Thursday, May 24, 2012
Eve of independence launch blow for Alex Salmond and SNP, unofficial opinion poll among Scottish soldiers say they would stay with the British Army
If Scotland votes for independence then one of the critical issues for the country will be defence.
Defence is a reserved issue and the Scottish National Party is lacking in how the defence of Scotland would be conducted.
The prime example of this lack of objectivity is that recently they were shown not to have a plan but instead decided to use someone else’s ideas.
The consequence of that embarrassing episode shows how unprepared the Scottish National Party is to led an independent nation.
And of course if further proof is needed, the Westminster results speak for themselves.
As recent as 2010, the SNP could only manage to send 6 MPs to Westminster.
Voters are voting differently, as the SNP has carved a niche in their sticking up for Scotland, they are firmly rejected when it comes to international matters.
If Scotland was to be independent a think tank has stated that Scotland's defence forces would not be at full strength for a generation.
Malcolm Chalmers, from the Royal United Services Institute, suggested it would take 20 or 30 years to get Scottish defence forces up to "ideal" levels.
The problem the SNP has and which Hew Strachan, from Oxford University articulates is that an independent Scotland would struggle to keep its infantry battalions up to strength.
He opines that ordinary working class Scots would "vote with their feet" and join the British Army instead for better career prospects.
Would the British Army offer better career prospects?
The British Army has a vast range of career opportunities, and with the SNP saying that they will go with a single brigade it is only natural that soldiers will consider what is in their and their family’s best interests.
After independence the Scottish Government would try and persuade Scottish Regiments to join the new Scottish defence forces.
An unofficial opinion poll among soldiers revealed the majority had said they would stay with the British Armed Forces.
The reasons are complex but the bottom line is that the Scottish National Party has nothing to say to these working class soldiers that they want to hear.
And who could forget Govan SNP Organiser Tommy Ball who branded British Army soldiers as ‘child killers’ and ‘uneducated racist thugs’.
Tommy Ball still has a lot of friends in the Scottish National Party at various levels.
If there is a case for not joining the Scottish Defence Forces, it’s Tommy Ball and his nasty little ilk.
This means effectively the SNP would have to start from scratch, some people would transfer over but the numbers would be so small to make them combat ineffective.
On one point I disagree with the defence experts, Scotland wouldn’t get drawn into a conflict with Russia in the Arctic, the country is too small for military adventures, doesn’t have the resources or manpower for anything other than a limited conventional defensive action on home soil.
The SNP has been anti NATO for 30 years, the organisation is the cornerstone of Western defence; recently Alex Salmond signal there might be a shift in the backward looking policy which was to be debated by the SNP National Assembly.
That has now been cancelled and replaced by a debate at the next SNP Conference.
So as well as the poll showing that the soldiers would stay with the British Armed Forces, the republican element of the SNP doesn’t want the cloak of the NATO umbrella.
These people I call the ‘Sein Fein lite’ members of the party.
It seems that the obstacles to independence are mounting and so far the SNP hasn’t produced a credible strategy to deal with these problems.
The SNP are not ready for independence and not ready to even defend Scotland or even take the necessary step of joining NATO.
Can’t even agree on joining NATO or see the sense in it.
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University