Thursday, June 14, 2012

Alastair Darling preps up to launch YES UK Campaign at Napier University overlooking Edinburgh Castle, a real historic date in Scottish history

Dear All

All there is a train of thought going the rounds that an independence Scotland might have to surrender Faslane to the rest of the UK.

Defence is a serious issue in the independent debate.

So far there is no credible view being put forward by Yes Scotland on how Scotland will be defended other than lifting someone else’s work and saying effectively:

‘we’ll have that’!

Awhile ago the First Minister Alex Salmond was very vocal in stating that Scotland needed 3 airbases that the MoD was threatening with possible closure of one or more.

Now, it seems Alex Salmond has now backtracked and says Scotland needs only one, actually we do need 3 for operational issues.

Which two does he want to close?

And is the judgment based on any review carried out by the Scottish National Party and independently peer reviewed?

No one knows as far as I can tell and probably no one is asking the difficult questions, but the difficult questions will have to be answered sooner or later, and in great detail.

I have no problem with the UK Government using the nuclear submarine base at Faslane for the US and UK deep water fleet, in fact I welcome their commitment to Scotland, not in just bring jobs, but also a recognition of the important role Scotland has in the NATO alliance.

I am pro NATO, and not pro ‘partnership for peace’ which in my opinion is non military nonsense.

If Scotland was to vote for independence and that is highly unlikely now, it would have to face sharing the multibillion-pound bill of decommissioning the nuclear submarine base.

The weapons could be moved to nuclear grade weapons facilities down south and even, stored in a joint facility in France, those are options available to the UK Government. There would be a cost on upgrading facilities down south I understand in the region of £50 million.

Anyway, Nick Harvey, the Armed Forces Minister has told MPs on the Commons Scottish Affairs Committee that relocating the deterrent would be the Ministry of Defence's "least favourable option".

I have to agree his judgment is spot on, and sooner or later the SNP will have to move to being pro NATO and pro nuclear submarine base at Faslane.

The George Laird view.

The bombshell of decommissioning is a gift described as a titanium-clad "egg" as the launch venue for the cross-party campaign against independence, Better Together kicks off.

Funny enough, the YES UK campaign have decided to go ‘historic’ with a gravitas launch in the futuristic 200-seat Lindsay Stewart building at Napier University.

Imagine someone having the skill and presence of mind to launch in an educational institution instead of the local Cineworld.

Yes UK launch will be hosted on Monday, June 25 2012.

That is a historic date in modern political Scottish History which will be analysed by politics departments in future years.

The event will be led by former Labour chancellor Alistair Darling, a senior politician and arguably the man with the most important role in recent Scottish history.

The weight of his gravitas will way heavily on the Yes Scotland Campaign.

As well as Darling, there will be Annabel Goldie for the Scottish Conservatives and former Liberal Democrat leader Charles Kennedy.

So, the fight begins, meanwhile down the road at Yes Scotland, more than 4000 people have volunteered to help the pro-independence cause since the launch of the Yes Scotland campaign by Mr Salmond less than three weeks ago.

A senior campaign source insisted:

"It's a big figure. It works out at 76 people per constituency and that's just within three weeks”.

In a modern fight it isn’t how many people are willing to be used delivering leaflets; it is the quality of the message.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

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