Through-out history, small countries have fared rather badly when it comes to defending themselves in the world.
Could an independent Scotland fare any better?
Warfare in the past was bombs, bullets and guns, with air superiority being crucial.
Controlling the air is still an important aspect of modern warfare; it remains the first step before land invasion.
But in today’s climate, there are also other threats which need to be addressed, terrorism, financial terrorism in the form of ‘currency wars’ and the new and developing cyber warfare.
The UK Government is producing white papers, and the Secretary of State for Defence, Philip Hammond, launched the UK Government's Defence report on Scottish Independence.
Before you turn a page, the report probably doesn’t make comfortable reading for the SNP, they never really got the hang of defence as a ‘political party’ and they aren’t much better placed as a government.
That is why Scotland’s ‘jolly fat man’ Alex Salmond opted for joining NATO.
For about 30 years the SNP were anti NATO because of the Nuclear weapon aspect of the alliance.
Part of their membership came from CND as the SNP sought to build a power base to do the work, so little anti groups against the British Government all signed up with their own little agendas, agendas that have nothing to do with Scottish independence.
Defence is an important issue in the independence debate, because it not only affects Scotland, there is a knock on effect downwards towards sunny England.
About 18 months ago on the BBC, Newsnight Scotland debate, I said the SNP needed to go Pro NATO and Pro Nuclear Faslane, this guarantees sovereignty, as a NATO member housing the nuclear submarine fleet; we could solve many problems at a stroke, not just military.
And it’s cost effective.
But no, Alex Salmond and Scotland’s unpopular Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon dropped the ball, instead of standing on stage at the SNP Conference and explaining the facts of life to the masses, they bottled it.
And as bottles crashed in the conference, the defence strategy was rightly branded a joke, it’s a sham, no one believes the SNP on defence matters, a recent poll should that Scots favour keeping Trident.
NATO has been the cornerstone of Western Defence since 1948, it is the club that everyone must join and for good reason.
The state has a responsibility to provide an effective deterrent in order to safeguard our citizens; it is part of the contract with voters.
We don’t ask for wars of adventure, but by the same token we sign up to help those who need assistance whatever form that may take.
If independent, it would take decades to put in place the same kind of set up as the UK currently enjoys but on a much smaller scale, and some of the defence provision which applies to the UK's global role wouldn’t be available.
The numbers don’t stack up on the financial paper or on boots on the ground.
Peacekeeping as part of the United Nations would be possible as part of a taskforce, but not a pro active role as the UK and US currently do, fighting today costs a serious amount of money, plus you need a reserve in defence spending, a big reserve.
An independent Scotland would not have the same influence on international affairs as it does as part of the UK.
We would be irrelevant, that may upset people, but that is a fact, in any intervention by Scotland would be limited, forget fighting for years, timescale on deployment would be a matter of months if engaged in active fighting.
Cost of a modern fighter jet?
£120 million is a good ball park figure, Scotland needs at least 30.
Tag on running costs.
So far the SNP and Scottish Government have done a miserable job on defence, Englishman SNP MP Angus Robertson hasn’t done the work required, in fact, he best sit his arse down and keep quiet for all the good he has done.
His famous we could have a navy like Norway and then to say he hadn’t a clue about the disposition of the Norwegian fleet speaks volumes.
Hard to think he is the SNP defence spokesman.
And has been for years!
SNP MP Angus Robertson for Defence Minister of Scotland!
There are many issues on defence which remain unanswered by the SNP; would Scotland’s defence forces have the same equipment as the rest of the UK? In the event of a major conflict, there must be provision for operational control to come under the command of Westminster.
This would possibly be done under the NATO umbrella if the UK was subjected to invasion, it is remote, but in war you can’t have a running discussion about these matters, not when lives are at stake.
It is true that some aspects of UK involvement in foreign wars hasn’t been good or productive, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are good examples of bad political decisions.
But there is no guarantee that Scotland wouldn’t sign up to something similar under whoever the government of the day would be.
Also a real kicker is that Scotland could not expect to inherit Scots regiments and military assets.
The UK doesn’t have to hand over the Scots regiments and it is doubtful that Scottish soldiers will sign up to a Scottish defence force. Especially when certain elements of the Scottish National Party are plainly anti British forces and others are also connected to people close to the SNP leadership!
Which Scottish serviceman will sign up for Alex Salmond’s army when they read this:
The new report also provides no comfort or information for the SNP on possible defence co-operation between the UK and Scotland should there be a Yes vote.
Nothing of that nature will be discussed which puts all the pressure on the SNP to produce a credible stand alone strategy, so far, nothing decent has been published except the rather bizarre notion that Scottish soldiers can have jobs for life.
That isn’t possible and is entirely unworkable.
Soldiering is a young man’s game; there comes an age when the body cannot take it., it is especially hard for combat soldiers.
In the race to recruit personnel, an independent Scotland would be in competition with the rest of the UK.
The UK offers more opportunities due to its size, and is it doubtful that the SNP could have a mini version of the British structure.
While we wait for the long-awaited Scottish Government White Paper, we should remember that the tide has now firmly turned against Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon, they can go through the motions but in the end, they are fighting a rearguard action.
After 2014, the SNP will be fractured, Alex Salmond will have lost the Scottish independence referendum and with a Labour Party making steady gains, it is doubtful many in the party will be best pleased with his feeble efforts.
The only thing which Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon need to practice is the formal surrender.
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University