The world's most-read Scottish politics website

Wings Over Scotland

The unnecessary umbrella 72

Posted on July 15, 2013 by

The No campaign is fond of mocking the SNP’s insistence that an independent Scotland could be a member of NATO while still getting rid of Trident. The USA in particular, it’s frequently argued, would simply not stand for the Scots taking the strategic base at Faslane out of the North Atlantic picture while still seeking the benefits of the alliance’s military presence and protection.


If only there was some sort of precedent we could examine.

Read the rest of this entry →

Neither Brigadoon nor GERSland 25

Posted on March 17, 2013 by

Brigadoon is the story of a Scottish village which only appears for one day every hundred years. GERSland, on the other hand, is a country – similar to Scotland in many ways – which has appeared, albeit fleetingly, every year since 1999.


GERSland too suffers from Caledonian Antisyzygy – it is simultaneously like Scotland and unlike it. It is not Scotland as we know it and it’s not a glimpse of an independent Scotland either, despite the dogged insistence of countless journalists, analysts and commentators less insightful than Wings Over Scotland’s on presenting it as such.

It is, as the lawyers say, sui generis, or a special case.

Read the rest of this entry →

The King’s shilling 58

Posted on February 10, 2013 by

The Telegraph’s crotchety old relic Alan Cochrane is usually a figure of comic fun for independence supporters. But now and again the Tory dinosaur’s prehistoric polemic conceals something more dangerous. In a misguided attempt to add hard numbers to a piece yesterday reporting Teresa May’s speech about spies, Cochrane seems to have used Wikipedia for some information on Swedish and Danish domestic intelligence services and come up with this:

“For instance, the Danish Security and Intelligence Service, which is part of the country’s police force, has 650 officers. Sweden, which is not a member of Nato, has over 1,000 officers in its security, counter terrorism and intelligence service – SAPO – which has an annual budget, according to one estimate, of £800 million.”

According to one estimate”? That’s an interesting choice of words. Unfortunately someone wasn’t reading closely enough. Wikipedia’s English-language page on Säpo does indeed say that it had a budget of around 800m in 2008. Except it wasn’t £800m, but 800 million Swedish Kronor. At today’s exchange rate that’s around £80 million. Mr Cochrane has, in his fury, overstated Sweden’s intelligence budget by 1,000%. Oops.

Read the rest of this entry →

↑ Top