The world's most-read Scottish politics website

Wings Over Scotland

The knife in the water

Posted on April 01, 2014 by

A Yes vote in the independence referendum would elevate Scotland to the top of the world political agenda for one reason and one reason only: the fact that the UK’s entire nuclear arsenal would unavoidably be located in a foreign country for years. Everything else about the relationship between Scotland and the rest of the UK – currency sharing, borders, taxation – is subordinate to that simple and critical fact.


The UK’s serious-minded and capable Defence Secretary Philip Hammond told Andrew Marr on Sunday that he “didn’t think” it was he who had told the Guardian, a couple of days beforehand, that Scotland would be able to currency-share with the UK.

You can take that any way you like, but he also pointed out that he’d just spent the week in Washington DC.

There, however fascinating the state department would find the intricacies and putative negotiations around part of the UK becoming independent, the only high-order issue is what will happen to those nuclear weapons and subs in the event of a Yes vote.

The SNP is committed to removing Trident from Scotland, of course. But building a facility elsewhere would take years. In the meantime, the United States, what would remain of the UK and every other significant body in the world would insist upon rUK maintaining complete, unambiguous control over its nuclear assets.

There could be various legalistic models for this, of course – some reports refer to the Cyprus Sovereign Base Areas – but in the end rUK would demand full control over an area located inside a foreign state.

Politicians don’t like to talk this issue up. It’s kind of alarming if there’s the slightest hint of an issue around your control of your nuclear assets, and the SNP will not be suckered into appearing to stoop to using nuclear weapons as a bargaining chip.  And of course journalists don’t write much about it because it shoots the fox of the daft daily stories about border posts and the rUK refusing to currency-share.

But the central fact is unavoidable – the Pentagon, and the US president, will have already demanded and received a detailed categorical assurance about exactly what will happen in the entirely possible event of Scotland’s secession from the UK.

Consider this: independence would be almost immediately followed by a Scottish general election. No-one has any idea what kind of government would emerge from that, nor can anyone be sure who would lead it or what demands a minority party (led, perhaps, by a Tommy Sheridan-type figure?) would be able to extract in terms of the the removal of rUK assets from Scotland.

Whatever else happened, there could be a significant period of time when rUK’s nuclear assets (and the thousands of service personnel required to defend it) would be present in Scotland even against the wishes of the sovereign government.

Now think about the following – EU commissioners making life hard for Scotland? NATO mucking Scotland about? rUK putting up border posts? Refusing a currency union? Not a chance – all of these things are the smallest of beer next to the urgency of securing one of the world’s largest nuclear arsenals. A Scottish government wouldn’t need to demand anything: rUK would be over a barrel.

(Moreover, all the Scottish government would be asking for is a cordial and mutually constructive relationship with its neighbour – an eminently reasonable ‘ask’ that few citizens in rUK, and certainly not the US, would disagree with.)

The bookies are giving 3/1 odds on a ‘Yes’ vote. That’s 3/1 that an enormous nuclear arsenal, and very real delivery mechanism, will be detached from its ‘owners’. And what happens when such a situation isn’t properly managed? At the very minimum, Crimea is what happens. There is therefore no question of Norwegian, Portugese or any other minor-nation politicians having a say, however much they want one.

There is no doubt, and nor should there be, that six months ahead of the referendum and with the Yes vote already projected to exceed 40%, that the US and UK have already agreed a ‘nuclear’ plan. So whenever politicians or experts suggest some petty bureaucratic nonsense as a price for independence, just think about nuclear bombs and whatever they say sounds like arse.

*Eric Joyce is the MP for Falkirk. His blog, on which this post also appears, is here.

Print Friendly

    186 to “The knife in the water”

    1. Robert Whyte says:

      Off topic but why does wings articles do not come up on Google News?

    2. It would be interesting if anyone has any relatives in USA to file a FOI request to the US government to find out what has been discussed and any contingencies in the pipeline..anyone?

    3. Look Skye Walker says:

      Eric, nail your colours to the mast and tell them you are a YES voter.

    4. goldenayr says:

      Spot on.I take it your a full YES devotee now?Or were you always and that was the reason for the fallout?

    5. heedtracker says:

      “At the very minimum, Crimea is what happens.” England pulls a Crimea. So what’s the max then, BetterTogether tanks parked in front of Holyrood? Well Farage says he “admires” Putin now so maybe you’re not having a brain storm Mr Joyce.

    6. Fiona says:

      I have already said elsewhere that I think this is the crucial issue, and am glad to see it articulated here. There should be much more focus on the importance of Trident, and we should be getting some answers from the No campaign about what they are going to do about it. The uncertainty is bad for my health: or at least that is what they say about every other issue (while refusing to outline a Plan A for currency after a yes vote etc etc etc)

    7. pmcrek says:

      Aye trident is the negotiating elephant in the room, I have no doubt it was Hammond and I suspect the intervention could have came straight out of a “Yes Minister” script!

      Something I’d like to point out too in case others haven’t noticed it. All the MoD press releases on Trident removal state clearly, that there is no alternative “OPERATIONAL” base for trident to relocate too. Seemingly the press are unable to differentiate between the words “OPERATIONAL” and “STORAGE”. There are plenty of bunkers across the rUK Trident warheads can be stored and plenty of docks the submarines can be towed into.

      Its not Scotland’s business if the rUK’s vanity project has to sit in a dock rusting and unusable for a decade, even if that is the funniest thing that could ever happen to it.

    8. Bugger (the Panda) says:


      I have friends in Washington, the man had a high ranking before he retired from the US Military but is contractually still working “in training”.

      It was suggested to me that the US knew damn fine the UK could not afford both a substantial conventional force and a renewal of the Trident fleet.

      The US would be quite happy for the UK to have a boosted conventional military force, properly equipped and no nuclear missile submarines, although a nuclear cruise missile force would be way much cheaper and could be developed relatively quickly as the Trident fleet was phased out.

    9. Seasick Dave says:

      What’s with the pejorative foreign country nonsense?

      It makes you sound like Johann Lamont or Margaret Curran.

      Just because we will be controlling our own resources and finances doesn’t make us bogeymen.

    10. Illy says:

      Two things:

      1) Check the date.

      2) Westminster has already deployed tanks in Glasgow, and has killed thousands for oil in a foregn country. What has changed that would stop them doing eitehr again?

    11. msean says:

      Obviously,these can’t be moved right away,but a commitment that they will be removed and its replacement will be based elsewhere is not out of this world.Access to the north atlantic will be guaranteed anyway,just the same way as Scots ships will be able to pass through the English Channel

      No real problem exists here,as a call to the First Minister from America would find out,if indeed,it hasn’t already happens.In any case,I’m sure they have his number 🙂 .

    12. Gordon Hunter (@GordonHunter11) says:

      A point here that is sometimes missed is that 67% of Trident is U.S.Owned. All that is U.K. owned is the warheads.You can be sure that the U.S.will have a huge say in what happens with Trident.

    13. Fiona says:

      But independence does make us foreign for this purpose, Seasick Dave. The military do not see the world in the same way as the rest of us

    14. Desimond says:

      A fine feeling of gravitas about this welcome read. Reminds us all how big the stakes really are in a political and global sense.

    15. msean says:

      Didn’t realise Trident was 67% us owned, Whats independent about that?

    16. Alt Clut says:

      Eric Joyce’s view makes sense. So; even more than you thought already, as BT struggles itself ever deeper into the quicksand, be ready for every dirty,devious and dishonest trick that the overt, and covert, branches of the British state can think of during the remainder of the campaign. This is a ‘gloves off’ issue so, to themselves, they will be able to justify just about anything.

      We’re going to win but we’re probably going to have to fight our way there in an increasingly filthy context.


    17. yerkitbreeks says:

      The odds are dropping all the time – it’s now 11/4 and I’m sure the US and UK are watching.

    18. Flower of Scotland says:

      We should be asking Better together what their plan A and B are for the removal of their nuclear arsenal from an Independent Scotland!

      Hope you’re a YES Eric Joyce!

    19. heedtracker says:

      Also what you’re leaving out Mr Joyce is the fact that the Labour in Scotland party led by Lamont want to keep Trident and buy the £100 billion Trident 2. So after independence, Lamont’s Labour in Scotland’s first election campaign will be vote Labour and keep Trident in Scotland.

      This probably explains why Lamont keeps saying she wants to have “a conversation with the people of Scotland” about UKOK nukes on the Clyde. Or, shut up and vote no, trident’s way to important for the likes of you genetically incapable Scottish types.

    20. Grouse Beater says:

      Many days ago I mentioned on Wings that the Pentagon would have had a quiet chat about the “safety” of Trident, asking what Westminster had in store for it in the event of Scotland regaining autonomy.

      In other words, “What is England’s Plan B?”

      We tend to presume Westminster is master of all its sees, (vanishing daily) especially in relation to undermining our democratic progress, but in reality the United States of Amnesia is paying the piper and calling the tune.

      Westminster is duty bound to bend the knee to the USA’s idea of that dear, sweet “special relationship.”

    21. Les Wilson says:

      Skulduggery will abound, it never fails me to notice just how the world views our little country,we are certainly not a tiny backwater when it comes to their own interests.

      The MOD will do EVERYTHING it can to maintain Faslane, which, let us not forget where it is placed, ie very close to our biggest City. No where in the world would this happen apart from Scotland. We did not allow it, we had it imposed on us.
      If there is ever a nuclear strike or an accident with large radiation escape, Glasgow and all the towns and villages would be gone or left severely suffering. We really need to consider this and the implications.

      Simply, a country our size cannot contemplate allowing these on our soil, no matter where in our country it is situated, least of all near our biggest populated area.
      So there will be attempts to frighten us, intimidate,bribe, lie, and threaten us.

      We cannot waiver though, we have so much to lose, we cannot allow that to happen. No matter what they do or say, we must resist them. We can only do this with a YES vote.
      Consider it very deeply before you go into the box to vote.

    22. Jimbo says:

      Good article, Eric.

      It points to one the reasons why most of us independence minded politics nerds know that everything the Unionist politicians come out with is all bluff and bluster.

    23. Seasick Dave says:


      ‘Foreign’ is used to denote untrustworthy in the context of the article.

    24. Muscleguy says:

      @Seasick Dave
      I suspect what Eric and others might have in mind is the regular protests at Faslane that amongst other things try to blockade the base. Once we are independent Westminster has to hope the Scottish govt doesn’t tip Police Scotland the wink to not interfere due to some clause in the nascent constitution. Nothing Westminster can do about that unlike at the moment. If we try it now then they cut off the money supply, simple.

      Or maybe when a sub is preparing for a cruise all the pleasure boats on the Clyde sail and motor up the Gareloch and drop anchor across it. What happens in an independent Scotland with a constitution? Who can say, it is not written yet.

      That’s the way of foreign governments, they are unreliable and self interested. Like when our supposed friends the Australians let go the yacht the French used to ship the limpet mines that sunk the Rainbow warrior before the tests they had ordered on the bilge water were in. That yacht disappeared in the Pacific, presumed scuppered and the crew transferred to a French naval vessel, possibly a submarine.

      The actions of foreign governments, even friendly, fraternal ones are not under your control and lots of things can happen.

    25. jingly jangly says:

      Well Eric your getting nearer to the tipping point, what number are you now? 4/5 or 5/6?
      Anyway, its a no brainer, they relocate the Tridents to the US Trident Base at Kings Bay in Georgia, its what Hammond was probably discussing on his recent visit.

      Whether the UK has 3 working Trident Subs (one is always on refit) is a moot point, my own observations suggest that a couple of years ago they only had one at sea which if correct would mean that 3 were u/s. it doesn’t matter where on the Atlantic seaboard they are based, they can as easily patrol the North Atlantic from Georgia as from Faslane.

      Any time delay in moving is due to that at least one sub is under major refit which takes up to three years, I would imagine that one will be starting its refit on March 22 2016!!! So anybody saying that they need to go within that three year period is talking nonsense, It would be even more dangerous than normal to attempt to put it to sea.

      Off course the Ruk may be more delusional than I give them credit for and waste 100 billion they will have to borrow for a trident replacement. or if they want their seat at the top table so badly then they can easily put in place a system based on Tomahawk cruise missiles. If the people of Devonport don’t want Nukes based there, they have plenty of Colonial outposts where they can reclassify the indigenous population “Itinerant Workers” and move them thousands of miles away from their traditional homelands.
      See Deigo Garcia for a previous occurrence.

    26. Sailor says:

      Ive said for years that Trident will remain till its renewal date of around 2020-25.
      Funny how that view was so mocked and derided.

    27. Desimond says:

      Could we kill 2 birds with 1 stone here?

      Let an independent Shetland take the Nukes.

      Someone call Tavish Scott and run that by him!

    28. Sailor says:


      Only one boat at sea, one in refit, one in dry dock and one on standby to relieve the patrol boat.

      As for basing the Vessel in USA thats absurd. As an ex Trident submariner I can tell you how crazy this subject has become, yet again.

    29. Mealer says:

      That sounds about right.The big question is,how long should an independent Scotland be expected to host these weapons while alternative accommodation is constructed? If it’s important enough to them for it to be the focus of their national effort,what’s a reasonable time period? rUK can build a facility in a couple of years if they really put their minds and finances to it.The biggest problem they will face will be forcing an unwilling community to accept nuclear weapons in their midst.How strong is their desire to keep their symbols of power?If the political will is there,they can force legislation through in a matter of weeks.Potential sites will already have been identified and a lot of the planning will have been done.I think 5 years would be a very generous time limit.

    30. Macart says:

      Good points Mr Joyce.

      Its what its always been about as far as Westminster is concerned: WMDs and resource. Really, is there anyone out there who actually believes Dave or indeed any of his cabinet, when they beak out the hearts and flowers routine? They are interested in one thing only, the retention of the establishment and state machine as absolute arbiter of governance in the UK, end of. The UKs place on the world stage is very much to the forefront of Westminster’s minds right now and you can bet its behind every word, every image they release on this referendum.

      The Scottish electorate are effectively passing judgement on UK governance. A yes vote will send a huge message across the globe and change the seating arrangements at a number of those ‘big tables’ Westminster politicians like to sit round.

    31. Fiona says:

      @ Seasick Dave

      The fact is that from the point of view of the military it is “untrustworthy” in itself to demand the removal of Trident. On that definition I am certainly “untrustworthy” because I want to do what is in Scotland’s interest, even where that conflicts with the UK interest. We are not “all in it together” in this or much else. There are irreconcilable differences and they cannot be blinked

    32. Fiona says:

      @ Jingly Jangly

      I disagree that it is dangerous to move them if they are undergoing a refit: they need not be armed. My concern is getting rid of the warheads, and they do not come as an integral part of the subs.

      There is no reason at all why the nuclear threat cannot be removed in a very short time scale, so far as I can see. The subs can also be moved quickly. Any delay will not be down to technical difficulties

    33. Seasick Dave says:

      I presume that we are only trustworthy at present because we are seen as a basket case which can be taken advantage of.

    34. Ali says:

      If independence is to bring real change from the politics of Westminster this is a crucial issue. We need to get it right and that means its too important to leave to the politicians. I strongly encourage everyone who can to turn out for the CND events happening across Scotland this week.

    35. Murray McCallum says:

      “You can take that any way you like, but he also pointed out that he’d just spent the week in Washington DC.”

      … agreeing which US base they would be re-located to?

      “insist upon rUK maintaining complete, unambiguous control over its nuclear assets.”

      I’m not sure you are describing the current actuality there Eric. Maybe you could set out in detail a real life scenario of a UK independent deployment of nuclear weapons?

    36. Fiona says:

      @ Seasick Dave

      I think up till now the assumption has been that we are all one country and happy to be so. That changes if we vote for independence: not in substance from my point of view; but legally and formally

    37. Mark Harper says:

      The Joyce article is now 404 not found on his page

    38. Iain says:

      An on-topic tweet.

      Jennie Kermode ?@jennie_kermode 15 hrs
      Personally though, based on leaks I sadly cannot share at this stage, I’m pretty certain UK is preparing for Trident to move. #Scotnight

    39. Jimbo says:

      Jack Straw is the only Unionist politician I know of who honestly gave (what he considered to be) his positive case for the Union:

      “Historically, England called the shots to achieve a union because the union was seen as a way, among others things, of amplifying England’s power worldwide.

      And the reverse would certainly be true. A broken-up United Kingdom would not be in the interests of Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland, but especially not England.

      Our voting power in the European Union would diminish. We’d slip down in the world league GDP tables. Our case for staying in the G8 would diminish and there could easily be an assault on our permanent seat in the UN Security Council.”

    40. Findlay Farquaharson says:

      great thought provoking stuff. why eric joyce doesnt declare he is a yessir is a tad disapointing. im sure he is astute enough to realise its a no brainer if he wants to win back the respect of scotland, it may open some new doors for him.

    41. JGedd says:

      @ Bugger(the Panda)
      Didn’t I read last year that US “government sources” had said, exactly as your friend has, that they would prefer the UK to concentrate on building conventional defence forces rather than nuclear?

      Since Hammond was Minister of Defence at the time, then he would be privy to such “advice”. It makes it all the more significant that Hammond’s name has been connected to the leak about linking currency union to Trident. The UK government might be anxious to show their US allies that they are capable custodians.

    42. Iain says:

      Entirely off topic, the Ladbrokes political betting odds compiler has said that two thirds of all bets on size of Yes vote are for 55% plus.

      One of the more interesting aspects of the indyref betting has been the very large of money people have been staking on YES getting over 55%

      YES Vote %
      12 Under 30
      7 30-35
      4 35-40
      5/2 40-45
      4 45-50
      7 50-55
      6 55+

      The 6/1 seems way too short to me, but it’s been hammered down all the way from an opening 20/1. 2/3 of all the money staked on this market has been on that option.

    43. doug says:

      The Scottish Government have already said that The Kingdom of Scotland will require their removal as soon as it is safe to do so. Nowhere did they say they will permit them to be operational in that period.

      Although the warheads are normally stored in the bunkers at RNAD Coulport, the warheads are manufactured at Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE) Aldermaston and maintained at nearby AWE Burghfield The Ministry of Defence Police Special Escort Group (SEG) regularly move the warheads on up to five heavy duty cargo trucks between the various locations

      This gives them greater shipping capacity than they had in 1992 when it took ten convoys to move the Chevaline warheads to RAF Honnington for storage.

      Two months if done at a leisurely pace.

    44. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “Ive said for years that Trident will remain till its renewal date of around 2020-25.
      Funny how that view was so mocked and derided.”

      Not by me it wasn’t. I’ve said from the word go that we’d probably be looking at some time in the second independent Parliament.

    45. eric joyce says:

      Very interesting points. 3 quick replies, if I may. SeasickSteve, I used ‘foreign’ to emphasise the fact that Faslane would be outside rUK sovereign territory; there’s was no pejorative implied I promise you. Muscleguy, you’re bang on about water, roads, public works – rUK would need agreement in good faith and they’d need to maintain that good faith e.g. mucking people around at ‘border posts’ would lead to roads being dug up ‘for maintenance’, etc. Finally, Scottish Labour’s leaders supports Trident and its replacement but regards it all as a ‘wee thing’. That’s one reason it’s really quite impossible to take Scottish Labour seriously at the moment.

    46. galamcennalath says: CND Scotland makes interesting reading on the subject.

    47. Fiona says:

      @ Rev Campbell

      Why do you think it will take so long?

    48. Murray McCallum says:

      If WMDs are a mutually strong bargaining point and are negotiated to remain in Scotland for an extended time (ie beyond their safe removal) how will the party deemed to have agreed to that decision be viewed?

      Political 2016 manifestos in an independent Scotland will be interesting. I wonder how the status quo, pro-WMD parties will fare?

    49. AllyPally says:

      I spent the morning seeing off CND’s Spring Walk from Holyrood to Faslane. There’s a rally in Glasgow on Saturday, arriving Faslane next Monday. I really respect the walkers, especially in today’s torrential rain.

      For the first time in my life it looks as if we can really get rid of these things. Let’s not blow it.

    50. creag an tuirc says:

      Eric, you yes yet? 🙂

    51. Harry Scott says:

      Wouldn’t they simply be able to move them to an American sub base in the interim? They use the same missile system, so storage and handling of warheads etc would be no problem and since the subs have effectively unlimited range, it doesn’t really matter if they are based on the US East coast.

    52. Dubai_Scot says:

      Over on BellaCaledonia, “Killing Squirrels with a Howitser” How very topical after the recent….Oh Look a Squirrel!
      Sillers on form again!

    53. Vestas says:


      “This gives them greater shipping capacity than they had in 1992 when it took ten convoys to move the Chevaline warheads to RAF Honnington for storage.”

      Honington wasn’t storing nukes (not UK ones anyway) in the 1990s. The base was de-facto USAF during that period – I was there a lot during that time.

    54. Patrick Roden says:

      Thanks Eric, A very interesting read and something the Yes campaign should use to good effect.

      There’s no getting away from the fact, no matter how hard BT try, that when we start bargaining, Scotland holds the ‘ace in the pack’ 🙂

    55. Sailor says:

      It’d take 20 – 30 years to build a new Faslane & Coulport costing billions, requiring continued support of every parliament.

      The only option is for Trident to remain till its renewal date or if rUK decide to scrap them following a No vote which may remove the so called bargaining chip and save rUK millions in the future.

      Cant imagine basing them in USA as a viable option.

    56. Dcanmore says:

      Hammond would have been in Washington either receiving his orders or presenting the Americans with a creditable plan in the event of Scottish independence probably involving two scenarios … the immediate removal of Trident or delayed removal of Trident.

      What rUK doesn’t want is the importance of France to override the UK’s ‘Special Relationship.’ If rUK was forced to scrap Trident then that leaves France and Russia the only nuclear powers in Europe. Guess which one will become the USA’s new best friend, France might even get a new nuclear sub out of it to maintain ‘the security of Western Europe’ then suddenly France gets a ‘Special Relationship’ with Washington as Britain plays with her new carriers.

      No, I can see Westminster wanting desperately to hang on to Trident at all costs which will mean a deal to rent Faslane and Coulport for eight years or so until the Trident warheads can be moved to another prepared safe haven. To play this tactic AS will pretty much get what he wants that will see a smooth transition to independence in the crucial short term. Once currency union, BoE, EU, oil, boundaries and such is taken care of in those 18 months then the SG can plan a longer term strategy for Scotland including a written constitution. After 2020 we’ll see a new Scotland emerge.

      The monies garnered from renting Faslane and Coulport (say £1,500000 each per day) would easily pay for the rebuilding of the Scottish Navy over a period of ten years securing the immediate future of our military shipyards.

    57. Seasick Dave says:


      Thanks for your reply as its more than I’ve ever had to any queries I have put to Scottish Labour MSPs.

      Its also good to hear you tell things how they are.


      PS Its Seasick Dave 🙂

    58. Dcanmore says:

      RUK won’t have to build a new Faslane, Barrow or Portsmouth can take the subs, they just need somewhere close by to the subs for warhead storage. My bet would be Barrow-in-Furness where they build the things with storage at Sellafield.

    59. Les Wilson says:

      Ok, what happens in this scenario.We vote YEs and we manage to have Trident moved relatively quickly.
      So the Royal Navy accepts and installs nuclear cruise missiles, improved versions.

      Then they just go in and out of Scottish waters and any other waters they can. How do we stop that? They could well be semi permanent around and in Scottish water as they are in Nato, as we will be.
      To me that seems a common sense idea if I was them.

      They retain N.Weapons and still have them all around Scottish ports or at least within our boundaries? So well away from London and still on our doorstep.

      A conundrum is it not?, how do we stop that.
      I am not talking about an occasional port call when I say this, which may now and then be expected by our membership of Nato.

    60. Les Wilson says:

      Sorry missed in last post, after improved versions should read on their ships.

    61. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “It’d take 20 – 30 years to build a new Faslane & Coulport”

      It doesn’t take 30 years to build ANYTHING.

    62. Illy says:

      Well, since the USA has the firing codes for them, I don’t see why they can’t store them.

    63. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “Why do you think it will take so long?”

      Because I think we’ll want to be – and will be under a lot of pressure to be – good neighbours. Our friends across the border will need our help while they build a new missile base, and in turn they’ll be a lot more co-operative in negotiations than we’re currently being led to believe.

    64. Bugger (the Panda) says:


      Sellafield. That is very interesting and it is contaminated already too. Perfect.

    65. Morag says:

      It doesn’t take 30 years to build ANYTHING.

      The Great Pyramid of Giza?

      York Minster?

      …. I’ll get me coat….

    66. Bugger (the Panda) says:

      @Rev Stu

      “It’d take 20 – 30 years to build a new Faslane & Coulport

      It doesn’t take 30 years to build ANYTHING.”

      La Sagrada Familia in Barcelona

    67. Dcanmore says:

      @Les Wilson …

      Scottish sovereignty and international laws dictate what can and can’t be done, one of the things that irks Westminster will be the ‘asking of permission to use Scottish waters’. The retention of Faslane and Coulport for rUK purposes is very different from the manoeuvrings of the subs themselves, that will also be up for discussion. Trident is a deep water machine and needs open ocean to operate effectively, the only time it would need to use Scottish waters will be going to and from port through pre-determined channel, otherwise it is pointless to have a jaunt around the Scottish islands willy-nilly, it’s not what they are for. The other ‘hunter-killer’ nuclear subs will be retained at Portsmouth as they don’t need the Faslane or Coulport facilities.

    68. Fiona says:

      Don’t know about Barrow, but Devonport was ruled out on grounds of safety and I do not see that Portsmouth is any different in those terms. Is it? I read on wiki that there are 860,000 in the area

    69. Sailor says:


      The vessel thats on standby to relieve the patrol boat will be in port getting ready for several weeks. How much time do you want servicemen to do away from families?

      Its just not workable.

    70. Morag says:

      La Sagrada Familia in Barcelona

      Gazumped. Good and proper.

    71. Illy says:

      I still like the idea that Hollyrood gets what’s in Scotland’s territory, and Westminster gets everything else.

      With negotiations only over the things that don’t have a location, like the companies owned by the country, like BoE and RBS, and the ownership of Pound Stirling.

      That makes the nukes really simple. We dispose of them safely, as quickly as we can, since they’re Scottish nukes, unless Westminster moves them out before March 2016.

    72. The Man in the Jar says:

      Serious question. Anyone know what happened to the numerous neuks that NATO had stored in W. Germany post reunification?

      I don’t remember much of a fuss when it came to removing them.

    73. The Man in the Jar says:

      Serious question. Anyone know what happened to the numerous neuks that NATO had stored in W. Germany post reunification?

      I don’t remember much of a fuss when it came to removing them. Are there still some remaining? Granted they were mostly missile mounted.

    74. Fiona says:

      @ Rev Campbell

      Good neighbours is a good idea. But the question of Trident is not that sort of issue. Certainly there should be a reasonable period for them to make alternative arrangements. I see no reason to suppose they need 6 or 10 years for that.

      Mr Salmond says during the term of the first elected independent government and I hope that is a firm commitment (which is 2020 at the latest I think?) because we have no idea what the government will be thereafter ( we don’t know about the first one either but I feel fairly confident it will be SNP)

    75. The Man in the Jar says:

      Sorry dont know what happened there 🙁

    76. Sailor says:

      I’m not getting into this again. It took 20 yrs to prepare Faslane for Trident with Polaris already in place.

      I want to see Trident gone too and indeed will be voting yes with all my heart but when I hear nonsense about building a new Faslane/Couplort in 5 years set in Wales or Barrow-in-Furness it just makes me want to punch my own face.

      Sorry Reverend, I’ll leave the subject alone this time.

    77. Porty Tam says:

      A contribution from Mad Jock McMad on Newsnet in 2012….

      “This all leaves Admiral West – a man I knew and had respect for – hanging out on a limb. The nuclear weapons held in Coulport are UK weapons. The nascent English Defence Force can either pick them up or Scotland could charter a ship and return them to RNAD Ernesettle in Plymouth where they could be stored safely – though maybe the ‘Janners’ might just kick up a bit.

      With no port facility – and the future Scottish Navy is putting its main base at Faslane – there is nowhere in Scotland for the Vanguard class submarines and given their draft (amount of water they need to ‘float’) Plymouth is the only port that could handle them.

      Given the Trident missile, sans warhead, stayed at Coulport all on its own, in splendid isolation – just why would the US wish to retain a facility in Scotland, all cost – no benefit?

      Apparently the Welsh have told their New Labour first minister, in no uncertain terms, they do not want Trident, nuclear weapons and Vanguard submarines in West Wales – just where will the English defence force store Trident?

      The only answer is the missiles return to the US nuclear sub base near Pensacola where the Vanguards would go to pick up refurbished missiles. This leaves the problem of just how and where will the English Defence Force’s nuclear weapon system be detached or attached to said missile.

      Under current START and other treaties if the US fits the weapon system to the missile it is ‘hiring’ to the English Defence Force it counts as an US missile.

      It is this high level of denial that Admiral West is caught in, I know he is not a stupid man and knows better than me the consequences of no Coulport and Faslane on ‘Britains’ nuclear deterrent – it is simply another example of the state of fear that is starting to embrace Whitehall as the finality of what was signed in Edinburgh on Monday begins to strike home.”

    78. Giving Goose says:

      Eric is just fine where he is. He is still seen as a Labour person and that will carry gravitas.
      If he declares for Yes, then he can be attacked by the MSM and any message he conveys may be diluted. Eric, keep schtum.

    79. Grouse Beater says:

      @ Stuart

      “It doesn’t take 30 years to build anything.”

      It took thirty years to build the Palace of Westminster, a co-operation between Gothic expert architects Barry and Pugin. In fact, it surpassed the lives of both architects.

      Foundations were laid in 1840, not quite completed internally by 1871. It’s been refurbished twice since then.

      It went hideously over-budget because of great delays and massive cost over-runs to an amount far in excess of Scotland’s parliament. But it’s England’s, so that’s okay.

    80. X_Sticks says:

      Mark Harper says:

      “The Joyce article is now 404 not found on his page”

      Yes, interesting, has Eric been knobbled by the dark forces?

      As he rightly point out, never mind the hordes of squirrels check out this ELEPHANT.

      I don’t care how they go, as long as they do go. Soon.

    81. a2 says:

      paranoid I may be, but how does one ensure the transport of ballot boxes from polling station to count isn’t done by the CIA?

    82. Cactus Jack says:

      The removal of Trident and associated war memorabilia from our Scottish waters is one of the biggest motivators (both in principal and financial) for us Scots. Many will cast their vote on Scotland’s day for this reason alone.

      When the rightful owners come to remove their property maybe we’ll form our own human chain from Arrochar to Helensburgh and give it a cheery send-off.

      Until that point in time arrives.. Scotland will be charging the appropriate fee for storage. I wonder what the going rate, by the hour, is for storing weapons of mass destruction on (in their words) a foreign land?

      Have a smashin’ day fellow Scotians 🙂

    83. Calgacus MacAndrews says:

      @Giving Goose says:
      Eric is just fine where he is.
      If he declares for Yes, then he can be attacked by the MSM. Eric, keep schtum.

      … same goes for you too Henry McLeish.


    84. Kev says:

      I remember watching this at the time, it seems there is a good possiblity we could be shot of these things sooner than we think:

      “However, the factors that made Faslane (and RNAD Coulport) the optimal solution in the 1960s-70s would be irrelevant if there was a vote in favour for Scottish independence, followed by a demand for the withdrawal of deterrent systems from Scotland—the suitability or otherwise of Faslane would no longer be open for discussion.

      But substantial elements of the deterrent—arguably, most of them—could be moved with little trouble to existing facilities in the rump UK. The one element that requires planning would be for the missile/warhead mating facility, but as this is a floating edifice, it could be moved to another location.

      It is true that the resulting operational construct might be less convenient than the current one—but it would be entirely workable.”

    85. Murray McCallum says:

      The UK’s WMDs should be safely returned to the custody of the country that truly controls their deployment – the USA.

      The USA should then use its expertise to determine (a) if Trident adds any value in the event of nuclear war, or preventing its outbreak, and if affirmative (b) where they can be based elsewhere in Europe.

      I’m not convinced Trident adds anything to the USA’s strategy, other than sharing the moral hazard of deploying WMDs.

    86. bald eagle says:

      seasick steve

      are you sure it’s not mick

    87. Bugger (the Panda) says:

      Could they not berth the subs in Gibraltar?

    88. Papadox says:

      How long did it take the good old USA to Remove its atomic subs. facility from the holy loch from the time it announced it till it was gone? Not long!

      The only reason we have this monstrosity is to keep HMG feeling more important than it is and get to let the world know how important they think they are.

      Heaven forbid, should there be an accident at Coulport then you will soon find out how much they want us, that’s if they get round to telling us. Whether you voted YES or NO we’ll all be in it together then except of course for our lords and masters in London, the prevailing wind don’t blow that way. So good luck to stupid Jocks, rich and poor.

    89. Dcanmore says:

      @Fiona …

      My bet would be Barrow/Sellafield. Barrow is a deep water dock where they built the Trident subs in the first place and where the replacement Trident subs will also be built. Sellafield is already a nuclear storage site and is within 25 miles of Barrow. Makes sense to me.

    90. Sailor says:

      Bugger you can’t be serious.

    91. Fiona says:


      Might make sense to you, but not to the people of Cumbria. They have already rejected the nuclear waste dump.

      It is a funny thing, but people who live with nuclear threat don’t necessarily think along the lines “as well be hung for a sheep…”

    92. Clootie says:

      I’m not upset by a removal timescale of several years for the submarine base. However a clear measurable plan has to be in place. This would include the construction phase of a new port.

      The warhead storage at a certain Glen known to all is a different story. This should be cleared in less than 3 years as rUK has plenty of storage facilities. These sites in the rUK are no more dangerous than Scotland’s central belt.

      After more than 300 years I can live with a rundown on issues such as this.

      I don’t think they will be able to afford a new base and pay for a Trident replacement though!

    93. taysideterrier says:

      a2 at 14:24
      “paranoid I may be, but how does one ensure the transport of ballot boxes from polling station to count isn’t done by the CIA?”

      I have been wondering about the ballot boxes and whether or not there is anything the public can do to ensure they are not tampered with, go missing or added to behind the scene.

      Could we start up a campaign to guard the ballot, check who and how many are in the transport then follow to the count?

      Angels of the Ballot or something?

      Or petition for the UN to send observers or maybe that could be more open to US influence?

    94. X_Sticks says:

      a2 says:

      “how does one ensure the transport of ballot boxes from polling station to count isn’t done by the CIA?”

      Good point a2. I think we will all have to do the monitoring of the ballot ourselves, as no-one else seems to be capable or authorised.

      I believe that nearer the time WE, the people of Scotland should organise ourselves to oversee the whole process and to make sure that no ‘funny business’ takes place. We watch the polling booths, follow the transport taking the ballot boxes to the count and do our best to ensure the dark forces have no opportunity to cheat us of our independence.

    95. jingly jangly says:

      The USA Trident fleet are based in Georgia, given that the UK cant use the missiles without American permission why is it absurb for the rUK’s small fleet to be based there? There are plenty of cases where the UK has allowed the US to use the UK’s territory or bases, ie Diega Garcia, Ascension Island, England, Scotland, Cyprus to name some of the top of my head. Are you saying that the US would not allow a reciprocal agreement?

      Fiona agree re the warheads, I was only talking about the subs however it would be difficult for us to monitor whether they had actually removed the warheads, there is no way they are going to give us the right of inspection.

      One big issue is the storage of the nuclear hulks currently at Rosyth, 7 subs are currently there, I don’t know if it will be safe to move them to Devenport although im sure a big floating dry dock could be built for transportation, building of same would be a good job for Rosyth and keep them in jobs after the Aircraft carriers which carry no aircraft are built.

    96. X_Sticks says:


      Great minds…..

      I’m sure there are many of us with the same thoughts though.

    97. Sailor says:

      The dry dock alone took from 1989 to 1992 to construct.

    98. Arbroath 1320 says:

      That was a good article Mr. Joyce, thanks for taking the time to write it and send to Stu.

      As far as I understand the situation the S.N.P. have said, repeatedly I believe, that with a YES win in September then the nukes will be gone from Scottish soil in “a reasonable period of time.” They fully understand we can not become an independent country one day and the nukes be gone the next. However I believe that 2020 would be around a fair timescale target to aim for. After all, as someone mentioned on another thread Russia managed to remove all their nukes from the newly independent satellite states within two years! Of course I fully accept Health and Safety may not have been near the top of their agenda here.

      In my, extremely blinkered, view there is a huge cloud hanging over Westminster concerning the continued storage of their nukes in an independent country and that cloud is the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT). Sorry Stu I can see the steam rising from you now, I just have this *ahem* “thing” about the NPT that I can not shake off. 🙂

      Article I of the NPT states:

      “Each nuclear-weapon State Party to the Treaty undertakes not to transfer to any recipient whatsoever nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices or control over such weapons or explosive devices directly, or indirectly; and not in any way to assist, encourage, or induce any non-nuclear-weapon State to manufacture or otherwise acquire nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices, or control over such weapons or explosive devices.

      I think this particular Article is important when considering rUK’s nukes particularly because of this part of the piece control over such weapons or explosive devices directly, or indirectly; To me, should the nukes remain in an independent Scotland then effectively rUK is breaking the terms of this part of Article I of the Treaty. I suggest this because, by leaving their nukes in Scotland rUK is, in effect, letting Scotland dictate what happens to them, when they can move by road, where they can move, what times they can be moved etc. More over Scotland would also be able to control when the rUK subs moved in and out of Faslane, only one way in and out of Faslane which can be very easily controlled I beleive. Are these sort of events not giving Scotland at the very least indirect control of rUK’s nukes hence contravention of the NPT by rUK.

      Now I’ve shown up my naivity AGAIN I’ll away and fetch my coat. 😛

    99. taysideterrier says:

      Indeed, lol
      I wonder how hard it would be to list all the polling stations and organise this? And also do an unofficial exit poll at each station then compare to the official count

    100. Roboscot says:

      ‘Serious question. Anyone know what happened to the numerous neuks that NATO had stored in W. Germany post reunification?’

      One of them got returned to Scotland and is now in Fife (the East Neuk).

    101. You and My Comb says:

      I think Scottish CND in their submission to the Scottish select committee (chairchoob in charge)indicated that there were few alternative sites in the UK. I suspect the Rev’s repository/reference are might have a transcript.

      (when typing chairchoob it was underlined in red as an error. the alternative given was chairwoman. does ‘the bayonet’ have something she hasnt told us?)

    102. Fiona says:

      it would be difficult for us to monitor whether they had actually removed the warheads, there is no way they are going to give us the right of inspection.

      Oh JinglyJangly, shame on you. Don’t you know that those with nothing to hide have nothing to fear? Don’t you know that every country in the world (except eebil ones) welcomes inspection of its nuclear sites by western observers who only have good and sufficient reasons for doing that and never nasty ones. I am shocked at your cynicism, Jingly: truly shocked!

    103. Desimond says:

      “We’ve got to have this thing (uranium plant for atomic weapons). I don’t mind it for myself, but I don’t want any other Foreign Secretary of this country to be talked at or to by the Secretary of State of the US as I have just been… We’ve got to have this thing over here, whatever it costs … We’ve got to have the bloody Union Jack on top of it.”
      Ernest Bevin to Cabinet sub-committee 1946

    104. handclapping says:

      The problem with Barrow/Sellafield, West Wales and North Devon/Cornwall would be the Irish. The problem with South Cornwall/Devon/Dorset/Hampshire is the radiation cloud would blow over Westminster.

      As the loading dock is a floating structure they could berth it at Portland Harbour or Newlyn. My preference is Newlyn, I just like the idea of sea zero being Ground Zero as well.

    105. taysideterrier says:

      I would bet that as negotiations unfold into joining NATO we might be asked to have a policy like Norway has of dont ask, dont tell when it comes to other countries ships and subs passing through or docking here carrying Nukes? Dont know much about that though but I would think that could be within any negotiations?

    106. Arbroath 1320 says:

      One big issue is the storage of the nuclear hulks currently at Rosyth, 7 subs are currently there, I don’t know if it will be safe to move them to Devenport although im sure a big floating dry dock could be built for transportation, building of same would be a good job for Rosyth and keep them in jobs after the Aircraft carriers which carry no aircraft are built.

      Think I might have the answer for you here jingly: 😛

      or you can check the whole Dockwise fleet here:

    107. X_Sticks says:

      taysideterrier says:

      “I wonder how hard it would be to list all the polling stations and organise this?”

      Shouldn’t be difficult. The SNP will surely have info on all the stations and it shouldn’t be beyond them or Yes or Wings or whomever to arrange coverage from 7:00am until 10:00pm plus transporting of ballots.

    108. faolie says:

      These are all really interesting points and it’s a fascinating subject (almost as fascinating as the Acts of Union being dusted down and repealed..).

      The UK cares more about their precious permanent seat on the UN Security Council than anything and their subs pay for their seat ticket. If the nukes go, so does the seat. I’d have thought they’d pay a lot in negotiations to keep them in Scotland until a place can be found for them.

    109. Morag says:

      I seem to remember being part of a “follow the ballot-boxes to the count” exercise not that long ago. Might have been the Glasgow East by-election. It’s not something the SNP are completely new to.

    110. fergie35 says:

      @Porty Tam says:

      1 April, 2014 at 2:58 pm
      Vanguards to Sunderland?

      Hahaha… thats a good one by the Sunderland Echo.
      Admiral who do you think I am!!!

    111. chalks says:

      Wonder if ‘Eric’ would be quite so keen to publish on a pro indy website if his trip on the GT hadn’t been brought to an abrupt end…..of course, it’s not quite over yet.

      Once a member of the very party we all hold measurable disdain for, yet now he is accepted with open arms, even after bringing democracy into disrepute by his actions?

      Should he even still be a fkn MP after the stuff he pulled?

      Guys like him are a reason to vote Yes, I have no respect for him nor his opinions. He can keep his opinions to himself, or in the local boozer.

      This article and the ramblings of a shamed MP are nothing new, I’m actually a bit disgusted he even gets a fkn voice on here.

    112. Morag says:

      Having said the above, I do not believe that wholesale subversion of the popular vote is a practical possiblility when we’re dealing with paper and pencil and moonlighting bank tellers (as opposed to computers).

      When it has been done it’s been done at a very local level, mainly local council wards. And it was found out. (And don’t start about Glenrothes, I have no idea if the suspicions about that are true or not but even if they are that’s still just one constituency.)

      To influence a country-wide referendum would require an astounding level of organisation and effort, and I question very much whether anything like that could be kept secret. The safeguards already in place for elections are generally pretty good, with so much scrutiny that it would be essentially impossible for anyone to get away with wholesale tampering.

      The postal votes are the Achilles heel. I’m not entirely comfortable with the way that works. But you won’t fix that by hanging around polling stations all day or following ballot boxes to the count.

    113. Anne Lawrie says:

      a2 & X_Sticks: Please put my name on the list for ‘Angels of the Ballot Boxes’. Unless that is done properly, everything else is purely academic.

    114. John Gallacher says:

      I said something similar when the “leak” from the unnamed cabinet minister came out. Realising a yes vote is a real possibility they are trying to see if a deal on keeping Trident based in the Clyde is on the cards. Sorry as they say they are at the prospect of Scotland leaving the union they worry about losing their nuclear deterrant and seat at the top table 10 times more.

    115. john king says:

      BtP says
      “Could they not berth the subs in Gibraltar?

      Naw, just go the whole hog and take out a new lease on Hong kong.

    116. Dcanmore says:

      @Fiona …

      I’m afraid when it comes to military purposes then civilian grumblings do not enter the discussion, that’s the reality of it. Cumbria is politically insignificant to Westminster and has a low population hence the requirement of Sellafield (Windscale) being there in the first place. Whether we like it or not and that is how a) the politicians look at it … and b) the military look at it.

      The main point is not where the subs are going, they can go to any decent large harbour, it’s where the warheads are stored in a near facility that’s the real problem. This is where Sellafield would be appropriate to Barrow considering it’s already a nuclear handling facility. People of Cumbria, just like anywhere else (like Clyde and Argyll), would just have to lump it where the military is concerned. Preferably I would like the Trident to be scrapped but that may not be an option with Westminster.

    117. faolie says:

      Interesting that the thrust of Radio 4’s recent play by James Graham, called Dividing the Union was negotiations between AS and DC that ended in agreeing a deal about the subs at Faslane.

      Life imitating art again perhaps?

    118. Alfresco Dent says:

      This is a terrific article. Sometimes I’d like to get in the head of a unionist who reads this site. Only sometimes mind.

      “It doesn’t take 30 years to build ANYTHING”.

      I see you’re unfamiliar with my greenhouse erection skills.

    119. Porty Tam says:

      Thoughts of some submariners on a Navy blog..

      “The over-arching considerations about Faslane were that the site was MOD owned, it wasn’t in England, and it could be sold to the Scots on the basis of badly needed jobs.

      The Yanks got the Holy Loch for the same reasons as we got Faslane, it doesn’t piss off the nice people of southern England and the English press. No conspiracy theory, one only had to listen to the politico speak at the time and read the papers.”

    120. X_Sticks says:

      Alfresco Dent says:

      “my greenhouse erection skills.”

      Please Alfresco, what you get up to in your shed should remain in your shed 😉

    121. Les Wilson says:

      Yes, the solution is that they HIRE heavy load ships, and have them docked outside Faslane. Soon as a YES comes in, they can start loading everything onto these very large ships. A short time later, all gone!
      Sounds a good solution to me.

    122. jingly jangly says:

      It will be interesting to see if the April fool article in the Sunderland press causes a stink down there?.

      Im convinced that nobody but nobody apart from a bunch of sycophantic arseholes nobody would want these dangerous death machines within a hundred miles of their
      neighbourhood. Oh dear does that mean I have called Jackie Bailie and the Labour Party a bad name!

    123. fynesider says:

      Re: Eric’s blog.

      None of his articles are available Error 404

    124. David Smillie says:

      I thought the foreign sovereign base issue would arise the minute I heard the unheralded announcement that 43 Marine Commando were henceforth to be established ‘on the Clyde’ Nice piece of geographic vagueness there.

    125. bald eagle says:

      Ihave a spare bedroom if the price is right

      just saying like

      bald eagle the price is right come on down

    126. fynesider says:

      Re Eric Joyce’s blog. All articles appear to be ‘missing’

      Not Found

      The requested URL /2014/03/scotland-nuclear-weapons-crimea-arse/ was not found on this server.

      Additionally, a 404 Not Found error was encountered while trying to use an ErrorDocument to handle the request.

      Apache/2.2.25 (Unix) mod_ssl/2.2.25 OpenSSL/1.0.0-fips DAV/2 mod_auth_passthrough/2.1 mod_bwlimited/1.4 FrontPage/ Server at Port 80

    127. Andy-B says:

      You make some interesting points Eric, regarding Trident, as you say the US would have been asking for reassurances from the UK government with regards to Trident and its future.

      Phil Hammond would have had to appease the US government in some way, but how? and what would he have said to them,to ease their worries over Tridents position, when independence is achieved.

      Of course we all know Trident will have to go eventually, but as you say will it be a sticking point post independence in the 2016 Scottish elections,if indeed Trident isn’t on its way by then will that be a fatal blow to the SNP and their bid for re-election.

      The future of Trident seems to raise more questions than it answers, in one hand its a very powerful bargaining chip for the Scottish government, but on the other hand, its a poisoned chalice, if its not seen to be removed quickly enough by the Scottish elecorate from Scotland.

      As for the US government, could they add a sweetner to the deal post independence, and offer Scotland lucrative trade deals, after all there are many US bases across the world, by consent of countries who’ve lets say “Had a Sweetner”.

      Ultimately, the main sticking point for all parties concerned, the Scottish electorate, the US government the Scottish government and the rest of the UK government, is of course, where will Trident,in whatever form it is by then be relocated to?.

      Realistically speaking, there just isn’t anywhere suitable in the British isles, in such short notice, and I mean by short notice, the patience of the Scottish electorate, how many years would they tolerate Trident remaining in Scotland? before they took their wrath out, whatever government happened to be elected, at that time.

    128. Arbroath 1320 says:

      The postal votes are the Achilles heel. I’m not entirely comfortable with the way that works. But you won’t fix that by hanging around polling stations all day or following ballot boxes to the count.

      I am in full agreement with you Morag. I have never liked the way either in the 2010 General Election nor in the Holyrood Election of 2011 that Labour particularly put leaflets through your door with postal vote “application forms” that had to be returned to Labour Headquarters in Glasgow. GLASGOW! What was that all about?

      I don’t live any where near Glasgow. My postal vote application form, had I used it, should have gone to Dumfries. I know I could, had I wanted a postal vote, applied to the Returning Officer at Dumfries but that is not where the problem is, in my view. I do not have any trust in the idea that Labour Headquarters would not have used any returned postal vote applications to their own ends. Where better to exercise that than at their HQ?

      In my view any application for a postal vote MUST be applied for DIRECTLY to the respective Returning Officer by the person requiring the vote. There should be ABSOLUTELY no middle person other than a direct family member or carer involved in my view. I just think the current postal vote system where “applications” can come via political parties is too open to abuse.

      Rant over, coat is on and I’m out the door! 😛

    129. Desimond says:

      Alfresco Dent

      X_sticks is right, whatever youre doing, do it in your shed, People can see you in a Greenhouse!

    130. Dan Huil says:

      Morag and Arbroath 1320. I agree about the worry concerning postal votes. I know he is very busy but it would be great if the Rev could do a special investigation on the possible misuse of postal votes in the referendum.

    131. Morag says:

      Guys like him are a reason to vote Yes, I have no respect for him nor his opinions. He can keep his opinions to himself, or in the local boozer.

      This article and the ramblings of a shamed MP are nothing new, I’m actually a bit disgusted he even gets a fkn voice on here.

      Eric writes well and is clearly an intelligent, thinking guy. Unlike many in his god-forsaken party. It’s easy to be beguiled by his polemic.

      However, he has a problem with the bottle, and it’s a bad one. We shouldn’t be forgetting that even as we’re nodding sagely over what the sober Eric has written.

      He writes interesting articles, but I tend to read them just on that basis. I don’t expect to agree with all of it, and I don’t fall over myself praising the author, because I know who he is and I know his history.

      I also know he’s a unionist, and just because he sometimes says things I agree with doesn’t lead me to think he’s about to change that position.

      Appreciate the articles for what they are. That’s why Stu publishes them. There’s no need to get too personal about their source, one way or the other.

    132. Muscleguy says:

      @ Sailor

      Who says we need concern ourselves with Trident’s remaining operational? That is not our problem. If we withdraw our permission for them to remain any longer than it takes to safely remove them then they have to go. Certainly the spare warheads at Coulport can go fairly quickly using the present convoy system. The warheads can then be removed from the operational sub and transported. You then have three disarmed subs that can, if necessary, be towed to Devonport or Barrow for storage and decomissioning.

      IF rUK wish to build another permanent base that is their prerogative, be we are under no obligation to accommodate the systems while they drag their heels through the judicial reviews that will inevitably ensue over the plans. They can be mothballed in the interim. They can take the nuclear hulks at Rosyth away at the same time.

    133. schrodingers cat says:

      so what eric is basically sayin’ is, no we canny stick trident on ebay?? bugger

    134. Arbroath 1320 says:

      schrodingers cat says:

      so what eric is basically sayin’ is, no we canny stick trident on ebay?? bugger

      Think it’s a bit late to stop that from happening now, I hear the process has already started and the starting price WILL be £1.99. 😛

    135. bald eagle says:

      glasgow barras can sell any bloody thing flog them there could even get them picked up for a tenner and a pint

    136. Arbroath 1320 says:

      After some recent “test” firings I hear that North Korea may be in the market looking for some new nukes. 🙂

    137. Morag says:

      Arb, I agree with you about the postal votes.

      I remember once, about 20 years ago, helping with an election in Aberdeenshire. One day I was sent by the SNP office to a house to help someone with a postal vote. Somehow, I think I had the paperwork and I had to take it to the householder. He was an old man and not all that with it. I tried not to interfere with his actual vote, but frankly I could have done what I liked with it. (The old man was an admirer of his local SNP councillor who was the father of one of my own London Branch cronies. I remember saying, I’m sure Mr. Davidson would be happy for you to vote for Alan Macartney, because I thought he was never going to put the bloody cross anywhere.)

      I remember thinking, I should not be doing this. It is entirely wrong. Why am I doing this?

      Obviously Mr. Davidson had helped the old guy get his postal vote, and the form had been returned to the SNP office. This was the only one I saw and it was not a regular thing in the SNP. But it was clearly how it worked, and in my opinion it should not work like that. It’s wide open to abuse if someone feels like abusing it.

    138. kalmar says:

      @alfresco dent: I built a greenhouse on Saturday, after lunch. What’s the big deal? :p

      There was a programme on Radio 4 (Face the Facts?) a couple of weeks ago all about postal vote fraud – it’s big news in Bradford and places like that. Lots of fingers pointing at Labour councillors.

      Whilst I’m not sure we’re likely to have identical, uh, exploitation of minorities here, it sounds like no trick is too dirty. Stay frosty people.

    139. bald eagle says:


      bit bloody steep or is that two for one

    140. schrodingers cat says:

      Eric, you need to re-invent yersel’

      not sure how but punchin’ a few more tories lights out might help though………..:)

    141. Arbroath 1320 says:

      I have felt for a long time Morag that the postal voting system seemed to be open to abuse. Thankfully I have never needed to use it.

      I know it is not entirely relevant but I do recall individuals in the Midlands and in London being done for fraud because they had had misused the voter postal vote system. This was of course during some of the English council elections, but the point is it can be be done and unless you have extreme vigilance during the voting period then electoral fraud can easily take place.

      Personally I would like to see a system somewhere along the lines whereby postal votes have to be received by the local Returning Officer no later than 7 days before the election date itself. During the 7 days “grace” the Returning Officer and his staff would then remove all names received via the postal votes. All the returned postal votes should then be placed in a ballot box different in colour, red say, than the normal black ones. This should help identify where the postal ballots are. These boxes should also be at the counting centres before 10 p.m. ready to be counted on the stroke of 10. I know I’m dreaming here but I think something like this might go some way to reducing the chances of electoral fraud via the postal vote system. The tellers in the polling stations would then be able to be supplied with appropriate voter registers of everyone eligible to vote minus those who have returned their postal votes.

      I think that makes sense…sort of. 🙂

    142. chalks says:

      Morag, he didn’t have the balls to stand up for these things when he was in the Labour Party and is just another party lackey that has suddenly found his voice now he actually has to work for respect, rather than just getting it from the robotic hordes of Labour voters.

      Ask him if he would have voted in favour of the welfare cap…bedroom tax…the Iraq war, even prepared to defend it in order to get a place in the Cabinet…

      Him pointing out that the US will have a say in the nukes, is nothing new, others have pointed it out.

      It all comes down to the fact the UK has no clout in the world unless they are standing behind the US.

      Of course, if Eric were to come out with an article on why we should all vote No, then I’m sure some eyes would be opened for the disingenuous money grabbing Unionist that he is at his core.

      You know, the guys we all want rid of.

      Is he going to do that though? Doubt it.

      There are many Unionists who have points we can all agree with to a certain extent, they aren’t afforded time and space on here though.

      So Eric, with no respect I say, do one.

    143. Arbroath 1320 says:

      bald eagle says:


      bit bloody steep or is that two for one

      I’m sure some sort of deal could be arranged. 😉

    144. Illy says:

      See, now we’re talkin’.

      I really don’t see how this is complicated at all any more. Any UK Government property still in Scottish Territory in March 2016 is property of the new Scottish Government, unless a deal has been cut otherwise.

      So if Trident’s still here, it’s our to do with as we wish (unless we want to fire them somewhere specific, in which case we need to ask the USA for the firing codes).

      Anyone know who would want to buy some out-of-date nuclear subs? Or a safe place to dispose of the warheads? I know quite a lot of countries would like a nuclear deterrent to stop them getting invaded by “saviours” who cause more trouble than what they’re claiming to be saving them from. Maybe we could give our balance-of-payments a jump-start?

    145. Jim T says:

      @Arbroath 1320 4.26

      There’s a whole section in the referendum act starting at page 32 (Schd 2 Part 3) detailing the process for postal voting.

      I remember wading through the original draft bill and commenting for submission a year or more back. Not exactly light reading.

    146. Arbroath 1320 says:

      Thanks for that Jim I’ll see what I can make of it at some point. ;P

    147. Calgacus MacAndrews says:

      O/T – Just back from the local supermarket.

      I was served by a nice young black man who has worked there for three or four years. I think he is originally from West Africa, maybe Ghana.

      He spots my YES lapel badge.

      “You are for Yes Scotland?” he says.

      “I am.”

      “So am I,” he says, “It is time we stopped them taking everything from this country. I will be very disappointed if Scotland votes NO in September.”

      “Don’t worry” I assured him, “we won’t vote NO.”

      He pulls one of the eco-friendly hessian shopping bags from under the counter. “Have a bag; it is free.”

    148. Jim T says:

      @Arbroath 1320

      Seriously soporific stuff. What time do you want the wake up call?

    149. Arbroath 1320 says:

      Way to go Calgacus! 🙂

    150. JLT says:

      I said this the other day. Currency Union …pah! That’s nothing. This IS the real agenda …and I think Scotland has the joker card to play on this.

      Either Westminster will try every trick in the book to break the will of the Scots …or they will give us everything!

      If it is the former …I expect Alien Act 2014 to be drafted up. I can see Westminster shrieking and howling to the rest of the world not to trade with the Scots, and thus trying to turn us into a member of the Axis of Evil. That is one possibility.

      I have to say, I cannot see Westminster doing a ‘Crimea’. First, it be political suicide in the eyes of the world. Once again, thr rUK has invaded another country illegally. Secondly. it would lead to full out blind-fury from the Scots. History has shown in the past that the Scots don’t take kindly to invasions from South of the Border. Thirdly, this is when the nutters come out. This is when you get the lynchings, the bombings, the attack on ordinary citizens who are not ‘Scottish’.
      Fourthly, a long shot, but this might just cause ripples across the water in Northern Ireland. The Irish cause there could explode as it would be seen that British Imperialism is attacking Celtic nations again.
      Fifthly, the rUK would be seen as no better than the Russians or the North Koreans.

      So after all of that …I just do NOT believe Westminster would be that stupid, and fall into a trap that could …potentially …lead to two civil wars in the British Isles. I strongly doubt this would happen. They would not be that foolish!

      My hunch is the latter. Scotland negotiates and gets just about everything for allowing the rUK a 10 year lease at Faslane.

    151. Les Wilson says:

      Oh I was surprised at this Lord Wallace has come out of the closet to vote yes.
      You can hear his broadcast here !

    152. Robert Peffers says:

      An open letter to Eric Joyce MP: – Dear Me Joyce, your article is full of demonstratively false claims. May I correct a few of them for you?

      You claim that, “The UK’s entire nuclear arsenal would unavoidably be located in a foreign country for years”. This is totally wrong. The United Kingdom, being a bipartite union of KINGDOMS cannot legally result in a “Status Quo Ante” of any form of United Kingdom.

      Being a fully sovereign partner in a bipartite union, the real result of Scottish independence is to also make The three COUNTRY “Kingdom”,of England”, an independent, “Kingdom”,.

      There is also the simple fact that Trident is an asset of that bipartite union and thus is legally a joint asset of the partnership. Not to mention they would only remain in an independent Kingdom of Scotland at that sovereign states sufferance. They could be physically removed in days, weeks or months. In any event the missiles actually loaded on the boats could be sailed out of Scotland in hours. Perhaps to the USA for safe keeping. Then the unarmed boats could be sailed back to Scotland for another load.

      Then, you can berth a submarine anywhere you can berth an equivalent sized surface ship. In any case there are already suitable berths at both Portsmouth and Devonport.

      As for the prospect of an independent Kingdom of England occupying any part of the Independent Kingdom of Scotland I’m sure that the non-nuclear members of NATO, – that is -Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Netherlands Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain and Turkey. Might just be able to outvote the United States and France.

      Remember that as the bipartite United Kingdom has just disunited there is no United Kingdom as a member of NATO, (Of course both former bipartite Kingdoms will be either continued members or neither will).

      Then, of course, we also have the United Nations to deal with in this matter. How many of them will support the Kingdom of England establishing an armed enclave within a free and democratically elected Kingdom of Scotland?

      I’m sorry to tell you this but you have for far too long been associated with the armed forces so often claimed by, “The Establishment”, as , “The British Armed Forces”, but which are in fact actually, “The United Kingdom’s Armed Forces”. That and your time in the Parliament of the United Kingdom so often claimed to be, “The British Parliament”, by a person who often claims him/herself to be the “Prime Minister of Britain”, but who is just the PM of the United Kingdom – soon to be just the PM of, The Kingdom of England.

    153. KOF says:

      schrodinger’s cat says;

      so what eric is basically sayin’ is, no we canny stick trident on ebay?? bugger

      I wonder if we could keep our share of the Trident missiles and decommission them? (We paid for them too after all) I’m sure it won’t be many, but a few less nuclear weapons in the world might be a good step instead of just punting them all off down south somewhere?

    154. Skip_NC says:

      Arbroath 1320, re the postal votes, that is pretty much how it happens here in Wake County NC, except we count the votes using scanners. I applied for a postal vote once, when I was recovering from surgery. I was amazed at how easy it was to get a ballot. I did, though, have to write (with an original signature on the letter) directly to the Board of Elections to get a ballot.

      One thing I like about voting here is that we have in-person early voting. You can vote at any early-voting site in the county. It starts 10-17 days prior to the election and ends at lunchtime on the Saturday before the Tuesday election. This gives the board time to update the rolls and deliver them to each precinct (you have to vote at your assigned polling station on the day). In the consultation, I did suggest that they look at early voting.

      As for the general point that numerous people have raised in this thread, when I was active in the SNP 25-30 years ago, I was at the polling station from open to close, then at the count, where we scrutinised the votes being counted. So the first question to ask is if the enabling legislation allows for polling and counting agents and, if so, the method of appointment. I am not sure that doing something outside of that is a good idea.

    155. Les Wilson says:

      Wait a minute, did the US not do a deal ( soon to run out, or already has ) to use the Russian Nuclear bombs as fuel for US
      Nuclear power stations.

      Yipes, we could sell our portion to rUK for the same purpose, we just need to undercut Putin!

    156. Edward says:

      Quick question, who was it that said Scotland’s airports would be bombed if Scotland became independent?

    157. Arbroath 1320 says:

      Thanks for that Skip.

      Everyone who has commented about the ‘possibility’ of election fraud via postal votes are doing so as result, I have no doubt, of the furore that erupted after, initially Glenrothes but then a few other by elections afterwards. Unfortunately no one has been able to come up with definitive proof either way but the fact that the suggestions are out there is enough for there to be calls for changes to the postal voting system to be made.

      As we now have the Scottish Referendum Act 2013 in place then we may well find that most if not all our fears of voting fraud are dealt with. How ever we can not be sure of this until the day. I live in hope.

      It is interesting to read about how you deal with elections over in South Carolina.

    158. HenBroon says:

      You will know Eric from your time in the forces as I do that the invasion of Scotland has been simulated many times in war games. Apache gunships exercise on a very regular basis using the little known Carlisle airport as a base and training around the Otterburn area. The North coast around Durness is bombarded every year in a mock invasion exercises. The MOD are pushing hard to annexe that whole area, it is presently out of bounds for almost 6 months of the year. The MOD snobs have already expressed an ambition to annexe Faslane to secure the WMDs. The MOD have also blocked oil exploration developments in the approaches to the Firth of Clyde, due to their fears of submarine collission with oil equipment. A very well founded concern given the dent they left in Skye recently. If the MOD get their way there is not a shadow of doubt in my mind that they would do a Putin on Scotland. I spent 9 years in the Army and was reguarly questioned by seniors on my political views and aspirations. You only have to listen to the sneers of Dannet and Hammond and his ilk to bear witness to this. Depleted uranium shells in the Solway. Rusting nuclear hulks in Rosyth, with the refit work stolen for Devonport. Increasing Nuclear discharges in the Clyde from Faslane. Leaking reactors in HMS Vulcan the engine facility in Dounreay. Contamination on North Queensferry, and that is just what we know about from this secretive pompous bunch of utter twats.

    159. Dorothy Devine says:

      Edward , Lord Fraser of Carmyle was the ridiculous chappie.

    160. Clootie says:

      I read the full article and all the posts and all I was left with was a picture of Alfresco Dent in his greenhouse.


    161. Arbroath 1320 says:

      I’m not so sure A.D. has his greenhouse built yet Clootie, think it is still “under construction,” and will be for some time to come. 😛

    162. Croompenstein says:

      @Arbroath 1320 – Think it’s a bit late to stop that from happening now, I hear the process has already started and the starting price WILL be £1.99

      Think I saw a bid going on for a tenner the bidder was..
      Ernst Blofeld
      Big Fuck Off Volcano
      Somewhere Off The Coast of Japan

      100% feedback so sounds like a good egg

    163. Arbroath 1320 says:

      I’m thinking we might see a wee bidding war starting up here Croompenstein. What with Blofeld upping the bid price to a tenner each I just wonder what the reply from the North Koreans will be, £15, £20 or might they go as high as £25 each. The sky is the limit methinks! 😛

    164. Calgacus MacAndrews says:

      When Scotland votes YES on 18th September, we have a situation the next day on 19th September where the UK’s nuclear WILLY is suddenly located in a ‘foreign’* country.

      Question: How does the UK try to continue with nuclear WILLY-WAVING in any shape or form after the YES vote on September 2014?

      Answer: By coming to agreements behind the scenes now (as is obviously happening), and by having sensible discussions after 18th September with the iScotland negotiating team.

      * The Scottish people, following the September 2014 YES vote, will be sovereign (effectively ‘foreign’) from 19th September 2014 onwards, with full dissolution of the 1707 Union happening in March 2016.

    165. Calgacus MacAndrews says:

      BTW: There is absolutely no connection between my previous post and any goings-on in the Alfresco Dent greenhouse.


    166. Arbroath 1320 says:

      As if anyone could draw any conclusions on whatever goings on,or off, concerning the “in progress” building of A.D.’s greenhouse you could possibly be referring to Calcagus. 😛

    167. dadsarmy says:

      Interesting article. Yes, Faslane gives Scotland totally the upper hand but, ironically, it’s a card which needs to be used with the greatest care, if at all.

      I see it as being eminently sensible and internationally acceptable to trade a 10 year grace period for removal against defence co-operation, such as frigate building on the Clyde, underwater intelligence gathering by Astute, etc., and there can be financial considerations as well, but definitely not to be used against the likes of enforced currency union because internationally that would be seen for what it was, outright blackmail.

    168. a Supporter says:

      This piece is no more than scaremongering and as it’s 1 April I wonder if it is serious. Mr Joyce needs to clarify his thoughts because he asserts both that Scotland would be in the driving seat vav Trident or that Scotland would be under the threat of an illegal invasion by RumpUK to presumably take over Faslane. It surely can’t be both of those.

      And I doubt if Eric Joyce knows any more about the subject than an informed man in the street. After all he was only a junior officer in the Army and although a backbench MP he must be well out of the loop.

      Anyway I don’t recall such Armageddon scenarios as Joyce suggests when the Soviet Union collapsed and the satellite countries got rid of their nuclear weapons back to Russia. That went without much of a hitch and there were no demands by Russia for sovereignty over the nuclear bases during the years the weapons were still in the satellite countries and there were no enclaves conceded to Russia by them

    169. HenBroon says:

      “Anyway I don’t recall such Armageddon scenarios as Joyce suggests when the Soviet Union collapsed and the satellite countries got rid of their nuclear weapons back to Russia. That went without much of a hitch and there were no demands by Russia for sovereignty over the nuclear bases during the years the weapons were still in the satellite countries and there were no enclaves conceded to Russia by them”

      Perhaps a wee Google on Crimea and Ukraine might have saved your embarrassment. Don’t forget they also tried hard and failed in Afghanistan. Russian imperialism is undiminished, just like the UK they are a wee bit short of the shmulaks.

    170. Morag says:

      Since Eric’s piece was originally posted yesterday on his own blog, I think any analysis based on today’s date is off the mark.

    171. a Supporter says:

      Hen Broon.
      “wee Google on Crimea and Ukraine might have saved your embarrassment.”

      I don’t need a wee google and I’m not embarrassed. What has Crimea now got to do with nuclear weapons in an Independent Scotland? The Crimean Crisis has nothing to do with miltary bases. It is an offshoot of the crisis of democracy in the Ukraine. And Crimean politicians (with Russian aid)saw a chance to advance their cause of becoming an autonomous region within Russia since the population in Crimea is 62% Russian and 24% Ukrainian the rest being other ethnic groups.

      Are you seriously trying to suggest that the situation at Faslane is similar to that in Crimea? And are you suggesting that Scotland/rUK needs nuclear weapons to somehow fend off Russian Imperialism? Trident and USA nukes were irrelevant in the Crimean Crisis.

    172. a Supporter says:

      The article is so far fetched that anyone would be entitled to think it an April 1 piece. And if it isn’t, discussing it on this site as if it is a serious analysis is playing into the hands of the Unionists by opening the door to the nonsense of a currency union for a Trident base. (I notice that Hammond if it was he who raised the hare is not being pursued with any vigour)

      A Currency Union is valueless versus Trident as a negotiating tool. We should demand far, far more than a CU for such a base.

    173. EphemeralDeception says:

      ” independence would be almost immediately followed by a Scottish general election. No-one has any idea what kind of government would emerge from that”

      I do.

      Nobody changes ‘une équipe qui gagne’.

      It is highly unlikely that the voters would change from the SNP for the 1st election and therefore suddenly change the vision, the steering and direction, the diplomacy, the structure, and the bedrock of the New state.

      It would be sheer lunacy. Later elections are all for grabs but the early days are for the architects of a Scotland reborn while Labour and co. try to reinvent themselves.

    174. EphemeralDeception says:

      I like Erics post but I think there is a bit of tunnel vision here. Scotland declaring independence is going to be a world wide game changer but especially a European one and nothing to do with Nuclear.

      Most immediately it will set a precedent for the Catalans. What a beacon we will become. The eyes of the world are on us and all the more so if YES is declared. Nucleat i sjust part of it and of great concern to the US indeed bit many other States will have other concerns.

      Weakening the UK as a block is not necessarily a good thing. However weakening the current UK hegemony surely is. Scotland and the rUK really combining on key future foreign affairs wit

    175. Sailor says:

      I’m struggling to explain to the uninitiated the mechanics of crew changes and standby Trident boat preparedness and how it affects families, Scottish families!

      Suggesting they can f**k off to Gib, USA or Barrow betrays the very values that we are “fighting” for.

      We want independence but screw the forces families at Faslane, they can put up with their husband doing a 3 month dived no contact patrol and then half that again in USA, what do we care?

    176. Patrician says:

      Very interesting article. One point you make that I have been thinking about for a while is the fact that these negotiations have to be done and dusted by 2016 because no one knows what the government will be after the elections.

      I think if the negotiations are being drawn out and it doesn’t look like Scotland is getting a good deal then the 2016 election will be interesting. I can see the rise by late 2015 of groups who will not be so politically well-mannered and less forgiving than the SNP. These groups won’t get into power but they could hold the balance of power and push negotiations into a place that Westminister won’t like.

    177. Arbroath 1320 says:

      Sorry for going sort of O/T here but at least we now know where one of the U.K.’s nuke subs are. According to Sky news H.M.S. Tireless, a Trafalgar class sub is now working off the Australian coast joining the search of MH 370.

    178. fluffnik says:

      I don’t think we should do anything to help keep Trident operational.

      I don’t see why it can’t be gone by independence day.

    179. Craig says:

      Chalks, I agree with you that these people only find their voices when they have nothing to lose any more.

      But Eric Joyce does make good points in his articles, many of which we on the Yes side could agree with.

      Unlike McLeish, Eric Joyce does not make snide remarks about the Yes side.

      Since the posters here are overwhelmingly Yes supporters, perhaps we can just discuss the points raised and not the writer.

      Also we want as many Labour voters as possible to vote Yes.

    180. geeo says:


      No offence, but trident MUST be gone before independence day.
      We have had months being told what we cannot do, cannot have, are not capable of, etc.

      If trident is still here in 2016 the day after independence day then it has become merely a bargaining chip and a broken promise.

      While other stuff will be negotiated after 18th september, i strongly believe
      trident has zero part to play in that regard.

      18 months notice is more than generous, they(Ruk)know it is policy for it to go, and have done for long enough, it is not our problem anymore.

      Day one after Yes vote, 1st order of business, get your expensive scrap metal out of Scotland within 18 months.
      No buts.

    181. Jill P says:

      I’m surprised nobody has posted this from CND

      “How long will it take to disarm Trident?
      If Scotland was independent, Trident could be deactivated within 7 days, preventing any of the missiles from being launched. Within 2 years all nuclear bombs could be removed from Scotland. After a further 2 years, all the bombs could be dismantled. This timetable was published by Scottish CND in “Disarming Trident”, June 2012. It has been described as realistic by senior American nuclear weapons’ experts, the Scottish Government and the Scottish Affairs Committee in the House of Commons.”

    182. cirsium says:

      Faslane is to be the western base of the Scottish Defence Force so we need access from Independence Day in March 2016. More submarine berths are already being constructed on the south coast of England so provision has been made for the submarines. Where and how the missiles are stored would be a matter for the EWNI and US governments to decide.

    183. Tam Jardine says:

      Thanks Eric- good article. Please don’t regret sticking with the union if you are leaning our way (which seems apparent from the last few interesting and insightful posts). I know there are those who do not welcome your contributions from comments above but the last thing this site should be is a talking shop with everyone of the same politics and views..

      That’s just my take… I don’t know enough about your politics to have an opinion on them.

      Re trident, the Scottish Government stance and that of the Yes campaign is the only concievable stance it could take. No independence movement or party could possibly have a different position.

      If they negotiated to keep trident and son of trident at faslane they would be unelectable whatever the price as no one would countenance housing a foreign government’s nuclear weapons. It would be impossible to split the fleet and keep 4 tenths of a submarine and 10% of the warheads. And, well, it wouldnae go down too well if they told us we couldnae have the pound and we said “aye, well we’ll be keeping trident!”

      That leaves but one option, in line with all common sense and the vast majority of the populations views. A great question I must ask my No leaning mate this weekend: why is it in inconcievable that trident would be moored on the Thames when it’s been a stone’s throw fae Glasgow all these years. That’s the partnership of “equals” down to a T.

      I want oot. Eric, come with us!

    184. Catherine says:

      This is the reply I got to my second complaint about the Andrew Marr interview of A. Salmond:

      Reference CAS-2625940-0M014H
      Thanks for your further contact.
      I’m sorry you found our previous response unsatisfactory.
      Please be assured that we have raised your further concerns with the editor of ‘The Andrew Marr Show’.
      As you may know, Andrew Marr was born and schooled in Scotland, his first job in journalism was working for “The Scotsman” based in Edinburgh”, he has written extensively about Scottish history and Scottish politics and most of his family still live in Scotland. He’s knowledgeable and he’s proud of his heritage. When questioned at a talk during the Edinburgh festival last August he said that if forced to choose between an English and a Scottish passport he would unhesitatingly choose a Scottish one. He didn’t express at that time an opinion on the merits or otherwise of the argument for independence, and he has been careful to avoid giving a personal opinion. In the Edinburgh festival talk he did say that he believed, counter to the prevailing orthodoxy, that the vote in September 2014 would be close.
      Andrew Marr has interviewed Alex Salmond on many occasions over the years and has had many robust sessions discussing policy issues. On Sunday, March 16, the presenter questioned the First Minister carefully about the currency options and the issue of Scotland’s membership of the European Union should the country vote for independence. He brought up the forceful opinion of the current President of the European Union, expressed on “The Andrew Marr Show” on Sunday 16 February, that:
      “In case there is a new country, a new state, coming out of a current member state it will have to apply.”
      And he went on:
      “Accession to the European Union will have to be approved by all other member states of the European Union. Of course it will be extremely difficult to get the approval of all the other member states to have a new member coming from one member state.”
      Mr Barroso then cited the example of Spain not recognising Kosovo:
      “We have seen Spain has been opposing even the recognition of Kosovo, for instance. So it is to some extent a similar case because it’s a new country and so I believe it’s going to be extremely difficult, if not impossible, a new member state coming out of our countries getting the agreement of the others.”
      As several people have noted, Andrew did say as he concluded the section on Barroso’s remarks…
      “I think it would be quite hard to get back in, I have to say.”
      This could be taken as Andrew Marr personally pronouncing on the merits of the argument, and I am sure that if Andrew Marr had been constructing a scripted,recorded programme he would not have phrased it this way. In live interviews the precise wording used does not always convey exactly what the person speaking wished to convey. Andrew Marr was attempting to summate the Barroso position rather than give his own verdict, and he went on to clarify exactly that point, saying explicitly to the First Minister:
      “I’ve got no views on this. Nor does the BBC.”
      And then repeating…..
      “I’ve got no views on this. Nor does the BBC. I was simply reflecting on what Mr Barroso told us.”
      The presenter may have appeared to offer a personal opinion but within seconds he explained on air that this was not what was intended.
      Some viewers have suggested that President Barroso’s remarks were accorded undue weight given that some other commentators and less prominent officials have expressed contrary views. Andrew Marr believed the fact that the current President of the EU gave this considered view has to be significant; one may not like it or one may assign a hidden motive but the fact remains that he does speak on behalf of the EU, he is a senior and hugely experienced figure and he laid out forcefully why – in his opinion – Scotland could not transfer its membership of the EU come its new independent status and furthermore why he believed it would be very difficult for Scotland to re-join the EU as an independent country.
      The BBC in its coverage of the referendum debate has gone to great lengths to try and present the issues fairly and from a neutral standpoint. You may feel that the on-air programming has not lived up to your expectations but I can assure you that the management of BBC news, the individual producers and the on air presenters all understand the importance of giving fair and balanced coverage to this contentious issue and have been striving, and will continue to strive, to do just that. With regard to the number of complaints received on this matter, this is not a service we provide.
      If you would like to take your complaint further, you can contact Stage 2 of the complaints process, the BBC’s Editorial Complaints Unit, within 20 working days, and they will carry out an independent investigation. You can email them at: ecu [at] bbc [dot] co [dot] uk , or alternatively write to them at the following address:
      Editorial Complaints Unit
      Media Centre
      MC3 D3
      201 Wood Lane
      W12 7TP
      Should you choose to escalate your complaint we would ask that you include the reference number provided above in your correspondence.
      Thanks again for taking the time to contact us.
      Kind Regards
      Nicola Maguire
      BBC Complaints
      NB This is sent from an outgoing account only which is not monitored. You cannot reply to this email address but if necessary please contact us via our webform quoting any case number we provided.

    Comment - please read this page for comment rules. HTML tags like <i> and <b> are permitted. Use paragraph breaks in long comments. DO NOT SIGN YOUR COMMENTS, either with a name or a slogan. If your comment does not appear immediately, DO NOT REPOST IT. Ignore these rules and I WILL KILL YOU WITH HAMMERS.

    ↑ Top