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Scotland would be a far safer place out of Nato than within it

Published on 27 August 2012

THE reported opinion poll question commissioned by Angus Robertson was "Would Scotland be safer by remaining part of Nato" ("SNP leaders hit back at critics of Nato u-turn plan", The Herald, August 25)?

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The implication of this question is that an independent Scotland would face some military threat. What evidence is there for this? State-on-state attacks are very rare if you discount the ones Nato members have initiated. The rights to our marine resources are regulated by international law. We are likely to be safer from terrorism outside Nato than in and, in any case, this is essentially a policing issue.

So why did Mr Robertson ask this question, especially since it creates a potential problem for the SNP? The proposed policy change states that if Nato membership precluded the early disarming of Trident, Scotland should not be a member. Does that mean Scotland would be any less safe? Why didn't he use his Westminster funds to ask such very relevant questions as: "Do you think Nato's Afghan war has made Scotland safer?" or "Do you think Scotland would be safer in an organisation based on weapons of mass civilian annihilation?"

Isobel Lindsay,

9 Knocklea Place, Biggar.

I'M afraid Angus Robertson's historical references to the removal of American nuclear weapons from Greece and Canada are dodgy.

The removal of tactical nuclear weapons from Canada was more to do with obsolescence than the will of the Canadian people to see them removed. Although more than 60% of Canadians live in areas that local politicians have campaigned to declare nuclear-free, Canada allows testing of nuclear weapon delivery systems, nuclear weapon-carrying vessels are permitted to visit Canadian ports and aircraft carrying nuclear warheads are permitted to fly in Canadian airspace.

Turning to Greece, the US unilaterally took away (actually put into storage) the nuclear-tipped Nike-Hercules Missiles from the Greek air force because of a heightening of tensions between Turkey and Greece.

The decision infuriated and humiliated the Greek Government, which saw it as another example of the US giving primacy to Turkish interests.

The Greek Government appeared to take the huff with Nato and withdrew from the military command structure for six years. I say appeared to, because withdrawal from the command structure is one of the many options in Nato's sophisticated diplomatic toolbox designed to lull public opinion while continuing with business as usual.

If Scotland were to opt for Nato membership and then, after an appropriate period of foot-dragging, we were told that Trident would be with us until decommissioning in the mid 21st century, a humiliated Defence Secretary Angus Robertson might defiantly declare that Scotland, while remaining in Nato, withdraws from Nato's command structure, for a while at least.

Bill Ramsay,

Organiser, SNP CND,

84 Albert Avenue,Glasgow.

WE should contemplate the oft-repeated claim that Norway is both a non-nuclear state and a member of Nato.

Bodo Main Air Station is the principal base of the Royal Norwegian Air Force. According to Wikipedia: "During the cold war the Norwegian Government did not allow placement of nuclear weapons in the kingdom during peace, but Bodo Main Air Station had specially-built storage to receive nuclear weapons for storage in a war or during a crisis."

The Royal Norwegian Air Force would have had a role to play in the delivery of these weapons.

The key issue is not where nuclear weapons are stored and maintained in peace but the locations to which these weapons are dispersed in a crisis, and the manner of delivery.

In such circumstances describing Norway as a non-nuclear state is misleading. The SNP will not be willingly entrusted with my defence.

William Durward,

20 South Erskine Park, Bearsden.

IT'S nice to see that Richard Mowbray (Letters, August 25) has moved his attitude to an independent Scotland from consistent negativity to admitting that Scotland has a "legally rightful" claim to 80% of the oil and gas revenues and would prosper after independence. He is of course right to focus on the economy. It is extremely important to our future prosperity as an independent nation.

The numbers that matter come from the Government Expenditure and Revenue in Scotland (Gers) statistics. Here we see that for 2010, the latest year available, Scotland's 8.4% share of the UK population contributed 9.6% of UK revenues and benefited from only 9.3% of total expenditure by the UK Government. The argument that Scotland needs more expenditure because our population is more dispersed is true, but that's not the only reason we spend more. It is to our credit that we spend more on our NHS and on caring for our old people than elsewhere in the UK. When we get rid of Trident we shall improve our financial position even further.

As Richard Mowbray rightly asserts, the UK is awash with debt and is continuing to borrow £130bn per year to stay afloat. Does he really want Scottish people to go on being further burdened by this crippling debt being heaped upon us by the London Government? Let us ring our own till, pay our own bills and stand on our own two feet.

Dr Willie Wilson,

7 Gallowhill Road, Lenzie.

ALEX Salmond's call for a break-up of the BBC is surely inappropriate when one considers the Scottish contribution to the corporation since its foundation in 1922 ("Salmond: My vision for TV in Scotland", The Herald, August 25) .

The names of John Reith, Jeremy Isaacs, Alasdair Milne – together with those of a whole host of Scottish actors, performers, journalists and commentators – surely suggest that parochialism bids fair to diminish the reputation and output of one of the world's foremost broadcasters of quality programming.

As with many other Scottish endeavours within a British context, we forget the synergy of four nations working together at our considerable peril.

Dr Brian D Keighley,

Hector Cottage, Banker's Brae, Balfron.

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