Monday, 12 October 2009

Gnats face both ways on defence

More fantasy politics from our beloved Gnats, this time talking about defence.

Angus Robertson, the MP for RAF Kinloss and RAF Lossiemouth, has been outlining how he thinks Scotland could go it alone on defence when freed of the clutches of the Evil English.

To an extent that's fair enough: you wouldn't expect a Gnat MP to do anything else but bang on about how Scotland will be a land of milk and honey come the happy day when independence is achieved and all of Scotland's problems are solved instantly. The fact that Scotland would have to face the significant cost of shelling out for its own defences should it ever gain independence is largely irrelevant.

But what really got my attention was Robertson's statement that the remains of the UK could continue to use military bases in an independent Scotland.

Let me see if I've got this straight. Robertson wants the supposed benefits of Scotland going it alone on defence AND he wants England to continue to base its forces north of the border?

Why the hell should England do that? If Scotland did go it alone, why on earth would England continue to subsidise Scotland in that way? If Scotland did ever become independent, you can be certain that both RAF Kinloss and RAF Lossiemouth would see their squadrons withdrawn to RAF Lineham or RAF Brize Norton quicker than you can say 'massive blow to Moray's economy'.

Defence is one of those areas that Scotland would more or less have to build up from scratch if it ever became independent, with all the costs that would involve. And it's far too important a subject for people like Robertson to indulge in the sort of juvenile gesture politics he's been displaying today.

1 comment:

Stephen B said...

Also interesting to see how they would square this with their anti-Nato position. "We'll tolerate the English but they wouldn't be allowed to indulge in any of that NATO activity whilst their here." Can't really see that working.

In reality, I think that Robertson is doing a bit of flag-flying for what is a practical solution to a problem. The continuing British government would still find it desirable post-Partition to have a military presence in a northern sector just as the Nats would want the protection this gave without paying for it. The solution is exactly this kind of arrangement benefiting all but, frankly, there's more to it than simply 'outsourcing the defence function' that approach implies.

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