Ian Bell is clearly disgusted by the SNP's move to back-track on its long-held policy that an independent Scotland would pull out of Nato (Nato-powered independence?

No thanks, Comment, August 12). I disagree with him about Nato's policy on nuclear weapons and can understand why he feels let down by this U-turn, but he should have seen it coming.

The SNP now wants to keep the Queen as head of state, and presumably of our armed forces. It wants to keep the pound sterling, which means that much of Scotland's economic framework would be determined by the Bank of England. And Alex Salmond and defence spokesman Angus Robertson now want to keep Scotland in Nato, which would mean accepting the decisions of that organisation. Clearly, that might include keeping the nuclear submarine base at Faslane. The Nationalist vision of independence has been transformed into something remarkably like devo max, and the sooner they own up to that, the sooner we can get on with a sensible debate.

Loading article content

Doug Maughan


Some 40 years ago, I was convener of the SNP's External Affairs Policy Committee and a member of its Defence Policy Committee, I was partly responsible for the SNP's current policy on Nato. I was also a personal friend of the late Billy Wolfe (Billy Wolfe would turn in his grave, Letters, August 12).

When I was invited to speak about the SNP's defence policy at a conference of Scandinavian defence experts at Aberdeen University, I compared the Norwegian position (Nato membership but no nuclear weapons in Norwegian territory) with the Swedish position (no membership of Nato and no nuclear weapons but effective conventional provision for defence). For me, either position could be a model for Scottish defence policy. It was then and still is relevant to consider whether opposition to Nato membership could lead to American as well as UK opposition to Scottish independence. In the run-up to independence might we be at risk of attack by the CIA as well as by UK "dirty tricks" – whatever they are currently called?

David Stevenson