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Wings Over Scotland

Phoning it in

Posted on September 29, 2013 by

The strain of keeping up a three-year campaign of fearmongering and bile is starting to tell on the stout media defenders of the Union. This week the Telegraph’s blustering “Scottish Editor” Alan Cochrane flopped out a particularly limp effort on the subject of the scare du jour, an independent Scotland’s defence.


Never one to shy away from the sort of hyperbole you’d normally associate with some anonymous Twitter loony, Cochrane leapt straight in by dismissing the SNP’s proposals for Scottish defence as “the most ludicrous of all” of their policies, rating them 11 out of 10 for madness. But it was his attempts to put some numerical meat on the bones of this bold assertion that showed up just how lazy the Unionist narrative of Scottish inadequacy has become.

As any halfway-respectable propaganda lie does, it started out with a tiny speck of truth. Cochrane pointed out that while defence spending in Scotland is barely over half what is attributed to Scotland in the national accounts, Scotland notionally benefits from money spent elsewhere in the UK, in so far as that the UK’s armed forces protect all of the UK – ie a warship built in England still provides defence for Scotland.

While we learned earlier this year that that particular theory wouldn’t necessarily hold up in practice, it’s a semi-valid point in itself, except that it misses the key difference between the UK military goals and those of an independent Scotland – namely that one of them is focused not on “defence” but on aggressive force projection across the globe in the name of international status, a significantly more expensive undertaking.

But we digress. The interesting bit of Cochrane’s diatribe was this passage:

“The planes and ships of the RAF and Royal Navy currently protect all of Britain, including Scotland.

To take just the aircraft, the RAF’s Tornados and Typhoons are responsible for the air defence of the entire UK and as each NATO country, under the terms of membership, must be responsible for its own air defence, how would an independent country meet that obligation?

The Nats say they would be entitled to a share of Britain’s defence assets. Again, assuming they’re right, that might mean an independent Scotland being entitled to 10 of the UK’s 100 fast jets. However, as a former senior RAF commander told the committee, proper air defences would require 30 of such warplanes – costing between £780 million and £1.7 billion.”

Let’s take that at face value for the sake of argument. Now, for a start Cochrane doesn’t make clear whether his figures are the cost of 30 fast jets, or just the 20 extra ones we’d need to top up the 10 we’d be getting as our share of the UK air forces. According to the Mail in 2011 a Tornado costs a modest (in military terms) £9.4m, so even 30 of them wouldn’t get anywhere near £780m, let alone £1.7bn.

The Typhoon, on the other hand, comes in at an eye-watering £126m a pop, according to the same paper, so we certainly wouldn’t get 20 or 30 of those for a mere £1.7bn. (In fact the off-the-shelf cost of a Typhoon seems to be more in the region of £65m, with the higher figure being one including development costs.)

But the same story notes that the entire UK only has 20 Typhoons available for service, so the idea that Scotland would have to have that many (or even more) seems palpably absurd. Indeed, it’s highly doubtful that we’d require any at all – Scotland’s defence needs wouldn’t plausibly involve air-to-air combat, only fast air support for the navy, for which the Tornado (with a top speed over MACH 2, the same as the Typhoon) is more than adequate.

But let’s keep indulging poor Mr Cochrane’s imperial delusions. Let’s say Scotland really does need a massively oversized, overpowered inventory of fast jets. Let’s  buy the Scottish Air Force five Typhoons (actual procurement cost £325m), plus 25 Tornados at £9.4m each to make up Cochrane’s 30-plane fast-jet wing.

That’s £560m, far less than even Cochrane’s low estimate of £780m. It’s just 22% of the SNP’s proposed defence budget for ONE YEAR. As the one-off setup cost of one arm of a new nation’s defence force, it seems eminently affordable, leaving almost £2bn to spend on naval and ground forces.

But that’s the scratch cost, discounting the in-cash-or-in-kind 8.4% share of the UK’s armed forces that would be due to Scotland as part of the independence negotiations, which would see us take ownership of either actual units of military hardware or the monetary equivalent. What would that share be worth? Helpfully, we’re told the answer to that question in today’s Sunday Herald.

The paper carries an extraordinary report from a new defence think-tank, Scotland International, which we highly recommend reading in full. But here’s the key part:

“A newly independent Scotland would develop its military capability backed by its 8.4% ‘population share’ of UK defence assets, assets which are (conservatively) thought to total around £90bn.”

(As a passing aside, those assets are so numerous that the UK has managed to simply lose track of £6.3bn worth of them, and write off billions more.)

So Scotland’s fair share of the UK military assets it has helped to pay for is £7.6bn. That’s an enormous amount of money for a nation of five million people to have at its disposal for creating a defence force, even one large enough to contribute to UN peacekeeping operations. The UK’s Type 23 frigate (of which 13 are currently in service, and which are intended to be used for the next 20 years) comes in at £130m per ship, with the advanced Type 26s slated to cost £260-350m each.

Again, the Type 26 is likely to be massive overkill for a Scottish navy which would be primarily deployed defending oil installations and on simple patrol duties, but even at £300m a pop we could afford an awful lot of them out of our £7.6bn. More realistically, Type 23s or other off-the-shelf vessels (the Royal Navy insists on expensively commissioning bespoke ships) would do the job fine at a fraction of the cost.

But what we’ve seen from even the most superficial glance is that with close on £8bn to spend on setting up a military from nothing, an independent Scotland could afford a generous measure of the most state-of-the-art units currently available, far more of them than we could ever actually need, with cash left over, and with a lavish £2.5bn a year available to maintain and upgrade them. (And of course, the physical bases and infrastructure that would be needed are already in place.)

(And remember, that £2.5bn would still see an extra £800m a year in an independent Scottish Government’s coffers, compared to what’s currently attributed in spending.)

Alan Cochrane’s feeble, “will this do?” attempt at painting a picture of a defenceless nation fails dismally on every level. (And as always, the question “Who is it we need defending against anyway?” is the elephant in the room) Scotland could easily afford a powerhouse military, restoring its historic regiments and reversing many of the swingeing cuts made by UK governments in recent years.

Whether we’d want to is another question entirely. But it’s a decision that would be well within the options available to us, were we to ever take it into our own hands.

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    119 to “Phoning it in”

    1. The Man in the Jar says:

      No matter what, all Cochrane needs to know that the future SDF will have at least one helicopter available for him on independance day!

    2. Atypical_Scot says:

      “assets which are (conservatively) thought to total around £90bn.”
      A reasonable question could be at £40 billion year on year defence budget, WTF have the MOD actually spent the money on? Hair products?

    3. Seasick Dave says:

      The Nats say they would be entitled to a share of Britain’s defence assets. Again, assuming they’re right, that might mean an independent Scotland being entitled to 10 of the UK’s 100 fast jets. However, as a former senior RAF commander told the committee, proper air defences would require 30 of such warplanes – costing between £780 million and £1.7 billion.”
      So why don’t we have 30 planes covering Scotland under Westminster rule?

    4. Dorothy Devine says:

      I have given up reading the utter ordure produced by the bearded wonder – I read below the line but have reduced my own comments and hope to dissuade others from commenting no matter how much nonsense is spouted.
      I would dearly like to see the comments left to the constant carpers ,nay sayers and cerebrally challenged unionists.

    5. Sneddon says:

      Alan Cochrane is a one man unionist defence force 🙂
      It’ll be worth watching his head explode when we vote YES

    6. hehisself says:

      Lets see what a country of 5 million can afford buy for an air force shall we? Handily we have a real world example Finland. Can they afford 10 modern combat aircraft? No they can afford to run 55 yes really 55 F/A 18 Hornets. Scotland would have no trouble funding double that number of its successor design the Super Hornet. Finland has no oil revenue and a hostile neighbour to the east, they regard the idea that they could not defend themselves as laughable.

    7. ronald alexander mcdonald says:

      The UK spends more on defence than China and Russia. To me that says it all.
      Defence should be, as the name says, defending our shores, nor aggression.    

    8. The Man in the Jar says:

      Back when I was in the Army (thankfully it was when we were there to repel the Soviet hoards as they swept across Europe and not jetting around the world killing brown people) MOD procurement was and still is an absolute f*****g joke. I was a corporal mechanic and I can assure you that most of it was overcomplicated, overpriced, unreliable crap. German Leopard tanks (much cheaper and available off the shelf as used by the Dutch and Danish armies amongst others) regularly pissed all over the British Chieftains. Same went for most of the kit procured by the MOD. I hope that we tell them to shove their “assets” and buy in decent best value equipment. 

    9. Marker Post says:

      Interested in the notion of an “off-the-shelf” Tornado. How about another crowd-sourcing effort, Rev? Add in a couple of missiles, and declare UDI?

    10. John H. says:

      I’m sure that I read somewhere that in January 2012 I think it was, a Russian naval flotilla took shelter from a storm in the Moray Firth. It sat there for about 2 – 3 days before a Royal Navy warship travelled up from Portsmouth to intercept it. When it got close, the Russian ships simply sailed off. Is that the kind of protection Cochrane’s talking about?

    11. David McCann says:

      A perfectly acceptable defence force has been outlined independently here.
      Its available as a download PDF.

    12. Jingly Jangly says:

      , the F16 or Saab Gripen, the Gripen would save us
      about 9 million dollars each over a Typhoon. however probably best to go with
      Typhoons as it would help uk balance of payments and jobs and if we were in
      currency union

    13. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “Interested in the notion of an “off-the-shelf” Tornado. How about another crowd-sourcing effort, Rev? Add in a couple of missiles, and declare UDI?”

      I like your ambition. Scotland’s biggest political party probably SHOULD have a military wing.

    14. Keef says:

      I’m with Marker Post.
      Any short fall we’ll make up with crowd-funding.
      Every new pilot gets awarded Stu’s wings badge on completion of their flight training.
      It really is none of his business what Scotland decides to do after Independence anyway.

    15. david says:

      its nice to see neither the author of this article or comments on it refer to cockhead sorry cochrane as a journalist. he is obviously employed as an opinionist regardless of his opinions factual basis. would there be any point having a conversation with this over-opinionated guy, 

    16. Conan_the_Librarian says:

      @Dorothy Devine
      I could never give up the hours of entertainment that Alan gives me…

    17. Murray McCallum says:

      Good work Stu putting numbers and context to all this scaremongering and showing it for what it is. I really hope people get the significant point about existing UK defence being “focused not on “defence” but on aggressive force projection across the globe in the name of international status.”
      The more thoughtful Unionists and “Don’t Knows” must surely be even slightly insulted, or at least seek clarity, at the concept that Scots can’t defend themselves.

    18. Embradon says:

      I seem to remember that the Saab JAS 39 Gripen is available in various customised version and can be leased.
      Switzerland is in the process of buying a batch at the moment.

    19. Albert Herring says:

      I like your ambition. Scotland’s biggest political party probably SHOULD have a military wing.
      Aye, no much point being “Wings over Scotland” if ye huvnae got any planes.

    20. pmcrek says:

      Fast jet planes are so 2000, we should concentrate on building Giant Death Robots instead.

    21. Juteman says:

      I thought this comment was quite revealing from a ‘true Scot’. No mention of debate, simply ‘attack’ those pesky Scots that want to break up his precious UK.
      “it would be outrageous if British ministers and/or officials began talks on behalf of one part of the UK with another part of the same UK. No way; no talks unless there is a Yes vote. In the meantime, keep up the attack to ensure that eventuality doesn’t occur. “

    22. david says:

      a cheap and guarenteed defence of scotland would be to strategically place picss of an angry johann lamont around our coastline, even the vikings would have run a mile from that.

    23. The Man in the Jar says:

      Na! Capture a super-aggressive alien species and genetically alter them to only attack people that wont eat haggis.

    24. Albert Herring says:

      That pyrotechnic piper guy with a photo of Johann pinned to his sporran would do the trick.

    25. pmcrek says:

      The Man in the Jar,
      Does Veggie Haggis count? 😉

      How about a cat tied to a stick? That would be deadly in any combat situation, or we could just clone Chic Charnleys.

    26. RedStarTrout says:

      We would really have to be stupid to take Typhoons. Even the F35 is cheaper off the shelf and that is so over budget even the Pentagon is getting worried.

      There are 3 European options: the Typhoon, which doesn’t have an anti shipping option (kind of important given how much sea we have to defend), the French Rafale, which is better at almost everything, and the Swedish Gripen, which is about as good but can also do anti shipping.

      Cost wise, according to Wiki, it’s a no brainer.

      Typhoons cost $125m each, $18,000 per hour in the air, and lots of time in maintenance.

      Rafales cost $82m each, $16,500 per hour in the air, and less maintenance time.

      Gripens cost $60m each, only $4,700 per hour in the air, and with only one engine they spend a lot less time in maintenance.

      For me if we want the best then it would be Rafale, it’s cheaper, carries more stuff further and apparently beats up Typhoons in air combat tests.The cheaper option, or the one that gives us more planes in the air for our money, is the Gripen. So it’s either the Auld Alliance or the Nordic option and both of those are good.

    27. Calgacus says:

      I had always envisioned Alan Cochrane post-independence occupying a glass case in the National Museum of Scotland, as a sort of redundant but mildly interesting historical artefact.

      Maybe there could be an alternative role for him as a Scottish Government employee writing fantasy propaganda to big-up the new Scottish Defence Force.

      With the way Alan has with words and figures, nobody would dare attack us, and we could put half of the £2.5 Billion we were planning to spend each year to better purposes.

      We could find someone else for the glass case. It’s not hard to come up with a list of alternatives.

    28. handclapping says:

      You are barking
      up the wrong tree. With Scotland’s skill in games we should be getting drones and sitting in nice comfy armchairs bombing all the Belgians invading Rockall. We could probably afford to give every platform in Scottish waters its own SDF “oil protection” drone to guard against invasion by untitled Lords, de-expensed MPs and out of work “journalists”.

    29. Derick says:

      Giant Death Robots? Yess! Clank. Clank. Clank.  Oh, no, that’s Alan C’s brain working.

    30. Craig P says:

      We could save a fortune on defence just by having the road signs pointing in the wrong direction. Any invasion force heading up the A1 for Edinburgh gets diverted harmlessly to Carlisle. In fact I can report that my sat nav already has something like this in place… 

      A small country surrounded by water with no ambitions to invade somebody else and no aggressive neighbours does not need much in the way of an army, tanks or bombers, though airborne early warning, fast patrol boats, ground to air missiles, amphibious special forces and interceptor aircraft are essential. I would be minded to then create a Swiss style citizen reserve army, so the entire population can rise up in the extremely unlikely event of an invasion. Probably also no harm in encouraging Scots to be mercenaries in other people’s armies, it is something Scots have done for centuries. 

    31. handclapping says:

      You are not barking
      You are barking up the wrong tree.
      /*embarrased smiley*/

    32. Grant_M says:

      Back when Labour supported the removal of nuclear weapons whilst remaining a member of NATO…

    33. The Man in the Jar says:

      @Craig P
      I doubt if a Swiss style citizen army would work in Scotland.
      Armed neds! imagine your average town or city centre on a friday night?
      On a serious note, please, please no part time reservist front line forces.

    34. Sneddon says:

      The most important question not addressed by cockers is what colour our planes and ships will be?  There’s no need to hide our ‘assests’ so let’s make them bright.  We’re not going to invade anyone after all and  the way we dress tells the world who we are and that applies to miltary hardware as well.  How about something in polka dot ships and red planes?  Is that too phychedelic? Something in more soothing colours  perhaps?

    35. Craig P says:

      And just as important these days (if not more so than ever) are strong intelligence networks and cyber warfare units. 

    36. john king says:

      the man in the jar says

      “No matter what, all Cochrane needs to know that the future SDF will have at least one helicopter available for him on independance day!”
      the first helecopter out of Edinburgh , he’s too much of a coward to be on the last one

        The Man in the Jar

    37. Craig P says:

      Man in the Jar – I can well imagine it! Nobody would dare invade though… not unless they bribed the neds of course 🙂 I take your point though, as a former soldier yourself (I think?) you will know what you are talking about. 

    38. handclapping says:

      Nah, black and yellow stripes, nature’s warning signal, like foggie bees.

    39. Davy says:

      It looks like there’s money in the bank for our Scottish Armed Forces, which means we could afford to build more than a few ships in the Clyde shipyards, re-equip & re-arm more than just one Scottish regiment with top of the range material.
      And yes you can lease the Saab JAS 39 Grippen before buying, and it has the capability of being able to take off from a road, handy if you only have one airbase left. It can also be re-armed & re-fueled in 10 minutes by one technician & four others and it has an exceptionaly good computer system, I believe the RAF already has a couple.
      So maybe a squadron of Typhoons with four Squadrons of Grippens will more than cover our own defence and our UN requirements.
      Vote YES, Vote Scotland.
      PS. Grippens look really cool.

    40. Krackerman says:

      Just watched Sunday Politics Scotland and had to switch off in disgust – Darling was given total free rein to rant against Salmond and the SNP with the well out of his depth Kerr not correcting him on any of the lies he barked out. Then without a single word from the YES side to refute the lies and state their case it’s right over to the Tory conference to cover Ruth sticking the knife in as well..
      Utterly disgusted at the blatant propaganda that the BBC is now pushing down our throats!

    41. Iain says:

      Cochrane’s forte is reporting on politics – the people, the rows, the elections. He does not have the education, training or experience to report on anything else with a shred of credibility.

    42. Tasmanian says:

      Gripens are half-British anyway, 49% BAe I think.

      Curious about the £9.4 million cost of a Tornado. Who’s selling them? They’re near the end of their useful lives now, aren’t they, overcomplicated swing-wing 1980s tech that they are.

      Shame about the Nimrod MRA.4. That would be an IDEAL Scottish NATO aircraft – maritime patrol, search and rescue, anti-submarine, crisis management. Conspiracy theorists might say the MOD scrapped them to keep them out of Scottish hands…

    43. Tasmanian says:

      Also, I could get a firearms permit and found the Tasmanian branch of the Scottish People’s Militia if that would be helpful 🙂

    44. Dramfineday says:

      Look, come on folks, keep up with modern business thinking for goodness sake. You don’t need to own any assets – all we have to do is put it out to tender! With a bit of aforethought we could offer a mix of cash (say £9 billion for a five year contract) use of strategic bases and labour and in return would expect the winners to protect our assets, use local labour wherever possible, and train our people accordingly. There you are, job done.
      Now if it so happened that the lowest bidders were (say) the Chinese or the Russians – so what – business is business after all and that’s what we keep hearing from all these City types and their chums, so sauce and goose methinks.
      Anyway, I’m off to chortle quietly at the thought of the red banner fleet parked at various points around the coast to protect us from hostile interventions……. Ha, ha, ha. Forgive me….it’s just me.

    45. K8ie says:

      A detailed study (A’ the blue bonnets) published last year, gives a comprehensive account of Scotland’ defence needs.

    46. Norman says:

      For the planes I would go with the Gripen as the NG has the same AESA Radar, Same Cobra helmet as Typhoon and can actually fire more weapons, it has a fabulous data link.  And is designed to land on short roads and be maintained in the field. 
      So it is a lot more practical a good example of this is the Germans in WW2 built the Tiger and Panther the USSR built the T34 and we know who won on the eastern front.
      The Swedes and Norwegians have made a lot of very good kit we could buy off the shelf.
      Check Youtube and see how the plane operates, it’s a tough wee cookie.

    47. Embradon says:

      Sneddon says:
      The most important question not addressed by cockers is what colour our planes and ships will be?
      Actually tartan would probably work quite well as camoflage in breaking up outlines 🙂

    48. Yodhrin says:

      “handclapping says:
      Nah, black and yellow stripes, nature’s warning signal, like foggie bees.”

      Oh no that wouldn’t do at all; Johann Lamont might mistake them for wasps and start chewing on the fuckers 😛

    49. Calgacus says:

      We could build our own aircraft in the near future! 

    50. Dcanmore says:

      Oh dear, Cochrane blustering out his arse as usual. I posted yesterday what we might expect to gain in assets after independence (Journey to the Yes side @9.16pm). Rev, I’m not sure about your ’20 servicable Typhoons’ as there are six squadrons (est. 108 aircraft) equipped already.
      Scotland can easily afford a good well-equipped armed forces to defend the nation. many countries today are refocussing their armed forces to provide defence for their borders over traditional offensive tactics that were established in the Cold War. It stands to note that most of Scotland’s defensive capabilities and expenditure is going to be invested in the navy and airforce.
      First 10-year projection…
      A new Scottish navy could consist of 6 light frigates or corvettes similar to the BAE developed Khareef-class for Oman at around £120m each; 6 BAE River-class patrol ships at £39m each. For ‘blue water’ patrol we may need 4 anti-submarine frigates at £200m each and one Bay-class type Landing Dock with helicopters for command and control base operations at £150m. Auxiliaries would require a training ship (Austin-class type), ice-breaker patrol ship (HMS Protector type), replenishment oiler (Wave-Class), survey vessel (HMS Echo type), all between £50-150m. Additionally there could be 6 minesweepers (Hunt-class) and 6 diesel-electric submarines (Type 212 class) and smaller inshore patrol craft (Archer-class). Two bases required (one west, one east) so probably Faslane and Rosyth with Ports no.2 at Stornoway, and Aberdeen.
      Maritime reconnaissance will be as important to Scotland as surface ships, over ten years this could be built up with 6 Boeing Poseidons backed up with 6 Lockheed Orion types (total cost £1bn)
      Scottish Airforce could afford three fast jet squadrons of 54 aircraft, consisting of one squadron of Typhoons and two squadrons of a cheaper light fighter such as the capable new T50 Golden Eagle. Over half of the Typhoon squadron will be from Scotland’s share of assets and the other 8 units can be bought or leased from BAE (total cost £1.8bn). Scotland would also need a squadron of jet trainers which 16 BAE Hawks are supplied through Scotland’s share of assets along with Grob Tutor basic trainers. The airforce would also need around 12 non-strategic transport aircraft such as Hercules and/or C27 Spartan types. Scottish bases available are Lossiemouth, Leuchars, Kinloss, Machrihanish and West Freugh, with further non-flying bases at Benbecula, Tain, Buchan, Prestwick and Kirknewton.
      Scottish army will be smallest force (by expenditure) and would probably not need more than 25,000 personnel, 100 MBTs, 250 IFVs, 300 APCs and 3000 assorted ‘soft’ vehicles, much of which we have already through share of assets.
      So if Scotland is going to spend £20bn over ten years establishing its armed forces then the list above should cover the main items. Of course everything is open to change and negotiation, and procurement on the day might bring us some real bargains and maybe fat NATO grants if they’re desperate to have us up plug the Greenland gap. Interesting times ahead after Independence Day!

    51. HandandShrimp says:

      Cochrane does 122/10 for dippy stuff on an almost daily basis. It is almost like he is in competition with Johann Lamont on who hates the Nats more.
      F16’s are even cheaper than F18s and are reliable proven aircraft. They would more than suffice and about 1 country in 8 uses them with thousands having been produced. Spares and service are not a problem. So the lower estimate of 780m is more appropriate for 30 or so F16s (once you throw in the bells and whistles). Whether we also would want 10 Typhoons is moot. Personally, I think the 30 would more than suffice to provide air patrols for Scotland and deter any North Korean invasion /\(oO)/\
      We would do better to negotiate to obtain some Type 23 Frigates and let rUK keep the Typhoons. They want to replace the Type 23s and have already sold some to Chile. Again Frigates and patrol boats are what we would need to monitor and protect our waters oil rigs etc. not aircraft carriers or assault ships. We could over time build our ships to specification we require.
      However, the thing that is most irritating about this debate is comparing the proposed annual defence budget of 2.5bn with the cost of capital items. The capital items will be amortised over their service life and consequently will not represent a large proportion of the annual defence running costs. In short we will will buy 30 planes for say £.9b and these will last 15 to 20 years. The annual cost to the budget in depreciation costs will be less than 50 million not £1.7bn per fecking annum. Nor would we necessarily buy all the equipment in one fell swoop. We could take delivery of planes for example over three or four years as Lockheed rolled them off the assembly line. So the cost would be spread allowing the forces to be built up sensibly and gradually also allowing for training for pilots and service crews.
      The muddle headed drivel on defence procurement that is being vomited from the orifices of Better Together gets on my nipple ends and displays either complete ignorance of the process or is being wilfully duplicitous in its presentation (or both).

    52. mogabee says:

      Sorry to tell you but Machrihanish is no longer available. Recently bought by community!

    53. tartanfever says:

      John H – yes that story is true, it is probably the best example we have had in recent years of just how completely useless the UK defences are and I would urge  everyone to learn this off pat.

      This is the example of a failing UK defence system. This occurred in Dec 2011.
      You can read the unionist slanted Mail version here:
      or the Telegraph here :
      The reality is that the Russians were sheltering from a storm, 20 miles off shore or so. We had no recon. aircraft (or even helicopters) to go and have a look (Nimrod being scrapped) and we had no naval vessels in the British waters at all as they were all of bullying the rest of the world.

      HMS York, a tub of a ship, just about to be sent to the knackers yard (it has indeed been ‘decommissioned’) had to make the 1000 mile (36 hour) trip from Portsmouth up to Scotland, by which time the Russians had gone. 

      It was an absolute farce. The picture used in the paper are fake, our tub never got anywhere near it, and they use a false perspective with a telephoto lens. That Russian carrier is actually 3 times the size of the York.

      It turns out, that while other ships were off round the world, the UK had no vessels for weeks on end patrolling our waters. The York was in berth at Portsmouth and the crew were actually due to go on leave.

      So the next time some unionist tries to tell you we’ll have no defences, you just tell them about this.

    54. Chic McGregor says:

      “With Scotland’s skill in games”
      ‘Grand Drone Auto’

    55. Monty says:

      Tornados haven’t been responsible for our air defence for a few years now.  But I wouldn’t expect Cochrane to know anything as simple as that. The Tornado F3 ADV was phased out and replaced by the Typhoon.
      We still have Tornado GR mud movers though.

    56. X_Sticks says:

      Rev. Stuart Campbell says:
       “Scotland’s biggest political party probably SHOULD have a military wing.”

      Major Bloodnok?

    57. pmcrek says:

      Aye good point re procurement and depricated costs, I notice many comentators look at the proposed SNP defence budget for one year and compare that to the cost of equipment yet these same people will habitually fail to point out the MoD capital overspend for the last twenty years is running currently at about £70 billion, equipment budgets be damned.

      Most notably however they’ll fail to mention trident capital spend which doesnt come out of MoD equipment budget at all. If it did then the UK armed forces would consist solely of four armed nuclear submarines and a white van.

    58. muttley79 says:

      This is a subject that really does get British nationalists steamed up.  They simply cannot stand the thought of existing without a large military presence.  They see it has an affront that Scotland should have a relatively small army.  It does not really hint at much of a social conscience either.  Why does the UK need to spend so much on defence, when around a half a million people are dependent on food banks?  Not exactly great priorities is it?

    59. Hetty says:

      The only defence we really need is one which protects the people of Scotland from the immoral   and ever deepening long term damage being waged by the bully boys in Westminster. They would love to introduce national service for our young people rather than put some cash into decent job creation and further education for all who choose it. We have to vote yes for our young people and their future, which as the saying goes, is theirs. 

    60. patronsaintofcats says:

      pmcrek says:
      Fast jet planes are so 2000, we should concentrate on building Giant Death Robots instead.

      It’s comments like this that just scream for a ‘like’ button Rev 🙂

    61. Dcanmore says:

      I suspect if the Scottish government needs Machrihanish then it will be used, shared or otherwise, just like any other airport. Machrihanish is vast enough to have military and civil operations at the same time, like Prestwick has at the moment.

    62. The Man in the Jar says:

      That is quite a shopping list! I will only comment on my area of “expertise” MBTs or Main Battle Tanks eg Challenger. You state 100 what / who are you expecting to invade? I would say that one regiment of MBTs between 30 and 40 tanks would be way more than needed. Where could we deploy 100 tanks if we wanted them? The only “tanks” that would be of much use would be fast reconnaissance armoured vehicles.

      Lots of Apache helicopter gunships. Those things fairly concentrate an enemies attention. And they make MBTs somewhat obsolete. 

    63. Lookskywalker says:

      re.. the mention of the Nimrod MRA4. The main reason they were scrapped was because they were deathtraps as the rebuild from MR2s was botched by BAE. This leaves the UK with no maritimepatrol aircraft – therefore the current stuation leaves all offshore assets unprotected. I would be surprised if an independent Scotland could not do better than this. The US are currently develiping the P8, so this could be a viable option.

    64. a supporter says:

      This week the Telegraph’s blustering “Scottish Editor” Alan Cochrane flopped out a particularly limp effort on the subject of the scare du jour, an independent Scotland’s defence.
      Yes the article WAS limp. As if part copied from an earlier piece. It had no oomph. He really is scraping the barrel now. And the commenters BTL are just as bad. Same old, same old boring comments apart from those of a few YES supporters who take the The Telegraph has NO credibility in Scotland. I’m surprised the Barclay Bros are willing to pay out big cash for at least three ‘Scottish’ editors.

    65. John H. says:

      Thanks for your reply tartanfever. You’re quite right of course, everyone in Scotland should be made aware of this. We really couldn’t be worse defended than we are now. Maybe the Rev will use this story at some time in the future as the basis for an article.

    66. Arbroath 1320 says:

      Apologies if some or all of this has already been covered, haven’t read all the post yet. 
      First off perhaps that very nice Mr Cochrane would like to inform us why, given we have ample naval coverage and protection, apparently, a Russian Naval force was able to shelter in the Moray Firth for about TWO days before proceeding on their way without ANY surveillance from UK forces naval OR air force! Oh yes a naval destroyer did get to the Moray Firth…….AFTER the Russians had left if you don’t mind!
      Secondly, perhaps Mr Cochrane would mind explaining what we are supposed to use for surveillance aircraft. That very nice Mr Cameron has had all the Nimrod aircraft scrapped. Perhaps Mr Cochrane thinks people on the coast using binoculars will suffice as surveillance equipment!
      Third, why would we buy any defence equipment from rUK in the first place?
      I only ask because from what I’ve seen the Norwegians, Swedes and even Americans and Russians have some, in my view, pretty nifty bits of kit most of which, if not all, would be cheaper to buy and maintain.
      Finally perhaps Mr Cochrane could enlighten us all as to the whereabouts of the missing BILLIONS pounds worth of equipment that the M.O.D. appears to have …ahem….’mislaid!’

    67. Dorothy Devine says:

      Wasn’t really getting at you Conan – I recognise the temptation to burst bubbles !

      But just once ,wouldn’t it be nice to leave all the spurious ,inane,anti independence commentators to splutter into a vacuum ,an unresponsive abyss??

      Can you imagine their frustration? Joyous!

    68. a supporter says:

      Further to my comment above. I wander around all of the Indyref web sites and I have recently detected that the NO supporting sites DO seem to be running out of steam. In fact many of them for want of better to do are now publishing more positive stories about the YES campaign, apart from the BBC of course. Is it my imagination?

    69. Vambomarbeleye says:

      Man in the Jar.
      Can we build a Brandenburgh style gate on the border and you can sit there in a tank waiting. 

    70. velofello says:

      I’ve no knowledge or experience of military equipment but I wonder if unmanned fighter aircraft  – developed from drones – are the future? I do find the attacks currently done by drones repulsive but then war is repulsive.Unmanned aircraft would free designers from the limit of G-force we humans can withstand.

    71. pmcrek says:

      To be honest, fitting a burglar alarm on Faslane would probably counter most of an Independent Scotland’s initial defence threats. Maybe hire a security guard for the gates too.

    72. Arbroath 1320 says:

      Norman says:
      I want one!!! 😆
      With regards to the Tornado, I remember working with them, many many moons ago. Some of the stories that I heard about how they compared, the F2 variant, against other aircraft did make me wonder why we actually had them. On one occasion, not so long after squadron introduction they went into ‘action’ against Norwegian F-16’s. The story came back that the Norwegians were restricted to straight and level flight to five the F2’s a chance. Well that’s the story as I remember it anyway. :D:
      On a second occasion the F2’s were involved in a massive NATO exercise only this time they did not operate alone. This time they flew in consort with Hawk aircraft. This system appears to have worked very well indeed. As targets became identified the Hawks were sent in to attack. Only after the Hawks had exhausted their ‘missiles’ did the F2 go into attack and clear up anything that was left. I heard after this exercise that nothing got through the ‘fighter’ cover provided by the F2/Hawk combination.
      I only give these two examples because despite being designated a ‘fighter’ the F2, to be honest, was not an out and out fighter, how could it be, it was a ‘fighter’ built out of a bomber for crying out loud! If my memory serves me right the F2 was 4 feet longer than the GR1 bomber. Now I can understand turning fighters into bombers but bombers into fighters? I’m sorry I don’t think I’ve ever seen that work successfully.

    73. CameronB says:

      Embradon says @ 1:06pm:
      Sneddon says:
      The most important question not addressed by cockers is what colour our planes and ships will be?
      Actually tartan would probably work quite well as camoflage in breaking up outlines

      As the Unionist are always demanding details, these would of course be “dress” tartans as opposed to “hunting”. A gentleman should never enter battle half dressed. 🙂

    74. G H Graham says:

      Stairheid (Candidate for First Minister of Scotland) says …
      If yer gonnae stop Curnel Ganday an’ Kim Long Spoon fae invadin Saltcoats, yer gonnae have tae hae a big army otherwise yoos wull a’ be eatin goat cheese an’ fried rice fur yer breakfast an’ watchin propaganda wi’ subtitles oan the telly.
      Jimmy Murphy knows mullions will aw be oot o’ joabs if wee Eck gets his way wi’ splittin up the army fur his own security detail at Bute Hoose. An’ ma great granda didnae fight in Sooth Africa in 1901 fer nuthin ye know. Wur a’ British whether ye want it ur no.

    75. CameronB says:

      Further to earlier comments re. drones, this is how you project maximum force at minimal personal risk.

      Fearsome UK Robot Aircraft Is Semi-Autonomous and Will Fly in 2013

      Q: What is a target?

      A: Anything you hit.

    76. CameronB says:

      Re: Curnel Ganday
      Secret MI6 plot to help Col Gaddafi escape Libya revealed

    77. Dcanmore says:

      I also include attrition rates and spare part mules, we can have 100 main battle tanks but put say 40 into long term storage or Reserve/TA training. But I agree I would like us to have, say, 24 Apaches in total. Our share of assets would give us 40 MBTs and 6 Apaches which is a good start.

    78. james morton says:

      if you want to see how it can work, simply look at norway, denmark, finland. Particulary finland – they are the eptiome of hard nosed businessmen. They buy a lot of their hardware from the states, but will not have any US presence anywhere in their territories. Nato have been chasing this small country for sometime now, desperate it to get it involved. All they have managed thus far is a partnership agreement – but again the Finns will not tolerate foreign military on their soil. They are also a non-nuke state – strange that.

      When it comes down to it, there is simply no need for Scotland to have a defence spending budget on par with the UK. That is absurd. It would be like the USA demanding the UK to spend the same amount of money it does, and the US defence budget is twice the size of the all the nations of the world combined.

      You want to know how to really piss money up a wall, just look at they way the yanks burn cash. Best insights for this are Chuck Spinney or James Burtons “Pentagon Wars”.

    79. Monty says:

      Arbroath 1320…
      I think you mean the F3 Fighter as the F2 was only a prototype.

      The F3 Fighter was too slow really and took an age to get to a decent height. I remember it being used as a stand off Fighter with the Hawk aircraft doing the close combat stuff. The F3 had Skyflash and Sparrow missiles that could be fired at a target from 20 miles away. They would hopefully take out the intruder first but if this failed then the Hawk would engage with it’s shorter range sidewinder missiles.

      The bomber version of the Tornado, the GR1 was more successful I think although in Gulf War One they switched to high altitude bombing with the Buccanneers acting as laser ranger target marking for them after losing too many GR1’s on their low level attack roles..

      Off the shelf F16’s would probably have been a better buy than the F3.

    80. Dramfineday says:

      Calgacus says:

      We could build our own aircraft in the near future! 
      We could and while we’re at it could you build some flying boat types? Loads of fresh water lochs, island communities and a healthy dollop of sea water all round so it appears to cry out for the type.

    81. G H Graham says:

      Would it not be cheaper for the MOD to build an aircraft carrier in say a shinty field near Braemar then just dig a big ditch around it and fill it in with water?

    82. gillie says:

      You simply wouldn’t want Typhoons (too expensive and not a true multi-role aircraft) nor Tornadoes (outdated and an aged airframe). Better bets would be F16s (cheap and plentiful, a classic fighter), Griffen NG (a beefed up design, cheap to fly with a strong maritime role), Rafale (brilliant French design), or ….. or a Sukhoi 27 variant (best fighter on the planet).

    83. Arbroath 1320 says:

      Aye you’re right Monty it was the F3 I was referring to, just a wee typo on my part. :D:
      Personally I wouldn’t look at the Tornado’s. I don’t think they are really up to scratch when you compare them against the likes of the Gripen, F-16, F-18, F-22, F-35 etc. Think I’d even consider the F-14 and F-15 ahead of the Tornado these days.

    84. Edward says:

      For those interested :
      General Dynamics F16 US$18.8 million each depending on variant
      Dassault Rafale US$82.3 million each depending on variant
      SAAB Gripen US$ 60-80 million each depending on variant
      MBB / BAE / Dassualt JV Eurofighter ‘Typhoon’ US$ 122 million, each depending on variant and tranche release

    85. HandandShrimp says:

      I see Hammond got pelters from retired Tory Colonels at the Tory conference. This is the chap that tries to lecture to us about sensible defence and even Tory soldiers think he is off the wall.

    86. Dramfineday says:

      What about some of these:
      and some of these:
      and I think we’ll have covered remote access issues oh, and
      for the odd heavy lift

    87. JLT says:

      This is all nonsense. I posted a link yesterday, in which a committee in London had spoken to Professors and Experts in the field on Military matters.
      If anyone wants, here’s what I posted, and I’ve added the link also.
      I read this after someone posted a link on The Herald (or was it the Scotsman …can’t remember!). It’s dated from May 2012 and it’s a Westminster Parliamentary debate about defence in a post indy-Scotland. It doesn’t answer anything, but it certainly gives you big clues as to what Scotland may be entitled too, and how our defensive landscape will look.
      You realise that Scotland WILL have a defence once the post negotiations are complete. If Scotland owns 13% of the debt and assets, then it is entitled the exact same to the military hardware. Now …we may not want the attack submarines or the new aircraft carriers, but we do deserve something. They can’t just chuck us the old crap either. It has to be new (or newish), so instead of aircraft carriers, we may get 15 tornados or typhoons. We may get a few destroyers. Just keeping Faslane open for Trident (for the foreseeable future) gives us an ace to bargain for even better bits of the military hardware. This is not MP’s discussing this; this is professors who have knowledge in military affairs. They are advising the MP’s of what SHOULD happen.
      So, in other words …Scotland won’t start from scratch (as in zero assets in Navy, Air Force or Army) as the wonderful Scottish media and Tory MP’s would love us to believe. Instead, Scotland starts with a decent fleet in hardware for both the Navy and the Airforce.
      It also gives a slight insight into spending in nations very similar (Norway, Denmark and the Netherlands – all North Sea nations).
      I found it very interesting. Interesting in the sense that it rubbishes all the mince in the media about defence in an indy-Scotland. We don’t get answers, but it gives you an idea of how it will probably go.

    88. JLT says:

      PS…when I mean nonsense, I’m talking about the media, not Stuart’s article about defence, which is once again, spot-on to read.
      I’m absolutely sick to the back teeth of the drivel that we are told on a daily basis by our so-called ‘impartial’ media!
      I thought Derek Bateman’s piece yesterday, about David Cameron bottling it with Alex was brilliant too!

    89. JLT says:

      Tartanfever mate,
      I know we had our wee debate yesterday, but that is some posting that you’ve put on detailing the story of the Russian Aircraft carrier and HMS York. Un-*******-believable. The photographs are so doctored that it is truly shocking. And for it to appear in a major paper …honestly, I’m shaking my head right now.
      Spot on …mate. Absolutely spot-on! Just shows that we have no Navy or Air Force in Scotland. Makes you wonder what the f*** we are paying the backside of £3 billion quid a year for!

    90. CameronB says:

      Makes you wonder what the f*** we are paying the backside of £3 billion quid a year for!
      A seat at the top table, and all that that entails?

      Sorry, I forgot Defense and Foreign Policy are reserved matters.

    91. Monty says:

      Arbroath 1320….I still love the  F4 Phantom myself and they used to eat F 15’s for breakfast  😉
      Good old workhorse the F 15 though and still used around the world.
      I always think of Top Gun and Jester’s dead when I see the F 14.

    92. Arbroath 1320 says:

      Monty says:

      Arbroath 1320….I still love the  F4 Phantom myself and they used to eat F 15?s for breakfast  Good old workhorse the F 15 though and still used around the world.I always think of Top Gun and Jester’s dead when I see the F 14.
      Ah good old smokey Joe the Toom.
      Loads of noise.
      Loads of smoke
      Loads of bang for your buck!
      Funny I always think of the old Yee Ha Jester’s dead line as well when I look at F-14’s :D:
      They’re BIG
      They’re AWESOME
      and they kick ASS!
      oh and I think their missiles are longer ranging than the F3 ones as well! :P:

    93. Jingly Jangly says:

      Don’t forget that the Russian Carrier Group were shadowed all the way by Norwegian planes and ships, so how can they do it when good old Britain had to send a redundant hulk, its a wonder they didn’t get steam up on the seven Nuclear submarines in long term storage at Rosyth but I suppose they need to check out the viability of cutting up
      the subs and see how much pollution and radiation hits Edinburgh first before deciding if its safe to do so at Devenport!!!

    94. Arbroath 1320 says:

      JJ if they could have figured out how to start up any of the rusting nuclear hulks at Rosyth they would have but no one knows the combination to open up the office where the start button is. Any way it was quicker sending the dilapidated hulk of H.M.S., York up from down South. 😆

    95. Brotyboy says:

      I think, unfortunately, that Cochrane went to the same school as I did.  I think I saw him debate the EEC and Britain’s putative (at that time) entry into it in 1967/8 and even then he was for pulling up the drawbridge against everyone.  

    96. Arbroath 1320 says:

      Brotyboy you have mine and everyone else’s condolences on admitting that fact. :D:

    97. Daisy says:

      Don’t forget the £7.6Bn underspend to date that we’re owed, having paid for it already. CDS is going to be bleeding out of his eyes come 2016!

    98. Monty says:

      Arbroath 1320…aye the tooms were a bit noisy and smoky….braw !
      The F-3 had a few technical ‘issues’.
      I heard they were making a Top Gun 2 movie but that the Director jumped off a bridge to his death after getting bad news that turned out to be false…couldnae make it up 🙁

    99. Arbroath 1320 says:

      Monty says:

      Arbroath 1320…aye the tooms were a bit noisy and smoky….braw !The F-3 had a few technical ‘issues’.
      Think you might be stating the obvious there. :D:

      I think I would have enjoyed a T.G. II I never really bothered much about the story line of TGI other than the flying sequences. ( I’m a bit of an aviation anorak :lol:)
      If they’d managed to do a TGII wonder if they’d have kept the F-14’s or moved on to its replacement the F-18.

    100. Eric says:

      While we are on Military…  No doubt people caught the video of our armed forces dancing to anti-catholic songs at Ibrox.  

      Is it just me being paranoid, or is was this a set-up in an attempt to cause division? 

      Why else march the troops at Ibrox? Whose idea was it? 
      I am completely ashamed of my country. (I was brought up Protestant by the way. I am 100% atheist. There is no room in my life for any form of sectarianism.) 

      How can UK troops behave in this manner?  Anyone got an explanation??

    101. Votadini Jeannie says:

      As one who knows nothing about military matters, and with no links to provide to anything, would we require an equivalent to the SAS or SBS? I seem to recall reading that the SAS are about 75% Scots anyway, so would we bring them home to be our own elite squad, or would they generally remain loyal to the UK? (Yes, I’ve been watching Who Dares Wins again).  🙂

    102. Tasmanian says:

      The SAS/SBS are the people you call when terrorists have taken over an oil rig. Definitely a useful role in the SDF 🙂

    103. JLT says:

      How can UK troops behave in this manner?  Anyone got an explanation??
      Eric, like you, I’m Presbyterian, but do not follow the faith. I live by the principle of that one can follow their faith if they wish, for as long as they don’t try to impose it on anyone else.
      As far as I am concerned, Scottish Presbyterianism and the Orange Order are NOT one and the same thing. And for those who dance to the tunes of the Orange Order; if you asked them to explain the whole Orange Order thing, you would eventually twist them with the facts, that it would like result in a punch in the mouth for yourself.
      Lets be frank here. Many of those who follow the Order have absolute no clue about it. They just hate the Pope, and they don’t know why! Ignorance is bliss!
      King James. They have no clue as to who King James was. As far as they are concerned, he’s an Irish King. Well …bzzzzz (wrong) …King James VII was a British King; an English King. He succeeded the throne from his brother (Charles II). James was a Catholic convert, whereas his brother was Episcopalian. Both were also Stuarts. When James produced a son (James VIII), Westminster in a panic, ran over the channel, and asked King William of Orange in Holland to take the throne. Westminster feared that James would create another catholic dynasty.
      Now, William, a few years back, had married James’s daughter, Mary. So William is James’s Son-in-Law (how many of our good pals in the Orange brigade know this fact?)
      In the end, we all know what happened. One final throw of the dice from James at the Battle of the Boyne in Northern Ireland, and he was defeated. William took the throne. That was in 1690.
      Now, Scottish Protestants in the Orange Order toast William for being a great King. Actually, William was downright rotten to the Scots. It was William that caused our downfall (as well as Hollands). William did not back Scotland’s ill-fated Darien project. In fact, he bloody well made sure that it would fail. He made sure that no English colonies traded with the Scots. He told Holland to do the same. Spain (to whom Darien belonged too) also refused to trade with the Scots. All of this because of William, because William had usurped a throne that could have been catholic. If he backed the Scots, then France, Spain and Italy would invade England. That was why William had to stand away from the Scots.
      Scotland went bankrupt, and with 17 years of him taking the throne, he had not only taken our legal Scottish Kings (James VII and VIII along with Bonnie Prince Charlie), he financially broke Scotland, and his policies forced us into the Union. It was William who caused all this. And when I talk of Holland, well Holland was a sea-faring major power at that time, but William couldn’t have his 3 nations all vying with one another (Scotland, Holland and England). In the end, because England was bigger and stronger, it was England that basically became the dominant power. Holland’s empire began to decline at this point, just like Scotland. All thanks to William.
      So, when I see idiots dance to the tunes of the Orange Order, I weep for them. If they would only pick up a book, and read their own history, it would stun them at the betrayal that William did. William was only interested in William. Nothing else!
      Plus John Knox, Father of the Scottish Church would have cursed Wiliam, for 3 simple reasons. Knox issued 3 doctrines in his time.
      1. To turn away from the catholic church (the church was very corrupt at this point)
      2. A school to be setup in every Parish in Scotland (so kids could learn to read the Bible)
      3. To defend Scotland at all costs from the saintliest King to the meanest Knave.
      In this 3rd doctrine, Knox would have cursed William. A foreigner who brought Scotland low. This is why Presbyterianism and the Orange Order are not one and the same thing. The schism within the church has been resolved (the church tidied itself up, and the Pope was seen to be a decent fellow after all!!).
      Therefore Doctrine 1 does not matter anymore, and rightly so. Doctrine 2 led to Scotland becoming the most enlightened nation in the world (because we were ahead of the curve in Reading, Writing and Arithmetic and this was how Scots became the masters of the British Empire. We were highly educated, and to a degree, we still are the most enlightened nation in the world)…
      and Doctrine 3 …well, I think that’s what we are all fighting for now. Rejection of Westminster’s power over a sovereign Scotland. We are still following two out of his 3 doctrines. Learn, learn, learn …and defend Scotland!
      Religion does not matter. Ones personal faith belongs to them and them alone. I wait for the day, when Scotland can break away from the Union, and hopefully, resolve the stupidity of sectarianism that blights parts of Scotland. Once the nation is in our hands, I can see a real change in learning in schools, and as to why the Orange Order should be removed from our society. Once the kids learn about William of Orange and what he did to Scotland, well, who knows… it might be one of the best things that Scotland ever did in teaching the truth to the kids.

    104. Arbroath 1320 says:

      Great post JLT.
      I would pick up on one wee point however. I believe Darian did not bankrupt Scotland just those rich (soon to be bankrupt) landowners and politicians. The Scottish banks refused to get involved in the Darian project and so it was left to the people of Scotland to raise the funds required for the project themselves.

    105. Scaraben says:

      Another reason not to honour the memory of King William is that he signed the order for the massacre in Glencoe, an act of state terrorism.

      But to be fair to William, there are very few monarchs in the history of Scotland and England who really deserve to be honoured, from a modern viewpoint.

    106. desimond says:

      All this talk about tanks and aircraft…what use are they when our enemy is within?

    107. Arbroath 1320 says:

      desimond says:

      All this talk about tanks and aircraft…what use are they when our enemy is within?
      Well the enemy may very well be within desimond but let’s face it they won’t be for long when they see our tanks and aircraft coming down the road towards them and flying over their petty little heads. 😆

    108. Dcanmore says:

      Yes it was a cabal of Scottish nobles (many with estates in England) that went near bankrupt. According to the National Statistics of Scotland during that time, the parishes themselves were in rude health. As part of the cringe we were led to believe that Scotland itself was a failure and a rotten backwater when in reality it was sold off by the parcel o’rogues for English gold. Many of their ancestors are entrenched in the British Establishment today and occupy the House of Lords. That’s why for the last three centuries Scotland is in the grip of so few landowners, trying to retain power and keeping the plebs in place. Bow down and know your place while the ‘great and good’ bleed this country dry as they promote buffoons and eejits from the Scottish political class into Barons as reward for spending 20 or 30 years successfully keeping their communities divided.

    109. Monty says:

      Arbroath 1320…the new Top Gun plot has Tom Cruise as the boss at Top Gun School Miramar so I expect they will use a variety of aircraft. Definitely the F-18 and other aircraft to simulate the baddies.
      ‘Armed Forces Day’ at Ibrox……..
      Rangers V Stenhousemuir – YouTube

    110. Arbroath 1320 says:

      Hmm I had a feeling if there was ever to be a second TG movie he might be one of the”Top Guns.” Mind you ‘Maverick’ as the boss??? Now THAT would be worth watching! 😆

    111. JLT says:

      You would be correct. It was the landowners who suffered from Darien, not the people themselves.

      To be honest, I could have gone way deep into my piece (this period of time runs deep …really deep. If you think Scotland was Sectarian, believe me, England was just as bad). The problem is, it would have turned my post into a super-post (in other words …really long and vast. I had to leave bits out, but you get the jist of it).

      One bit that I did leave out. When James VII did produce his heir, Westminster ran to William who was seen to be a bastion against Catholicism. Holland had just managed to rid herself of the Spanish Hapsburgs (Holland was officially apart of Spain for around 150 years …unbelievable, eh! Look it up …’Spanish Netherlands’). So, when Holland finally rid itself of Spain (and the inquisition), the Dutch were really anti-Catholic. Unbelievably anti-Catholic!

      So, now I come to the main point. When James VII produced his heir, Westminster panicked. It feared England would be torn apart by civil war as Religion again reared it’s head. Westminster ran to William (who was totally anti-Catholic) and offered him the throne. And hear lies the crux of the matter to Scotland. Remember …there is no Union at this point. This is 1688 (the Union is 1707). Westminster, even back then, made decisions that affected Scotland. Westminster, without asking us, removed ‘our’ king without our permission. They did not ask our feelings on removing our King. We had a new King dumped on us, whether we liked it or not.

      To the Scots, William was an usurper. The Scots prided themselves that their Kings descended way back into the mists of time. They were an unbroken line. William changed all that. For many years even after the Union, Edinburgh held festivals toasting James VII. Bonfires were lit in his honour. Eventually, Westminster, King George (by now the Hanoverian dynasty was in place), jumped on these festivities and ended them. Once Bonnie Prince Charlie came back to Scotland (the Stuarts had been removed from the throne for 50 years at this point), Edinburgh celebrated big time to have ‘their’ king back.

      Alas, however, it all ended in disaster at Culloden.
      This is what I mean. The Scots don’t know their own history. It’s a brilliant history. The wars of Independence, the Reformation, Union of Crowns 1603, Charles the 1st, The Killing Time, Cromwell, Darien, Union …and amazing history!, Seriously, I would have words with any man who says otherwise. Seriously guys, read the history of your nation. It will change you forever.

    112. Arbroath 1320 says:

      Thanks for that JLT.
      You weren’t a history (Scottish) teacher in a previous lifetime were you? :D:
      I admit to being one of the millions who doesn’t know their Scottish history. I only know bits and bobs from what I’ve gleaned from online discussions over the years. I sincerely hope that our future generations, at the very least, will soon be in a position to begin learning SCOTTISH history. 

    113. JLT says:

      3 books to read.
      Magnus Manusson’s ‘History of Scotland’
      ‘The Scottish Enlightenment’ by Arthur Herman
      A History of Scotland by Neil Oliver.
      Magnus’s book is very good. Herman’s is very interesting, but goes a wee bit too deep into philosophy half way through
      Neil Olivers is the lightest book but still great
      For me…Magnus wins every time.
      And to that question …no, I was never a History teacher (this life or any other), but I do love it with an absolute passion …an absolute passion.
      Thanks again, Arbroath.

    114. Monty says:

      Arbroath 1320…and Iceman and Jester teaming up as the baddies aircrew making his life a misery ( again ) 🙂

    115. fergie35 says:

      Just crapping myself incase….. Norway invades? Maybe the Faroe Islands or the Icelanders, maybe the Irish?
      Who is going to invade us?

      If it is the Russians or Chinese, it is a global problem, not Scotlands, being in a Union with the country that likes to punch above its weight is more dangerous, especially as they have placed all their 200 nuke warheads in Scotland’s central belt.

    116. Arbroath 1320 says:

      Thanks for the book suggestions JLT
      I think Neil Oliver’s book is from a T.V. series he did of the same name isn’t it?
      Interesting thought there Monty.
      YeeHa Jester’s dead! 😆

    117. CapnAndy says:

      The Scottish Defence Force (SDF) sounds like a plausible name for our future armed forces, however I have to admit that I do favour  ‘Scottish Home Armed Defence Organisation’ (SHADO). Sounds good to us folk of a certain age.

    118. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “The Scottish Defence Force (SDF) sounds like a plausible name for our future armed forces, however I have to admit that I do favour ’Scottish Home Armed Defence Organisation’ (SHADO). Sounds good to us folk of a certain age.”

      I prefer “Scottish Heavy Uniformed Group”.

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