Scottish Independence White Paper – Defence Issues

It has been difficult getting hold of a copy of the white paper because they obviously failed to properly plan for the internet traffic but hey ho, after a bit of perseverance, see it below, the defence bits…

Chapter 6 International Relations and Defence

  • For the first time, Scotland’s national interests will be directly represented on the international stage
  • Under our plans, Scotland’s foreign, security and defence policies will be grounded in a clear framework of participating in rules-based international co-operation to secure shared interests, protecting Scotland’s people and resources and promoting sustainable economic growth
  • We will continue to be a member of the EU and will have a seat at the top table to represent Scotland’s interests more effectively; we will not be at risk of leaving the EU against the wishes of the Scottish people
  • An overseas network of 70 to 90 international offices is planned, built on Scotland’s existing capacity and our share of the UK‘s international assets
  • Scotland will recognise and act on its responsibilities, as one of the wealthiest nations on the planet, to international development
  • Our defence plans focus on a strong conventional defence footprint in and around Scotland and the removal of nuclear weapons, delivering a £500 million defence and security dividend in 2016/17
  • Scotland’s security will be guaranteed as a non-nuclear member of NATO, with Scotland contributing excellent conventional capabilities to the alliance

Scotland’s international relations

Why we need a new approach

Scotland has always been an outward facing nation, exporting goods, people and ideas around the world and welcoming ideas and people from other countries into our national culture. The current Scottish Government’s ambition for an independent Scotland has deep internationalist roots and is based on a firm belief that, as an independent country, we will have a distinct and valuable contribution to make to world affairs. Scotland will be a committed and active participant in the global community of nations.

In the conduct of international affairs no country operates in isolation. The global and regional context creates the conditions and defines the range of choices and options that each state must address. Globalisation enables not only the greater movement of goods, people and ideas, but also the transmission of threats across borders, presenting an ever-shifting set of challenges and opportunities. In particular, demand for resources will increase over the next 20 years putting Scotland, a country with abundant fresh water, major oil and gas supplies and the potential to become a renewable energy powerhouse, at the forefront of global discussions.

An independent Scotland would be no different from any other independent country. Governments plan and act to ensure that their societies can capitalise on opportunities while adapting to face longer-term challenges, and reacting to more acute threats and emergencies, whether natural or man-made. An independent Scotland will perform these functions.

The impact of world events has increasingly important implications for both domestic and foreign policy. An international outlook has never been so necessary. As recent financial events have demonstrated, no economy is isolated from global economic conditions and every nation is increasingly dependent, to a greater or lesser degree, on the flow of international trade and investment and its relationships with others. The development of a coherent set of polices surrounding an independent Scotland’s position on foreign affairs, defence and security will therefore be essential.

An independent Scotland would not need to replicate the structure of the Westminster Government or adopt its processes. Scotland’s smaller size and specific national interests mean that we can adopt a more focused approach to the design and delivery of foreign and defence policies.

Under our plans, an independent Scotland’s foreign, security and defence policies would be grounded in a clear framework:

  • participation in rules-based international co-operation to secure shared interests. Scotland will be an active member of global institutions and will be party to fair and reciprocal agreements which respect human rights. Scotland will also be an active participant in international development, in line with the UN Millennium Development Goals and other relevant international agreements. Given Scotland’s place in the western world and our history of friendship with a broad range of other nations, our interests will largely coincide with many others in the international community. It is therefore in Scotland’s national interest to be a member of multilateral institutions alongside partners and friends with common interests and to co-operate with other nations in pursuit of common concerns and promotion of common values
  • protection of Scotland, our people and our resources. This encompasses the role of defence and security capabilities in ensuring the safety of Scotland’s territory, citizens, institutions, values and systems against factors which could undermine prosperity, wellbeing and freedom. It also includes the role of the Government’s overseas services in protecting Scots abroad
  • promotion of sustainable economic growth. Using Scotland’s place in the world and our approach to global affairs to develop Scotland’s economy is key to ensuring the continued and increased prosperity of the nation. Promotion of the many other positive aspects of Scottish life will also be a significant component of this work ranging from highlighting Scotland’s world-class universities, to capitalising on our cultural and environmental profile, building on our already impressive international reputation

Today, Scotland has no formal voice on the international stage. Instead, we are represented by a Westminster Government that has based its actions, too often, on different international priorities. We see that most clearly in matters of war and peace and in our relationship with the EU.

As the government of an independent country, the primary purpose of our international engagement would be the promotion and protection of Scotland’s national interests. Currently these can only be a part of the UK‘s considerations and Westminster’s policies will rarely be fully aligned with what is right for Scotland.

Where Scotland’s interests coincide with the interests of the rest of the UK, together we will form a more powerful voice for action. When Scotland has a distinct view, we will have a new ability to build alliances and make our case, ensuring that what is right for the people of Scotland is heard.

This independence advantage will be of greatest benefit in our relationship with the EU. This Government sees close engagement with the EU as an opportunity for Scotland, rather than the threat it seems to be for some in the UK. In 40 years of UK and Scottish membership of the EU, Scotland has not had direct representation at Europe’s top table, and the price has been paid by important Scottish industries, including our fishing and agriculture sectors. On these issues, Westminster’s approach has too often been to the detriment of Scottish jobs and prosperity.

Distrust and disengagement has dominated Westminster’s attitude to the EU for too many years. A new threat is now emerging: the growing possibility that, if we remain part of the UK, a referendum on future British membership of the EU could see Scotland taken out of the EU against the wishes of the people of Scotland, with deeply damaging consequences for our citizens and our economy.

While the UK seeks an ability to project global power, an independent Scotland can choose a different approach. If in government, we will direct our international efforts, first and foremost, into deepening and consolidating relationships with friends and partners, new and old, across the world and, through this, expanding opportunities for people and businesses in Scotland.

Our bywords will be co-operation, development and trade. Our clear priorities will be commerce and partnership, not conflict. Scotland will be a champion for international justice and peace.

Independence will provide a step change for Scotland internationally. We will no longer be in the shadow of Westminster, with its increasingly insular and isolationist elements. Instead we can bring a new and distinct accent and approach to world affairs.

The opportunities available to Scotland

Scotland starts with an enviable reputation and a strong international identity. Our international brand is one of our most important assets as a country.

Even without independent status, Scotland’s international brand value already ranks 15th out of 50 nations according to international comparisons published in 2012. Scotland has continually scored highly and is ranked similarly to – and often ahead of – other comparably-sized, high income, democracies such as Denmark, Finland, Ireland and New Zealand[247]. This provides an excellent starting point and the move to independence will, in itself, deliver a boost to Scotland’s international recognition. We can use this important moment in our history as an opportunity to extend a welcome to the world and an invitation to engage more fully with our newly independent nation.

As an independent country, we can choose to build on these strengths, with an overseas network that works better for Scotland, and an overseas presence at the heart of our strategy to generate new economic opportunities for our nation.

Scotland will be entitled to a fair share of the UK‘s extensive overseas properties (or a share of their value) allowing us to use existing premises for some overseas posts. For example, the Foreign Office owns or leases almost 5,000 properties overseas[248]. The estimated value of this estate is around £1.9 billion. Based on a population share (our actual share will be a matter for negotiation) Scotland would be entitled to around £150 million allowing us to establish ourselves quickly and for little initial cost in our priority countries.

We will have the opportunity to design our overseas footprint based not on an imperial past or a desire for global power, but on what works for Scotland in the modern world. That means we can choose to put investment into practical advantages for the people of Scotland rather than theUK‘s priorities.

We are fortunate to have extensive domestic expertise to provide a firm base to build our international service. The current Department for International Development staff and offices in East Kilbride and Scottish Development International (SDI) staff in Glasgow will provide a strong institutional foundation.

Future Scottish governments will also have the opportunity to access the full range of expertise that has been developed in our universities. For example, Scotland is home to internationally recognised schools and institutes of international relations at the universities of Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Glasgow and St Andrews.

The Scotland we can create

On independence, Scotland will be clearly positioned as a country which observes international law and respects and promotes human rights, democratic values, equality and good governance. We have unique advantages and experience to offer in the field of climate change and energy. We have shown that we can innovate through our approach to international development and aid. We also have world leading expertise to offer in education, health improvement and research. This is an exceptionally strong starting position and shows clearly the contribution an independent Scotland can make internationally.

Scotland therefore has much to offer the world and much to gain from direct participation, in our own name, in the global community.

Independence gives us the ability to advance Scotland’s interests in our immediate neighbourhood and through engagement – for example, with our extended family, the Scottish diaspora. Our existing network of Global Scots, made up of leading Scottish business people and experts with an affinity for Scotland, will continue to ensure Scottish companies develop, expand and thrive locally in a competitive international market.

With our immediate neighbours in the British Isles and Northern Europe, independence will create opportunities for co-operation, with future governments able to engage as equals in partnerships that enhance Scotland’s position in relation to important policy areas including energy, tourism, security and culture.

In the EU, an independent Scotland will be able to engage early and directly across the range of the Union’s activities, ensuring Scottish interests are considered. Scottish governments will be able to promote our priorities in a system based on consensus and alliance building, where Scotland’s votes will bring direct influence with the Commission and within the Council of Ministers. Being at the top table will transform Scotland’s place in Europe.

Scotland has much to offer international development. With the limited powers of devolution, we have developed a highly successful programme of international development work, supporting projects in our seven priority countries for development – Malawi, Zambia, Rwanda, Tanzania, India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. We have also offered humanitarian and other specific support to a small number of other countries.

With independence we will have the ability, and determination, to extend these efforts significantly and can ensure that Scottish development investment complies with international best practice. Our ambition is for Scotland to be a global leader in this field. We can ensure that international development is a central part of our international responsibilities and overseas engagement, underpinning the actions of the Scottish Government at home and abroad.

Scotland’s foreign policy and international relations will take place within three overlapping and interacting spheres that will be the cornerstones of Scotland’s foreign policy:

  • our partnership with the other nations of these islands
  • our regional role as an active member of the EU with strong links to the Nordic countries and the Arctic
  • the global context: our independent role in international and multilateral organisations, including the UN and NATO

Scotland in the British Isles

The choices open to us

Devolution has shown the strengths of having different political systems in Scotland and the rest of the UK for both countries. Since 1999 many areas of Scottish life, including health, justice and education, have to all intents and purposes been independent.

The Scottish approach to these issues – for example, banning smoking in public places, protecting free education and pushing for a minimum price for alcohol – has challenged the rest of the UK to consider different approaches to address challenges common to both countries. We have also been able to consider the Westminster approach to policy issues, sometimes rejecting those that are not suitable for Scotland or that have no support here. With independence we can change the nature of our co-operation and extend these policy conversations across the range of government activity. An independent Scotland, with a commitment to social justice, can be a beacon for progress elsewhere on these Isles.

Devolution also illustrates how self-government removes the political tensions that can arise from fundamental differences in voting patterns in Scotland and other parts of the UK. For example, Westminster cannot pursue in Scotland reforms similar to those being carried out in the health service in England, which it could have done before devolution. Decisions on devolved matters require the democratic consent of the Scottish Parliament.

Independence will remove the tensions that exist because of political differences over reserved matters, such as welfare. With independence, Scotland will always get the government it chooses. We will be responsible for all of our own resources and expenditure and we will take and be responsible for the consequences of all decisions about our government, people and society. Those decisions will include appropriate partnerships on these Isles, based on mutual respect and equality of status.

This Scottish Government has a clear vision for the positive relationship that can exist with independence, maintaining important links including our social union. We recognise that some people have an alternative vision, including a different approach to currency or the future status of the monarchy. These are legitimate differences of opinion. Those who hold them will make their case to the people of Scotland on these points and others in the 2016 elections and subsequently. It will be up to the people Scotland to decide the approach that best suits our nation as we move forward.

Our priorities for action

After independence, Scotland will no longer be part of the current parliamentary union with the other nations of the UK which gives Westminster its authority over Scotland. The Acts of Union will be repealed as part of our transition to independence. That means the Scottish Parliament and Scottish Government will have responsibility for the full range of government activity in Scotland.

This change in the political and governmental arrangements for Scotland will not affect the many other ties that bind Scotland to the other nations of the UK. We will continue to be linked to other nations of the UK by five continuing unions: the EU; an ongoing Union of the Crowns; a Sterling Area; and as members of the NATO defence union. And the social union, made up of connections of family, history, culture and language, will have every opportunity to flourish and strengthen.

The history of the UK, the Crown Dependencies and the Commonwealth demonstrates that it is entirely normal for the UK to have varied and changing political relationships whilst retaining strong social ties. Scotland’s social union with the other nations of the UK will continue through our shared language, culture and history. It is in the interests of an independent Scotland and the rest of the UK to share a currency and a Common Travel Area, meaning there will be no need for passports, exchanges or border checks.

The independence we propose reflects the realities of an increasingly inter-dependent world and is based upon a firm commitment to partnership and co-operation, not only in these Isles, but also in the EU and other international arrangements.

Independence will recognise the distinct political identities of Scotland and the rest of the UK, and allow us to work together in a more democratic environment with a renewed partnership as close allies and friends. Scotland’s future relationship with the UK will be as rich and close as the UK‘s relationship with Ireland, which was described by the British and Irish governments in 2012 in these terms:

The relationship between our two countries has never been stronger or more settled, as complex or as important as it is today. Our citizens, uniquely linked by geography and history, are connected today as never before through business, politics, culture and sport, travel and technology and, of course, family ties. Our two economies benefit from a flow of people, goods, investment, capital and ideas on a scale that is rare even in this era of global economic integration[249].

Independence will allow Scotland and the rest of the UK to work together on matters of common interest, as nations do across the world. This will include current cross-border arrangements on health treatments, combating serious and organised crime and terrorism and administrative arrangements to deliver services to the people of Scotland and the rest of the UK when this makes sense. To suggest otherwise is to believe that the Westminster Government would act against the express interests of people and businesses in the rest of the UK.

Scotland’s most important diplomatic relationships will be with the rest of the UK and Ireland, reflecting cultural history and family ties, shared interests in trade, security and common travel. The current Scottish Government plans a substantial diplomatic presence in both London and Dublin and will be active participants in the British-Irish Council, the secretariat of which is already based in Edinburgh.

Scotland and the rest of the UK will have a very close and constructive relationship on many foreign policy issues; it is natural that the values and interests of such close neighbours will often be aligned. The current Scottish Government would intend to support the rest of the UK in maintaining its seat on the UN Security Council. However, there will be issues on which a fundamentally different approach is right for Scotland and only independence gives us the opportunity to take that different path.

Scotland in the European Union

The choices open to us

We believe that Scotland’s natural position is as an active participant in the EU, which provides us with unparalleled access to a market of over 500 million people.

We believe that an independent government, acting to protect Scotland’s national interests within the EU, can restore some of the ground lost in recent decades when key Scottish industries have not been a priority for Westminster in EU negotiations. The debate over Scotland’s relationship with the EU is, however, one that will almost certainly feature in future Scottish election campaigns, with some arguing for a looser form of partnership. The advantage of independence is that the people of Scotland will have the sole and final say. We will not be taken out of the EUagainst our wishes as may turn out to be the case if we are not independent.

Within the EU there will be important opportunities for future Scottish governments to determine priorities and maximise the benefits of our membership. These include:

  • Scotland’s democratic voice in the EU: the EU has considerable influence over Scotland’s economic and social welfare, from the single market to its common policies on a wide range of social and cultural matters. Independent membership of the EU would ensure that the Scottish Government is able, for the first time, to participate at every level in the EU legislative and policy process. With independence the Scottish Parliament will have an enhanced role in EU issues, holding the Scottish Government to account for positions taken in the EU, and ratifying reforms to the EU treaties
  • prioritising interests and partnerships: as an independent member state, Scotland will be in a much better position to advance our interests than as part of the UK. In practice the EU seeks consensus – solutions acceptable to all member states. To reach unanimity, all countries whatever their size have an equal say, and can advance their arguments and interests. On the rare occasions in which a consensus cannot be reached, a formal vote is held to settle the common position. Scotland would have our own votes on these occasions, and would align our votes with those member states whose interests best match Scotland’s. An independent Scotland can therefore never find itself in a less favourable position than now – when we do not have our own voice – in representing Scotland’s interests in the EU. Indeed, smaller EU member states tend to be relatively more successful in negotiations than are the large member states[250]
  • focused engagement: the most successful EU member states develop clear strategies and priorities for engagement with the EU. Independence will allow the Scottish Government to focus effectively on our strategic priorities, which include: energy and climate change; marine environment including fisheries; agriculture; research and creativity; and freedom, security and justice. Strategic priorities for an independent Scotland in theEU are likely to include: completing the internal market, especially an EU-wide single market for services; maximising the opportunities for Scottish firms within the priority actions identified by the Commission to stimulate growth; collective action on major societal challenges such as energy security, climate change, healthy and active ageing, sustainable growth, improved public health and reducing societal inequalities; co-operation on Justice and Home Affairs to tackle organised crime and terrorism; and helping Scottish citizens to live and work in other member states, and vice versa
  • participating in the Europe 2020 growth agenda: an independent Scotland will participate fully in, and benefit from, the range of economic policy initiatives that are being developed and delivered within the framework of the EU‘s Europe 2020 growth strategy: exploiting digital technologies; bolstering innovation in products, services and business models; enhancing employment prospects for young people; promoting renewable energy and the resource efficiency of economic activity towards a low-carbon economy; promoting industrial competitiveness; and reducing poverty and social exclusion
  • reform of the EU: an independent Scotland will be able to play a full and constructive role as a member state of the EU, including in reform of the EU itself to bring it closer to its citizens and address their concerns. Considerations for future Scottish governments will include actions to tackle three main issues: distance between the EU institutions and EU citizens; longer-term EU level policies to deliver sustained economic recovery across all member states; and an active role for member states to work together in partnership to deliver key EU objectives

An independent Scottish Government will, for the first time, be able to promote Scottish economic interests directly, protect Scottish citizens and participate on equal terms as all other member states in EU affairs. The only government capable of properly representing Scotland’s interests in theEU decision-making process is a government elected by, and directly accountable to, the people of Scotland.

Our priorities for action

The Scottish Government, supported by the overwhelming majority of Members of the Scottish Parliament, believes that membership of the EU is in the best interests of Scotland. It is our policy, therefore, that an independent Scotland continues as a member of the EU.

The major advantages of continued EU membership are:

  • access to the EU single market: the world’s largest single market, with free movement of goods, services, capital and people. The EU accounted for around 46 per cent of Scotland’s international exports in 2011[251] and 160,000 citizens from other member states live, work or study here[252]. Membership of the EU single market plays an important role in attracting foreign direct investment to Scotland
  • being part of an organisation with a global reach, contributing directly to the collective stance of the EU in world trade negotiations, including bilateral arrangements with third countries, and represented by the collective weight of the EU in any international trade disputes
  • a shared social agenda to promote social cohesion across the EU. The economic gains of the EU need to be shared among all Europe’s citizens and the EU social agenda should protect the rights and interests of workers and families, without stifling labour markets or undermining economic competitiveness
  • the ability to match and retain talent, ensuring businesses continue to attract the best workers from across the EU to Scotland, and Scottish citizens continue to move freely within the EU to work, study and live, gaining experience which they can share on return to Scotland
  • a partnership approach to freedom, security and justice: engaging with EU partners against organised crime, terrorism, drug and people trafficking and money laundering
  • the opportunity to play a full role in the EU‘s common foreign and security policy, including co-operation to enhance Europe’s defence capability and enhancing Scotland’s contribution to international development and environment goals, such as the Millennium Development Goals

With independence, Scotland will take its proper place as a full member within the structures of the EU, giving us the ability to effectively represent Scottish interests within the EU.

Following a vote for independence the Scottish Government will immediately seek discussions with the Westminster Government, with member states and with the institutions of the EU to agree the process whereby a smooth transition to independent EU membership can take place on the day Scotland becomes an independent country.

The discussions will be held during the period in which Scotland remains part of the UK and by extension, part of the EU. This will allow the transition to independent EU membership to proceed without disrupting the continuity of Scotland’s current position inside the EU single market or the rights and interests of EU citizens and businesses in Scotland. The Scottish Government believes that ensuring a seamless transition to independent EUmembership will be in the best interests of Scotland, all member states and the EU in general, as well as those individual EU citizens and businesses who would be affected by any alternative approach.

The Scottish Government has proposed an 18-month period between the referendum and independence, which we believe is realistic for the terms of Scotland’s independent membership of the EU to be agreed and all the necessary processes completed. It also provides sufficient time for the Scottish Government to undertake the necessary legal and institutional preparations for independent EU membership.

The Scottish situation is sui generis. There is no specific provision within the EU Treaties for the situation where, by a consensual and lawful constitutional process, the democratically determined majority view in part of the territory of an existing member state is that it should become an independent country.

Article 49 of the Treaty of the European Union provides the legal basis, and defines the procedure, for a conventional enlargement where the candidate country is seeking membership from outside the EU. As Scotland joined the EU in 1973 this is not the starting position from which the Scottish Government will be pursuing independent EU membership. Article 49 does not appear to be the appropriate legal base on which to facilitate Scotland’s transition to full EU membership.

The alternative to an Article 49 procedure, and a legal basis that the Scottish Government considers is appropriate to the prospective circumstances, is that Scotland’s transition to full membership is secured under the general provisions of Article 48. Article 48 provides for a Treaty amendment to be agreed by common accord on the part of the representatives of the governments of the member states.

Article 48 is therefore a suitable legal route to facilitate the transition process, by allowing the EU Treaties to be amended through ordinary revision procedure before Scotland becomes independent, to enable it to become a member state at the point of independence.

The Scottish Government recognises it will be for the EU member states, meeting under the auspices of the Council, to take forward the most appropriate procedure under which an independent Scotland will become a signatory to the EU Treaties at the point at which it becomes independent, taking into account Scotland’s status as an EU jurisdiction of 40 years standing. The European Parliament will also play its role in Scotland’s transition.

The Scottish Government will approach EU membership negotiations on the principle of continuity of effect: that is, a transition to independent membership that is based on the EU Treaty obligations and provisions that currently apply to Scotland under our present status as part of the UK, and without disruption to Scotland’s current fully integrated standing within the legal, economic, institutional, political and social framework of theEU.

We recognise that specific provisions will need to be included in the EU Treaties as part of the amendment process to ensure the principle of continuity of effect with respect to the terms and conditions of Scotland’s independent EU membership, including detailed considerations around current opt-outs, in particular the rebate, Eurozone, Justice and Home Affairs and the Schengen travel area.

Scotland is likely to be a net financial contributor to the EU, subject to negotiation on issues such as the rebate and Scottish take up of EU funding programmes. The EU budget has been agreed until 2020. We see no reason for re-opening current budgetary agreements. Prior to 2020, we consider that the division of the share of the UK rebate would be a matter for negotiation between the Scottish and Westminster Governments.

Our intention to retain Sterling as the currency of an independent Scotland is based on an analysis of the potential impact of the alternative currency options on Scottish people and businesses, including the ease with which they can conduct their business with people and companies across the rest of the UK and beyond. While the Scottish Government recognises the political and economic objectives of the Eurozone, an independent Scotland will not seek, nor will we qualify for, membership of the Eurozone. Scotland’s participation in the Sterling Area will not conflict with wider obligations under the EU treaties.

As Article 140 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) makes clear, an EU member state is only permitted to join the Eurozone and adopt the Euro as its currency if the “convergence criteria” have been met. These convergence criteria include:

  • inflation rate: the applicant country’s inflation rate to be no more than 1.5 percentage points higher than the three lowest inflation member states of the EU
  • government finance: the applicant country ratio of annual deficit to GDP to be less than 3 per cent and ratio of gross debt to GDP to be less than 60 per cent
  • exchange rate: applicant countries must have been a member of the Exchange Rate Mechanism II (ERM II) for two consecutive years and should not have devalued its currency during that period
  • long-term interest rates: the applicant country’s nominal long-term interest rate must not be more than two percentage points higher than in the three lowest inflation member states

Under the TFEU a member state that fails any of these four tests will not be permitted to join the Eurozone.

It is important to note that the decision as to when, or if, to include a currency in the ERM II – a pre-condition for Eurozone membership – rests entirely with individual EU member states. The UK (and thus Scotland) is not a member of ERM II. If a national government decides not to join theERM, as it is entitled to do, then by definition it cannot become eligible for membership of the Eurozone. Sweden is an example of an EU member state in this position – despite being an EU member since 1995, Sweden is not in the ERM II.

This Government will not seek membership of the Schengen area either. Instead, an independent Scotland will remain an integral part of the broader social union of close economic, social and cultural ties across the nations of the UK (including the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands) and Ireland. An essential part of this social union, and one that will be fully maintained with independence, is the free movement of nationals between Scotland and the rest of the UK and Ireland. There are no circumstances in which the Scottish Government would countenance any measure being taken that jeopardized the ability of citizens across the rest of the UK and Ireland to move freely across our borders as they are presently able to do. It is for this reason that following independence Scotland will remain part of the Common Travel Area (CTA), which dates back to the 1920s.

There are absolutely no grounds to believe that the EU would challenge Scotland remaining part of the CTA rather than joining the Schengen area. The EU has spent all of its 50 or so years of existence seeking to remove borders across the EU. The EU Treaties recognise that membership of the Common Travel Area is not compatible with membership of the Schengen area.

The current CTA between the UK and Ireland is based on administrative agreements, rather than binding treaty obligations to which an independent Scotland would succeed. These arrangements are reflected in the UK‘s immigration laws (and those of the Republic of Ireland) and could be replicated by an independent Scotland in due course. Within the CTA, an independent Scotland will work with the Westminster and Irish Governments to ensure that visa and immigration controls and practice meet certain shared standards. The detail of this would require negotiation but full harmonisation is not required; Ireland and the UK already operate different immigration systems within the Common Travel Area.

More generally, the Scottish Government will seek to retain the current flexibility to opt into new measures on Justice and Home Affairs. An independent Scotland will seek to participate wherever possible in new proposals, which can bring significant benefits to Scotland and the whole of the EU.

International policy

The choices open to us

An independent Scotland can emulate comparable countries with the most effective approach to international affairs: soundly based policies which enable the country to engage seriously and competitively in the world; rigorous priorities for our international focus; and the right external relationships to advance and protect our interests.

Countries of comparable size to Scotland take lead roles in international organisations. Sweden, New Zealand, Switzerland and Finland have all made significant global contributions to security, peace and reconciliation initiatives: New Zealand, for example, played a key role in the Oslo Process that banned cluster bombs and similar weapons. These nations capitalise on their soft power and build coalitions – normally informal and related to specific issues – to advance their objectives. The effectiveness of a coalition lies less in the sheer numbers involved and more in their ability to develop strong and sound arguments for negotiations.

There are inherent advantages in being a smaller, well-governed, independent state in a rapidly-changing world, with the ability to respond to developments and with the scale to bring national institutions and civic society together quickly if need be. By focusing our diplomatic efforts flexibly on key national priorities, Scotland will not require the same scale of diplomatic service as the UK currently maintains.

Focusing on issues and areas to achieve most impact will be fundamental to the success of Scotland’s role on the international stage. In the fields of international development, human rights, climate change and climate justice, Scotland already has a well-established international reputation and a contribution to make that would be enhanced significantly with independence.

Our priorities for action

In an independent Scotland, this government would develop strong bilateral relations and play a full role in the international organisations that set the standards for trade, finance, health, labour relations and other key issues and support an international legal system that is a foundation for Scottish prosperity and security.

The main multilateral organisations such as the UNWTO and OECD provide frameworks for negotiations which give nations a voice in decisions that are agreed and implemented internationally. International organisations provide strategic, political, economic and societal platforms for smaller countries[253].

Bilateral, or state-to-state, arrangements also continue to play their part in shaping a nation’s foreign affairs. The UK‘s bilateral treaties cover a range of important matters such as mutual legal assistance in criminal matters or international conventions on terrorism.

Following a vote for independence Scotland will declare and notify our intention to assume responsibility for the UK‘s multilateral and bilateral treaties, where it is in Scotland’s interest to do so. The Scottish Government expects that other parties to these treaties will welcome Scotland’s intention to sign up to, and continue, these obligations. The UK itself has shown how entire treaty issues with newly independent states can be readily and speedily resolved. On the day of independence of the Czech Republic and Slovakia (1 January 1993) the UK wrote to both countries stating that the UK would regard all the bilateral UK – Czechoslovakia treaties as now continuing between the UK and the Czech Republic on the one hand and the UK and Slovakia on the other, with the substantive treaty provisions continuing to operate with both successor states as they had done previously with the predecessor state.

Scotland’s membership of the EU will represent a key element of an independent Scotland’s international relations and foreign and security policies. The EU provides a forum for discussions and agreement between member states on specific foreign policy questions, and collective action through the development of a Common Foreign and Security Policy, the Common Security and Defence Policy, and the European External Action Service established under the Lisbon Treaty.

This Government plans that Scotland will be an active and committed participant in the Common Foreign and Security Policy. The EU‘s external policies support stability, promote human rights and democracy, seek to spread prosperity, and support the enforcement of the rule of law and good governance, complementing the foreign policy efforts of individual states. Scotland would benefit from this Europe-wide approach which is broadly aligned with Scotland’s values.

Scotland will take its place as a member of the United Nations, working with like-minded countries to promote global issues of importance to the Scottish people, such as human rights and tackling climate change and to advance global development, including support to those countries most in need. The UN continues to form the basis for international co-operation, committed as it is to maintaining international peace and security, developing friendly relations among nations and promoting social progress, better living standards and human rights.

Scotland will also join NATO, which is the basis of security for the North Atlantic area. NATO membership is in Scotland’s interests, and the interests of our neighbours, because it underpins effective conventional defence and security co‑operation.

Other key multi-national organisations Scotland will participate in include:

  • Council of Europe: best known for the European Court of Human Rights and the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (ECHR)
  • the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE)
  • the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)
  • World Trade Organisation (WTO)
  • the Commonwealth

Each of these organisations has its own procedure for membership. Scotland is already a member of them through the UK, and so already meets the essential requirements. Following a vote for independence, the Scottish Government will initiate steps to ensure Scotland’s membership as an independent country as swiftly as possible.

This Government intends that Scotland will also seek a closer relationship with the Nordic Council of Ministers. Scotland has key shared interests with our geographical neighbours in the North Atlantic, such as Iceland and Norway, and a common interest in the Arctic and High North.

We plan to establish a network of overseas offices to represent Scotland’s interests internationally, with a particular focus on promoting sustainable economic growth, participating in rules-based international co-operation and protecting Scotland’s people and resources.

Scottish embassies will have five core functions:

  • commercial: to maximise commercial benefits for Scottish businesses, including an expansion of export and investment, and to assess strategic economic opportunities for Scotland and our economy
  • governmental: to ensure effective engagement with governments and other public institutions within the host state and to promote Scottish interests
  • cultural: to promote Scottish culture internationally and to engage with members of the Scottish diaspora
  • development: to ensure Scotland’s international development priorities and commitments are being delivered
  • consular: to provide appropriate support for Scottish citizens, and where relevant other EU citizens, and deal with issues such as visa applications

There will be variation in the range and scale of services available in different locations. Some embassies will fulfil primarily a political or governmental function, for example our permanent representation within the EU, ScotRep.

The most significant investment of resources will be devoted to the development of commercial opportunities for Scotland in key markets overseas. Co-ordinated teams of trade experts and diplomats will represent Scottish interests, opening up markets and assisting Scottish businesses to expand internationally. Our world-class range of cultural activities will also support our activities in promoting Scotland.

The existing SDI network of 27 overseas offices provides a firm foundation for independent Scottish international representation. Over the past five years, SDI has increased Scotland’s presence in emerging markets in the Middle East and Asia. This Government plans that the existing SDI network remains following independence, co-locating with the new diplomatic and consular services. Where SDI is currently located in a country but not in its capital city, a Scottish embassy or political mission would be established to supplement and complement the work of the trade offices.

Our planned initial locations will include: London; Beijing; Berlin; Brasilia; Canberra; Delhi; Dublin; Islamabad; Madrid; Moscow; Paris; Pretoria; Seoul; Tokyo; Warsaw; Washington and in view of the close historical and co-operation ties with Malawi, Lilongwe. Additional sites in Asia, the Middle East, South America, Africa and Europe will be identified.

Scotland’s network of embassies will be supported in some countries, including the United States, Canada and China, by consulates. We will also appoint members of the Scottish diaspora and prominent local people as honorary consuls to represent Scottish interests in nations where there is no direct Scottish representation.

Our representation in the EU will be built on existing Scottish Government representation in Brussels. We will establish Scottish permanent representation to the UN and other multilateral organisations. By way of comparison, Ireland maintains permanent representation at the Council of Europe (Strasbourg), the OECD and UNESCO (served by the same office in Paris), the OSCE (Vienna), the UN (Geneva and New York), NATOPartnership for Peace (Brussels) and the EU (Brussels). Similar representation is maintained by Denmark and Finland.

Similar countries to Scotland (such as Denmark, Ireland, Finland, Slovakia and New Zealand) have between 50 and 100 overseas missions, and 1,100 to 2,700 staff. The Government estimates the running costs of our initial proposed network of 70 to 90 overseas offices at £90 million to £120 million. This is expected to be below Scotland’s population share of the UK‘s total expenditure on overseas representation in 2016/17 giving opportunities for savings. Scotland would also be entitled to a fair share of the UK‘s assets.

Scotland will be willing to co-locate diplomatic missions with other nations, including, and in particular, with the rest of the UK in current premises. This is common practice internationally. The UK has arrangements with Canada under a Memorandum of Understanding and with other nations. Ireland and Denmark also use this approach successfully to provide support to their citizens overseas. For example, the Helsinki Treaty of Co‑operation between Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden provides for consular assistance[254]. Other nations also share some consular services, such as Australia and Canada.

In addition, an EU citizen has the right to request the consular or diplomatic protection of any other EU member state when in a non-EU country where his/her own member state is not represented by a permanent consular post or diplomatic mission.

International development

Our priorities for action

With a focus on working in partnership and achieving real and tangible outcomes on the ground, the Scottish Government’s international development policy seeks to build upon the historical and contemporary relationships that exist between Scotland and the developing world. Scotland will seek to be a global leader in the field of international development, championing best practice and innovation. Being a global leader in international development is not necessarily just about the size of aid given in absolute monetary terms, but the impact that can be made across government policy. The provision of aid is one tool within international development and an independent Scotland would enshrine a legislative commitment to spending 0.7 per cent of Gross National Income on Official Development Assistance.

Delivering a coherent approach to international development across all Scottish Government policies – crucially trade, environment, defence and finance – would be the key to success and global impact. The Scottish Government therefore has several key propositions that will guide our approach to development. They are:

  • More and better aid: The Scottish Government would meet from the point of independence, and thereafter maintain, the 0.7 per cent target, with an aspiration towards one per cent over time and ensure Scotland’s aid is of high quality, including through appropriate geographical and thematic focus. The Government plans to introduce a legislative basis to ensure adherence to the 0.7 per cent target as a binding, statutory commitment
  • Debt relief: The Scottish Government will give careful consideration to the question of “unjust” debts; will work to ensure that Scottish export policies do not create new unjust debts; and support moves to establish Scotland as an international centre for debt arbitration
  • Gender equality: Gender equality and the empowerment of women are Millennium Development Goals in their own right. They are also critical to the delivery of other key development goals including in education and health. An independent Scotland will put gender equality at the heart of our development work
  • Do No Harm – ensuring policy coherence: As an expression of the values driving our foreign policy, this Government will ensure that other Scottish Government policies do no harm to developing countries, do not undermine international development aims and ideally contribute to international development success – through a rigorous approach to policy coherence for development. A key example of this approach is that our Climate Justice Fund and our International Development Fund are being developed and implemented within and across Government, providing a streamlined approach to both international development and climate change

Scotland’s international development programme will be delivered as part of an integrated approach to international relations. However, we will not allow commercial or other considerations, including military considerations, to influence our approach improperly.

Development sections within Scottish overseas offices will ensure effective delivery of programmes supported by the people of Scotland and will work closely with Scotland’s private and third sectors, and our civil society partners, to maximise the impact of both governmental and non-governmental efforts.

The Scottish Government intends under independence to work with the UK‘s Department for International Development (DFID) to ensure that there is a smooth transition phase for programmes on the ground in developing countries. There will be continued support, where appropriate, to thoseDFID programmes which span the independence period to avoid any sudden disruption to those programmes and their recipients. International development is just one of the areas where future Scottish and Westminster governments can choose to work together to complement each other’s activity. Scotland is also likely to be a significant donor to multilateral organisations reflecting similar priorities as the UK in this area.


Why we need a new approach

Improving the way defence is delivered in and for Scotland is one of the most pressing reasons for independence.

For decades we have been part of a Westminster system that has sought to project global power, giving Britain the capacity to engage in overseas military interventions and to deploy nuclear weapons.

Scotland has been home to one of the largest concentrations of nuclear weapons anywhere in the world, despite consistent and clear opposition from across civic Scotland, our churches, trade unions and a clear majority of our elected politicians255. Billions of pounds have been wasted to date on weapons that must never be used and, unless we act now, we risk wasting a further £100 billion, over its lifetime, on a new nuclear weapons system. Trident is an affront to basic decency with its indiscriminate and inhumane destructive power.

Westminster’s commitment to nuclear weapons leaves other aspects of our defence weakened. Costs for the successor to Trident are to be met from within the defence budget, taking money from conventional equipment and levels of service personnel. The Royal Navy will have two new aircraft carriers years before it has the aircraft to put on them. Cost overruns are endemic and major projects have been significantly delayed. Scotland can do better.

In Scotland, the adverse consequences of Westminster’s defence policies have been felt in many ways.

  • the latest figure for defence spending in Scotland (2007/08)[256] is £1.4 billion less than Scotland’s current contribution of £3.3 billion to UKdefence and security budgets[257]. With independence Scotland’s defence spending will not only provide Scotland’s security, but will increase economic benefits and employment on which Scotland currently misses out
  • in March 2013 the Westminster Government announced that only 600 more Armed Forces personnel would be based in Scotland by 2020[258] – a fraction of the significant increase promised by the MOD in July 2011[259]
  • the RAF base at Leuchars will cease flying operations in autumn 2014. Craigiehall, outside Edinburgh, the former Army Headquarters in Scotland, has been earmarked for disposal, and Forthside in Stirling and Redford Barracks in Edinburgh will at least partially close
  • Scotland is a maritime nation and yet the UK has no maritime patrol aircraft and no major surface ships are based in Scotland. There is greater risk to safety and security in Scotland’s airspace and waters as a result
  • Ministry of Defence employment – civilian and service – in Scotland has fallen from 24,680 in 2000 to 15,340 in 2013, a proportionately larger fall than across the UK as a whole. Consequently, Scotland’s share of UK-based Ministry of Defence personnel has fallen from 9.2 per cent to 7.5 per cent over this period[260]

The Westminster Government suggests that we need Britain for our defence, but the reality is very different. Scotland has been failed by decades of poor decisions. So we now have weapons that we do not need – like Trident – and lack assets that we do need – like maritime patrol aircraft.

An independent Scotland can follow the path of similar independent nations and make our own contribution to collective defence arrangements which, as part of NATO, far surpass any security that is offered by Britain alone.

The opportunities available to Scotland

An independent Scotland will have the opportunity to decide our own defence priorities to ensure our security, in partnership with our allies and within the wider international community. It will be the people of Scotland, through our Parliament, who will decide whether or not our young men and women are sent to war and we can choose, through our written constitution, to put in place safeguards to ensure that Scottish forces will only ever participate in military activity that is internationally recognised as lawful and in accordance with the principles of the UN Charter.

The flexibility that being a small state can bring will mean that Scotland can take an integrated approach to national security, with our defence capabilities playing a role alongside other areas of government.

We have in existing naval, army and air force bases the underpinning infrastructure we need to meet our defence needs and regional defence responsibilities. We also have sufficient expertise, built up over years of service and Scotland’s proud military tradition, with Scots who have served at all levels of Britain’s armed forces and at senior levels in the Ministry of Defence and NATO.

We will inherit a share of existing UK defence assets, giving us most of the equipment we need to establish Scotland’s defence forces in the immediate post-independence period. The division of assets and liabilities will of course need to be negotiated. However, by way of indication, in 2007 the Ministry of Defence estimated the total value of its assets and investments[261] at just under £93 billion. A Scottish share based on population would be around £7.8 billion.

By making different choices on nuclear weapons and global reach we can save a substantial proportion of Scotland’s current defence contribution to the UK, while still having levels of defence spending that allow us to deliver the capabilities we need. Within this budget allocation will be significant investment in procurement, which can support key Scottish industries including the shipbuilding industry.

A new and more appropriate level of defence spending will also free up valuable resources for investment in other national priorities. It will give Scotland an independence defence dividend that can be used to improve our approach in areas of social policy.

The Scotland we can create

With independence, therefore, we can create the most appropriate domestic defence for Scotland, one that sees us fulfilling both our international responsibilities and the commitment we have to the security and safety of people living in Scotland. We can create an approach to defence that positions us as partners for peace in the wider world.

With independence, future governments can choose to equip Scotland with specific, specialist capabilities, allowing us to develop particular expertise that adds value for our allies: for example allowing Scotland to take on a role in internationally sanctioned peace-keeping or peace-making operations.

While the UK approach has left significant gaps in our defence capabilities, in particular in relation to maritime protection and reconnaissance, with independence we can, once again, make an effective contribution to regional defence in recognition of our important strategic position in the North Atlantic.

The choices open to us

Defence capability will be an important part of the mix of responses available to an independent Scotland in addressing opportunities, threat and risks. At the point of independence the Scottish Government proposes that there will be core Scottish defence capabilities to contribute to this task and fully protect Scotland and our people. Priorities for the further development of Scotland’s defence and security capabilities should be refined following the strategic review of security undertaken by the first elected parliament and government of an independent Scotland.

The Scottish Government believes that these key roles for Scotland defence forces, working closely with partners and other parts of government, should be considered in depth in the security review:

  • securing Scotland’s borders, land, airspace and sea, deterring attacks and protecting our citizens and assets from threat
  • protecting Scotland’s national interests and economic wellbeing, alongside the key values and underlying principles that support Scottish society and our way of life. This task would include supporting other parts of government, for example in natural disasters or other emergencies
  • contributing to the protection and promotion of human rights, the rule of law, democratic values, international peace and security, building on Scotland’s national interests by being a progressive voice in the world

Our priorities for action

Scotland’s defence and security policy will be a key part of wider international policy, protecting Scotland’s interests through a strategic approach to national security, and providing military capability to defend our national interest. We will take our own decisions about involvement in military action, while continuing to make a full contribution to our own defence and that of our allies.

Scotland will be part of collective defence arrangements, giving the people of Scotland the same security guarantees that they enjoy today. Within this framework of mutual defence we will be able to deliver a more responsible defence posture better suited to Scotland’s strategic needs and interests. Improved parliamentary oversight of defence and long-term, consensus-based arrangements for strategic planning can mean that spending is based on sound decisions. Our approach will mean substantial savings on defence spending, continued investment in Scotland’s defence industries and the basing of Scottish service personnel closer to their families and homes.

The current Scottish Government has identified five defence priorities for an independent Scotland:

  • maintaining the commitment to a budget for defence and security in an independent Scotland of £2.5 billion
  • securing the speediest safe withdrawal of nuclear weapons from Scotland
  • building a focus on maritime capabilities, such as air and sea-based patrol, and specialist forces able to operate around our coasts, protecting Scotland’s maritime assets and contributing to collective security in the North Atlantic
  • progressively building to a total of 15,000 regular and 5,000 reserve personnel over the 10 years following independence
  • reconfiguring the defence estate inherited at the point of independence to meet Scotland’s needs, including the transition of Faslane to a conventional naval base and joint headquarters of Scottish defence forces

This Scottish Government envisages a phased approach to reaching the level of Scottish defence forces set out above. This will be achieved through a staged process involving 7,500 regular and 2,000 reserve personnel at the point of independence, rising to around 10,000 regulars and 3,500 reserves by the end of the five years following independence, subject to consideration in the strategic defence review. The final force levels will provide capacity for Scotland to make enhanced contributions to international partnership operations.

The units of the Scottish Army will carry on the names, identities and traditions of Scotland’s regiments, including those lost in the defence reorganisation of 2006.

This level of defence capability will require the continued operation of all current major military bases in Scotland. In particular Faslane will become the main operating base for the Scottish Navy, and the headquarters for the Scottish defence forces as a whole.

Following a vote for independence, the Scottish Government will immediately start to put in place defence capabilities to meet Scotland’s needs on independence, and to provide the foundations to develop these capabilities in line with the outcome of the strategic review. The priorities in the period between the referendum and independence day, will include:

  • establishing a military staff to advise the Scottish Government in the transition and the development of appropriate defence capabilities
  • putting in place joint arrangements with the Westminster Government to identify and transfer units and personnel wishing to serve in Scottish defence forces
  • identifying, in negotiation with the rest of the UK, a first tranche of defence assets and bases to transfer to Scottish defence forces, pending wider agreement

Effective joint agreements will be of particular importance to both Scotland and the rest of the UK in the transitional period following independence. It will be in the interests of both countries to ensure arrangements are taken forward in an orderly and secure manner. This approach will retain for the transitional period some integrated services for the security of Scotland and the rest of the UK.

By independence day, the Scottish Government will have in place a core set of military capabilities from which it will then build. That will include a number of military units (air, land and sea-based) under Scottish Government control.

The process of transition will be based on negotiated agreement between the Scottish Government and the Westminster Government. The Scottish Government expects that both governments will act responsibly and that over time the number of personnel from the rest of the UK based in Scotland will decline while Scottish personnel numbers rise.

Scotland’s defence forces

The Scottish Government has carried out an initial assessment of forces levels in the years following independence[262].

Defence capabilities at the point of independence

Maritime forces

One naval squadron to secure Scotland’s maritime interests and Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and contribute to joint capability with partners in Scotland’s geographical neighbourhood, consisting of:

  • two frigates from the Royal Navy’s current fleet
  • a command platform for naval operations and development of specialist marine capabilities (from the Royal Navy’s current fleet, following adaptation)
  • four mine counter measure vessels from the Royal Navy’s current fleet
  • two offshore patrol vessels (OPVs) to provide security for the 200 nautical mile Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). However, as the Royal Navy only has four OPVs currently[263], a longer lead time for procurement might be necessary
  • four to six patrol boats from the Royal Navy’s current fleet, capable of operating in coastal waters, providing fleet protection and also contributing to securing borders
  • auxiliary support ships (providing support to vessels on operations), which could be secured on a shared basis initially with the rest of the UK

These arrangements will require around 2,000 regular and at least 200 reserve personnel.

Land forces

An army HQ function and an all-arms brigade, with three infantry/marine units, equipped initially from a negotiated share of current UK assets, and supported by:

  • a deployable Brigade HQ
  • two light armoured reconnaissance units
  • two light artillery units
  • one engineer unit deploying a range of equipment for bridging, mine clearance and engineering functions
  • one aviation unit operating six helicopters for reconnaissance and liaison
  • two communication units
  • one transport unit
  • one logistics unit
  • one medical unit

Special forces, explosives and ordnance disposal teams will bring the total to around 3,500 regular and at least 1,200 reserve personnel.

Air forces

Key elements of air forces in place at independence, equipped initially from a negotiated share of current UK assets, will secure core tasks, principally the ability to police Scotland’s airspace, within NATO.

  • an Air Force HQ function (with staff embedded within NATO structures)
  • Scotland will remain part of NATO‘s integrated Air Command and Control (AC2) system, initially through agreement with allies to maintain the current arrangements while Scotland establishes and develops our own AC2 personnel and facility within Scotland within five years of independence
  • a Quick Reaction Alert (QRA) squadron incorporating a minimum of 12 Typhoon jets based at Lossiemouth
  • a tactical air transport squadron, including around six Hercules C130J aircraft, and a helicopter squadron
  • flight training through joint arrangements with allies

In total this would require around 2,000 regular personnel and around 300 reserve personnel.

Civilian support

In addition to military capability following a vote for independence, the Scottish Government will establish core government capacity for defence functions, such as strategic planning, oversight and policy functions for defence and security. Given the importance of ongoing shared security interests between Scotland and the rest of the UK, we will ensure a partnership approach during the period of transition to independence.

Following a vote for independence, priorities for the Scottish Government capacity dealing with defence will be planning for the strategic security review to be carried out by the first Scottish Parliament following independence, based on the most recent UK National Risk Assessment and input from Scottish experts and academic institutions.

Defence capabilities five years after independence

Further development of Scotland’s defence and security capabilities will be decided following the strategic review of security undertaken by the first elected Parliament and government of an independent Scotland.

However the current Scottish Government believes that the following elements should be prioritised for delivery as early as possible in the first five years following independence, building on the forces in place at independence:

Maritime forces

A second naval squadron to contribute to NATO and other operations outside home waters, incorporating the naval command platform, and a further two frigates with tanker and support ship capacity.

Overall the model would involve around 2,400 regular and at least 270 reserve personnel. While most of the personnel would be required by the five year point, this model envisages increases continuing through the first ten years following independence (due to procurement of new Scottish naval vessels).

Land forces

Developing the All Arms brigade’s capabilities to include:

  • increases to strengths of the three infantry battalions (to a combined total of 1,500 regular and 300 reserve personnel)
  • upgrading of the light armour, artillery, aviation and medical units
  • increasing the strength of the special forces unit
  • increasing the number of personnel deployed to conflict prevention, disarmament and defence diplomacy

Overall, this would entail an increase in numbers, over the years following independence, to around 4,700 regular and at least 1,110 reserve personnel.

Air forces

Increasing the fast jet fleet of Typhoons potentially up to 16 aircraft which would enable Scotland to contribute to alliance operations overseas.

Increasing the Scottish contribution to capabilities for air defence, as part of an integrated system within NATO.

At present, the UK has no maritime patrol aircraft. During this period options for procurement will be taken forward and airborne maritime patrol capability delivered. A detailed specification of requirement will be developed as a priority and final numbers of aircraft required will depend on this. However, the numbers maintained by comparable nations suggests a potential fleet of four.

Development across all of those areas would entail an overall increase in numbers to around 3,250 regular and at least 300 reserve personnel.

Defence capabilities after 10 years

This Government plans that, 10 years after independence, Scotland will have a total of 15,000 regular and 5,000 reserve personnel across land, air and maritime forces.

Service personnel and veterans

The Scottish Government respects the service of current personnel. We will ensure that all current service personnel will be eligible for a post in the Scottish defence forces, though they will not need to take it up.

All service personnel will have the reassurance that they will not face compulsory redundancy during their service contract. This Scottish Government would examine how the terms and conditions of service personnel could be improved, for example through the official representation of service personnel.

Where whole or part of units are identified for transfer to Scottish defence forces, the Scottish Government will ensure that all current UK service personnel within those units can remain with them for at least a transitional period, where they wish to do so. A similar approach will be followed for reserve personnel and the important role of cadet forces will also be maintained.

The aim will be a phased and responsible approach to the position of those currently serving in the UK armed forces who might wish to transfer to Scottish defence forces. Some may transfer immediately, while others would continue in their current role. It is our intention that terms and conditions remain harmonised through this period. Any sensible approach would recognise that, at the end of that process, it is highly likely that citizens from the rest of the UK, Ireland and from other Commonwealth countries would be serving in an independent Scotland’s defence forces. Though it would ultimately be a decision for the rest of the UK, we also expect that Scottish citizens will continue to serve in UK forces if they wish to, as citizens of Ireland and the Commonwealth do.

Reserve personnel make a valuable contribution to defence capability and will do so in an independent Scotland. Our proposals include a baseline requirement for around 1,700 reserve personnel at the point of independence. However as there are currently an estimated 2,200 trained reserve personnel in Scotland[264], it would be both feasible and desirable to increase numbers beyond the baseline that requirement suggests, in order to build flexibility and enhance capability. In the longer term the Government envisages the reserve force building to 5,000 personnel after 10 years.

Scotland and the rest of the UK will also continue to owe the same debt of gratitude to veterans who have served in the past. The Scottish Government will build on our existing strong record in this area to ensure that veterans continue to access the services and benefits that they are entitled to. This will include full service pensions and pension entitlement, following agreement with the Westminster Government.

Defence infrastructure

The transitional period will also include continued arrangements for the use of defence infrastructure in Scotland by UK forces and vice versa. The Scottish Government will protect the bases inherited at the point of independence and we expect that, over time, the main military facilities in Scotland will be used by Scottish defence forces. This transitional period would allow for appropriate planning, including for the continuation of shared basing into the longer term where that was in the best interests of both Scotland and the rest of the UK.

While details will be negotiated with the rest of the UK, the Scottish Government currently envisages that:

  • current and envisaged major army facilities will continue to be needed at Kinloss, Leuchars, Glencorse, Fort George, Dreghorn and the elements of Redford to be retained by the UK Ministry of Defence
  • in addition there will be a need to consider where additional air assets, not currently located in Scotland, might operate from. Given the retention of the runway at Leuchars, the Scottish Government would envisage air operations being reinstated there, alongside an army presence
  • Faslane will be retained as the main naval base for an independent Scotland. In addition it will be the location for the joint headquarters of the Scottish defence forces. Options will be considered for re-instating Rosyth as a supporting naval base, alongside its current industrial uses
  • given that the transfer of Typhoons from Leuchars will have been largely completed before the referendum, Lossiemouth will continue to be a main operating base for fast jet aircraft and Scotland’s air policing capability. The Scottish Government will negotiate with the Westminster Government to establish the joint facilities it would be in the interests of both countries to maintain there

The transition of Faslane from a submarine base to Scotland’s main naval base and joint force headquarters will be managed gradually: personnel and equipment will be brought into the Scottish defence forces and infrastructure will be developed, while the personnel and equipment remaining within the Royal Navy are relocated by the Ministry of Defence.

The Scottish Government intends the transition to be complete within ten years[265]. The transitional arrangements will support both the day to day operations and the workforce levels at the base. We will retain the capacity for shared arrangements with the rest of the UK and other allies, recognising Faslane’s excellent deep water facilities and its geographical position.

There are currently 6,700 military and civilian jobs at HMNB Clyde[266]. Through its role as a main conventional naval base and Joint Forces HQ, this Scottish Government expects that, at the conclusion of transitional arrangements, the number of Scottish military personnel at Faslane will approximately match military numbers there currently. Those military personnel will be supported by a significant number of civilian personnel. During the transitional period large numbers of personnel from the rest of the UK will also be based there. In addition, work to reconfigure Faslane as a conventional naval base is expected to involve major construction activity, and related jobs, in the area.

There are a range of other defence facilities around Scotland used by NATO and the UK, such as the weapon ranges in the Hebrides and the training area around Cape Wrath. The Scottish Government expects these to continue to be used after independence, following discussions with the rest of the UK and allies.

The negotiation of shared arrangements as a transitional measure would not preclude such arrangements being carried forward into the longer term, where both the rest of the UK and Scotland considered them the most effective means of delivering defence capabilities.

Negotiations on the maintenance of shared capabilities would not include nuclear weapons. This Scottish Government would make early agreement on the speediest safe removal of nuclear weapons a priority. This would be with a view to the removal of Trident within the first term of the Scottish Parliament following independence.

The detailed process and timetable for removal would be a priority for negotiation between the Scottish Government and the Westminster Government. However we have noted the work undertaken by the Scottish Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND), which suggests that Trident could be dismantled within two years[267].

The Scottish Government plans to explore the potential for Scotland’s defence industry capabilities to diversify into other activities. For example, in a report in 2007 the STUC and CND noted that “many of the skills currently used to maintain Trident would be directly relevant to renewables[268]” and the report highlighted the advantages the Lower Clyde area offers such activity. The Scottish Government’s work will therefore focus on the potential offered by energy, particularly marine renewables, although it will also examine other aspects of defence diversification, for example those relevant to the shipbuilding industry. The research and development capacity of Scotland’s defence industries offers the opportunity to boost Scotland’s business R&D. Other comparable countries have much higher levels of R&D activity (a key driver of economic growth). Finland, for example, uses an innovation agency as its primary tool for R&D activity. Defence diversification could play an important role in Scotland’s future industrial strategy.

Scotland’s defence industries

Scotland’s defence industries are an important source of employment and provide high quality defence products to the UK armed forces and more widely. If in government in an independent Scotland the Scottish Government will work with defence industries to support their continued growth and to meet Scotland’s own defence needs.

Scotland will ensure our defence budget is utilised to:

  • support the procurement of equipment and services in Scotland, where consistent with European procurement rules
  • support defence-related R&D, innovation and design
  • support small and medium enterprises in particular to expand their marketing effort internationally
  • develop a clear role for each government department and agency in areas such as licensing, accreditation and dual‑use

This Scottish Government expects that the proportion of the budget allocated for procurement of single use military equipment[269] will be at least equivalent to that currently allocated by the Westminster Government (14 per cent in 2012/13). In the first term of the independent Scottish Parliament we expect personnel numbers in Scottish defence forces to be steadily increasing. Therefore during this period personnel costs would initially be lower and it would be possible to boost the proportion of the budget allocated to procurement over the first part of that period.

The Scottish Government regards support for our shipbuilding industry as a priority given our focus on maritime defence capabilities. Whilst keeping within EU procurement requirements, the Scottish Government will protect the future of Scotland’s shipyards and maintain capabilities important to our long-term interests.

This Scottish Government will take forward the procurement of four new frigates, to be built on the Clyde, preferably through joint procurement with the rest of the UK. Two of these will be ordered in the first parliamentary term of independence and, when built, will bring the number of frigates in the Scottish navy to four (the two new frigates as well as the inherited Type 23s). The Scottish Government believes that is the appropriate number of frigates in the longer term, and will order the further two frigates in time to replace the Type 23s when they are retired from service.

Recent Westminster decisions have demonstrated the importance of Scotland’s shipbuilding industry to the Royal Navy. The Ministry of Defence has also shown that it is keen to develop opportunities for joint procurement and there are strong reasons why both the Scottish and Westminster Governments would want to explore the potential for joint procurement of future naval vessels.

We also plan to prioritise procurement within the first five years of maritime patrol aircraft, based on a detailed specification of need (the numbers maintained by comparable nations suggests a potential fleet of four). Depending on negotiation with the rest of the UK on division of assets, further procurement needs will have to be addressed, including for offshore patrol vessels.

In an independent Scotland, we will, where appropriate, work with the Scottish defence industry to deliver identified Scottish defence capability requirements. Scotland would seek to work in partnership, build the necessary alliances and align our defence requirements with the collective needs and priorities of NATO allies, including the rest of the UK.

Joint procurement is in the interests of Scotland and the rest of the UK[270], preserving the strengths of defence industries around the whole of theUK. Joint orders would maintain the expected numbers of jobs in the defence industries sector, including shipbuilding, and support companies as they seek to expand their business internationally.

The EU Defence Procurement Directive aims to open up the defence equipment market to competition and to contribute towards the development of an efficient European market for defence equipment. Whilst EU law allows an exemption from the requirement for open competition in certain, very limited, circumstances related to national security, it should be the exception not the norm.

Outwith Europe, Scotland will also build bilateral defence and security relationships with a range of key partners and on a range of security issues. These countries will also provide potential markets for Scotland’s defence industries.

International partnerships

As the government of an independent Scotland we will be committed to working in partnership and through alliances. Scotland will be a part of key defence organisations, such as NATOOSCE and the EU. The defence and security relationship with the rest of the UK will be fundamentally important, both for the rest of the UK and for Scotland.

Scotland will also explore flexible, shared arrangements for delivery of defence and security with our neighbours and partners. Again, the rest of theUK would be an essential, but not exclusive, element in this.

Following a Yes vote in 2014, the Scottish Government will notify NATO of our intention to join the alliance and will negotiate our transition from being a NATO member as part of the UK to becoming an independent member of the alliance.

The basic premise of NATO is that all members must make an active commitment to the alliance and Scotland would recognise and play our full part in building collective security and capability. Scotland’s geographical position and strong national interest in being able to robustly monitor and protect our maritime environment will be a key part in the contribution we make to the alliance. Scotland also provides an important range of training areas and other facilities that are actively used by NATO members.

Membership of NATO will be in the interests of Scotland, the rest of the UK and other NATO members. Scotland occupies an important place in regional security arrangements that NATO members enjoy. While recognising that Scotland’s membership requires discussion and agreement byNATO members, it will be in the interests of Scotland and other members of the alliance to secure an independent Scotland’s membership in the period between the referendum and independence. Most importantly for Scotland and our neighbours, failure to reach an agreement would leave a gap in existing NATO security arrangements in north west Europe.

Scotland would take its place as one of the many non-nuclear members of NATO. The Scottish Government is committed to securing the complete withdrawal of Trident from an independent Scotland as quickly as can be both safely and responsibly achieved.

Constitutional guarantees

Only independence will enable Scotland to play a full role working within and alongside the international community in creating the conditions for nuclear disarmament. The development of a written constitution for Scotland would also provide the opportunity to include a constitutional ban on nuclear weapons being based in Scotland.

Many countries around the world place constitutional controls on the use of military power. Our view is that Scotland’s constitution should include a ‘triple lock’ on military deployments, based on the principles that military action would need to be:

  • in accordance with the principles of the UN Charter
  • properly agreed by the Scottish Government
  • approved by the Scottish Parliament

This will not conflict with the right to act immediately and legitimately in self-defence in extraordinary circumstances, such as when attacked, as recognised in the UN Charter. This position is consistent with NATO‘s Article 5 commitment to collective defence.





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Sir Humphrey
November 26, 2013 11:14 am

SOmething to write about in due course, but notable not a single mention of training or how they intend to train this fantasy force which seems to be able to operate without any reliance on training establishments. McCOLLINGWOOD and McSULTAN?

Also, ironic that they want the OPVS when the Scottish Govt will not allow OPVs into Scottish waters due to the Scottish Fishery Protection service.

Typhoon alone seems to be interesting – where do they propose the FJ training pipeline to come from? What batch Typhoon – do they realise they will get a big whack of development costs associated with being a Typhoon operator?

This is a great wishlist, not remotely grounded in any form of security reality.

November 26, 2013 11:34 am

Who will force the UK to hand over important assets like frigates to Scotland? Our defence needs won’t shrink just because Scotland goes it alone while their commitments as a small nation on the fringes of Europe will be more in line with at best Ireland and more realistically Iceland. 2 frigates and 4 MCM (up from 2 I note)? They can foxtrot oscar……..

That the 3 SFP are not mentioned with reference to their OPV needs says an awful lot about who ever threw this document together.

Command platform? Really? FFS….

I wonder if the rest of their plans for the economy, education, etc. are more well founded?

November 26, 2013 11:39 am

I’m wondering how they are going to keep all 6 pre-2006 Scottish regiments with 3 infantry units. Knowing the SNP, they would all shortly be platoon sized and equipped with pop-guns only, of course…

November 26, 2013 11:49 am

As I am on holiday this week I have been watching Alex Salmond on the Beeb pushing his white paper, every journo has pointed out that it requires negotiation and they can’t expect their own way. Every time he dodges the question and waffles about fair share.

As for defence policy they obviously found a truck full of fag packets to write it on, lots of assumptions and wishful thinking. A squadron of Typhoon, presumably they are expecting the UK to provide support and servicing then which seems to be their answer to such questions. Some nebulous sharing agreement they refer to presuming the rest of the UK will just roll over to their demands.

Trident is interesting, they are now saying within the term of a first Scottish parliament, so we are talking 2021 to 2022ish. Still a right royal pain in the backside but not within 2 months like CND wanted.

November 26, 2013 12:01 pm

On the bright side we may get the county regiment back……..

X goes off to look where the Scottish battalions are barracked……..

November 26, 2013 12:03 pm


Yeah I noticed a command and control platform, considering stated SNP policy is no foreign expeditionary warfare why would they need that?

Presumably they mean either Albion or Bulwark or one of the three Bay (the Bay are getting the command and control fit out of the T22). They also seem to be talking about some form of Marine Combat element, so their own Marine Commandos?! Alongside their plans for all the Scottish regiments that is crazy considering their planned defence posture!

Indeed Foxtrot Oscar!

Gloomy Northern Boy
Gloomy Northern Boy
November 26, 2013 12:05 pm

So they are going to put us to the cost and real practical difficulty of re-locating CASD…and we are going to give them whatever assets they want, allow them to use the Pound on their own terms, and keep on building our major warships on the Clyde? I wonder if we will really be inclined to be quite that generous and helpful…

A distinctly unconvinced Gloomy

Engineer Tom
Engineer Tom
November 26, 2013 12:06 pm

This is all based on UK support over a 5-10 year period, what happens if the MOD just says no, here is your share of the assets and personnel we’re off have fun. Apart from Trident, I don’t think it would be to hard for us to find space south of the border for all the stuff we choose to bring down.

November 26, 2013 12:11 pm

@ x

If you want scotland to take its share of the national debt then your going to have to hand over all the frigates and typhoons we want.

Interesting to note atleast a 7 year period to move trident.

November 26, 2013 12:16 pm

In terms of training etc the document does mention a five year period of having allies cover tasking such as QRA and it mentions joint procurement with the UK so can assume training will be done with rump UK or what ever they will call it

I still like EWNI :-)

all in all not a bad stab at it by a civilian government with little defence knowledge.

well done wee Ek role on 2016

November 26, 2013 12:20 pm

@ Engineer Tom

Would you be taking your D5’s with you? If so might need 5-10 years to sort your selves out.

what would you do if we just said we are keeping them f**k off.

also I recon that atleast some of the 20,000 scots in the military might show us how to use the kit.

My personal preference though would be to invite the Chinese to use Faslane as their main Atlantic base.

Ian Skinner
Ian Skinner
November 26, 2013 12:41 pm

Most entertaining; They have clearly been watching too many episodes of “Borgen”

Engineer Tom
Engineer Tom
November 26, 2013 12:44 pm

@ Martin

How many of that 20k Scotsman in the UK armed forces will want to transfer over?

Also you seem to be forgetting something, I keep trying to remind people, though not advocating in it’s full glory, the UK government still gets the final say on anything independence from if it actually happens to the conditions set upon it happening. Just something to think about.

Also Scotland keeping Trident, wouldn’t put it past him, to change his mind yet again on one of his main policies.

November 26, 2013 1:05 pm

On my previous point does anyone think the Chinese might give Scotland a good deal on the J20 to replace the Typhoon?

@ Engineer Tom

“Also you seem to be forgetting something, I keep trying to remind people, though not advocating in it’s full glory, the UK government still gets the final say on anything independence from if it actually happens to the conditions set upon it happening. Just something to think about.”

So what kind of say would the Chinese government get on independance if scotland invited them in. Just something to think about.

Engineer Tom
Engineer Tom
November 26, 2013 1:11 pm

What Scotland does and who they deal with after (if) they become independent is up to them, but before that day the only government with any say is the UK, the Scottish government is in reality a lobby group on this issue, they have no real power or authority.

I don’t agree with this as a way of dealing with the Scots, but it is the legal/constitutional position.

November 26, 2013 1:27 pm

@ Engineer Tom

“but before that day the only government with any say is the UK, the Scottish government is in reality a lobby group on this issue, they have no real power or authority.”

You don’t strike me as the kind of person that would have read the Scotland Act in its entirety yet clearly you feel able to comment on its content.

Also seem to recall that the UK government in all its bountiful wisdom is subject ultimately to European law not English and Welsh Law.

Anyway none of this will matter come the next year when the people of Scotland will unite and overthrow the English Yoke and wee Eck starts us on our Chinese orientated defence strategy of rebuilding Hadrians Wall. Then we will have Trident nukes, a bloody big wall and chinese stealth fighters. what else do we need. Keep your Typhoons and T23 frigates.

November 26, 2013 1:32 pm

Is the budget in their plan? Or I am just not able to see it? :)

Sir Humphrey
November 26, 2013 1:38 pm

Was doing some thinking in my head during a lunchtime run to try and work out my next article on this. The running costs alone scare me – I reckon £350m in annual wages, roughly £100m just to keep McRAF Lossie open and so on. In other words, once you break down running costs per site, plus salary, plus maintenance, plus procurement, you quickly run out of money.

Secondly, has no one considered ITAR in all this? ;-)

Engineer Tom
Engineer Tom
November 26, 2013 1:42 pm

Regards the Scotland Act, I have not read it fully, but from what I know of it and from the legal discussions around the Edinburgh agreement, the Scottish government has no power to legislate with regards to constitutional matters and hence cannot grant itself independence etc.

Regards the EU, the UK retained its sovereignty and isn’t answerable to the EU except on certain matters which it has transferred (devolved) powers on, which doesn’t include constitutional or sovereignty issues. Also there is no such thing as English law, there is no England, it has no devolved parliament etc. and Welsh law is only relevant with regards to matters in Wales rather than the UK.

My above points can be used to formulate the response to your third point, he can’t declare independence only the UK parliament can legislate for that.

Will Sheward
Will Sheward
November 26, 2013 1:47 pm

I got as far as “It is in the interests of an independent Scotland and the rest of the UK to share a currency and a Common Travel Area, meaning there will be no need for passports, exchanges or border checks.” before realising what a work of fiction this is.

An awful lot of the entire document rests on the assumption of a shared currency, backed with the implied childish threat that a failure of the rest of the UK to acquiesce will result in the people’s republic refusing its share of the national debt.

In my dreams Cameron locates some balls and insists on a parallel referendum in the rest of the UK on Scotland’s continued participation in the UK. Scotland votes to stay and the rest vote to chuck them out.

All Politicians are the Same
All Politicians are the Same
November 26, 2013 1:51 pm

There is no readon whatsoever that Scotland would be incapable of operating the sort of force mix described however.
Woefully lacking in detail, especially in areas of.
1. Training.
2. Support.

November 26, 2013 1:52 pm

‘Anyway none of this will matter come the next year when the people of Scotland will unite and overthrow the English Yoke and wee Eck starts us on our Chinese orientated defence strategy of rebuilding Hadrians Wall. Then we will have Trident nukes, a bloody big wall and chinese stealth fighters. what else do we need. Keep your Typhoons and T23 frigates.’

Sounds glorious, can anyone join this utopia?

November 26, 2013 1:59 pm

Agreed the air force isn’t ludicrous it just depends on the budget. I’m not so negative as many on here, regarding the training joint maint. etc. I’m sure if they do vote and it does happen we are hardly likely to have a breakdown in relations. We work/train many nations I’m sure our nearest neighbours will be treated similar.
They will have to get training for FJ and large aircraft but that’s not out of the ordinary. Even if we did tell them to poke it, they would be no shortage of people stepping in to train them, for a fee of course. All hinges on the budget to me.
Although APATS is right, there doesn’t seem to be a great dealing of any training establishments mentioned. They will have to do some themselves such as basic training. Where will that take place?

November 26, 2013 2:03 pm

@ Engineer Tom re sovereignty

Seeing as 80% of legislation comes from the EU one would like to ask just how sovereign are we?

Welsh law, such as it is, is a very, very small subset of the laws within English and Welsh jurisdiction. The UK has 3 jurisdictions; England and Wales, Northern Ireland, and Scotland. And then there are the Crown Dependencies too, the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands.

Another lagomorph….

Engineer Tom
Engineer Tom
November 26, 2013 2:05 pm

I wonder if all these nationalists realise how little nationalism there is in England, i.e. we aren’t trying to repress them etc. etc. The English people (don’t in truth exist) care more about Britain than they do England and there is no conspiracy to repress the Scottish and Welsh peoples etc. A large number of the most deprived areas in the UK are in England and a large number are in the south, where public spending is amongst the lowest in the country.

November 26, 2013 2:13 pm

@ Engineer Tom

“Regards the Scotland Act, I have not read it fully, but from what I know of it and from the legal discussions around the Edinburgh agreement, the Scottish government has no power to legislate with regards to constitutional matters and hence cannot grant itself independence etc.”

Only it does as Westminster altered article 5 of the Scottish Act with a section 30 order to give the Scottish parliament the right to hold a legally binding referendum.

November 26, 2013 2:17 pm

@ Topman

“Sounds glorious, can anyone join this utopia?”

Only if you own a kilt and bring your own Iron Bru.

November 26, 2013 2:24 pm

Only if you own a kilt and bring your own Iron Bru.

I hope you appreciate that your witticism points to the rather sad truth of this venture.

Engineer Tom
Engineer Tom
November 26, 2013 2:30 pm

Read the text of the Edinburgh Agreement; nowhere does it say it grants the Scottish Parliament the power to declare independence, rather it grants them the power to hold a referendum, these are completely different powers, a further act of the UK parliament is required for Scotland to become independent.

November 26, 2013 2:31 pm

“I wonder if all these nationalists realise how little nationalism there is in England, i.e. we aren’t trying to repress them etc. etc. The English people (don’t in truth exist) care more about Britain than they do England and there is no conspiracy to repress the Scottish and Welsh peoples etc. A large number of the most deprived areas in the UK are in England and a large number are in the south, where public spending is amongst the lowest in the country.”

This is the problem. A lack of English nationalism leads England to hijacking the British Identity . I can forgive foreigners the mistake but it winds me up when English people use Britain and England as one then laugh when corrected and say “same thing”

This is what drives Welsh and Scottish nationalism. How can one feel part of Britain when 90% of Britain seem to regard Britain and England as the same thing.

England constantly complains about Scotland having it’s own parliament yet for over a decade government has been trying to give England it’s own devolved government to no avail. Can you really not see the hypocrisy of the system and why it winds people up in Scotland that the British Parliament is also the English Parliament. Its really beyond me why the UK can’t have a federal system with an English Parliament in a seperate location to the British Parliament a system that virtually every other similar country seems to implement except the UK.

As a patriotic Scot as well as a loyal British subject I am all for English nationalism.

Just remember the following. When you are supporting England fly the George cross. When your supporting the United Kingdom fly the union jack. Also please get your own anthem. Its the height of arrogance/ignorance to have the English national anthem as god save the queen (Queen of the united kingdom not England by the way)

Following these simple rules will allow us all to enjoy another harmonious 300 years together. simples

November 26, 2013 2:33 pm

I got as far as “It is in the interests of an independent Scotland and the rest of the UK to share a currency and a Common Travel Area, meaning there will be no need for passports, exchanges or border checks.” before realising what a work of fiction this is.

Post-independence, the UK’s second-biggest single trading partner would be… Scotland. So, yes, keeping that trade flowing as easily and smoothly as possible actually would be in the UK’s interest.

Chris Werb
Chris Werb
November 26, 2013 2:46 pm

What I see reading this article on my cold windy rock off the top of Scotland is a near complete lack of thought. What little thought there is seems to have been directed at appearances. Let’s have a look at the kind of crack-pipe brain storm that might have resulted in this, objective by objective.

1. We want to get rid of Trident. We know we’re hypocrites because we know NATO would use nuclear weapons on our behalf if the SHTF, but it enables us to do the “holier than thou” thing on England and get them to carry the can for our nuclear deterrent.

2. We want to keep the Scottish Regiments to keep the electorate happy – we can do so by keeping a couple of brigades equipped on a basis that looks impressive on parades, but which won’t allow them to fight any non sub-saharan African military without massive support from allies with proper armed forces. It will get us great footage of huge, hopelessly vulnerable Jerry Anderson inspired vehicles being flown into world troublespots on chartered Antonovs and result in a steady stream of coffins to show that we’re demonstrating commitment.

3. It would be embarrassing to have Russian Bears buzzing Hollyrood, so we need the capacity to intercept a couple of recce flights a week. Fast, pointy things look great and help give us status (even though even Sudan has a fleet of Su-24s now!). We won’t tell the electorate what we won’t actually have the capacity to detect the Russians until they’re over the Central Belt or that all our air defence eggs will be in one undefended basket that could be taken out by a few cruise missiles launched from a submarine, or even an ISO freight container on a chartered coaster just offshore. Of course we’ll have to have our pilots trained and all our logistical support done by the UK and, if we want to do a spot of feelgood bombing in anything approaching contested airspace, we’ll need to fork out toward the weapon system upgrades the UK is currently funding. Embarrassingly we’ll also be reliant on coalition tankers to get where we’re going and others’ ISTAR assets to find targets, but we can always cop out and contribute the QRA for a coalition base.

4. Frigates arguably became militarily pointless at the end of the Cold War (and arguably before) but they fit the electorate’s idea of what a proper warship should look like and we can grab a couple of not very capable examples off the RN and pass up on the expensive air defence upgrade they’re currently forking out for. Although they wouldn’t stand a hope in Hell of defending our sovereignty against any opponent that could get here and offer very little to any coalition operation at great cost, building more will help keep our shipyards open as, unlike Scottish Fisheries Protection vessels,we can use the opt out to have them built here rather than in Poland. We can opt out of putting vastly expensive capable helicopters on them and buy a few marinised Bell Jet Rangers – the public will never know the difference.

5. MPA aircraft. This is a great way of besting the UK as they don’t currently have any. Although we have a vast EEZ we’ll just buy the barest minimum number necessary for photo ops over the Atlantic or to send a couple pirate chasing or blockade enforcing. We don’t actually expect to have to prosecute sub contacts or engage defended surface targets, so something like a King Air with decent commercial surface search radar, a Wescam turret and, as we want to claim these are actual combat aircraft, a couple of hardpoints for HELLFIRE or rockets and gunpods will do.

6. Oh yes, sustaining all of this? Could you please pass the pipe again?

Engineer Tom
Engineer Tom
November 26, 2013 2:58 pm

The thing is we want Britain to be Britain we don’t want to be English etc., we aren’t hijacking the British identity we are rather saying we want all British people to be seen as British.

The whole point is there is a lack of English nationalism as the English want to be seen as British.

Also it was only 15ish years ago the British parliament was everyone’s parliament it was only the Scottish/Welsh who forced this change. But yes this needs to be amended, i would rather devolution hadn’t happened as it is forcing the different people that make up the UK apart, but practically the federal system is the way I see this ending up though it will take time. Saying that this is not what the English people want they would rather not have this added layer of cost/government in the way.

Also I would say the argument is not that Scotland has its own parliament but rather the way it is funded.

Regards the national anthem, God save the Queen is the British national anthem and I think you will find there is no Scottish national anthem or English for that matter, Scotland is able to use it as their anthem for sports events but chooses not to.

If the majority of British people want something i.e. to be thought of as British rather than as a member of a region within the UK, why shouldn’t they be allowed to?

Engineer Tom
Engineer Tom
November 26, 2013 3:08 pm

@ TD

I remember reading someone they were going to have a single intelligence agency to work alongside the police. but it was light on actual details, as usual.

November 26, 2013 3:08 pm

Surely the brave thing to do would be to go the Icelandic route and spend the money (ha!) elsewhere? Become neutral? Though what neutrality means when it comes to the EU I am not sure; though of course they have to get into the EU first.

I caught a bit of TV news programme a day or two back where they showed three mini-interviews with shoppers on Princess Street. Feature were a man in his mid to late twenties, a man in his late 50s, and a woman in his late 50’s. The first was all for independence saying it would be good for Scotland, the second was undecided with a huge dollop of “don’t want to be seen saying no on TV”, and third was against it saying we are better off together. That the man in his twenties was an East European and had left his own country for his own ends (instead of working to make his own country better) probably indicates that his views on the future of Scotland aren’t worth much. Where was the pro-independence Scottish young person? If this vote gets swung on 16 year olds, self-serving economic migrants, and SNP granola then the Scottish people (who ever they are) deserve all the get without us bank rolling them. It would be worth keeping all the national debt and our frigates………….

@ Chris Werb

Please can you Faroe Islanders can keep of out this matter? This is UK business. :)

@ Engineer Tom

We the people of Mercia want to be English thank you. Rein back in on this “we” business if you don’t mind. :)

November 26, 2013 3:11 pm

Do they include anything on MI6/GCHQ or is that in another scetion

The budget will include £80 a week for cheap booze for one Mr Andrew McTavish of Glasgow. Mr McTavish is a retired carpet-layer and delusional alcoholic, and has agreed in return to provide the Scottish government with intelligence on the WMD capabilities of Middle Eastern nations of equal or superior quality to that provided to Downing Street by MI6.

November 26, 2013 3:18 pm

J K Rowling is a quarter Scottish (and a quarter French) perhaps she could knock up some wizard intel for Holyrood? Borrowing ideas to then cut and paste them into poorly written fiction is right up her street. Huffington Post, Info Wars, and Mums’ Net is all she would need. I see it now, Tinker, Tailor, Sporran, Spy……..

November 26, 2013 3:19 pm

A few points –
1. Scotland is threatening to leave the UK. The UK continues either way; despite Salmond’s rhetoric the United Kingdom does not dissolve into an internationally irrelevant commune if his ‘World Power’ state walks out.
2. There is an assumption that Westminster will continue to support Scotland and its unilateral policies if it departs the Union. We here south of the border prefer the UK to include a productive & prosperous Scotland, but if it decides to leave, all we ask is it closes the door behind itself. On your own, sunshine, if you chose to give the UK a final two-fingered salute.
3. There is an assumption everything Salmond wants Salmond will get. Scotland is suing for divorce – divorces are not smooth or painless and, as its choosing to leave because its bored with its current home situation, it will leave with very little.
4. Its very noticeable that the SNP is skewing the competition in the extreme – not only promising to keep or claim things that belong to the UK without acknowledging it will need to beg for Westminster’s charity to attain them, but also extending the vote to youngsters who will naturally assume they can do it all by themselves (its what all teenagers think) and opening the vote to those who call themselves Scots the world over – except those living in England Wales & Northern Ireland who would probably on balance vote for Scotland to remain in the UK.
5. For all the things that benefit Scotland the claim has been absolute – the assumption for example that the UK oilfields under the North Sea are all Scotland’s. For all the things that are not to Scotland’s benefit SNP expect to us a ‘per capita’ share ratio; Scotland having a low population density this is obviously to its advantage. Nowhere have I seen Scotland either take on the cost of, nor even acknowledge Westminster’s generosity for, saving both the Royal Bank of Scotland and Halifax/Bank of Scotland – between them soaking up £82bn (£37 billion for HBOS, £45 billion for RBS). HBOS has at least sorted its affairs but RBS is still off the rails. No doubt SNP think those of us south of the border should continue to fund RBS until it either fails or becomes profitable (at which time it will instantly become Scottish again). From a UK perspective there has to be one rule for all partitioning of assets and responsibilities – either everything divided up on a per capita basis, or each state takes back what it paid to build up in the first place. I think all the north Sea oilfields were funded by Westminster and the oil companies…
6. Independence has little to do with isolated Scotland’s future prosperity. It is all to do with the SNP (specifically Salmond’s) desire for autocratic power, wrapped in a glossy coat of emotive ‘Scotland the Brave’ iconography. It is manipulative and self-serving; but hey, if the Scottish majority fall for the Scots Supremacist guff, its their own lookout.
5. From the outset the view from north of the border has been that only Scotland matters. The vote is entirely Scots. The claims and promises made by SNP are all what Scotland will take from UK and what it will no longer contribute. That two-fingered salute has been thrust under the nose of all non-Scottish citizens of the UK since the outset. Remind me again why any future UK government should at its own expense go out of its way to support an independent Scotland?

Anyway. On the subject of defence I note as with their defence paper a couple of weeks back, the land forces of isolated Scotland are not the 15000 strong force others stated was the intent, but 5000 to start rising to 6000 eventually. Note neither of these figures align with the earlier defence paper. Similarly the 4 frigates of the defence paper are now 2 frigates, the training aircraft in the defence paper have evaporated, the 42 helicopters of the defence paper to 6 in Salmond’s white paper – and so on. Comparing the defence paper to the white paper there is very slim correlation. No surprise really; smoke mirrors and empty promises.

November 26, 2013 3:20 pm

“Do they include anything on MI6/GCHQ or is that in another scetion”

And not to forget the people on the North side of the river and the Defence Intelligence types. If Scotland is an independent country there will need to be a whole new series of protocols for sharing information – based on risk of course. Even such simple matters as Positive Vetting (or whatever they call it these days), if Scotland is to continue to build RN ships, open up a whole new cans of worms.

One does wonder, independence has been the reason for the SNP for donkey’s years one would have thought that they would have proposals for all these defence and relationship issues nailed down long since. Yet whenever anyone asks a question it seems to come as a surprise and such answer as comes back seems to consist of wishful thinking underpinned by an assumption that England will roll over and give the Scots everything they want. I can’t believe that they are serious.

Brian Black
Brian Black
November 26, 2013 3:28 pm

As usual, this paper blames all the woes of Scotland on Westminster.

So we have Westminster blamed for chaotic defence procurement, and the claim that Scotland could do it better, while apparently ignoring the considerable Scottish representation in the Blair & Brown governments that created much of the modern mess.

We also have Westminster blamed for any difficulties in Scottish agriculture and fisheries, rather than the EU’s common agriculture and fisheries policies. Leading to the bizarre belief that rejecting Westminster while embracing the EU will actually change anything for the better. Certainly won’t remove those EU policies; and if the UK couldn’t resist them, little old Scotland will change nothing.

Joining a Sterling zone is no kind of independence at all. Westminster will dictate the limits of Scotland’s taxation, spending, and borrowing – with no Scottish representation. And for the Bank of England to carry the liability of Scottish banks, the Scottish government will have to pay what is essentially insurance against potential losses – something else to spend their limited oil revenue on.

While they recognize that they will not meet the criteria for joining the Euro, and though they say they don’t want to anyway, if a future Scottish government wants to join the Euro zone they will be dependent on the UK joining the ERM regardless of whether the UK wants to ditch the Pound or not.

This leads on to the question as to why on earth does the SNP want to join the EU? The only sensible reason for Scotland to join would be in order to adopt the Euro. Access to the market can be gained through the EEA/EFTA; independent agriculture and fisheries policies can only be reached by going down the EEA/EFTA route, or by political isolation; and replicating the UK negotiated (but unspecified) opt-outs from EU legislation is also unlikely for any new, minor member.

The 2.5 billion quid Scottish defence budget is an entirely political number, ignoring any issue of planning and requirement. Picking an arbitrary number between money currently spent in Scotland by the MoD and the portion of the defence budget estimated to be raised through taxation within Scotland. This allows the SNP to both claim that they will cut defence spending and increase defence spending in Scotland at the same time.

This mismatch in current defence spending is blamed, as expected, on Westminster, but totally ignores the fact that Scotland has been well outside of the center-of-gravity of UK defence for generations and for entirely logical reasons.

The billions spent maintaining an army in Germany for decades has been completely disproportionate to either the amount of money that German taxpayers have contributed to the UK’s defence budget, or to the numbers of German nationals serving in the British Army – so what? Irrelevant.

This paper is just the usual pop at ‘that Westminster parliament’. A much more mature attitude will be required if Scotland is to make anything of itself after independence.

November 26, 2013 3:30 pm

“From a UK perspective there has to be one rule for all partitioning of assets and responsibilities – either everything divided up on a per capita basis, or each state takes back what it paid to build up in the first place.”

The first option is pretty much how it happened with Czecho, and how it will (presumably) happen with Scotland. But the important exception is that you can’t then argue that we should divide up Scotland itself on a per-capita basis and give 90% of it to the rUK. An independent Scotland gets, well, all of Scotland. Including territorial waters and EEZs. Even if there are bits that the English would really, really like to keep.

I think all the north Sea oilfields were funded by Westminster and the oil companies…

No, dude, they were funded by oil.

Martin Gibson
Martin Gibson
November 26, 2013 3:30 pm

As a Scottish Unionist I had until today a lingering fear that the Nationalists were holding back their best arguments for this document, and that it might boost their support.
I need not have worried. As usual, it is based on wishful thinking, especially the assumption that relations between an independent Scotland and all other countries and international bodies will be conducted entirely on Scotland’s terms.

November 26, 2013 3:31 pm

When Scotland leaves, the Clyde will still have the same workforce, even after the Vanguards, Trafalgars and Astutes, and most of the MCM’s leave. Plus Coulport will shut. Wee Eck’s opinion of the Scottish is obviously that they are really, really, fucking dumb. Plus the UK will build all it’s warships there!

Engineer Tom
Engineer Tom
November 26, 2013 3:34 pm

They seem to forget that the UK is part of the ‘five eyes’; Scotland won’t be as it doesn’t have much to contribute at the outset and that means that the UK won’t be allowed to share certain information with Scotland. That alliance is based on experience and also dividing up of responsibilities, any nation that doesn’t want to get its hands dirty won’t be accepted the second it starts a brand new agency up.

November 26, 2013 3:34 pm

Apologies for the muddled numbering of last post – after adding new points 5 & 6 I meant to renumber the last one as 7, but by the time I noticed another post had been made and no edit was allowed. Also noticed where I meant to write ‘use’ I put ‘us’. Oh well.

x – As I live with the Saxons down here I’m not sure I should associate with Mercians, but I suppose as we are in a United Kingdom we ought to maintain a truce…

November 26, 2013 3:37 pm

Joining a Sterling zone is no kind of independence at all. Westminster will dictate the limits of Scotland’s taxation, spending, and borrowing – with no Scottish representation.

This isn’t actually the case. Using another country’s currency doesn’t mean that they get a veto on your fiscal policy. You’re getting confused between fiscal and monetary policy. Hong Kong effectively uses the US dollar as its currency – the HKD is pegged to the USD and has been since the 1980s, but that doesn’t mean that the US gets to say anything about HK tax rates. There are countries all over the world that actually use other people’s bank notes – Ecuador uses the US dollar for everything – but that doesn’t give the US any input into what Ecuador does with its finances.
Losing control of your monetary policy is an issue, of course, but it’s more of an issue for decorrelated economies, and Scotland and the UK would be pretty closely correlated given that the UK is Scotland’s biggest trading partner and Scotland is the UK’s second biggest.
Sorry for going a bit M&S Does Macroeconomics.

November 26, 2013 4:16 pm

@ TD

“So, this is a very weak document, shot full of holes and wishful thinking”

(are we back to discussing SDSR 2010 again?)

Thats true TD but the major issue is that if Scotland did decide to go it alone (not that its very likely) no one has a clue what the position would be. There is no precedent in the modern world for such an event. Everything would be open for negotiation. The SNP and Yes Scotland are trying to sell what they see as likely and the other parties and the No camp and trying to sell their position. I don’t think the Scottish government should waste large amount of money on a defence strategy which is A likely to never be implemented and B impossible to plan anyway until negotiations were under taken.

The document does seem to me however to be slightly more coherent than the last major bit of defence planning done in Westminster in 2010 by the ‘professionals’.

That being said I think defence comes way way down the list of priorities in the debate and as for the Five eyes Well the other 184 countries in the world seem to some how cope without knowing what Angela Merkel is having for breakfast so I guess even if Scotland is not allowed to join the sky will likely not fall in on the first day.

November 26, 2013 4:18 pm

What is meant by production of open-source intelligence material?

And why do they keep referring to rest of the UK? That is very clumsy phrasing.

November 26, 2013 4:21 pm

Re. Faslane and Coulport, the cost of relocating will surely be 100% down to Scotland (or offset against other transfers). Is it remotely possible that logic, cost and jobs would overcome the posturing idealism and result in an SBA (cf. Cyprus)?

November 26, 2013 4:21 pm

@ a

“This isn’t actually the case. Using another country’s currency doesn’t mean that they get a veto on your fiscal policy.”

Should be pointed out that the likes of Jersey are in a sterling currency union with the UK and yet completely independent of UK control. Indeed a sterling area is about the only aspect of Scottish Independance that does have historic and current president.

That being said talk of a sterling area is irrelevant as the SNP are really just waiting until the problems with the Euro are fixed.

Engineer Tom
Engineer Tom
November 26, 2013 4:22 pm

I can understand using open-source material, but producing it just makes me think of the CIA factbook, not a overly important use of money to me.

November 26, 2013 4:24 pm

martin said “There is no precedent in the modern world for such an event. ”

Really? The collapse of the USSR? Czechoslovakia? The partition of Ireland?

Will Sheward
Will Sheward
November 26, 2013 4:30 pm

“England constantly complains about Scotland having it’s own parliament yet for over a decade government has been trying to give England it’s own devolved government to no avail.”

No, the last UK government was trying to introduce devolved regional governments (note the ‘s’), effectively splitting England up into Scotland sized chunks, for which there is no appetite. For a number of well founded electoral reasons, the prospect of an English parliament terrifies the Labour party in particular.

November 26, 2013 4:31 pm

“… the UK is Scotland’s biggest trading partner and Scotland is the UK’s second biggest.”

Scotland is the second biggest trading partner for England, Wales and NI? Really? I have seen this statement bandied around today but I am not sure what it actually means. Can anyone offer an enlightenment or, even better a source to back up the claim? If England is doing so much of its trade with a nation of 5 million that it comes number 2 in the rankings then we really, really do have a problem.

Engineer Tom
Engineer Tom
November 26, 2013 4:37 pm


I wonder what happens when you take defence contracts out of that equation.

November 26, 2013 4:42 pm

@ Will

That was EU sponsored.

November 26, 2013 4:51 pm

@ x

I don’t see those situations as modern precidents.

No supranational institutional worries such as EU NATO

little if any financial instruments to worry about an the USSR effectively fell apart rather than an amicable divorce.

November 26, 2013 5:07 pm

@ Martin

Jog on then matey, jog on.

November 26, 2013 5:15 pm

Scotland is the second biggest trading partner for England, Wales and NI? Really? I have seen this statement bandied around today but I am not sure what it actually means. Can anyone offer an enlightenment or, even better a source to back up the claim?

Source might be, for example, here:

“The total value of exports from Scotland to the rest of UK in 2011 (excluding oil and gas) is estimated at £45.5 billion, of which £24.5 billion was from the services sector and £11.6 billion from the manufacturing sector.”

And here:
“The United States received the most British export goods last year [2009], followed by Germany and France. The top trade partner for imports was Germany, followed by the United States and China. The UK exported £31.7bn worth of products to the US.”

As for enlightenment: there are a lot of English companies doing business in Scotland and vice versa. Think about, for example, a big UK-wide but Scottish-based insurer like Scottish Widows – most of their UK customers are in England, so most of their revenues count as export-derived.

November 26, 2013 5:17 pm


Its the grand delusion that you are currently engaged in which makes me, almost as much as I want rid of them because they are lazy, greedy and xenophobic, for Scotland to vote yes.

November 26, 2013 5:17 pm

And, conversely, think about how much money Scots spend buying stuff from English-headquartered companies. Tesco, for one!

November 26, 2013 5:26 pm

I want rid of them because they are lazy, greedy and xenophobic

Unintentional humour is always the best.

“There are two types of people I hate – religious bigots, and Catholics.”

November 26, 2013 5:31 pm


Fail, I said want rid of them- not that I hate them.

November 26, 2013 5:37 pm

You said they were all lazy, greedy xenophobes. I’m sensing a bit of negative sentiment here.

Martin Gibson
Martin Gibson
November 26, 2013 5:44 pm

I was once told by one of my fellow Scots that he disliked the English because of their tendency to generalise about people.

November 26, 2013 5:46 pm


Fail again, I never said all of them were lazy, greedy xenophobes- I suggested that their national character is lazy, greedy and xenophobic.

November 26, 2013 5:53 pm

@ Martin Gibson

One of my other problems with all this is Salmond’s and the SNP’s promotion of a generic Scottish identity that subsumes Highland, Lowland, Orkadian, and Shetland into one.

When I mentioned that here I was accused of being xenophobic.

November 26, 2013 6:18 pm

I was hoping for a document that laid out some fundamental change for Scotland from what it does now. Sadly and not unexpectedly all it seem to be about is a framework to allow president salmond to strut about and massage his ego on a “world” stage. The only effort he’s had at this so far fell spectacularly short of representing Scotland or its people with Libya and al-Megrahi.

They also seem to have somehow done gcse maths and add all the thing up and divided by a percentage roughly equivalent to Scotland percentage of the population and imagined all things equating to this percentage will just be handed over get real!. These capabilities and equipment or building ect have been paid for and used by all in the years up to the point you go your separate way that doesn’t mean you get them in the future that just means you stop paying your yearly subscription. Sunk costs are irrelevant. Do they also expect all scots the world over to drop everything and return from across the uk and indeed world and suddenly man all these organisation in some all true scots must return to the fatherland mantra?

I note there not falling over themselves with a rush into the euro despite there love of it in the past wonder why. They seem to want uk cooperation in all the awkward or difficult bits and free rain in gd bits but I’m afraid that’s for the rest of the uk to decide and cant be taken as wrote so it renders much of this document as a flight of fancy with little or no though to operating and running a wholly independent country.

Engineer Tom
Engineer Tom
November 26, 2013 6:44 pm

They also then don’t talk about dividing up the assets they deem to be Scottish, and do another sum to divide up the debt, they start talking about base lining it in 1980 and then analysing what Scotland has contributed etc.

Raasay Rambler
Raasay Rambler
November 26, 2013 7:29 pm

the defence bit of the document was thought up by their defence expert Angus Robertson MP using the Airfix catalogue and a large amount of Lego.

He planned the maritime resources while in his bath.

Like everything in the document it promises golden haggis for all. Pensioners get pension rise – tick, young mums get childcare – tick, cut the bedroom tax for the workshy resting workers – tick, Iron Bru and deep fried mars bars issued daily.

The great El Presidente wants everyone to vote yes, reality is put aside until afterwards.

Frigates look like real warships even if they are now out of date.

Typhoons are the latest toy, surprised they didn’t want the JSF35 and training?

Look superscots with few hours on the Xbox are going to step into these and down a few bears.

As for Lossiemouth, of course it has to be a base, its MP is Field Marshall, Admiral Angus Robertson MP.

November 26, 2013 7:40 pm

I really can’t muster any interest in this guff seen as I really don’t believe (right or wrong) that the Scots are stupid enough to vote themselves out of the UK.

All I will say is that Salmond and his cronies really don’t seem to understand that Scotland’s 8.3% of the total UK population does not mean they deserve 8.3% of the wealth (and what about the debt, are they going to take some of that along with all of the good stuff?) or anything like 8.3% of the British Armed Forces in any separation deal.

As others have already stated losing Scotland doesn’t dramatically reduce the defence responsibilities of the wider UK both here and overseas. The notion of them taking T23’s, a ‘command ship’ and Typhoon’s for themselves is beyond a joke. Surely small patrol boats, OPV’s (which they can build with their own bloody shipyards and workforce) and something like Hawk T2 fitted with off the shelf missiles would be better suited?

November 26, 2013 7:46 pm

How many have got to vote for independence and on what turnout?

Swimming Trunks
Swimming Trunks
November 26, 2013 7:48 pm

Arctic role models: Should Scotland look north for inspiration?

Gloomy Northern Boy
Gloomy Northern Boy
November 26, 2013 8:24 pm

@x – Why do you ask? are you thinking of moving North so you can vote?

Everything serious having been said, I note from Wikipedia (so it must be true, clearly) that Alex Salmond only joined the SNP because when at University he had a row with his English Girlfriend (who was in the Labour Party) who angrily suggested that he should…

A virtual pint in the virtual TD bar for the member of the Alphabet Soup providing the funniest suggestion as to what the row might have been about…


Fluffy Thoughts
Fluffy Thoughts
November 26, 2013 8:32 pm

I have some Airfix 1/32 Multi-pose Japanese infantry: Could I throw these into Scotland’s pot? I might also locate a few battle-hardened troops – only 1/35th though – if I can find my Tamiya Kubelwagen. One-Six-hundreth warships are not yet assembled….


November 26, 2013 8:51 pm


Thank you I already live in the north, the north of Mercia. :)

I am just wondering if my people should start digging another ditch…….

Gloomy Northern Boy
Gloomy Northern Boy
November 26, 2013 9:27 pm

@x I think it will be the Kingdom of Northumbria that needs that…I wonder if we will need the March Wardens again? I bet is reviewing his CV up there in Carlisle…


November 26, 2013 9:50 pm


If we are going to the March Wardens again the we will have to have the Marcher Lords* to go with them and the reiver families raiding across the border; living by theft, cattle rustling, kidnap and blackmail**. The steel bonnets will ride again and the local plod will still be wittering on about diversity and community engagement as they hide under the stairs.

*Could we again see a Prince Bishop of Durham leading his locally raised troops against Scottish raiders? The CofE in the North once more becomes the Church Militant. ++York would have conniptions and ++Canterbury would have to go and lie down in a dark room.

**Actually, if Big Alec goes for his minimum booze pricing and uping the tax on fags even more, the reivers will be better off running beer and ciggies across the border rather than trying to lift some Hawick farmers cows.

November 26, 2013 10:03 pm

Where do the 20000 Scots work in the Armed Forces Martin speaks of? Last time I looked at a Scottish Regiment, there were not many to be seen.

Angus McLellan
Angus McLellan
November 26, 2013 10:24 pm

Overall, it’s a poor plan, but not half as bad as I feared. I was concerned that there would be a “big bang” conception of things, but instead reality has intruded and the bigger numbers only appear in the mid-2020s. Which is another way of saying that they might never happen. In that case expansion would stop at a level which is broadly comparable in capabilities to the New Zealand Defence Force on the alternative earth where the F-16 lease went ahead. Excessive, sure, but not ridiculously so.

There are still lots of people who haven’t grasped that a Yes vote will mean a 10% cut in the MoD’s budget, a not-so-minor detail that knocks holes in most comments regarding recruitment problems or not sharing toys. The MoD wouldn’t have funds to retain all personnel, and then it wouldn’t have personnel and money to run all of the toys. No matter how much you may dislike this possible future, wishing will not make it go away. There is, according to the man who runs Political Betting (not a hotbed of sympathy for the cause of Scottish independence), a 20% chance of a Yes vote. So forget the nameless islands, the Chinese, the North Koreans, Iran and Martians, that estimate makes a Yes vote by far the most probable crisis that the MoD has to worry about right now.

And why do I even care? Well I’m helping to pay for the MoD and will be until I retire (a long way off), Scotland becomes independent, or I sod off abroad. I would like to think, as difficult as it is with all the evidence to the contrary, that the “leadership” at the MoD have at least a hint of cluefulness.

There also seems to be some confusion regarding costs. I am loth to contradict our gracious host, but the 1/3:1/3:1/3 split is not even wrong here. For smallish countries, personnel costs usually account for 45-55% of spending and up. Applying MoD costings will result in a bad case of garbage in, garbage out.

Red Trousers
Red Trousers
November 26, 2013 11:08 pm

Slightly serious point:

Why would any serving Scotsman transfer to SDF? Some will no doubt, but most will be sensible enough to serve their careers in the current UK Armed Forces, with much wider options for employment, and then suddenly remember they are Scotsmen and Scotswomen in their final posting or even after retiring, and claim their citizenship then.

GNB, re Alec Salmond arguing with his girlfriend. Remember, he is called “Wee Eck”. I’d imagine she might have been a bit pissed off if his undoubted charm and gift of the gab meant he had over-promised and was then under-delivering in the bedroom department…..

Anyway, the RT view is that it is all tartan Obllocks designed for a longer game to use whatever losing percentage they gain in a referendum to secure some form of Devo Max. It’s not really a serious prospect. If it does happen, I’ll call on my Scots Grandfather and latter service in a Scottish Regiment to get a second passport, just for shits and giggles. And for business trips to Israel, where you never take your normal mobile or laptop, because you just know it gets cloned when “taken away for a security X Ray” at the airport.

All Politicians are the Same
All Politicians are the Same
November 26, 2013 11:15 pm


I think you would see quite a few transfer. Especially those that would maybe be lost to the UK forces as they looked for a more settled life. The issue would probably be that those willing to transfer would represent a top heavy profile.

Agree on the actual possibilities.

Gloomy Northern Boy
Gloomy Northern Boy
November 27, 2013 12:01 am

@ Angus Mclellan “a 10% cut to the MoD’s Budget” – in fact a cut of no more than 8% in the UK tax base, coupled with reductions in costs which might actually exceed that – the MoD Budget will be set by the Government of the UK to reflect the new reality,. and the new choices it will force on us – like re-locating CASD, and gearing Portsmouth up for Warship building – and it is a Budget that will be set by the predominantly Tory Governments that are one of the almost certain consequences of the Scots seceding….those Governments might well increase Defence spending…

@RT “I thought you said you had a Dirk, that looks more like a Sghian Dubh to me” !


Brian Black
Brian Black
November 27, 2013 12:23 am

Hi, a.
There is a big difference between pegging your currency to another, and having no currency of your own.

I didn’t suggest a UK veto on Scottish policies. A UK Prime Minster would not literally be slamming down a big red rubber stamp. But there is no doubt that an independent Scottish government would be constrained.

The SNP is a socialist party, but it could quickly find that enacting legislation that decreases productivity, or makes Scotland less competitive than the UK, leads to problems that a country without normal monetary tools is illequipped to deal with.

Unlike the Eurozone, the common language and culture in Britain means that skilled labour and investment may drain out of Scotland earlier and faster than it might between continental neighbours. Cross border mobility and relocation is far easier if you share the language and the country is familiar.

Basic policies of a Scottish government could well face a veto in practical terms if not literal ones. How they tax and spend could easily upset the apple cart. What comes out of Westminster and the Bank of England will set the boundaries of real Scottish independence.

And the UK would effectively hold a veto over Scotland joining the Euro after independence if the UK did not wish to follow the ERM.

Brian Black
Brian Black
November 27, 2013 12:48 am

No compulsory redundancy, same terms & conditions, perhaps incentives for trades and grades that they’re short of.

The Scottish defence force should have no problem recruiting. I can imagine that many people will think – I’ve had my war, I’d like to settle down a bit, I can either take my chances in the civilian job market or carry on wearing green and building my pension for another 10-15 years knowing that I won’t face redundancy or deployment.

Might be a little top heavy, but maybe that’s what you need earlydoors.

November 27, 2013 5:08 am


I can’t believe a Northerner is propagating the myth of Tories raising defence budgets. I can’t think of a single example of Tory’s ever doing this since Chamberlin and arguably the piss poor rises he gave just before the war were more like a cut in comparison to the threat environment. Every single major defence cut. I can think of has been at Tory hands.

also the Tory’s will no doubt get a boost in an English only parliament for a while but all that will happen is the North if gangland will become the new Scotland. Don’t forget that Tories were the only party until the SNP that managed to get a absolute majority in Scotland before they began there Thatcherite retreat into the south east.

November 27, 2013 7:51 am

: the Tories implemented the “3% in real terms rise per year” NATO policy, more or less, in the first half of the 80’s. I’m no fan of the Tories current metropolitan elite, but the South East is increasingly where the people are, including the Scottish :-)

November 27, 2013 10:47 am

I never said all of them were lazy, greedy xenophobes- I suggested that their national character is lazy, greedy and xenophobic.

Bob, please, put down the shovel. You’re not going to strike coal down there.

Slightly serious point: Why would any serving Scotsman transfer to SDF?

Most obvious answer: because they want to live and work, or keep living and working, in Scotland rather than England? And Brian’s points as well.

Brian: yes, not having its own currency would be a potential constraint for Scotland. But having an exchange rate barrier between yourself and your biggest trading partner is a problem as well. And I think you’re assuming your conclusion by saying that an independent Scotland would be less competitive and would see a brain drain. At present average income’s higher north of the border, and the net movement is northwards – there are (slightly) more Englishmen coming to work in Scotland than there are Scots going to work in England.

And you still seem to think that “Westminster and the Bank of England” would control what Holyrood could tax and spend. That just isn’t the case. At most, the Bank of England could influence the price of Scottish sterling-denominated government debt through its own OMOs and/or QE policies, but it would be by no means the only influence on Scottish govvie yields. And of course that’s up to the MPC, not Westminster.

in fact a cut of no more than 8% in the UK tax base, coupled with reductions in costs which might actually exceed that

Scotland, with 8.4% of the UK population, contributed 9.9% to total UK government revenues in 2011-12 (the latest year for which figures are available) and absorbed 9.3% of total UK government spending. Source: GERS.

Gloomy Northern Boy
Gloomy Northern Boy
November 27, 2013 11:24 am

– I know the Tories have been no more Defence-friendly than Labour, but when Scotland Secedes circumstances change…and the Government responding to that change is likely to have a clear Tory Majority, badly wounded pride, and something to prove…as well as a willingness to set about other areas of public spending with greater vigour than previously in order to create the necessary headroom. They will need to:

> Make a clear statement that the UK remains the UK – still a significant if very slightly smaller Country, willing to mount expeditions overseas, not ready to resign from the UNSC, or give up the CASD.
>The CASD will need a new home…and the rather self-righteous brand of Nationalism that hopes (even expects) that their action will force disarmament on us will be disappointed, because we will find one.
> We will need to gear up to build big warships…EU law allows us to build them at home or put them out to competition to the rest of the EU… the Clyde will then be in the rest of the EU…why would we put a key strategic industry at risk to help out a slightly unfriendly neighbour who has just pissed on our chips?

In those circumstances I think a slight increase in Defence Expenditure is certainly possible…perhaps by maintaining current levels in real terms after a shot term surge to sort out the CASD/Warships issue…

As to the “Gangland” crack, I think yo may be confusing a small part of Manchester and even smaller parts of other Northern Cities with most of London….

Slightly Gloomy, despite living in the safest big City in the Country.

Gloomy Northern Boy
Gloomy Northern Boy
November 27, 2013 11:34 am

@a – So we can agree on a net loss to the UK Tax base of 0.6% then? Doesn’t sound like a game-changer to me, but thanks for the correction: I will use you figures in future if I may…

A grateful Gloomy

November 27, 2013 11:44 am

So we can agree on a net loss to the UK Tax base of 0.6% then? Doesn’t sound like a game-changer to me, but thanks for the correction

No problem… the best analysis I’ve seen of the economic impact of independence – on both sides – can be summarised as “meh”. It might make a bit of a difference one way or another, but nothing huge. Scotland’s not going to become a sort of tartan North Korea any more than it’s going to become Dubai with haggis.

As to the “Gangland” crack, I think yo may be confusing a small part of Manchester and even smaller parts of other Northern Cities with most of London…

I’m pretty sure from context that that is an autocorrect for “England”.

Engineer Tom
Engineer Tom
November 27, 2013 11:49 am

One thing to remember when Scotland talks about a currency union they are thinking along the lines of the Euro, this has failed in recent years and the best option to keep it stable in future is closer fiscal policy control from Brussels. So if we were going to create a new currency union for the pound why in our right minds would we copy a system that has been proven to be inadequte. I favour not going for a currency union, but if we did I realise we would have to go for a full fiscal union so as to keep the currency stable, not the proposed Euro system.

November 27, 2013 11:52 am

the Government responding to that change is likely to have a clear Tory Majority

Interesting point here: a lot of people think “Scotland’s got a lot of Labour MPs, therefore Scottish independence would mean the Tories would have a built-in majority in England” – but it ain’t necessarily so. Since the war, there have been only two elections which returned a Labour government that needed the Scots to stay in power. Scotland may reliably provide 40 Labour MPs, but it also provides 30 or so non-Labour MPs, so it only adds a net of about 10 to the Labour majority. Most of the time, when Labour wins, it wins by more than that. Without Scotland, we’d have had hung parliaments in 1964 and 1974 (presumably leading to a Lib-Lab coalition in each case), and a Conservative majority in 2010. In any case, no change to who ends up in 10 Downing Street.

Gloomy Northern Boy
Gloomy Northern Boy
November 27, 2013 12:45 pm

@a – No doubt true, but the Tory majority in England has steadily hardened over that period, and the value of Scottish MPs to the Labour Party has equally steadily advanced. And I am not predicting a permanent Tory Government, so much as a strengthening of their current position for the next couple of elections as the Labour Party sorts itself out after losing the Independence Referendum – they are leading the charge against the SNP, not least because there are very few prominent Tories left in Scotland and those in England are very wisely keeping their heads down…Salmond wants to debate with Cameron as opposed to Danny Alexander because he rightly predicts that as soon as Cameron opens his mouth the visceral loathing that many Scots seem to reserve for we English will give him a ten point bounce…

Whilst your point on London/England was no doubt a light-hearted one, the majority of the English don’t live in London even now…and just how English is London anyway – you will no doubt know when it falls, but don’t we hit a point where most live births in London will be to those not born in the UK sometime quite soon? Part of the reason in my view why the British as opposed to English identity is so important to our future…


Brian Black
Brian Black
November 27, 2013 1:03 pm

” And I think you’re assuming your conclusion by saying that an independent Scotland would be less competitive and would see a brain drain ”

I’m assuming that Scotland is a socialist country, voting for Labour and the SNP. The Scots are currently limited as to what they can get up to by the fact that they are part of a larger country. Once they free themselves from English oppression, they will undoubtedly seek to mark the difference between pre and post independence.

Fairly basic lefty policies could easily make Scotland less attractive to investors, relative to south of the border. Unlike the Eurozone, the common language and culture of Poundland will make it that much easier for investors to deal with another part of the island; from the outside, Britain could look very much like a single country in terms of doing business, only with relatively cheaper or more costly regions.

Simple left-leaning policies implemented in Scotland, like raising the minimum wage, making it harder for employers to lay-off staff, increasing redundancy payments, increasing employers NI contributions – they will all chip away at Scotland’s competitiveness with the rest of Poundland.

One factor to consider with the Scottish economy is that while it would in theory be a wealthy country -awash with money from their offshore oil and whiskey rigs- these industries employ few people relative to the wealth they create. So Scotland can keep lots of discontented voters on benefits while other communities thrive; or they can do what Labour did in England, and give thousands of people public sector jobs, securing thousands of dependent voters in the process – though potentially driving up regional inflation and employment costs further. The current unemployment rate in Scotland is around the UK average, but public sector employment is at 23% compared to 19% across the whole UK.

An independent Scotland following a socialist agenda could well see a quick boom as the nationalists try to prove how much better off they are without the pesky English. Implementing generous social programs and hoovering up the unemployed into public posts – but driving up relative inflation and costs for investors in the process. And setting the conditions that see investment flowing from Scotland to the UK. Pretty soon you could see an overheated Scottish economy, but because they are in Poundland they have no tools to deal with it except internal devaluation, ie cutting pay for the ballooning public sector, leading to a quick and messy bust.

So basic Scotch policies have to be considered against the possible impact of creating relative imbalance within Poundland. In that sense, the Westminster dog will be wagging the Scottish tail – the reckless option will be to damn the consequences and do whatever they want, which of course is exactly what they will do.

So I am assuming a socialist government north of the border, and a conservative government to the south.

November 27, 2013 1:18 pm

Whilst your point on London/England was no doubt a light-hearted one, the majority of the English don’t live in London even now
No, you misunderstand: martin typed “also the Tory’s will no doubt get a boost in an English only parliament for a while but all that will happen is the North if gangland will become the new Scotland.”
But I think that autocorrect on his phone got in his way; what he meant was “also the Tory’s will no doubt get a boost in an English only parliament for a while but all that will happen is the North of England will become the new Scotland.”

No doubt true, but the Tory majority in England has steadily hardened over that period, and the value of Scottish MPs to the Labour Party has equally steadily advanced.

Over the last 30 years, completely the opposite, actually – Scotland had 72 MPs in 1983, it now has 59 and that’s due to drop to 52. Scotland’s becoming less valuable to the Labour Party, not more.

Brian: that’s one possible scenario but remember that it is not inevitable that an independent Scotland would follow those policies, or that they would have the effect you suggest. For one thing, if Scotland turns itself into the kind of low-skill, low-pay, high-unemployment economy you seem to prefer, it’ll be unattractive to anyone wanting to open a business because they won’t have any customers with enough money to buy their products… these are extremely tricky questions and don’t have answers as simple as “high minimum wage bad, low tax good”.

I am assuming a socialist government north of the border, and a conservative government to the south

Like I say, no reason to suppose that losing Scotland will make much difference to English elections. The English will continue to get the governments they vote for, with or without Scottish help.

Engineer Tom
Engineer Tom
November 27, 2013 1:34 pm

The SNP position that Cameron should be debating with Salmond is quite frankly wrong, I see why the SNP want to as Cameron is a) Tory, b) English, c) Posh, d) all the above again, but he does not represent the No campaign I don’t know if he is even officially tied in to the campaign or not, and also this is a decision for the Scottish people to make and he isn’t Scottish so I can’t see a single reason for him to be involved in a debate, and in fact the SNP position on this is actually to try and hand over the decision on Scotland in a way to a Westminster MP which is something they oppose.

[Rant Over]

The Ginge
The Ginge
November 27, 2013 1:37 pm

Oh dear, oh dear. Can we please clear up some myths firstly before we deal with some facts on defence. 1. As an Englishman I can not stop Scotland from using Serling. Just as American’s can not stop the Dollar being used in 10’s of countries around the globe. However the USA Federal Reserve is not the “lender of last resort” to these contries. Thus the Bank of England will not be the lender of last resort to Scottish Banks. If Hbos & RBS wish to be registered in Edinburgh and be “Scottish” banks they will be treated as any other overseas bank in England with no Guarentee by the BOE on desposits. If they wish to relocate and become English registered in London they can continue as is.
2. Scotland can not issue Bonds and other Debt donated in Sterling. Why ? Because if the Debt is issued by the BOE which is would have to be to be in Sterling, then the Bond markets will expect England/Wales/NI to stand by the Debt if Scotland can’t repay it. I am sorry your an independant nation, I don’t stand behind French Debt either. As for the “irish” position, it shows that England will help if a country runs in to trouble, but we do not automaticaly stand behind Irish Deb either, and they are not part of a “Sterling” zone they have the Punt that follows the Pound but is gradualy decoupling to the Euro.
3. On existing debt. We will not as suggested by the SNP use the “baseline of 1980/81”. All debt will be included which stands at aproximately £1,300,000,000,000 or £1.3 trillion. As agreed Scotland has 8.3% of the population so would inherit £115,000,000 or £1.15billion, total GDP in 2012 was £127billion, so the debt ratio would be 91%.Compared to Denmark 44.7% & Sweden 39.4% ! So closer as a small nation to Greece and Ireland than other N Atlantic countries. As all agree Scotland contributes about the same as it collects in Tax, it will run a deficit which will quickly be examined by the Bond market.
4. Finally on the issue of “names”. The full title is The United Kingdoms of Great Britain and Northern Island. The United Kingdoms are the English and Scottish thrones. As these are to seperate I can not see how England/Wales & NI can be a United Kingdom. We are the succesor state for legal reasons but we will have to come up with some other name.Personaly I’d go for England and if Wales & NI don’t like they can leave too.
5. EU membership will be from scatch, the EU have been clear on this because of Spain/Frances problems with sepeatist areas. Those two countries alone are going to object to scotland just walking in, so Euro, no rebate, full membership of Justice protocols and no Schengen opt out. The last could lead to a Border on the M74/A1 to stop immigrants getting on a coach at Sangat, going Zeebruge to Rosyth by ferry and traveling down the A1 to London. The English will demand a full border if this happens.
So to defence :
Mr Salmonds plans seem sensible to me
Airforce 12 planes going up to 16 fighters seems about right. It means Air Defence of Scotland can be covered and they can do a Denmark ala Libya and send 4 planes South it they wish to. Why they want Typhones is beyond me as they are costly compared to Grippen and others. But the MOD should make a pretty penny providing support and pilot training in England etc Plus as previously suggested they should be Tranche 1 planes as Scotland only needs Air Defence at first.
6 Hercules gives them versatility as I would expect at least 2 to be tankers to give the Typhones legs over the N Atlantic etc. If they decide to take their Army anywhere strategic airlift will be provided by partner nations either the US or England.
Naval Forces. Again to me as a layman this seems about right. 2 frigates straight away (probably Argyll and Montrose) without 2087 sonar. but out of service dates of 2023 & 2027 which fits with new T26 build and keeping the Clyde ship yards open. I think a Bay class is the Support ship, can act as a supply ship as well and has ample helicoper room and adding a Hangar not difficult. Going forward by teaming up with Norway, Denmark, Netherlands Scotland could lead quite a nice North Atlantic Frigate squadron to protect the Northern Approaches. As for OPV’s again logical operating around gas/oil fields etc with airsupport from land. Throw in Tanker support from England (maybe a mone spinner for the MOD hiring out tanker support to Natos Northern Frigate Flotilla) or allies if operating further afield as a multi country alliance and I can see it working.Remeber by adding Fremm on T26 it it opens up a decent Air Self Defence and if in N Alantic will have Air cover from Mainland Finally MPA is logical. I would expect 4 leased P3 Orions again pooled with Norway, Denmark etc to provide continouse cover in the N Atlantic. In money terms just about doable. But in the longterm replacing these with a modern P8 could be costly if not impossible.
Finally the scottish Army. I really think this is the most muddled because of the old UK requirement regarding “Cap Badges”. With a limited force it really has got to be a combined arms intergraetd unit. I think the wish far exceeds the ability to support the level of ambition. The item I would suggest that England pushes is with the use of a Bay that the Scottish Army takes over the role of reinforcing Natos northern edge in Norway and relieve England of that duty freeing the Royal Marines to be more multi role in the rest of the world.
The downside is the “cost” of keeping all those bases open, lacking a training capability so having to pay for it and having to pay for an HQ etc which duplicates what the UK does now. It’s possible but as with finance it’s all going to be close.

Gloomy Northern Boy
Gloomy Northern Boy
November 27, 2013 1:46 pm

@Brian Black – The great benefit from the SNP point of view being that any negotiations to retain the Pound against both the wishes and best interests of the UK, they will be able to continue to roll along on a tide of anti-English sentiment; if they then get their own way, Wee Eck will be able to make an appearance in his Robert the Bruce outfit; and when it all collapses in chaos they will be able to blame the English again for the adjustments that follow
(See the joyful and harmonious relationship between Greece and Germany for details).

Given good luck and a following wind the SNP will remain in power as long as Fianna Fail did in Ireland, and on much the same basis…being as rude to England as possible whenever the opportunity arises…


November 27, 2013 2:29 pm

A while back I was watching the newspaper review on Sky TV. The discussion moved onto skills in the UK workforce. One of the reviewers was from Eire. I didn’t recognise him but he must be somebody of note (to somebody). Anyway he basically said our collective skill set must be poor if a foreigner (debatable) like him could come here to get a job and get one easily. My immediate thought was, why isn’t the Irish economy big enough to give him a job back home? Coupled with, why are they turning out a surplus of skilled personnel in area where there aren’t enough jobs within their economy? If we are crap, what about where you have come from? And I think we will see similar with Scotland. We already see it with Scotland.

November 27, 2013 3:02 pm

We already see it with Scotland.

Except the other way round, because there are (slightly) more Englishmen moving north every year to look for work in Scotland than there are Scots moving south.

Also, local specialisations, industry clusters, comparative advantage, all that economics of trade stuff that Paul Krugman got a Nobel for working out. It’s not as simple as saying “you left your country to work here therefore your country must be crap”.

November 27, 2013 3:07 pm

Fairly basic lefty policies could easily make Scotland less attractive to investors, relative to south of the border.

Not necessarily. A low-wage, low-skill, high-unemployment Scotland could be really unattractive to investors, because why would you open a business in a country where almost no one can afford to buy your products? Economics is complicated stuff, and it’s just not as simple as saying “left wing policies mean you’re doomed”.

Engineer Tom
Engineer Tom
November 27, 2013 3:12 pm

This childcare issue amuses me, Salmond says it isn’t possible until independence as the welfare savings will go to Westminster rather than Scotland and so he isn’t willing to help people get into work until he benefits from it as well, his reason isn’t that he hasn’t got the power to make the change now, which he has, but rather he won’t benefit.

Angus McLellan
Angus McLellan
November 27, 2013 4:08 pm

@GNB: “So we can agree on a net loss to the UK Tax base of 0.6% then? Doesn’t sound like a game-changer to me, but thanks for the correction”

That would only be the right number if you’ve remembered to reduce the MoD budget by the £3.3 billion that was nominally funded from Scotland.

A second point is that government expenditure is a lot less fungible than you might think. About 60% is already geographically divided up (most Whitehall departments are mostly “English” or “England and Wales-ish” in their functions). Another 25% is mostly the DWP, which is what it is, unless you change the system or the economic situation. There’s only 15% of expenditure is UK-level after you’ve deducted welfare. And half of that 15% is for debt servicing costs. The MoD gets the lion’s share of what’s left after that.

November 27, 2013 4:39 pm

@ a

Do you have figures for more and more English man moving to Scotland? Most I know move to the colonies. I know Irish and Scots who live here for jobs. I can’t remember ever hearing of anybody (services apart) from England moving to Scotland; certainly not en masse. I really love the UK-is-just-so-dependent on Scotland theme. First it is tax. And now it appears jobs.

EDIT: If Scotland is so great already why does that beige paper want the UK to pay for everything if it comes to independence? Surely you can cope on your own from the get go?

November 27, 2013 4:45 pm

@ Angus re 60%

This 60% expenditure on the south remember the Scottish MPs get to vote on it. MPs whose political allegiance doesn’t reflect the political make-up of England and Wales.

Engineer Tom
Engineer Tom
November 27, 2013 5:01 pm

Whenever they say that the No campaign should release a document about what will happen after a no vote, I always imagine a piece of paper with simply the title ‘The changes after a No vote.’ followed by blank. Don’t they realise that the result of a no vote is absolutly no change.

Gloomy Northern Boy
Gloomy Northern Boy
November 27, 2013 5:08 pm

@Angus McLellan – as I understand @a’s numbers they represent absolute revenue in minus absolute expenditure out – which amounts to a net cost to the UK of O.6% of revenue – unless you assume defence takes the whole of that hit as opposed to a proportion of it, there is no reason why it should be affected to anything like the scale suggested by the purely notional £3.3 Billion that Scotland pay for defence – which I assume is based on them covering about 10% of the budget in line with their contribution to the overall tax yield…we will simply decide what (if any) reductions we can afford from our Defence expenditure because we no longer need to cover Scotland and re-arrange the numbers accordingly…


November 27, 2013 5:27 pm

ET – I do think the ‘better together’ campaign has been lacklustre and lacking. I expected a counter-document to be produced setting out the UK view of the deal for the newly isolated Scotland, setting out what the UK would offer to Scotland for defence, health service, railways etc and what it would withhold, what trading arrangements would look like, what border controls would be put in place, whether isolated Scotland gets to keep the Pound, the Monarch, defence contracts, trade agreements, etc. At the moment there is nothing concrete to counter the SNP’s biased view of the future (‘What’s yours is mine and what’s mine is my own’).

Interesting interview on R4 this morning where the SNP MSP in the Chancellor role was challenged over the claim that Scotland would keep the pound – when she was asked what ‘Plan B’ would be for the case where the UK refused use of the Pound, she declared the SNP document only set out the future that would be most advantageous to Scotland. There is no Plan B because it would make the independence deal look worse for Scotland. The entire document then ignores the risks that the SNP may not get all they want; ignores the realities of international diplomacy.

Engineer Tom
Engineer Tom