Alex Salmond is good at one thing, deceit and deception, but this one on shipbuilding he cooked up is a corker, why, because of the historical context.
Military shipbuilding has been a lifeline in
Scotland, and when we talk shipbuilding, were really
talking about ships built on the Clyde.
Salmond has given a clear guarantee that the British Royal Navy would continue to build warships in an independent
The trouble is that is a promise he can't keep because the military shipbuilding and where orders are placed are a matter for
It is and always will be a political decision.
For over 50 years, no military warship has been built outside the
The policy is built in
Britain, not just for strategic
concerns but economic and political.
It is a lie to say that the Royal Navy will build in a foreign country or that Alex Salmond can guarantee anything with regard to
it is a stupid lie to be caught out on.
His stance puts him at odds with Defence Secretary Philip Hammond.
When asked by shipbuilder Alex Logan from Port Glasgow, Inverclyde, if he could guarantee the shipbuilding industry would continue long-term in
Mr Salmond replied:
"Yes, it will. The Royal Navy will continue to order ships from Scottish yards based on (the fact) that these are the best places to produce these vessels."
Scotland couldn't sustain military
shipbuilding, both Govan and Scotstoun shipyards would go to the wall, be under
no illusions about that fact. It doesn't matter a jot that Govan and Scotstoun
are the best places to build. The driver of events is protection of jobs, and Portsmouth would be the
first port of call for any new contracts, and let's be clear, you can import
The UK Government made
a priority at the expense of Portsmouth,
a political decision based on the referendum. If Scotland was independent that help
and preference would dry up rather quickly.
Salmond is rattled, his 30 minute Conference speech is a sign of a man who doesn't have a vision, his speeches at the STUC in
Dundee to hit back at the Westminster Government is
another example of how he has been caught out.
He wants Scottish independence, but he never planned for Scottish independence.
The SNP made much of their 80 years, 80 years without a plan.
Interestingly Salmond also let slip that he would diversification to retain shipbuilding.
This is an admission that he doesn't have an order to sustain the Scottish yards, he is banking on a renewables revolution, a market heavily subsidised also from down south, that's English money to you and me.
In an independent
Scotland, that money wouldn't be
His line that because there won't be Trident, the Scottish Government "would be buying more in terms of procurement than we are presently" is risible.
Can you defend a country with half a type 26 warship?
"It would, therefore, be ridiculous to try to put up a defence flow barrier and there would be no reason for it whatsoever as it would be cutting off noses to spite faces."
Portsmouth isn't cutting
off noses to spite faces, it is protecting UK jobs.
The Defence Secretary made his pitch at the French defence firm Thales in
Why are Thales in
They are in
it ticks a lot of boxes such as being plugged into the UK defence
procurement set up.
there is said to be 12,600 people employed in various capacities in the defence
sector that has lead to generated sales in excess of £1.8 billion.
In an independent
sales in excess of £1.8 billion wouldn't be possible, many firms would relocate
in the wider market that is the UK.
Scotland wouldn't have a defence force of note, and the budget is pegged by the
SNP at around £2.5 billion, subtract that from £1.8 billion and that leaves
£700 million, a fast jet costs about £100 million and upwards. Then you have
all the additional costs of other items, and of course wages etc etc, the sums
like other SNP policies appear to be lacking in substance.
But the bottom line is always political.
"If we were to separate, then the future of the defence industry in
that depends on MoD orders will be put at risk. The future of sites such as
this would be clearly jeopardised and the assertion by the nationalists that
they would generate in Scotland's
own defence forces the orders that would keep our shipyards going, that would
sustain plants like this, is simply not credible when you look at the
But to show that the defence secretary didn't have smooth sailing, one Thales staff member, Daniel McGee said:
"I feel aggrieved that you've come up here and seem to be quite threatening; that our jobs will go."
This is a market economy; Thales would go south, because it is better being in a 90% UK budget procurement market than a 100% Scottish market.
Mr. McGee may not like reality, but reality dictates that defence is better under the
system than any proposed Scottish one.
How much more unhappy would he be if Thales up sticks and left?
You might not like the message, but it is dressed up as fantasy.
In a week which saw the miltary speak out, First Sea Lord Admiral Sir George Zambellas became the first senior serving officer to voice grave concerns about independence.
He warned that a Yes vote would damage
maritime defence capability.
We are talking Trident here, and the SNP's failed anti Nuclear policy of removal, Faslane isn't just a place to tie up the nuclear subs to support the local economy with servicemen and women using the shops as the SNP would have you believe that is what defence is about.
Faslane sits in a key area, the SNP misjudged the situation, going pro Nato for a vote cache and bottling it on nuclear. Everyone doesn't want nuclear war, everyone is against it, but in the war, there are people who have nuclear weapons who cannot be trusted.
We cannot give up nuclear weapons and we cannot un-invent them.
The SNP ran with their failed anti nuclear policy for 30 years at every
election and got humped senseless.
So far about a dozen high-ranking former military chiefs have said removing Trident from
would cast a "dark shadow" over an independent Scotland's
reception on the world stage.
They are probably right; Nato isn't interested in having a member state ignore Nato protocols on nuclear weapons.
If there was a time to bite the bullet, then Alex Salmond missed his chance.
Angus Robertson, the SNP's defence spokesman has been running long running grievance campaign as he claimed
Scotland had "already been stripped bare of
conventional naval capability by Westminster's
This about service people living in Scotland putting money into the local economy, in his mind, our forces couldn't go to war because they are needed to support 'wee jimmy's' pie shop!
In fact the SNP cares so much about Scottish soldiers, that Scotland's 'jolly fat man' doesn't visit servicemen overseas in operational areas.
No, he is a £2,900 a night hotels nearby with Egyptian cotton sheets kinda guy.
Colonel Stuart Crawford advises the SNP on defence matters, said an independent Scotland would be more than capable of running its own armed forces.
What does he base that on?
Not ever going operational?
A Scottish defence force would need military experience at an operational level, that mean putting people in harm's way whether it is using Nato or UN peacekeeping duties. Operational experience costs money, would this be available in the Scottish Government defence budget?
Who knows the answers to that question, not Alex Salmond and we can safely leave Englishman Angus Robertson out of big thinking.
Where is the expertise in the Scottish Government?
John Lamont for the Scottish Conservatives said it was stretching credibility for Salmond to suggest Royal Navy warships would continue to be built on the
"The First Minister would rather rely on bluster and assertion than be straight with the people of
Sir Menzies Campbell, for the Scottish Liberal Democrats used a standard line that all the evidence showed
was "safer and more secure as part of the UK family."
If Alex Salmond wishes to continue making false promises that he cannot deliver, he is not only lying to the people of
Scotland but he
is lying to his own supporters. After the independence defeat in September,
people should speak out and demanded his resignation and that of unpopular
Nicola Sturgeon as leaders.
Salmond will have his day in the Sun, but after that night will fall for him and his miserable little clique. 18th September is the Death of Nationalism Day in
Alex Salmond had his chance.
He chose lies and deceit, a remarkable stupid little man who killed his own independence campaign.
The Campaign for Human Rights at