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Salmond's Scottish defence force vision

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  • Salmond's Scottish defence force vision

    20 January 2012 | British Defence Forces News Worldwide

    Scotland's First Minister has spoken of his vision for a Scottish Defence Force, were the nation to break away from the rest of the UK.

    Alex Salmond said the set-up emerging from the Government's Strategic Defence Review of one naval base, one air base and one mobile armed brigade would be "exactly the configuration" needed for an independent Scotland.

    He also said Scots wanted the UK's Trident nuclear missiles removed from the naval base at Faslane.

    In an interview with BBC Scotland, Mr Salmond said: "The configuration of the Army in Scotland, the mobile brigade, which is the outcome of the defence review, looks exactly like the configuration you'd want for a Scottish defence force - so that's one naval base, one aircraft base and a mobile armed brigade.

    "The great argument in favour of having a Scottish Defence Force is two-fold - one, you wouldn't have to have the biggest concentration of nuclear weapons in Western Europe situated in Scotland, which many people support the removal (of), and secondly, of course, we'd have the right to decide whether or not to participate in international engagements."

    As part of the vision historic units including the Scots Guards, the Royal Regiment of Scotland and the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards would come under the control of an independent Scotland.

    The SNP leader's vision for a Scottish Armed Forces was immediately dismissed as "laughable" by Defence Secretary Philip Hammond.

    He added that an independent Scotland would have to shoulder some of the costs for removing Trident.

    He told the BBC's World At One programme: "The UK Armed Forces are a highly integrated and very sophisticated fighting force.

    "The idea that you can sort of break off a little bit, like a square on a chocolate bar, and that would be the bit that went north of the border, is frankly laughable.

    "You get them all or you get none of them. That is the simple logic with submarine bases.

    "It would be an enormous exercise to rebuild the facilities that are at Faslane. It would cost billions of pounds and it would take many years.

    "And obviously the cost of doing that would be factor that had to be taken into account in any reckoning on Scottish independence, if that is the way it goes."

    Mr Salmond responded to the Defence Secretary's comments, telling the broadcaster: "Only somebody with the arrogance of a Westminster politician would say to the Scottish people, apparently in all sobriety, that you'd place and station weapons of mass destruction in Scotland over a period of half a century, impose substantial clean-up costs and then try to send Scotland the bill.

    "I don't think that's a feasible position."

    The Scottish Government previously fought to retain all three of Scotland's air force bases.
    The SNP wants an independence referendum in autumn 2014.

    Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie MSP said: "We need detailed plans setting out the capability of a Scottish Defence Force but all we get is a flimsy soundbite.

    "We need to know what this force could do and how strong it would be.

    "Thanks to the UK defences we have a safe and secure country and soldiers, sailors and airmen who can be a significant force for good in the world."

    And shadow defence secretary Jim Murphy said: "After denouncing Tory defence policies, the SNP have suddenly announced it is the best they can threaten if Scotland was independent.

    "This raises huge questions about separation. Scotland knows that leaving the UK would be a huge blow to Scottish defence communities."

    An interesting concept to ponder on.


    Has Alex Salmond torpedoed Faslane?
    Helensburgh Advertiser. Published 19 Jan 2012 12:00

    Huge question over future of jobs

    Thousands of workers are facing an uncertain future at Faslane as the debate on an independent Scotland heats up.

    The uncertainty comes just one year before the HMNB Clyde looks set to welcome all 11 of Britain's planned submarine fleet, bringing 3,000 additional jobs to the area by 2016.

    According to the most recent study, Babcock alone brings in over 270m to the Scottish economy each year with a lot of that money benefiting Helensburgh and Lomond. However, a question mark has been placed over the future of the base's role as the UK's nuclear defence HQ.

    During a recent debate in the Scottish Parliament, First Minister Alex Salmond said that in an independent Scotland the Scottish National Party (SNP) administration would have the power to remove all nuclear weapons.

    Mr Salmond said: "The only basis on which the people of Scotland will be able to remove weapons of mass destruction from our soil will be our having the powers that an independent Parliament will bring."

    Faslane naval base is currently the home of the UK's nuclear deterrent and is the largest single site employer in the Scotland. The Ministry of Defence (MoD) facility directly employs 6,500 people with a further 4,000 through supply chain.

    Argyll and Bute MSP Michael Russell has backed his leader's comments this week stating: "A small independent country should, and would have, no nuclear weapons.

    "But there will be the need for a continuing naval capability and I am confident that those who wish to continue to serve their country in the armed forces, or in support activity, will be needed and will be able to do so."

    However, Helensburgh and Lomond MSP, Jackie Baillie says the removal of nuclear weapons from Faslane puts the future of thousands of jobs on the Clyde at risk.

    Ms Baillie said: "The statement by the First Minister shows that in an independent Scotland the SNP would remove Trident.

    "However, they have provided absolutely no details on what plans they would put in place to deal with the 11,000 people that would be out of work as a consequence of this.

    "Once again, the SNP are making grand statements about an independent Scotland, without giving any details on what impact independence would have.

    "These are serious issues which need serious consideration and planning. The First Minister's remarks about an independent Scotland being free of nuclear weapons may make a good soundbite, but he must take seriously the impact of this on local jobs and the local community."

    These comments have been backed by Argyll and Bute MP Alan Reid who believes Helensburgh and Lomond would pay a high price if Scotland were to become independent.

    He said: "The loss of the British Navy's contribution to our local economy means that independence would see thousands of local people lose their jobs.

    "The SNP are fond of pointing to Ireland as their model for an independent Scotland. The Irish Navy is made up of eight small patrol boats.

    "An independent Scottish Navy would be of a similar size. Even if all eight boats were to be based at Faslane, servicing eight small patrol boats would not support anything like 11,000 jobs.

    "However, since the SNP want to leave NATO as well as leaving Britain, the sole purpose of these patrol boats would be to protect the oil rigs and prime fishing grounds in the North Sea.

    "This makes it very likely that the patrol boats would be based at an east coast port.

    "It would obviously be daft for a Scottish Navy to base a patrol boat at Faslane, only for it to have to sail down the Clyde, round the Mull of Kintyre and all the way round Scotland to react to an incident at an oil rig.

    "In contrast to the SNP, the coalition Government at Westminster is bringing more jobs to the area by making Faslane the base for all of the Navy's submarines."

    Relocating Trident to England:

    This week the MoD refused to comment on speculation that jobs may be put at risk as a result of independence in Scotland.

    A spokesman for the MoD said: "Any decisions on Scotland's future are for the people of Scotland to decide."

    National reports suggest that defence chiefs have been drawing up contingency plans to withdraw the UK's nuclear submarine fleet if Scottish voters opt in favour of independence.

    It is thought that the removal of nuclear deterrents from Scotland will be a multi-billion pound operation, with suitable alternatives for the Trident fleet likely to be located in Plymouth or Portsmouth. The Scottish Government intends to hold an independence referendum in autumn 2014, however it is not yet known whether Scotland would form its own armed forces if approved.

    One MP wants to see the MoD prepare for possible independence in Scotland now, ahead of the referendum.

    Gary Streeter, MP for South West Devon said: "Scotland would be poorer if it decided to go down the independence route. If the submarines did move to Plymouth the city would be much richer."

    Oliver Colvile, Conservative MP for Sutton and Devonport agrees the UK's nuclear fleet should be transferred to England if independence is approved and would like to see it stationed at Devonport.

    He said: "Such a move would need investment on infrastructure and I think we can still accommodate them down here."

    The Referendum Question:

    The debate on independence has not only caused uncertainly over the future of jobs at Faslane, but also how the question should be presented to the Scottish voters.

    Prime Minister David Cameron has agreed to meet the First Minister to discuss plans for a referendum on Scottish independence to be followed by the publications of a detailed consultation document on the referendum arrangements on January 25.

    Helensburgh and Lomond MSP Jackie Baillie is voicing her support for a clear, one question referendum on Scotland's constitutional future.

    Scottish Labour have also called on Alex Salmond to hold cross-party talks on this issue, engaging with all political parties and leaders from civic Scotland in a meaningful way to identify a time frame and process which will deliver a clear and decisive answer on Scotland's constitutional future.

    Ms Baillie said: "The election result in May gave Alex Salmond a clear mandate to hold a referendum. However, it did not give him a mandate to dictate all the terms.

    "Whilst I do not believe that it is in our interest to separate Scotland from the rest of the UK, this is a serious issue to be debated and the Scottish people deserve to be asked this question in a clear and concise manner.

    "It should not be up to one individual to determine the terms and conditions of the referendum.

    "That's why Alex Salmond should hold meaningful cross-party discussions with all political parties and leaders from civic Scotland.

    "By doing this we can build a referendum that is conducted in a fair and transparent way, which will give the people of Scotland the opportunity to choose their own future in a clear and confident manner."

  • #2
    Re: Salmond's Scottish defence force vision

    For information on----- Forces Faslane Naval Base Community Information Portal
    go to the is a small sample>>>>>>>>

    HM Naval Base Clyde
    Her Majesty’s Naval Base Clyde – commonly known throughout the Navy as Faslane – is the Royal Navy’s main presence in Scotland. It is home to the core of the Submarine Service, including the nation’s nuclear deterrent, and the new generation of hunter-killer submarines. More than 6,500 civilians and Service personnel are employed on the site. HMNB Clyde provides a base port to the ships and submarines of the Faslane Flotilla (FASFLOT) and supports dozens of other visiting vessels each year.