, for the year to March 2020, state that the airport turned a 5.4m pre-tax profit. While passenger traffic revenue was less than 800,000, revenue from refuelling mainly military aircraft rose in the year from 12m to 21m.'

mgd, I thought Holland was where RAF Holbeach is. The Dutch one was split in to Noord-Holland and Zuid-Holland in 1840.

Prof. O'Brien (Director of Research, School of International Relations, St Andrews) is an American, from Boston (the separatist one not the Lincs one.) via Hartford, Conn, Wall St and Cambridge (England) where his PhD was in British and American politics and naval policy. Whatever his politics, his academic credentials are sound, if some of his opinions controversial to some, viz: How the War Was Won: Air-Sea Power and Allied Victory in World War II (Cambridge Military History). I don't think we can dismiss his analysis out of hand.

And finally: I understand polling shows a roughly 50/50 split on unilateral nuclear disarmament; whatever their review document says on the subject the SNP website is very clear. https://www.snp.org/tridentfacts/

8) With independence, we can get rid of Trident in Scotland
Independence will give us the power to remove nuclear weapons from Scotland, and being free to make different decisions from Westminster can save billions of pounds money that can deliver direct benefits for the people of Scotland.

We want to see a world free from nuclear weapons, and an independent Scotland will be a principled advocate for nuclear disarmament on the global stage.
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Old 24th May 2021, 17:52
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I could see them dumping everything but some Search & Rescue helicopters and buying some cheapo MPA's. The navy would be patrol boats only - and new orders for the Clyde yards as well. Run the Army down to 8,000 mainly on attachment to the UN and the remainder to march up and down for the tourists.

If you don't intend to fight any wars, and you're not going to be invaded, you can save a shed load of cash "to build bridges to nowhere" to quote Mr Khrushchev.

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Old 24th May 2021, 19:51
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The navy would be patrol boats only - and new orders for the Clyde yards as well.
Judging by the alacrity of which their new inter island ferryboats at being built that should be about the turn of the next century.
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Old 24th May 2021, 20:56
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I'm not sure why Boris doesn't make the vote UK wide and guarantee they go this time; there is far too much risk of them bottling it again. They clearly want to be independent and live in a socialist fantasy euroland, why not let them?
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Old 24th May 2021, 21:25
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You're clearly one of 'those' unionists. thanks.
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Old 24th May 2021, 21:43
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You're clearly one of 'those' unionists. thanks.
Mate, I genuinely feel sorry for you, as you seem to have had your homeland stolen from you, but this is a never-ending banshee wail that will not stop until Scotland goes. Just as 2014 was 'once in a lifetime', this noise, political sabotage and drama will go on and on until the inevitable separation. At some point, its not even worth staying together for the kids.......
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Old 24th May 2021, 22:08
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Originally Posted by minigundiplomat View Post
Mate, I genuinely feel sorry for you, as you seem to have had your homeland stolen from you, but this is a never-ending banshee wail that will not stop until Scotland goes. Just as 2014 was 'once in a lifetime', this noise, political sabotage and drama will go on and on until the inevitable separation. At some point, its not even worth staying together for the kids.......
With 'Mates' like you, who needs enemies? I'm sure your views are music to The Fish Wifies ears.

BTW; I was born in London - MATE.
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Old 24th May 2021, 22:12
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The noise pre-dates the fish wifie by several hundred years.

And for the record, my view is not unusual South of the border, ask around next time you're in London MATE
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Old 25th May 2021, 04:01
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Originally Posted by Finningley Boy View Post
What's also missing from the inventory are training aircraft? How about bases for the assets? Would the Typhoons, C-130s, Helis and, one imagines, training aircraft, all be squeezed into Lossiemouth? Would Leuchars and Kinloss be open againg for various roles?

FB
Costs of spares and consumables are a significant issue for every modern Air Force. Meanwhile, in the Scottish Fever Dream of independence, these things, along with qualified people to run them, will appear magically because Nicola wills it, like Hitler in the bunker.

In 2012, my straw polling when I was spending lots of quality time with the Forces guys, was that less than 10% of Jocks were going to elect to join a Scottish Defense Force, and they were nearly uniformly the very junior or those very close to retirement and looking to go home along with Reservists, who had real jobs/careers in Scotland.

I can't imagine that number changes significantly a decade onwards (perhaps, perhaps not.) If you then argue what is the percentage of pilots, intelligence officers/NCOs, mid-career maneuverists, mechanics, skilled ship drivers, combat medical personnel, special operations, combat divers, etc. (fill in any investment intensive job) who would elect to leave an even anorexically thin British military and you are now down to a group of people who can comfortably go out to dinner together. At least the British Armed Forces are deploying (with the professional and post-service benefits accruing thereof.) A Scottish Defense Force is a decade from meaningful participation in an EU, let alone NATO military exercise, let alone operational deployment.

This is to build a maybe Irish level of capability...not a modern force capable of trading fists with the Belorussian Army.

All of the SNP's military analysis is the kind of military analysis to show you've done some. Its homework done on the bus ride into school. Its not real analysis, and its wonderfully unencumbered by such accoutrement as data or a meaningful plan.

The real SNP plan for defense is enough kilted young men to pull the lanyard on the One O'Clock gun and do a parade every so often, and perhaps (no promises! Got to get it approved by Holyrood, with just a FEW caveats) send a few to some EU operation to be assistant logisticians. Really, the plan is obviously to be another security free loader in Europe, and I haven't seen anyone tell the SNP that position is filled with a number of satisfied incumbents.


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Old 25th May 2021, 07:09
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"This is to build a maybe Irish level of capability...not a modern force capable of trading fists with the Belorussian Army."

That is the exact point - why would Scotland need or want to fight the Belorussian Army? Or anyone else for that matter. We, on here, see defence through the prism of NATO, and the last 75 years of keeping Russia out. Scotland, on its own, won't have the same concerns. They need a Police Force for maritime areas and a small military force for back-up in local terrorist event - other than that its hard to see a real threat to them.
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Old 25th May 2021, 07:32
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Originally Posted by minigundiplomat View Post
Mate, I genuinely feel sorry for you, as you seem to have had your homeland stolen from you, but this is a never-ending banshee wail that will not stop until Scotland goes. Just as 2014 was 'once in a lifetime', this noise, political sabotage and drama will go on and on until the inevitable separation. At some point, its not even worth staying together for the kids.......
The 'never-ending banshee wail'wouldn't stop is Scotland voted for independence. I doubt it will ever stop whilst the current political movements exists.

An independence vote would be the start of years of tortuous negotiations and the financial settlement would cause the biggest 'banshee wail' of all. Scotland's not big enough to mirror the UK economy so the deal that would have to be cut between Whitehall and the SNP would be crucial. However that might work out it would never be enough for the SNP.

The 'never-ending banshee wail' is just the modus operandi permanent feature of the current political movement whatever happens.
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Old 25th May 2021, 08:05
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Professor O’Briens article is clearly well informed and coherent.
Except one thing.
A nation of 5.5 million people wont be able to support any military capability of any significance.
Simples.
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Old 25th May 2021, 08:24
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This is to build a maybe Irish level of capability...not a modern force capable of trading fists with the Belorussian Army
Does the UK have the capability on it's own??
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