Latest scaremongering from the Too Poor To Be Apart camp is that a separate Scotland could not afford to look after its national security.
David Lidington, a Foreign Office minister, said an independent Scotland would face "enormous" costs to build sophisticated new spying and security facilities, and train its agents. Call me naïve but when the divorce comes, surely Scotland gets to keep about 10% of all the stuff the UK has acquired in the last three centuries?
We will need sophisticated computer equipment to guard against cyberterrorism, international terrorism, international organised crime and global instability produced by rogue states. So we send removal vans to GCHQ and other British secret service locations and collect the kit with our name on it.
We will need our own spies. But Scotland has never been short of dashingly handsome, daring and resourceful secret agents. Such as James Bond, Richard Hannay, and Lonely. I am sure 007 is prepared to leave his British paymasters and come to work at Sssh, as Scottish secret service headquarters will be known. Bond will bring his favourite Walther PPK gun. He will also be able to avail himself of interesting and unusual weaponry from the Scottish polis museum of confiscated chibs.
Younger readers may ask who is Richard Hannay. They should check out the film Thirty-Nine Steps where our hero does dangerous stuff on the Forth Bridge. In the new Scotland there will be three bridges over the Forth upon which spies can cavort.
Lonely is the smelly accomplice in the Callan TV series (see Google) but there would be substantial costs involved in giving him a wash and brush-up.
You may gather from this attempted levity that Scotland's role in the world of military intelligence is not high on my agenda of issues that are crucial to the independence debate. But if we have to get into the international surveillance business, Scotland would excel at it. All those bright young Scots in high-tech jobs in our own country or in Scottish embassies abroad.
On current levels of expenditure, it is an industry worth £200m a year to Scotland. This would increase as we sell information about Russia to the USA and vice-versa.
We will need to keep a close eye on what England, that rogue nation on our border, is up to.
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