Future of defence

When I posed the question, “who will blink first?”, in my correspondence to The Scotsman (4 April) and in my blog it was because I anticipated the issue of Trident would become much more important in the referendum debate.

The ludicrous nature of Lord Robertson’s intervention (“Forces of darkness would love a Yes vote” – Lord Robertson, 9 April), should not be used to suggest it is a non-issue.

The claim by Dr Philip O’Brien, director of the Centre for War Studies at Glasgow University, that the SNP is ready to do a deal, has already been disputed by the three senior figures in the party, therefore it is now a question of who we believe.

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I received plenty of abuse from the usual cybernats when I suggested the SNP was ready to do a volte face on Nato membership, but the volte face was done nevertheless, no doubt because some focus group suggested it might be a good idea.

The SNP received plaudits from the mainstream media for what was deemed to be “realpolitik” and I have absolutely no doubt the same interests will encourage the party to consider long and hard before it determines to expel Trident from the Clyde.Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has laid great emphasis on safety, assuring the country that, although it is the intention of the SNP to get rid of Trident, it will be done 
with due consideration for the safety of both Scotland and rUK.

What that actually means has never been explained and no one has pushed the SNP to say what it means.

Party supporters will take everything on faith “until the referendum” but having already lost two MSPs and a number of members on the Nato volte face, there are bound to be even more who would never accept another volte face on keeping Trident on the Clyde indefinitely “for safety reasons”.

Significantly, Dr O’Brien can take enough from the SNP’s white paper to believe it would make a deal on Trident in order to get a deal on the currency.

I envisage the pressure coming from across the Atlantic and, if Westminster can be assured of total control of both fiscal and monetary policy, which the SNP has almost conceded will happen, there will be little or nothing to prevent a currency union.

The objections from the No side about being responsible for a foreign country’s debt will not apply, because they will control the level of debt and the SNP will have successfully absolved itself of any responsibility for the running of the Scottish economy.

It won’t be independence as other independent countries know it, but was that ever the aim?

Jim Fairlie

Heathcote Road


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In referring to the UK as “the West’s second military power”, it would appear that the massive cuts to defence implemented and planned by the UK
Government seem to have passed George Robertson by and he now lives in an era which has, thankfully, passed.

In referring to “the forces of darkness” and linking them to events in the Ukraine, he has only managed to highlight how the West’s military might has been an utterly useless irrelevance in dealing with the complexities of the situation.

He goes on to completely contradict his own argument by 
referring to Syria, where, in contrast to the power-mad antics of his dear leader, Tony Blair, the UK Government has for once had the nous to steer clear of involving this country in yet another illegal war.

Then the man who famously said that devolution would destroy the SNP hits the red button on his own grossly overstated contentions when he says that if Scotland gets rid of Trident it would hamper its intention to join Nato.

It is an interesting observation when one considers that the outgoing and incoming secretary generals for Nato respectively come from Norway and Denmark. When did they get nuclear weapons?

Douglas Turner

Derby Street


NATO was born as a defensive alliance in the Cold War. With the fall of the USSR that need ceased to exist, but the political/military complex in the USA wanted to maintain this profitable milk cow.

Uninvited, it took the position of world policeman, and the policy of “projecting power at a distance”. This policy has failed.

After the loss of hundreds of our military and thousands of American and other personnel, and tens of thousands of local people, we, “the West”, have withdrawn from Afghanistan and Iraq with our tails between our legs.

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At a cost of billions we have made things worse for the local inhabitants, armed the whole region, and created thousands of people with a thirst for 

Had Scotland been independent at the run-up to the Iraq war, we would have refused to take part. This might well have prevented the rest of the UK from involvement, to everyone’s advantage. Nato has unwisely campaigned over the past decade to press on Russia’s borders, and is starting a new Cold War.

It is only by a historic accident that Crimea was transferred into Ukraine while both were part of the USSR, and we have no need to oppose this.

The violent events in Kiev do not justify the claim that the provisional government there legitimately should control the whole of the Ukraine.

Nato wants power there, but could not defend the border. It must reappraise its usefulness and capability as a defensive body for Western Europe. Scottish independence would force a more realistic policy. Trident has no relevance in the modern world. We should stop interfering in the complicated affairs of countries we do not understand.

John Smart

Kinneddar Street