The Parties agree that an armed attack against one or more of them in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all, and consequently they agree that, if such an armed attack occurs, each of them, in exercise of the right of individual or collective self- defence recognised by Article 51 of the Charter of the United Nations, will assist the Party or Parties so attacked by taking forthwith, individually, and in concert with the other Parties, such action as it deems necessary, including the use of armed force, to restore and maintain the security of the North Atlantic area.
The Scottish Research Society exists to conduct, commission, publish and disseminate authoritative research and useful knowledge on economic, scientific, literary and other matters of interest to the people of Scotland.
The Society also promotes and hosts lectures and presentations on Scottish affairs from its HQ in the heart of Edinburgh. The Society is a registered “No” campaigner for the 2014 referendum on whether Scotland should separate from the United Kingdom.
The stance posturing aimed at promoting separation from the United Kingdom than on pragmatic analysis of threats to the security and
of the SNP on defence exposes Scotland and other NATO member states to high risk. It is based more on political
defence of Scotland, the UK, NATO and Europe. The UK’s and NATO’s security relies principally on all member states cooperating as partners and allies in an integrated, complex defence and security network that no single state can provide on its own.
The SNP’s policies for security after separation are calculatedly irresponsible and unilaterally disruptive to NATO. They are based on superficial research, on inability to comprehend and address the complexities of national and supra-national defence and on conscious failure to consider the risks and costs to all parties. They create the risk of opening gaps in land, sea and air defence and security and in intelligence capability. By these policies, the SNP abrogates its first and most important duty: to defend the Scottish population. It also abrogates its duty to contribute to the defence of the rest of the UK and of the NATO member states.
Scotland’s defence contractors may consider moving elsewhere in the UK, with substantial job losses north of the Border, because their order volumes and consequent economies of scale will be adversely affected by Scotland’s smaller purchasing capacity and by many other uncertainties, such as Scotland’s choice of currency and taxation levels.
Scotland, in responding to any significant threat to security or defence, will be dependent on support from other NATO members.
The timescale for negotiations with affected parties is uncertain but will be long. Even Crawford & Marsh, both of whom are SNP members, concede that the party has no timetable for conducting and completing the essential negotiations with the UK and all affected parties.
Negotiations will not be concluded – indeed, they cannot be conducted – before the referendum on separation in September 2014. The SNP has conducted its campaign for separation without having first defined and agreed a comprehensive, feasible, affordable and credible defence, security and foreign policy for a separated Scotland. Both Scotland and the United Kingdom would be placed pointlessly at considerable additional risk if Scotland were to separate.
Foreword by The Viscount Monckton of Brenchley
The first duty no strategic plan for the defence of a separated Scotland exists. There is nothing but an echoing vacuum, and a vacuum is an invitation to external forces to rush in upon it. Well was it said in ancient Rome that a nation whose ambition is peace must aye be prepared for war.
The temptation is always strong to prefer expenditure on the purchase of votes by way of social objectives rather than on the maintenance of security by way of a robust and credible national defence. In recent decades, successive British governments have unwisely yielded to that temptation time and again. They have forged not a shining shield and sword of national defence but a dismal mountain of national debt. As the shadow of that mountain falls ever more widely and ever more darkly on makers of policy in all parties, their intent to spend a little something as a hedge against losing everything has vanished away. Under the Pax Britannica, world events were at the mercy of Britain. Now, Britain is helplessly at the mercy of events. Our guard is down.
In consequence of the latest round of wearisomely familiar force reductions and amalgamations, the British Army has scarcely more manpower than during the Crimean War, and would have had fewer men than at that time if the spin-doctors to whom the empty Prime Minister is utterly in thrall had not recommended against the damaging headlines that would have resulted from the still deeper wounds that his administration had hoped to inflict upon it.
The Navy, in grim fulfilment of Parkinson’s Law, has more admirals than ships. It will have no carrier battle groups available to it for some years, and – as things now stand – will have no aircraft to launch from its fleetlet of precisely two carriers when at last they become available, on the charitable assumption that they will not have been sold off at birth to one of Britain’s future enemies at a huge loss.
The Air Force will lack the quantity and variety of aircraft essential to maintain control of the skies even at home, let alone to engage in the ill-considered foreign adventures in which recent governments have imprudently seen fit to indulge. The Special Forces will carry ever heavier responsibilities on the back of ever fewer resources. The intelligence and security services will have been withdrawn from many parts of the world where their eyes and ears have been and remain essential to the defence of Britain’s interests and those of her allies.
Governments at Westminster, then, have set Scotland a remarkably poor example. Yet if the British lion has become a bleating lamb, reduced everywhere to the policy of the pre-emptive cringe in the face of the growing might and territorial aggressiveness of Russia, of the silent but swift and substantial enlargement of the People’s Liberation Army/Navy of China, and of the bewildering multiplication of the terrorist forces of rampaging, oil-fired Islam, the Scottish stag is monarch of nothing, corralled, cowering, in the comfortable corries of catastrophic complacency.
For it is the naïve belief of the First Minister that everyone loves Scotland and that no nation could ever be so ungentlemanly as to conceive an ambition to menace her. Yet, as Michael Fisher’s excellent paper makes plain, the sources upon which he has drawn indicate that the Scottish administration’s stance on defence – or, rather, the absence of a stance on defence – will expose not only Scotland but also the United Kingdom and our other NATO allies to grave risk. The administration’s policy – or, rather, its policy vacuum – is not founded on pragmatic, expert analysis either of current or of future threats to the security of a separated Scotland.
The defence of Scotland, of the United Kingdom and of NATO against the many enemies of democracy and of freedom relies principally on all member states cooperating as partners and allies in an integrated, complex defence and security network that no single nation has the means to provide on its own. The Scottish administration’s proposals – such as they are – for security after separation are calculatedly irresponsible and unilaterally disruptive to NATO. They are based on superficial research, on an inability to comprehend and to address the complexities of national and supra-national defence, and on a conscious failure to consider the risks and costs of defencelessness to all parties, and not least to themselves and to their nation. Those proposals open gaping gaps in land, sea and air defence and security and in intelligence capability. By these policies, the administration abrogates its first and most important duty: to defend the Scottish population. It also repudiates its duty to contribute to the defence of the rest of the UK and of NATO.
The Scottish administration’s proposed “Scottish Defence Farce” (as it is known in the Sergeants’ Mess) has had its budget cut not once but twice, before a single blunderbuss has been bought. At this rate, Scotland’s shores will be protected by little more than the rubber ducks in Mr Salmond’s bath, and –on defence as on much else – he has not even got all his ducks in a row.
Scotland’s defence contractors may well consider moving elsewhere in the UK, with substantial job losses north of the Border, because their order volumes and consequent economies of scale will be adversely affected by Scotland’s smaller purchasing capacity and by many other uncertainties, such as Scotland’s choice of currency and taxation levels.
The greatest uncertainty of all arises from the fiscal gap that would arise from the withdrawal of the Barnett-formula subsidies, the latest generosities in a 300-year tradition of open-handed largesse that rescued Scotland from the self-inflicted bankruptcy of the Darien venture and rapidly rebuilt and then maintained the Scottish nation. A separated Scotland, in responding to any significant threat to security or defence, will be abjectly dependent on support from other NATO members – if, that is, the administration genuinely wishes to join NATO and if NATO genuinely wishes Scotland to join. Those are two big ifs.
The timescale for negotiations with affected parties is uncertain, but it will be protracted. Even Crawford & Marsh, both of whom are members of the First Minister’s party, concede that the party has no timetable for conducting and completing the essential negotiations with the United Kingdom and all affected parties. Negotiations will not be concluded – indeed, they cannot even be conducted – before the referendum on separation. The administration has conducted its campaign for separation without having first defined and agreed a comprehensive, feasible, affordable and credible defence, security and foreign policy for a separated Scotland. That culpable omission should be at the forefront of each voter’s mind.
A separated Scotland cannot be an independent Scotland unless she is capable of defending her sovereignty – or, at any rate, such little of it as will remain if the administration carries out its shoddy ambition to cede nearly all of her sovereign legislative power to the Brussels tyranny-by-clerk.
The Bruce did not make of Scotland a single nation merely by the thunderous Latin of Abbot Linton’s Declaration of Arbroath. He built our nation by bringing the chiefs and lairds to an understanding that they must find not only the will but also the means to fight the English invader. He had a defence policy. From the courageous and spirited execution of that policy, against great odds, a nation was born.
The First Minister has no defence policy. The current administration lacks not only the will but also the means to provide for the nation’s defence, or for much else that is more cheaply and efficiently provided by co-operation within the United Kingdom.
Enemies abound on every hand. How, for instance, will a separated Scotland defend her vast and once-teeming fishing waters against the trawlers of all nations? How will Scotland defend her borders and her shores against mass immigration? How will she identify and apprehend terrorists? How will she prevent further secession? The Orkneys and Shetlands might decide that if Scotland has successfully seceded from the United Kingdom they may as well secede from Scotland and gang their own road. The islanders, in whose waters lie much of Scotland’s oil and swim many of her fish, would be among the most prosperous on Earth if they went it alone.
How, above all, would a separated Scotland defend herself against the future decision of a major power such as Russia or China to invade her invitingly defenceless territory, there to establish a base and a bridgehead from which to outflank and invade not only the United Kingdom from the north but Europe from the unexpected west? Any such scenario might have seemed impossibly extreme, were it not for the plans of a faction in the now-defunct KGB to use Ireland, neutered by neutrality, as a giant aircraft-carrier for the westward arm of a pincer movement against mainland Europe. It might now seem fanciful to imagine that ex-Communist Russia would find any reason for such an adventure: yet the recent shooting down of an innocent civilian airliner full of children by a Russian battlefield missile in the Ukraine, and the bellicose but empty rhetoric of the empty British Prime Minister in futile, chirruping response, may yet betoken a grave worsening of relations between these islands and Russia.
It is precisely when relations suddenly and unexpectedly worsen that a separated and defenceless Scotland will be most acutely vulnerable to incursion on the part of an impatient enemy tempted by her manifest incapacity, and by her wanton disinclination, to defend herself.
Let no one who loves Scotland vote for her separation from the United Kingdom in this or any future referendum. For it is clear to all – and not least to our actual and potential enemies – that a Scotland standing alone and helpless not only cannot but will not defend herself. Her craven weakness would be the unmaking of her as a nation, just as surely as her courageous fight to win her nationhood in the age of Robert the Bruce was the making of her.
I commend the characteristically trenchant letter by General Sir Richard Shirreff and Mr Fisher’s timely, thoughtful paper to the reader.
And I end by thanking God for those numberless soldiers, sailors, and airmen of the British Armed Forces, whose readiness to fight on freedom’s farthest frontiers and to lay down their lives that we might live has guaranteed our liberty, our nationhood and our future. They speak to us in the words inscribed on the war memorial in Kohima:
When you go home, tell them of us and say, For your tomorrow we gave our today.
General Sir Richard Shirreff, KCB, OBE
Like many British people whose family origins are in Scotland (my roots are in Cockburnspath in East Lothian) I am passionate about Scotland’s place within the Union. And, in common with many of Scottish descent, I followed my father and his forebears in serving the Crown. After 37 years in the British Army I have just stepped down as NATO’s Deputy Supreme Allied Commander Europe (DSACEUR) at the NATO Headquarters.
As a former DSACEUR and NATO insider I am acutely aware that any country applying to join the Alliance will require unanimous agreement from all 28 current members of NATO. Just one vote against and it will not happen. Added to which, it is highly unlikely that NATO will agree to any further expansion while the promise of NATO membership made to Ukraine and Georgia in 2008 is still on the table. Given the current crisis in Ukraine, there will be no quick fixes and there can be no certainty about Scottish membership of NATO.
As for the nuclear issue, NATO is a nuclear-armed alliance and all NATO states must accept the principle of nuclear deterrence and being part of the NATO nuclear command and control system. Whilst the SNP may accept the principle of nuclear deterrence, it remains unclear how other members of NATO will view the disruption to the coherence of NATO defence caused by moving the submarine fleet out of Scottish waters.
More widely, defence is an insurance policy and while no one likes to pay insurance premiums, it makes more sense to pay a low premium for a comprehensive policy than a high premium for a limited cover policy with a high risk of not paying up when called upon. This is the choice facing Scotland; pay the lowest reasonable premium and enjoy the benefits derived from protection by the British Armed Forces, or pay a higher premium for a dodgy policy in the hope that enough British service personnel voluntarily leave the British Armed Forces to form the proposed Scottish Defence Force.
As an experienced professional soldier, nothing I have seen or heard persuades me that Scotland’s safety or security would be enhanced one iota if it became a separate country. On the contrary, having reviewed the Scottish Government’s White Paper, I find the proposals amateurish, unrealistic and lacking any clear strategic purpose. There is no mention of any naval aviation (yet Scotland would need a primarily naval force), no mention of air-to-air refuelling capability, no Mountain Rescue and no Search & Rescue capability. The White Paper proposals are dangerous and would leave Scotland, the UK and NATO weakened and less capable of dealing with the threats of today and tomorrow. Scotland deserves better.
Let’s look at some detail. As an example of the incoherence of SNP thinking, there are currently six infantry/Guards/Royal Marine units that are Scottish (or Scottish-based) plus a further company of Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders. Yet the White Paper commits to only three such units. More bizarrely, the SNP commits to reinstating all the Scottish infantry battalions lost in 2006. It simply doesn’t add up. And even if it did, where does this leave the young men who are serving with such distinction in the Royal Regiment of Scotland and made it the regiment which Scotland and all Scots can take such pride in?
Another example of SNP proposals ignoring the detail is the need to comply with the International Trade in Arms Regulations on the export and import of defence-related articles. The reality is that Scotland’s world-class high-tech manufacturing and shipbuilding industries rely on such trade agreements negotiated on behalf of all UK industry by the UK government. Is the SNP prepared for the impact of having to start lengthy and tortuous negotiations all over again? And what happens to flourishing businesses in the meantime?
Looking at the international geo-strategic picture, even during the timescale of this referendum campaign, the European security situation has changed fundamentally as a result of President Putin’s willingness to change international borders by force. What is happening in Russia and Ukraine could, unless the nations of the NATO Alliance present a strong, united deterrent posture, threaten the security of NATO nations to whose defence we are indissolubly bound, notably the Baltic States. Now is the time to strengthen the bonds that tie ustogether, not to weaken them. Breaking the Union risks unravelling the complex ties of defence and security which have stood us so well for 300 years.
Whether it is Scottish businesses, fisheries or Scotland’s global financial services industry, Scotland depends on UK defence, intelligence and security services to promote and safeguard its interests. In particular, the financial services industry benefits from the robust protection provided against increasingly dangerous and sophisticated cyber threats. Customers and markets must have confidence in Scotland’s ability to transact safely and securely. Not only does the White Paper fail to make any provision to deal with this threat, it doesn’t even recognise it.
If you value Scotland’s safety and security now is emphatically not the time to weaken our united defence. What we can do together is more important than what we can do alone. As a lifelong professional soldier, I cannot stress enough that it would be an absolute tragedy to break up the one institution which exemplifies the strength of the Union, the British Armed Forces, particularly the British Army.
I am in no doubt that Scottish defence and security is stronger as an integral part of a united UK.
Hence my resounding recommendation: “No, Thanks!” to separation. We are definitely Better Together.
Letter published in The Scotsman
31 August 2014
Economic analysis by Ewen Stewart, Director, Walbrook Economics
The main points
Britain is strong, Scotland is not. A separated Scotland would not benefit from the protection of the UK’s still considerable military assets. Despite defence cuts, Britain remains one of the world’s most significant military forces, with an ability to safeguard domestic assets from fisheries to oil while also retaining the capacity to project power abroad.
Pointless force duplication is pointlessly expensive. The UK’s anti- terrorist, intelligence and security assets are among the most sophisticated in the world. Scotland would simply not have the resources to match them. Terrorism comes in many guises. It has sprung up in areas of the globe that one might not have expected, from Madrid and Bali to Glasgow Airport. A separated Scotland would have the expense of setting up its own agencies, which in reality would offer very limited protection.
In diplomacy, Britain leads the world, but Scotland would be an unknown quantity. Defence – hard power – is just one way to exercise influence. Diplomacy, idea projection, media reach and culture – soft power – also has its part to play. Measuring soft power is an imperfect science: yet the UK is placed first in the world, even ahead of the US. Scotland would probably score quite well in such a survey. However, lacking the scale, diversity of outlet and global reach of the United Kingdom, it could not hope to match the UK’s influence.
Scotland outside the UK would be comparatively defenceless
A Separated Scotland would not benefit from the protection of the UK’s still considerable military assets. Despite a reduction in the size of the UK’s defences Britain remains one of the world’s most significant military forces, with an ability to safeguard domestic assets from fisheries to oil while retaining the potential to project power abroad. The chart compares UK defence spending with that of other European nations. The UK and France are, in effect, the only two significant defence forces in Europe.
Europeanmilitary expenditure, 2012 (bn Є)
Scotland, by being a major part of the United Kingdom, is secure from numerous threats. Scotland would of course set up its own defence assets, should it go its own way.
However, military hardware is extremely expensive, and the proposed “Scottish Defence Force”, whose suggested initial budget has already been cut twice, is not a credible answer to the many threats that Scotland would face.
Nor would Scotland enjoy the British economies of scale.
In reality, a Scottish force would be little more than a token peacekeeping force doing the bidding of the EU or the UN. That is not independence.
The UK’s anti- terrorist, intelligence and security assets are among the most sophisticated in the world. Scotland would simply not have the resources to match them.
Terrorism comes in many guises. It has sprung up in areas of the globe that one might not have expected, including Madrid, Bali and even Glasgow Airport. A separated Scotland would have the expense of setting up its own agencies, which in reality would offer very limited protection.
Scotland benefits from military hardware procurement contracts which would be jeopardised by separation. For example, the Royal Navy has never built a warship outside its sovereign territory. It is wishful thinking to expect that in a separated Scotland ships would be built on the Forth or the Clyde.
While the true issues in the military debate have been obscured by posturing over Faslane, the reality is that Scotland benefits mightily not only from the protection that Britain’s armed forces have provided but also from considerable inward investment from Westminster in the form of military expenditure.
Scotland’s territorial waters
Scotland will no longer belong to the EU: yet its waters are part of the “common European resource” handed away to the EU by Edward Heath.
Trawlers from EU nations will wish to continue to fish in Scottish waters, and the “Scottish Defence Force”, particularly with its budget already slashed twice before it has even been brought into being, will be powerless to police those waters.
Source: Scottish Government
The value of diplomacy
DEFENCE– hard power – is just one way to exercise influence. Diplomacy, idea projection, media reach and culture – soft power – also has its part to play. Measuring soft power is an imperfect science: however it is important. How a nation is seen not only enables it to exercise influence but also encourages direct inward investment and trade flows.
Monocle’s annual soft power survey (see chart at left), which is recognised as the definitive study in the field, places the UK first in the world, even ahead of the US. Scotland would probably score quite well in such a survey. However, lacking the scale, diversity of outlet and global reach of the United Kingdom, it could not hope to match the influence of the UK. These things matter in terms of hard cash as well as cultural wellbeing.
Extract from the White Paper “Much cost, little benefit” on the economic consequences of separation for Scotland, written by Ewan Stewart and published by the Scottish Research Society
1 United Kingdom 2 United States
8 Switzerland 9 Australia
11 South Korea 12 Norway
15 Netherlands 16 Spain
Source: Monocle Soft Power Index, 2014
The insecurity of a separated Scotland
General Sir Richard Shirreff points out in an important letter to the Scotsman on 31 August 2014 (reprinted above) that the benefit of Scotland staying in the UK for defence reasons is overwhelming and overriding. Scotland’s integration into British defence policy began even before the Act of Union and has grown organically over 300 years. It gives Scotland a premium defence capability.
The Union gives Scotland one of the most sophisticated and flexible defence responses in the world, and puts her at the heart of NATO decision-making. A separated Scotland might not even get into NATO. Defence today is about more than fifes and drums, badges and boots. It is about intelligence. It is about a sophisticated technological arms race against our potential enemies. It is about assessing strategic aims in the face of ever-changing threats.
Modern defence encompasses the ability to face down asymmetrical threats from ever splintering and multiplying, here-today-gone- tomorrow terrorist organisations, cyber criminals and the like, while maintaining a conventional defence deterrent against potentially hostile nation states and alliances thereof. It is above all about alliance and cooperation with other countries.
Sir Richard has calls the defence proposals in the Scottish Government’s White Paper’s “amateurish, unrealistic and lacking any clear strategic purpose.” He is quite right to liken the SNP’s defence policies to dodgy insurance cover. He is quite right to point out that Scotland after separation would be defenceless.
Political posturing (Grant, 2013) rather than a desire to ensure a realistic level of defence for Scotland, the UK and NATO seems to be the Scottish administration’s principal driving force in its defence, security and foreign policies.
Those policies do not include a strategic assessment incorporating a complete list of prioritised risks, akin to the graduated risks in the UK Strategic Defence and Security Reviews. While Crawford & Marsh (2012) suggest that Scotland may adopt the UK’s SDSR in whole or in part, no credible defence policy can be established until the Scottish administration has defined how it will manage those risks.
The administration’s defence policy is lamentably incomplete. Without making a commitment to a definite foreign policy, it cannot credibly define its future defence and security commitments in terms of objectives, resources or budgets. Crawford & Marsh have defined a range of options, which however, would offer a less satisfactory defence than the integrated UK and NATO systems. Ditchley (2013) concluded:
“The full implications of Scottish independence for other parts of the UK and the rest of Europe and the world had by no means been fully considered or thought through.”
The administration imagines that threats in a separated Scotland will be less than those facing the UK and NATO, conjecturing that after separation its proposed “Scottish Defence Force” can afford to be proportionately smaller, cheaper and less well equipped than the UK and NATO. No credible rationale has been advanced for this assumption, which appears to be rooted in mere political expediency and fear of the cost of a proper defence policy..
The administration’s vague and deficient defence policy is currently based on its proposal to utilise mainly low-tech assets. However, NATO’s policy takes account of the fact that the greatest risks arise from potential enemies who possess or are developing increasingly sophisticated systems. Yet the administration asserts that its low-tech policy is superior to those of the UK and NATO.
The Scottish administration’s incomplete commitment to NATO
The Scottish administration’s future commitment to NATO is uncertain. For many years, it had opposed NATO. It has partly reversed its long-standing anti-NATO position in recent months, inferentially in an attempt to lend a specious appearance of credibility to its defence stance. However, it has also stated that it would not permit any UK or NATO nuclear weapons to enter, transit or remain in Scotland. That policy will create dangerous gaps in NATO’s current defence and security network. NATO relies in part on Scotland-based facilities such as Faslane and Leuchars. NATO’s strategy includes a nuclear deterrent that protects all NATO member states, including Scotland.
While the First Minister last year spent £360,000 on travel (The Scotsman, 26 July 2013) in an attempt to recruit support for his proposed defence policy from the USA, NATO and the UN, no formal negotiations or agreements were concluded.
Currently the UK plays a full part in NATO. However, the administration, despite its belief that Scotland will automatically be permitted to join NATO after separation, unilaterally proposes to weaken the alliance. Article 5 of the NATO Treaty (1949) is the basis of the alliance’s fundamental principle of collective security. It provides that if any NATO member state is the victim of an armed attack, each member of the Alliance will consider itself to have been attacked and is obliged to come to the aid of the state that has been attacked.
Ditchley (2013) concluded:
“The question-mark which Scottish attitudes to Trident could place over the current UK deterrent could be seen as weakening NATO.”
Though the administration has proposed to create a “Scottish Defence Force”, it has not defined the roles that this entity will perform. The people of Scotland and the UK deserve to know whether and how their countries will in future be defended, so that they can assess whether the proposed arrangements will be likely to be effective.
Scotland is currently part of an international, integrated whole within the UK and within NATO. The administration’s policy takes insufficient and mealy-mouthed account of this integration, whose partial or complete dismantling upon separation will increase the costs and reduce the effectiveness of defence on both sides of the Border and throughout the North Atlantic area.
Defence assets cannot be safely or simply separated. Regiments, ships, aircraft, ports and airfields cannot be divided.
The administration proposes a division of defence capital assets in which Scotland would retain one-twelfth of all assets, or £8 billion out of £98 billion, on the arbitrary basis that her population is one-eighth of that of the United Kingdom. However, the integration and geographic disposition of defence assets must be based not on caprice but upon carefully-analysed risks and needs.
The administration originally estimated that the annual operating cost of its proposed “Scottish Defence Force” would be £3.5 billion, later revised to £2.5 billion and recently to £1.8 billion, or little more than half the original estimate. Since the administration does not appear to have conducted any threat assessment, there appears to be no rational basis for any of the three cost estimates.
Security and intelligence assets
The United Kingdom’s security and intelligence agencies, such as MI5, MI6 and GCHQ, are among the best in the world. Although the United Kingdom’s armed forces have dwindled, our formidable intelligence capability has allowed us to punch well above our weight. This capability is the result of a century of development. The international exchange of intelligence relies heavily on relationships and trust built up over very long periods, not wholly or even primarily on formal agreements. Those relationships cannot be replicated at short notice. Accordingly, the administration’s claim that it can establish Scottish equivalents to the UK’s intelligence agencies is naïve and self- deluding.
Cyber-crime and terrorism pose grave threats to the UK and other nations (Crawford and Marsh). There is no evidence to suggest that Scotland is or will be at less risk than the rest of the UK, although the administration asserts – on no evidence – that such threats are less in Scotland.
The UK and NATO rely on multiple, complex and costly assets to detect and deal with cyber crime and terrorism. Those assets include intelligence-gathering and information-sharing in co-operation with our allies. The administration suggests that it can draw down relevant intelligence from UK and NATO agencies. However, the UK has not agreed to any such arrangement and would be unlikely to do so while Scotland remained only a partial member of NATO. If the United Kingdom were to agree to share intelligence with Scotland, Scotland would naturally have to pay its share of the intelligence budget, which is now some £2 billion a year.
Ditchley (2013) concluded:
“There is no reason in principle why close co-operation with the UK should not be possible – with the major caveat that the close relationship between the UK and US agencies at every level would probably not be available to an independent Scotland, particularly if Scotland were seen to be playing an awkward role on nuclear issues.”
The European Union dimension
One of the numerous contradictions in the administration’s defence posture is that the party maintains that it wants an independent Scotland to become a member state of the EU. That ambition sits uneasily with the fact that many EU member states are members of NATO. On that basis alone, the administration’s defence policy is at variance with that of the UK and NATO. The administration imagines that it can successfully drive its defence, security and foreign policy forward simultaneously on at least three fronts, although its unilaterally-declared policy is calculated to undermine and to weaken the defence strategies of those with whom it proposes to negotiate.
Effects on Scotland’s defence industries
The administration’s proposal to separate Scotland from the United Kingdom while remaining in the European Union cannot legitimately be described as “independence”. For the European Union’s unelected Kommissars, behind closed doors, table 83% of Scotland’s laws. The European Parliament, though elected, has little real power or influence. It cannot even table a Bill. The United Kingdom tables only 5% of Scotland’s laws, and does so not only in public but with the active participation of Scotland’s elected Members of Parliament.
Scotland, therefore, would be many times more independent if she remained in the United Kingdom but left the European Union than if she remained in the European union but separated herself from the United Kingdom. It is difficult to avoid the impression that the administration’s primary motive in arguing for separation is an atavistic and emotional anti-English xenophobia bordering on outright racialism. Certainly, the primary motive cannot be a desire for true legislative independence.
The confusion of motives that lurks behind the administration’s demand for separation from the United Kingdom is evident in every aspect of its separatist proposals. For instance, at first the administration had wanted to adopt the euro. However, now that that currency has failed as UKIP had predicted it would: for the EU, in unlawful defiance of the Maastricht Treaty, abandoned the eight economic convergence criteria without which an optimum currency area could not exist and the euro could not but fail. However, now that the euro has failed, the administration has decided that perhaps it would be less unpopular to retain sterling. Even on the assumption that the United Kingdom were prepared to permit Scotland to continue to use its currency, which has not been agreed and is by no means a certainty, Scotland would have little or no power to influence the monetary policy of the sterling area. In this as in many other aspects of policy, a Scotland separated from the United Kingdom would exercise considerably less influence than she does today.
The uncertainty about currency is one of many uncertainties that now face Scotland’s defence industries. Businesses find it particularly difficult to manage political uncertainties. The monetary uncertainty inherent in the administration’s current proposals for separation is particularly painful for Scotland’s defence-based industries. They do not know how much work they will get from the government of a separated Scotland; they do not know whether the new regime will continue to allow them to operate at all; and, even if they are allowed to operate, they do not know what currency will denominate their transactions.
Ditchley (2013) concluded:
“Scotland could still use sterling without a currency union, if she so chose, but would have no say in key policy areas, and therefore little or no control over vital variables in overall economic policy.”
Grant (2013) quotes Peter Luff MP, the Conservative Defence Minister from 2010-2012, as having told the Scottish Affairs Committee of the House of Commons that
“Individual companies in Scotland are saying to me privately, ‘In the event of separation we would consider moving south of the Border because we want to keep our access.’”
If Scotland’s defence businesses move out, defence jobs will go with them.
Additional burden on Scottish taxpayers
The division of the United Kingdom’s defence and security assets in the event of separation has not yet been negotiated. Accordingly, the costs of purchasing new or adapting existing assets cannot yet be estimated (Grant, 2013; Crawford & Marsh, 2012). If the intention of the administration is to maintain a defence posture no less effective than that of the United Kingdom as it is now, then the cost of maintaining and attempting to integrate two separate defence forces under separate commands and with separate political objectives would inevitably be greater than today’s defence budget. Scottish taxpayers would have to make up the difference. If Scotland’s intention is to maintain a weaker defence posture than that of the United Kingdom, then the administration would do well to remember the ancient Roman precept:
Si vis pacem, para bellum
If you want peace, be ready for war
A note on sources
The paper by Michael Fisher summarises key points drawn from the following four sources, taken with the foreign policies and treaties of the United Kingdom, NATO and other nations.
Grant(2013):InScotland’sdefence:anassessmentofadministrationdefencestrategy,byGeorgeGrant,AssociateFellowoftheHenry Jackson Society, a cross-partisan think-tank fostering “a strong British, European and American commitment towards freedom, liberty, constitutional democracy, human rights, governmental and institutional reform and a robust foreign, security and defence policy and transatlantic alliance”: http://henryjacksonsociety.org/2013/07/02/in-scotlands-defence-an-assessment-of-snp-defence-strategy-2.
Ditchley (2013): The future of Scotland: international implications and comparisons, a report of a Ditchley conference of 40 academics, diplomatists, politicians, economists and defence specialists held in June 2013: http://www.ditchley.co.uk/conferences/past-programme/2010-2019/2013/the-future-of-scotland.
Crawford&Marsh(2012):A’theBlueBonnets–DefendinganIndependentScotland,RoyalUnitedServicesInstitute,October.Lieutenant Colonel Stuart Crawford and Richard Marsh are members of the SNP. This extensive study is based on the research conducted by Lieutenant Colonel Crawford under a pseudonym while serving in the 4th Royal Tank Regiment until his recent retirement: http://www.rusi.org/assets/Scottish_Defence-Forces_Oct_2012.pdf.
Hansard (2013): Scottish Affairs Committee, chaired by Ian Davidson, 9 July.
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