Monday, 12 October 2009

Defence - the worthy thoughts of Macleod and Cochrane


Following the pompous Angus Roberton making an erse of himself and his party over their non-defence non-policy, I was impressed by the thoughts of the Times' Angus Mcleod:

SNP blueprint for English military bases to stay in independent Scotland ‘a fantasy’

"Defence has always been the SNP’s Achilles’ heel. The party has never been able to square the desire to leave the United Kingdom with the expense of providing an independent Scotland’s defence requirements.

Even then, they have tied themselves in knots explaining why an independent Scotland would need an Army, Navy and Air Force in any case and how exactly these soldiers, sailors and airmen would be equipped.

Neither has the party ever adequately explained how they would meet the social and employment cost of closing these bases they do not want to see in Scotland. It is an inescapable fact that the Trident nuclear submarine base on the Clyde employs, directly and indirectly, thousands of people and provides a key part of the economic backbone of a good part of West-Central Scotland.

Now, we learn from Angus Robertson, the party’s defence spokesman, that while Trident would go, the SNP’s latest thinking on defence would see other UK military bases in stay. So an independent Scotland which, according to the SNP, would not be a member of Nato would play host to the forces of a country which would very much be a part of Nato. It is a strange ambition to want to see your newly independent country reduced to the status of a base for another country’s forces. Not exactly Braveheart.

But the Robertson doctrine should not be seen in isolation. It comes after recent SNP policy documents that have envisaged Scots in an independent Scotland having shared citizenship with, we presume, what what is left of Britain: shared Scottish/British embassies abroad; a Scottish Broadcasting Corporation which would access programmes from what is left of the BBC at no extra cost; even a shared monarchy. The only thing this financially independent Scotland would not share would be the revenues from North Sea oil.

It’s all to do with the SNP’s new mantra of a “social union” between Scotland and England. The old notion of independence where brave little Scotland would go its own way and for which generations of nationalists campaigned is dead. Long Live the Social Union is the new cry.

In all this no one in the SNP has shown the English the courtesy of asking their opinion. Why would the rest of the UK, free of turbulent Scots, want to share anything with a country that had turned its back on them. Perhaps the SNP know that they wouldn’t like the answer."

And then we turn to the inestimable Alan Cochrane in the Telegraph:

With military thinkers like Angus Robertson, who needs enemies?

"Arguably the daftest aspect of the SNP’s policy portfolio has always been its attitude to defence. How to disentangle an independent Scotland, which they say should be non-nuclear and non-Nato, from one of the world’s leading military powers — which in spite of everything is what the UK still is — has always been a huge imponderable for the Nats.

However, as we head for their annual conference in Inverness, they have tried to find a way out of this difficulty. In doing so, they have come up with an even bigger load of nonsense. It should come as no surprise that they have managed to make things worse — the man they charged with finding a way out of this particular hole has been happily digging them deeper into the mire for years.

I refer, of course, to Angus Robertson, the MP for Moray, who rejoices in the twin titles of SNP defence spokesman and leader of the party’s seven Westminster MPs. Given that he has the major UK airbases of Kinloss and Lossiemouth in his constituency, Mr Robertson prides himself on his expertise in all matters pertaining to the defence of the realm, even if this interest is conditioned by his desire to hold the seat.

We are well used to Mr Robertson’s pompous declarations on military matters, but he has excelled himself with his latest pronouncements. I have often asked the Nats what they would do with those bases — Kinloss and “Lossie” included — currently dotted all over Scotland. They are home to elements of the Armed Forces of the United Kingdom, almost all of which the SNP says it would retain.

What would an independent Scotland do with all that military hardware? Were they planning to wage war against someone? For several years, there has come no answer. Until yesterday … Mr Robertson says the bases can indeed stay and the English can continue to use them, presumably on a rental basis. Only the Trident submarine base at Faslane on the Clyde would be booted out. An accommodating SNP government in an independent Scotland would allow its English, warmonger, next-door neighbours to continue to use their current homes.

There is no reason, says this latter-day Clausewitz, why Scotland and England couldn’t remain as “friends and allies”. No reason? I can think of lots. For one — why would the rest of the UK wish to reward Scotland, which wanted nothing to do with Nato and a united defence posture and wanted to pick and choose which bases it would allow on its soil, by stationing its servicemen and women here?

Mr Roberston added that it would be “perfectly possible” for the two countries to “share basing, procurement and training facilities”. He is clutching desperately — and ludicrously — at straws because he knows full well the effect losing all UK bases would have on Scotland’s economy, never mind its defence. If we are to have bases such as RAF Leuchars, as well as Kinloss and “Lossie”, won’t they remain targets for potential enemies, just as they are now?

Des Browne, the former Labour defence secretary, delivered a withering analysis of Lance Corporal Robertson’s plans last night, suggesting that they must have been drawn up on the back of an envelope. He added that the Nats “seem to want Scotland to be just a big military base for the remainder of the UK”, adding that in the absence of any idea of how to defend Scotland, “they simply want the rest of the UK to do it for them”.

They may have convinced the voters that they can govern reasonably competently but can only watch in despair as support for independence remains resolutely stuck at about one third or less. As a result, they try every trick to win the rest of us around.

They have accepted that they must keep the Queen. They have now agreed that we can individually choose which nationality we will be after independence — Scottish or British. And now they are admitting that they need the bulk of the bases. Why don’t they just admit defeat and say we might as well stay as we are? Better that, surely, than any more of this hokum from Angus Robertson."

Quite.

60 comments:

Jeanne Tomlin said...

Oh, amazing! You mean the UK has NO bases in other countries. Now, that's funny. I would have sworn that they did.

Well, the US does so I'm sure they'll be happy enough to take Scotland up on the offer. I agree that it's a better idea to tell England to bugger off.

sm753 said...

Er, Jeanne.

Overseas bases are very expensive. That is why countries have as few of them as they can.

Especially where the costs of those bases are in a different currency.

Why on earth would a country pay rental for a base, and have its defence people living and spending in a foreign country, if it didn't have a solid defence reason for that to happen?

This is why there is no longer such a thing as a UK presence East of Suez, or RAF Germany. Why the British Army of the Rhine is now the much smaller British Forces Germany (which is partially subsidised by the German government).

So if, following Scottish "independence", the rest of the UK found it could it meet its defence needs by moving the subs to Devonport, the Nimrods to St Mawgan and Aldergrove, and the Tornados and Typhoons to Boulmer and Leeming, it would do so PDQ.

Welcome, BTW.

Indy said...

The Achilles heel of the SNP on defence has been the perception that we have an isolationist defence poliocy. That is what this policy is designed to address and is a precursor to shifting policy on NATO as well.

What we can expect to see is people like Smee and co moving from their position of condemning the SNP for being isolationist to condemning the SNP for not being isolationist.

E.g. who do the SNP think they are offering to allow the rest of the UK to maintain military bases in Scotland after Scotland becomes independent? They can just think again because England is going to be in such a huff with Scotland that they probably won't even be talking to them and might even smack those nasty Scots about the head with their handbags.

Similarly, how dare the SNP decide that an independent Scotland can join NATO? NATO won't have them because they will be in such a huff with them for becoming independent that they probably won't even be talking to them and might even smack those nasty Scots about the head with their handbags.

Etc.

So the SNP lose the isolationist tag and unionists gain the tag of petulant brats.

Simples.

Alec said...

What a rude, ignorant person Jeanne is. The principle reason for military establishments being in Scotland is not an inherent stragegical necessity... it's 'cos Scotland is part of the UK, and there is a concept known as co-operation.

Shame textbook psychopaths - in the sense of acting for purely selfish reasons, to unable to comprehend that others may not - can't grasp this basic concept of human co-operation.

>> Similarly, how dare the SNP decide that an independent Scotland can join NATO? NATO won't have them because they will be in [...]

NATO may not have 'em 'cos of dissent from the likes of Spain and Turkey, and even Italy, who have their own separatist movements. This is the whole swan-into-the-EU-thing all over again.

sm753 said...

Indy

"The Achilles heel of the SNP on defence has been the perception that we have an isolationist defence poliocy. That is what this policy is designed to address and is a precursor to shifting policy on NATO as well."

Oh, so the "principled" anti-nuclear stance has been nothing but a tactical ploy?

How interesting.

"who do the SNP think they are offering to allow the rest of the UK to maintain military bases in Scotland after Scotland becomes independent? They can just think again because England is going to be in such a huff"

No, the rest of the UK will think very hard before spending any of its precious defence £s in a foreign country.

The Treasury will say things like this:

"So, RAF, you say we need north-facing air defence. Do you really need to base two squadrons plus an OCU at Leuchars? Can't the bulk of those live at, say, Boulmer, with just a minimum detachment rotating forward as needed?

In fact, do we need anything permanently based in Jockistan at all? Wouldn't overflight rights be enough?"

Got it?

"Similarly, how dare the SNP decide that an independent Scotland can join NATO? NATO won't have them because they will be in such a huff"

First, NATO decides who can join it. They'd be happy to have Scotland, provided it signed up to the club rules.

Know what those are?

http://www.nato.int/cps/en/natolive/official_texts_17120.htm

Article 5

"The Parties agree that an armed attack against one or more of them in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all..."

http://www.nato.int/docu/handbook/2006/hb-en-2006/Part2.pdf

"CHAPTER 5
NUCLEAR POLICY
NATO’s nuclear strategy and force posture are inseparable elements of
the Alliance’s overall strategy of war prevention."

I really look forward to any policy "revision" which lines up the SNP with those two.

Face it - your "policy" is a futile attempt to bridge the gap between your neutralists who don't want any defence spending at all, and those who want to win votes and protect jobs by maintaining a militarily pointless highly-manned but poorly-equipped "defence force" of some sort.

Alec said...

It always is a giggle watching Indy attempting to deny that the Fish-heid doesn't head a group of over-ruly teenagers who just *know* how much better they could run the spare-room if only their parents gave them enough pockey-money.

>> Oh, so the "principled" anti-nuclear stance has been nothing but a tactical ploy?

Quite likely. This is, after all, the state-funded political protest group which welcomed the Khomenists to Edinburgh declaring Holyrood and Westminster have different foreign policies. Quite apart from the fact that Tehran definitely is pursuing a civil nuclear programme, which the Snuppies don't think is in our interest; and that Holyrood doesn't have a foreign policy at all; quite apart from that, Salmond is a duplicitous little racial arsonists, ain't he?

>> Know what those are? [...] Article 5

That would be a comfort to the Kosovar Albanians, considering that as they weren't part of Nato in 1999, Salmond wasn't breaching Nato rules when he opposed their liberation.

Wardog said...

HEADLINE: POMPOUS KETTLE CALLS POT POMPOUS

Alec said...

Wardog, d'you ever have a point.

This is a blog run by a hobbyist. Robertson is a highly remunerated elected politician in a party supposedly trying both to govern and demonstrated its ability for further influence (minus the responsibility, of course).

Indy said...

What are you talking about Smee? You go from discussing an independent Scotland allowing the UK military access to Scottish territory to suggesting that the SNP's anti-nuclear stance is a tactical ploy.

Surely even you do not believe that.

Everyone knows that the SNP is against nuclear weapons and will not allow nuclear weapons in Scotland's land, sea or air space if we form the government of an independent Scotland.

That is not negotiable. Everything else is.

If NATO wishes Scotland to be a member then I believe we should consider that, given the terms and conditions that I have already laid out i.e. no nukes.

If the UK wishes to maintain some defence involvement with Scotland then, again, that is something I think we should allow, subject to the same terms and conditions.

Simples.

Re the defence "jobs" argument - this really is utter nonsense. Defence jobs in Scotlsnd have been decimated already. The argument that we must remain in the UK to protect defence jobs will not wash any more.

The argument that the SNP is isolationist might wash however (which is why the unionist parties use it) which is why we can now answer it by pointing out that we are quite willing to cooperate with the UK and with the EU and possibly NATO as long as we can maintain a nuclear veto.

Given that the majority of Scots also oppose nuclear weapons in Scotland that is the mainstream position. It is the Tories and to a lesser extent Labout who are out of step with mainstream Scottish opinion, not the SNP. That's why we are in government and you are not.

Toodle pip.

Alec said...

Indy, stop bullshitting. Whether an independent Scotland would wish to, or be able to, join NATO is not the question.

With Internet threads, the question is whatever the subject material concerns, or questions which could reasonably be extrapolated therefrom. In this case, it's Robertson and his party's belief that an independent Scotland could continue to avail itself of any financial/economic benefit the British would offer, whilst playing at being independent.

No-one is denying that the SNP has claimed to be opposed to nuclear weapons, but the belief that it could retain the benefits (at someone else's expense) of the British military which carries a nuclear arsenal, but not host nuclear weapons is nimbyism of the most disreputable.

The idea that it could fleece the British military, at least three of whose last four major engagements [1] it opposed (whilst throwing in its lot with a bunch of reactionary, religious thugs in Tehran), shows just how little it cares for either side in the relevant conflicts.

Sorry if I'm a bit tetchie... I've just seen Jeremy "I Never Have Met a Terrorist I Didn't Like" Corbyn on Parliament Today claim Afghanistan had no popular support. That power-worshipper always tips me towards a murderous fury.

[1] Dunno what it's position on Operation Pallister was, but I wouldn't be at all surprised if it involved telling the Sierra Leoneans to take a running-jump so Salmond could carry on eating the pies.

Indy said...

But Alec I am referring to the article.

Angus MacLeod says that defence is the SNP’s Achilles heel – I am actually agreeing with that because it has been easy for unionists to portray the SNP as isolationist, as though we actually do want to dig a trench across the border. That is a misrepresentation of the position but it has proved an effective attack.

It is important for us to neutralise that and that is what Angus Robertson is doing. We are offering to allow the UK to continue to use Scottish facilities if they wish to. We are showing willing to cooperate.

Where Angus MacLeod goes wrong is what he identifies as the SNP’s Achilles Heel - he claims that the SNP has never been able to square the desire to leave the United Kingdom with the expense of providing an independent Scotland’s defence requirements.

That is not the case. As Angus Robertson can demonstrate, Scottish taxpayers pay more into the MoD than they get back. With independence this would no longer be the case as all defence spending would be Scottish based and we would be able to charge the UK MoD if they wished to use Scottish facilities or to use Scotland for exercises like flying practice. If they don’t want to it doesn’t really matter. The point is that we are making the offer.

Wardog said...

Alec.....

" a rude, ignorant person "

"textbook psychopath"

"unable to comprehend"

"can't grasp this basic concept"

"This is a blog run by a hobbyist"


Oh Lordy!

I really couldn't have said it better myself.

Wardog said...

"This is a blog run by a hobbyist"

Indeed, he's often on his hobby horse.

ha ha ha ha ha ha - genius

Wardog said...

How much longer do you think the Uk can afford this level of defence spending Smee?

Isn't it the elephant in the room with the deficit?

Alec said...

Stop talking bollocks, Indy. I've no doubt explained before that the concept of a troll involves seizing on one individual point, of varying importance, and running with it to the total exclusion of all others.

Whatever else the article said, Robertson *has* said that he would like to see an independent Scotland graciously accept British money for rent on named sites, while maintaining a self-righteously anti-nuclear line. Well, sorry, the British military would remain a nuclear power and engaged in conflicts which the SNP is axiomically opposed to.

This ain't no Harry Pollitt.

I honestly don't know how much, per capita, rates payers in Scotland contribute towards defence spending, and don't intend to check. There will be, in fact there are other areas in which Holyrood receives a net benefit.

sm753 said...

Indy

Oh dear, it is a bit embarrassing when I start having to correct you on your own party's manifesto.

http://www.snp.org/system/files/SNP_manifesto_2005.pdf

"The SNP reaffirms that no nuclear weapons will be based on independent Scottish soil. An SNP
government will not be part of a nuclear-based commitment such as NATO."

Current SNP policy is not just anti-nuclear, it is anti-NATO.

YOU suggested that might be up for change, not me.

Your notion that NATO might "wish" Scotland to be a member is laughable. That's not how it works. Countries apply to join NATO. If they want to get in, they have to sign up to the club rules - i.e. mutual defence which means something, and an acceptance that that mutual defence includes nukes.

And the idea that Scotland somehow doesn't get value for money out of defence spending is ludicrous. You don't pay for defence on the basis that you get that money spent in your home patch.

You pay the money for defence. It doesn't matter whether the provision of that defence happens where you live, a few hundred miles away, at sea or in orbit, for that matter.

You're doing a grand job demonstrating the total inability of the SNP to address grown-up issues like defence.

Keep it up.

Can't wait for the "policy" "paper".

Why has it been delayed?

sm753 said...

Muttley

I'm refraining from deleting some of your more inane yappings, so in return perhaps you could entertains us with your ideas of a defence force structure for an "independent" Scotland.

Can you let us know how many FJs, MPAs, ME transports, MBTs, FF/DDs, SSKs and so on you would plan to have?

Or are you just one of the despicable "do-an-Ireland" free-riders?

Let us know.

Wardog said...

"Can you let us know how many FJs, MPAs, ME transports, MBTs, FF/DDs, SSKs and so on you would plan to have?"

oooo, you must be such an interesting bloke to wake up next too.

Once again your argument relies on the 'too small, too poor' line of enquiry, haven't you learned anything from AM2?

But here's the short answer, we'll have 10% of what the UK currently has., plus two of the bets shipyards in the islands.

What we won't have is a nuclear arsenal sitting 40 miles along the coast from George Square.

Now a question for you, who are we pointing our nukes at?

Wardog said...

"Current SNP policy is not just anti-nuclear, it is anti-NATO."

That isn't quite correct, it's been over a decade since it was discussed and NATO has transformed in that time to have tiers of non-nuclear members.

I expect the SNP will decide to join the non-nuclear arm of NATO if they make up the first Government of an independent Scotland.

Alec said...

I've meant to ask, Smeegle, who is that doleful individual in your profile pic?

>> I expect the SNP will decide to join the non-nuclear arm of NATO if they make up the first Government of an independent Scotland.

Thank you, and good night.

sm753 said...

Muttley

"That isn't quite correct, it's been over a decade since it was discussed and NATO has transformed in that time to have tiers of non-nuclear members."

No, it hasn't.

I provided a link to the latest version of the NATO Handbook, dated 2006.

Let me repeat, since you seem to be hard of thinking:

http://www.nato.int/docu/handbook/2006/hb-en-2006/Part2.pdf

"CHAPTER 5
NUCLEAR POLICY
NATO’s nuclear strategy and force posture are inseparable elements of
the Alliance’s overall strategy of war prevention."

Please let us know which part of "inseparable" you don't understand.

Alec said...

Smeegle, Muttley's position is that what matters is that there are no nuclear weapons *on* *Scottish* *soil*.

In Devonport, or Iran... so what? Clean hands.

Wardog said...

Oh dear Smee, you've made a right fool of yourself again.

In the first instance, NATO's nuclear sharing violatess Articles I and II of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), which prohibit the transfer and acceptance, respectively, of direct or indirect control over nuclear weapons.

An independent Scotland accepting another's nulcear weapons would be a breech of the NPT.

Once again your 1980's view of world leaves the tanks parked on the grass.

Norway a founding member of Nato is a non-nuclear weapons state, as is Germany. A world free of nuclear weapons has been a longstanding objective of Norway’s foreign policy.

The deterrent role of nuclear weapons is actively being discussed in NATO. Germany and Norway have sought to foster a candid discussion of this question in the Alliance.

We don't live in a reagan world of cold politics anymore, America doesn't get to plant it's bombs in Europe without popular consent.

I think they call it democracy, it tends to supersede 'NATO'......

And then lastly we have the bilateral reduction in nuclear arsenal across the board as signalled by Barrack Obama, the UK's own arsenal is laughable when compared to these. Th UK resembles a very noise mouse on the world stage.

Wardog said...

Cochrane and Macleod, what a hoot.

Are you aware of just how right wing you are?

sm753 said...

Alec

"Smeegle, Muttley's position is that what matters is that there are no nuclear weapons *on* *Scottish* *soil*."

Not relevant. That is not the position of Muttley and Indy's beloved SNP.

sm753 said...

Muttley

"In the first instance, NATO's nuclear sharing violatess Articles I and II of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), which prohibit the transfer and acceptance, respectively, of direct or indirect control over nuclear weapons."

This is hilarious. No, it doesn't, because the Atlantic Treaty does not involve the *transfer* of control of weapons.

But the opinions of you and I don't really matter. NATO's only been there since 1949, there's been plenty of time for any interested parties to go to the courts and test whether its provisions are valid. Haven't noticed it happening.

"An independent Scotland accepting another's nulcear weapons would be a breech of the NPT.

...Norway a founding member of Nato is a non-nuclear weapons state, as is Germany. "

Drivel. Joining NATO would not require Scotland to "accept" nuclear weapons, just as it does not force Norway to do so.

It does, however, force Norway to accept, acknowledge and proclaim that the threat - or even use - of nuclear weapons by NATO is part of its defence policy. The same would apply to "independent" Scotland, which is why the SNP could not join it. (Unless their current policy is a tactical lie, as Indy has suggested, of course.)

Germany, by the way, did accept short-range tactical nuclear missiles during the Cold War under a dual-key arrangement with the US.

Wardog said...

"Germany, by the way, did accept short-range tactical nuclear missiles during the Cold War under a dual-key arrangement with the US."

You mean when the states effectively ran the show.

Belgium and Germany called for the withdrawal of nuclear weapons from their states’ territories in April 2005. On 15 July 2005, the Belgian Parliament adopted a second resolution external link calling for the removal of NATO weapons from Belgium.

You see you seem to have missed the point completely, Norway's long stated foreign policy is for a nuclear free future, that hasn't prohibited them practically or politically being part of NATO and furthering the non-nuclear stance. of the alliance.

Belgium and Germany wish to establish nuc;lear free zones yet still be part of NATO.

The non-nuclear NATO members have already established regional nuclear-weapons-free zones as an important contribution to achieving the zero option

With the new U.S. Administration there is a momentum to move the disarmament process forward. Obama has just scrapped the eastern missile defence program.

You fail to understand the changes that have undergone and indeed are still going on in NATO.

Norway does not accept, acknowledge and proclaim that the threat - or even use - of nuclear weapons by NATO is part of its defence policy, you are assuming that by it's membership in NATO.

Imagine an independent Scotland within NATO pushing for disarmament and declaring itself a nuclear free zone.

Wonderful.

PS During the past 10 years, members of the NPT have repeatedly voiced their opposition to your line of argument, saying that most states were not informed about nuclear sharing when the NPT was negotiated. At the 1995 NPT Review and Extension Conference, states parties for the first time proclaimed nuclear sharing a violation of Articles I and II of the NPT. NATO as well as non-NATO members pushed for clarification on the compliance issue, but did not achieve a breakthrough. Even though parties continued to press for language at subsequent NPT meetings, the Review Conference in May 2005 did not see further progress on this matter.

NATO members have under the NPT is to make systematic efforts towards disarmament.

It is entirely compatible to be vehemently against nuclear weapons yet still be part of NATO.

sm753 said...

Muttley

Which parallel universe is your brain cell inhabiting at the moment?

Read it in black and white:

http://www.nato.int/docu/handbook/2006/hb-en-2006/Part2.pdf

"CHAPTER 5
NUCLEAR POLICY
NATO’s nuclear strategy and force posture are inseparable elements of
the Alliance’s overall strategy of war prevention.

...

The collective security provided by NATO’s nuclear posture is shared
among all members of the Alliance, providing reassurance to any member that might otherwise feel vulnerable. The presence of US nuclear forces based in Europe and committed to NATO provides an essential political and military link between the European and North American members of the Alliance. At the same time, the participation of non-nuclear countries in the Alliance nuclear posture demonstrates Alliance solidarity, the common commitment of its member countries to maintaining their security and the widespread sharing among them of burdens and risks."

Note "ALL members of the Alliance".

If you sign up to NATO, you are signing up to nuclear weapons whether you choose to own them or host them yourself.

If you don't agree with that, you can't join. Period.

Alec said...

Can anyone think of a reason why, during the Cold War, reducing the presence of nuclear weapons on German soil would have been a good move?

sm753 said...

I can think of a couple of examples where both increasing and reducing the numbers of German-based nuclear weapons were good moves.

Different times, different circumstances, above all different correlations of forces.

You'll have to be more specific.

Observer said...

What bad tempered rants from the Unionists - led up by Angus MacLeod.

Nowhere in SNP policy does it say that we will be reliant on the UK's continued military presence - it's an offer.

Ditto with sharing Embassies etc, that would be more cost effective for whoever remains in the UK too.

Some people here seem to think that a divorce means you have to never speak again unless to row over the children. What a sad and bitter viewpoint. Where there is scope for co-operation and agreement you should agree to co-operate, and put previous arguments behind you. That is the grown up way of doing things.

It's quite clear that an independent Scotland will be anti-nuclear, because most Scots share that position. If that debars us from NATO then so be it, but I don't think it necessarily will do, any more than I think it is necessary to join NATO.

It is one of these things that will need to be negotiated and determined by the newly formed Scottish Government - whoever they may be.

And this is the 21C, again some people don't seem to have grasped that. Geopolitical reality has changed, and defence policies need to change with that.

I know who I trust to do that, and it ain't any Westminster Govt.

Just look at the fine mess they have got us into so far.

sm753 said...

Observer

"Nowhere in SNP policy does it say that we will be reliant on the UK's continued military presence - it's an offer. "

No, it's not just an "offer".

It's an attempt to deceive the Scottish public into thinking that all the spending & jobs supported by the current UK defence establishment in Scotland would just continue merrily along after "independence".

When in fact it is unlikely to happen, since the rest of the UK would be much less inclined to spend £s in a foreign country, and would be under pressure not to "share and co-operate" with a neutralist non-member of NATO.

But hey, since you think "Afghanistan is about oil" in defiance of all the facts, how much is your opinion worth?

Observer said...

Smee you are, as usual, presenting your opinion as fact.

I think you'll find a rather large part of the world's population believe that the invasion of Afghanistan is about securing access to oil and gas from the Caspian.

Just as rather a large part of the world's population do not believe that nuclear weapons have any part to play in a sane Govts defence policy.

These are differences of opinion.

People have them.

There is no need to get nippy about it.

But my opinion is that the SNP are now exploring options for a post independent Scotland, to maximise co-operation. As we independanistas are supposed to be a bunch of swivel eyed English hating fanatical fascistic lunatics I can understand how confusing that must be for some people.

sm753 said...

"I think you'll find a rather large part of the world's population believe that the invasion of Afghanistan is about securing access to oil and gas from the Caspian."

Yes, and half of the world's population are of below average intelligence.

I don't think you fall into that category, but despite being given the extant facts and invited to make up your own mind, you still reach an irrational conclusion.

Curious.

Alec said...

Smeegle, it was a rhetorical point about nukes on German soil.

>> I think you'll find a rather large part of the world's population believe that the invasion of Afghanistan is about securing access to oil and gas from the Caspian.

Oh, I can't bear this any longer... are you honestly trying to tell me that the bulk of China and India's populations, which account for some 1/4 of the world's populations, have spent a fraction of the past seven years obsessing about the same war you have? Add to that the similar lack of concern in sub-Saharan Africa and the favelas and barios of South America, and I'm left with the inescapable opinion thats you're a twat.

Even in this country (with 1% of the world's population), many barely give it the time of day. But let's say a bunch of middle-class nobodies classify as "most" people, d'you have a link to suggest your assertion is correct.

Hint, don't give us this:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/world/west_asia/37021.stm

Wardog said...

"If you sign up to NATO, you are signing up to nuclear weapons whether you choose to own them or host them yourself."

Why does Norway do neither?

Your sinking smee, best go down with the ship like a good skipper.

Wardog said...

Alec..."you're a twat"

Shockaroonee

Wardog said...

"Oh, I can't bear this any longer... "

What's becoming very very evident is that without the inestimable AM2 to save your skins and present the 'reasoned' face of unionism, it sinks into a hawkish right wing mire of 'big defence' and cryto imperialism that when set against the recession is ludicrous.

Alec said...

Smee, can I ask why Wardog is permitted to post here? One third is this thread are by him.

Wardog said...

Thanks for noticing me Alec and your request to ban me.

Bit childish isn't it?

sm753 said...

Muttley

Read this very slowly.

It may help to put your finger in between the words as you read them.

Norway is a NATO member.

It is, therefore, fully signed up to the threat - or even use - of nuclear weapons by NATO.

http://www.nato.int/docu/handbook/2006/hb-en-2006/Part2.pdf

"CHAPTER 5
NUCLEAR POLICY
NATO’s nuclear strategy and force posture are inseparable elements of
the Alliance’s overall strategy of war prevention.

...

The collective security provided by NATO’s nuclear posture is shared
among all members of the Alliance, providing reassurance to any member that might otherwise feel vulnerable. The presence of US nuclear forces based in Europe and committed to NATO provides an essential political and military link between the European and North American members of the Alliance. At the same time, the participation of non-nuclear countries in the Alliance nuclear posture demonstrates Alliance solidarity, the common commitment of its member countries to maintaining their security and the widespread sharing among them of burdens and risks."

On the other hand, your beloved party's position is this:

http://www.snp.org/system/files/SNP_manifesto_2005.pdf

"An SNP government will not be part of a nuclear-based commitment such as NATO."

Even they understand that being part of NATO means signing up to nukes.

Why can't you?

sm753 said...

Alec

If Muttley wasn't posting here he'd be wandering the streets muttering to himself, drooling down his chin and upsetting passers-by.

Think of it as care in the community.

Alec said...

Care in the community, Smee?

>> Bit childish isn't it?

No. Why would it be?

Observer said...

That's rich Alec calls me a twat (another word for c@nt) and then asks why Wardog is permitted to post?

This blog is descending into a Scotsman like cess pit.

sm753 said...

Leaving aside the name-calling, any chance of some acceptance that:

a) NATO is explicitly a nuclear-weapons alliance;

b) Membership of which therefore requires acceptance of nuclear weapons as a defence option; and

c) "Independent" Scottish membership of NATO would thus require the SNP to abandon one of its most cherished and "principled" policy positions.

I won't hold my breath, I'm still waiting for a rebuttal of the point that EU membership for "independent" Scotland would cost us over £300m a year.

Alec said...

>> That's rich Alec calls me a twat (another word for c@nt) and then asks why Wardog is permitted to post?

Get over yourself. You've be hanging around the English too long if you think twat means the female pudenda.

I've explained to you before that squatting on the blog of someone whom you neither agree nor respect is plain bad manners. You tore onto this thread with sneering superiority at Smee, and are now greitin' about the nasty man calling you names.

>> This blog is descending into a Scotsman like cess pit.

And I'm the Queen of Sheba.

Wardog said...

Smee you seem to be having realy difficulty with this, try to understand that countries like Norway and Germany can remain members of NATO but vehemently opposed to Nuclear Weapons and actively engage in initiatives to get rid of them.

It really isn't that hard to understand.

Get it yet?




Alec, splendid, you've won imbecile of the year award down at the local pub, I hope you don't mind me entering you for the prize draw.

Observer said...

Excuse me Smee but I must respond (to Alec).

YOU are the one that squats on people's blogs and more than that, you obviously follow people's postings very carefully - that is particularly sad and lonely stuff to do.

If you want to have a debate that's fine, but you just sit there like some kind of giant toad hurling insults.

BTW although I may disagree with virtually everything that Smee has to say, that doesn't mean I don't respect his views, or his right, and the manner, in which he expresses them.


Now back on topic.

Does anybody actually know what would happen when Scotland becomes independent vis-a-vis NATO? I think the answer is no, and I suggest NATO doesn't either - but given the strategically important position that Scotland occupies I don't think they will be desperate to chuck us.

It's something that will need to be negotiated if and when the situation arises.

I think we all need to remember that we are all largely speculating here.

Alec said...

Observer, I ain't about to accept reproach for aggression from a composite passive aggressive such as yourself. You are talking mince about twats... even if it were meant as a reference to the female pudenda, it is not "another word" for a cnut. That, when used derogratorily, is meant as a grossly offensive term; whereas twat is on a par with wally.

(Not that I'd call you a cnut, as I think those are wonderful and interesting objects.)

Taking offence is, of course, a form of passive aggression. *Manufacturing* offence, as you have just done, is plain deceitful.

>> YOU are the one that squats on people's blogs and more than that, you obviously follow people's postings very carefully - that is particularly sad and lonely stuff to do.

You're a bit of a thickie, ain't you? Are you getting paid to post here? No. You're on this blog posting for the hell of it.

Furthermore, squatting refers to someone who has no other abode. I, at least, take the time to maintain my own blog. As far as I can see, you don't.

On the one hand, we have consecutive posts from Wardog, which are in majority jibes and sneers and personally specific put-downs. On the other hand, we have a four letter word from me which you have decided to redefine.

>> BTW although I may disagree with virtually everything that Smee has to say, that doesn't mean I don't respect his views, or his right, and the manner, in which he expresses them.

No, you consistently express a preening supercilious attitude. You don't show respect. Got that?

You're like the five year old who's crying 'cos she's been caught with her hand in the biscuit jar.

>> Now back on topic.

This coming from the poster who was blathering about a groundswell of world opinion over Afghanistan in a thread about Angus Robertson's burblings. (And hasn't responded to my interjection, I note.)

You couldn't make it up. But you just have.

Observer said...

Well thanks for the free psychoanalysis Toad, although if I have ever been supercilious towards Smee I can assure you it was unintentional.

You, however, I metaphorically and superciliously grind under my bootheel like a used fag end, which is just how much I rate you and your debating ability.

Alec said...

Observer, I cannot tell if you are a liar - knowingly making false-statements - or delusional - having convinced yourself that words become real simply 'cos you say them. Either way, attempting to refute accusations of passive aggression with barrel-scraping sarcasm isn't the sign of a competent debater: confused statements don't necessarily indicate a confused mind, but they often do.

You are becoming rattled. It wasn't meant to be like this, was it? You were supposed to scoff in Smee's face and have him show the courtesy and respect you weren't. You thought you were picking on someone your own size.

Your first remark here was, and I quote, "what bad tempered rants from the Unionists - led up by Angus MacLeod". You then implied your opinion of Smee with, "some people here seem to think that a divorce means you have to never speak again unless to row over the children. What a sad and bitter viewpoint".

Your first explicit remark towards him was, "smee you are, as usual, presenting your opinion as fact".

Is this the Billy Connolly form of respect? ("Don't you ever, ever, ever, ever do that again!!! Now, would you like some more?"; "Would a kick in the testicles be out of the question?")

>> You, however, I metaphorically and superciliously grind under my bootheel like a used fag end, which is just how much I rate you and your debating ability.

If one is going to adopt a voice on the Internet, why on earth choose Miranda Richardson as Queen Elizabeth? What you're doing ain't "debate"; it's polemicism, if even that.

Let's see how you've fared. You stated that:

[*] I referred to you as a term which could only mean the female pudenda. I did not;

[*] Twat, when used to refer to the female pudenda, carries the same level of abuse as cnut (when used as a term of abuse). It does not;

[*] I lead a sad and lonely life commenting on other people's blogs, whereas you lead a thrilling and exciting one doing so. Very much a "don't tell him, Pike!" moment;

[*] When I refer to others' past remarks, I am displaying stalking tendancies. When you do so, you're simply making an observation. Another DTHP moment;

[*] A gaggle of single-issue political cranks, who hang around blogs obsessing about a war which they barely made a dent in and which has been over for almost a decade, represent a goodly proportion of the world's population. When asked to elaborate, you pleaded that we return to the topic and hoped no-one noticed.

Is there no beginning to your talents?

sm753 said...

Muttley

"try to understand that countries like Norway and Germany can remain members of NATO but vehemently opposed to Nuclear Weapons"

No. Wrong. Please read the NATO Handbook again.

Then explain which part of this you don't understand:

http://www.snp.org/system/files/SNP_manifesto_2005.pdf

"An SNP government will not be part of a nuclear-based commitment such as NATO."

Get it?

Your beloved party recognises that NATO is a nuclear-armed alliance, but you're trying to argue different.

It's comedy taken to a sublime level.

I have tidied up some of the irrelevancies in this thread, BTW.

Wardog said...

Ah I can see your starting to realise your folly. You have no answer for Norway & Germany.

You refuse to accept thatNATO is a changed beast from the cold war days and that members of the alliance are actively 'winthin' seeking it's complete de-armament of it's nuclear arsenal.

That will always be your biggets weakness Smee, an inability to grasp the state of play and a luridlonging for the past, back then eh Smee, you were somebody.

Today you are nobody.

sm753 said...

Muttley

Your inability to acknowledge the content of current NATO and

---------->SNP<----------

documents is laughable, and very sad.

Wardog said...

You really must remove that tinfoil hat smee, apart from looking ludicrous it seems to be getting in the way of some pretty fundamental pinicipals.

You seem incapale of acknowledgeing the fact that NATO has reduced the number of weapons available for its sub-strategic forces in Europe by over 85% since 1991 and almost 95% since the height of the Cold War.

The further disarmament and realisation of a non-nuclear NATO is fast becoming a reality.

In 1996, the ICJ issued an advisory opinion on the legality of using the threat of nuclear weapons. In this opinion, which is although is not legally binding, has been the battering ram that Norway and germany have used to move NATO towards being a non-nuclear alliance, the Court concluded that:

"neither in customary nor conventional international law is there any specific authorization nor any comprehensive and universal prohibition of the threat of use or use of nuclear weapons; any threat or use of nuclear weapons that is contrary to Article 2, paragraph 4, of the UN Charter and that fails to meet Article 51 is unlawful."

The NATO ALliance itself has supported the creation of Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zones (NWFZs)

Generally, if all countries participating in the Zone have done so of their own free choosing and if other political and legal criteria are met.

Various non-nuclear NATO members have welcomed the establishment of such zones in Latin America, the South Pacific, and Africa.

Why would Scotland be any different?

Wardog said...

Oh, I see, your applaying the old unionist logic that an indednent scotland has to do eveything that Great Britian does.

Sorry Smee, your backside has bene skelped on this one, your cheeks are red raw.

sm753 said...

Yawn.

NATO's handbook says it is a nuclear alliance, and that that nuclear policy applies to all members.

The SNP manifesto accepts this and says that it would not join such a nuclear alliance.

Any reader of this blog can access the original documents using the links provided.

Which leaves you, Muttley, as a chump effectively claiming that black is in fact white. Blustering that it isn't so doesn't change that one iota.

Indy said...

I can't believe you can have so many comments on this. The NATO issue does not, in itself, matter. It is one of the things that will be negotiated and decided on at the time.

What matters is the way it is spun in the here and now in the run up to the election.

That's the politics of it which you guys don't seem to understand.

Re the spending issue - this is a totally dead duck for you unionists. Scotland does not benefit from UK defence spending. There is in fact a massive underspend. You can bet the SNP will go large with that one.

sm753 said...

I'm afraid the post count has been inflated by the usual repetitive, witless drivel from Muttley.

I think the NATO issue will matter. If the SNP is going to say - or will it only be "imply"? - that we can be anti-nuclear and in NATO, then they will be nailed as liars.

As for the spending side, your timing is comic.

New thread coming up, I think.

Misu said...

I really look forward to any policy "revision" which lines up the SNP with those two.Links of London