Poe’s Law, which we only discovered on Wikipedia this morning, says that “without a clear indication of the author’s intent, it is difficult or impossible to tell the difference between sincere extremism and an exaggerated parody of extremism”. Or in other words, there’s a name for when people are so batshit crazy you can’t satirise them, because you simply couldn’t invent anything madder than what they say for real.
It’s in that context we invite readers to consider a recent story in the Scottish Sun.
SNP warned over decision to throw Trident subs out of Faslane
“BRITAIN should NOT retaliate if an independent Scotland is hit by a nuclear strike, top defence experts claim.
Wait, what? Who’s going to nuke us? Have we upset the North Koreans?
The UK Defence Forum insists we would lose our missile “umbrella” if the SNP throw Trident subs out of Faslane following a Scots vote to go it alone.
So hang on, let’s get this clear – the UK would retaliate if, say, Belgium or Holland were attacked with nuclear weapons (by who?), but would stand idly by if it happened to Scotland, with which it has an actual land border and where over 400,000 English people live?
But the forum’s report yesterday said removing the protection would have to be kept secret — or it would put England in danger too.
Eh? So we wouldn’t have the “umbrella” any more, but everyone would still THINK we did, which in practice would mean we DID have it (in so far as it exists at all)? This story isn’t making any more sense as it goes on.
The forum — which includes former Lib Dem leader Sir Menzies Campbell, ex-Defence Secretary Lord King and Field Marshal Lord Guthrie among its patrons — claimed taking subs out of the Clyde is “not credible”.
It even suggested ‘bribing’ Scots to keep the bases.
Ooh, a bribe? Let’s hear the offer, then.
The report says: “Scotland’s share of North Sea oil and gas, its share of the national debt, ongoing aid and subsidies are all factors that can be leveraged to incentivise a favourable outcome.”
Pardon? Scotland’s share of oil and gas is covered unequivocally by international law, and it receives no “aid and subsidies” from the rest of the UK – in reality the exact opposite is true. So good luck “leveraging” those.
We appear to be being “bribed” with stuff that’s already ours – what will Westminster say, exactly? “Agree to keep Trident in your country or we won’t accept the £4.4bn you send us every year in return for Tory governments”?
It adds that if Holyrood refuses to go along with the deal, Westminster should make it clear Scotland will no longer benefit from the rest of the UK’s nuclear deterrent.
Well, we wouldn’t want to become like all those other non-nuclear nations that have been bombed off the face of the Earth since 1945, would we?
The report says: “If the Royal Navy is forced to move as a result of a Yes to the Independence vote and subsequent implementation, HMG could make clear that Scotland must lose the protection afforded by Trident’s nuclear umbrella. Any first strike on Scottish soil would therefore not constitute grounds for WMD retaliation by the rest of Great Britain.”
Oh no! If we get incinerated in an atomic apocalypse (by who?), we won’t have the comfort of knowing that millions of innocent civilians in another country will be killed afterwards!
It added: “To withdraw the umbrella is to expose Scotland and England to increased risk. To admit to having withdrawn the umbrella publicly is to court great risk.”
Oh, except everyone will think we still ARE protected (from who?) by the nuclear umbrella, so nothing will actually be any different at all.
The report comes after it emerged the SNP said it wants nuclear subs out of Clyde bases at Faslane and Coulport after independence.
But the forum insists the Clyde is the only suitable place. It says the subs could not be moved south of the Border “without surrendering critical strategic advantages and incurring vast cost”. And it warns: “No other military issue is as critical or has such potential to affect long-term strategic security.”“
In other words we’ll pretty much have the rUK over a barrel in the independence negotiations? To let Trident stay in Scotland even for a few years while the UK spends billions on a replacement base we can demand – and expect to get – more or less anything we want? Sounds good from here.
This site’s sincere view is that at some point between now and autumn 2014, the Scottish Sun will come out in favour of a Yes vote, and that stories like this are a subtle part of its positioning.
To have a senior sitting Scottish MP and knight of the realm actually threatening that Scotland could be devastated by a nuclear strike (by who?) if it votes for independence is such Olympic-level barking-mad insanity that by reporting it with a straight face the Sun can only be deliberately inviting ridicule onto the No campaign, as well as quietly and implicitly disseminating the REAL story – namely that Scotland will have an extremely strong position in the negotiations with the rUK.
We apologise if we’re blowing their cover.