A BIG issue in the referendum debate will be how an independent Scotland could defend itself without recourse to British armed forces.
Other questions are emerging: why should a devolved Scotland pay astronomical amounts of taxpayers' money to fund a financially incompetent Ministry of Defence? And with the incredible shrinking British army, navy and air force, how safe is the defence of Scotland in Westminster hands?
We certainly will be short of our own soldiers as the Scottish regiments face further cuts. Hundreds of battle-hardened officers and soldiers will be made redundant, assuming they are not taken out first by the Taliban. The way it's going, the average fighting unit will be a handful of squaddies, a bagpiper, and a bloke holding the regimental goat. If the budgets extends to goats.
It's not just sacking experienced soldiers. The MoD has been busy flogging off perfectly good kit at eBay prices. Like the Harrier jets with many spare parts which cost billions but were sold to the US Marine Corps for £110m. As one US defence expert said of the deal: "It's like we're buying a car with maybe 15,000 miles on it."
My preference would be for Scotland not to have an army. Geopolitics sadly do not run according to a John Lennon song.
Anyway, many Scots like to be in the army and are skilled at fighting other people's battles. You never know when we might need a battalion of scary Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders to fight our corner, so let's have Scottish armed forces. We would be part of Nato but in reality sub-contracted to the US military, just like Britain is these days. We can deal directly with Washington rather than via London.
This may upset my CND chums but the English Royal Navy should be allowed to keep its Trident base on the Clyde in return for a huge rent. We might as well have the American submarines and supply ships back in the Holy Loch. Dunoon has been awfy quiet and the women of Greenock pining since the Yanks left.
So, how would an independent Scotland defend itself against invasion? Like most other small countries we would have to rely on help from Nato, the United Nations, or the US.
Or just paint ourselves in woad and be ungovernable by any occupying force.
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