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Wings Over Scotland

The unnecessary umbrella

Posted on July 15, 2013 by

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


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

In 1975, accidental US President Gerald Ford visited Spain to say nice things about the aged Caudillo, General Franco. Why? One reason was that Spain, like Scotland, was then home to part of the US Navy’s Polaris missile submarine fleet (based in the port of Rota on the south-western Spanish coast), and the US wanted it to stay there. Here’s the Australian newspaper The Age reporting the story:

“US to keep Spanish bases”

A triumph for American diplomacy (gunboat or otherwise), then? It’s not as clear-cut as you might think. Here’s the rather different take run by the Star-News of Wilmington, North Carolina the next day:

“US to abandon Spanish bases”.

Surely some mistake? Well, no. The deal that Franco’s boys agreed with the Americans did indeed let the US keep bases in Spain, including Rota, but the Polaris subs were to leave Spain by 1979, as reported by our friends at the Star-News. That year the submarines and their supporting ships duly left Rota for Kings Bay, Georgia.

But surely the Americans must at least have been a bit upset by this snub? Perhaps, but if so they had a funny way of showing it. Rather than being banished into the outer darkness of international relations, Spain got pushed into NATO and the EEC, with the Americans doing a lot of the pushing.

Here’s a short account of Spain and NATO. On page 3 of that report is a list of some of the concessions made by the Spanish government in order to get backing in parliament for NATO membership. Straight in at no.4 (without a bullet, presumably) is the non-nuclearisation of Spanish territory”.

If you’ll allow us a second duck reference in one week, we’re rather put in mind of Chico Marx’s line in Duck Soup: Who are you going to believe, me or your own eyes?

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    72 to “The unnecessary umbrella”

    1. Ericmac says:

      The duplicity and deceit of our Westminster masters is only exceeded by the deliberate short memories and incompetence.  
      Great article.  Another Union myth out of the closet.

    2. Atypical_Scot says:

      NOTA problem. Get in.

    3. The Water Beastie says:

      I thought the first requirement of a ‘traditional politician’ was to be steeped in modern history, and have a broad understanding of Europe pre and post-war.  Yet NONE of that is evident from the shower on the other side……or they are just hoping we don’t notice.

    4. Doug Daniel says:

      The way the No camp goes on about how we’re going to get chucked out of this, that and the other organisation as punishment for wanting to exercise our democratic rights, you’d think western democracies are run by petulant teenagers who go in the huff the second you disagree with them slightly.
      Is it just that they’re lying, or is it a comment on their experience of UK foreign policy?

    5. Andy-B says:

      More than likely its all just bluff and bluster, and once independence is achieved, Scotland may actually be surprised by how many, once closed doors, begin to open, afterall we have no real comparison as to how an idependent Scotland, will be recieved world wide, we may find ourselves with new friends, that may not have been so friendly as part of the UK.

    6. Juteman says:

      Unionist politicians don’t need to know their history.
      Who will point out their lies and ignorance? The MSM?

    7. Desimond says:

      George Roberstons wikipedia : When he was 15 years of age, he was involved with protests against US nuclear submarines docking in Britain.

      Sheer coincidence that George Robertson is an anagram of
      Go On or be Regrets

    8. Jamie Arriere says:

      Looking at that photo of George Robertson, I swear that one eye is beginning to swivel…..

    9. Max says:

      Quote: “The Government also stated that Spain’s entry into NATO would merely ratify de jure a situation that already existed de facto under its agreements with the United States, namely the fact that Spain belonged to the Western defence system.”

    10. muttley79 says:

      @Doug Daniel
      The way the No camp goes on about how we’re going to get chucked out of this, that and the other organisation as punishment for wanting to exercise our democratic rights, you’d think western democracies are run by petulant teenagers who go in the huff the second you disagree with them slightly.
      Is it just that they’re lying, or is it a comment on their experience of UK foreign policy?
      I think there is two elements to it, which link in with each other.  One is that they are basically massive Scottish cringers, and regard the very idea of a Scottish state with disdain and contempt.  The other is their own sense of importance and entitlement/privilege.  Being part of the British state gives them status and perks, such as a career in London, and the chance to be part of the British establishment.  All of this is at risk if we vote Yes next year.  Therefore, we have just another reason to vote Yes! 

    11. Kendomacaroonbar says:

      The Ireland act of 1949 also states that ROI is not considered a foreign country according to Westminster legislation.  Google it !
      Why therefore do they continually punt the myth that an independent Scotland would be considered foreign ?

    12. James Morton says:

      Here is something to ponder as I tried and sadly failed to explain to one unionist the other day on twitter.
      Norway joined Nato in 1949, has no nuclear weapons and is very vocal within the alliance for the banning of such weapons. 
      Finland & Sweden – although not formal members of the alliance and do not allow it to interfere with their military affairs, have both entered into agreements of mutual co-operation. Nato still hopes to convince both countries to enter the alliance at some point in the future. Both countries it should be noted have no nuclear weapons foreign or domestic on their soil.
      In May of this year, A speech by Gen. Anders Rasmussen; Nato secretary, stated that “Today, NATO has 28 Allies.  And our door remains open for more European countries to walk through.  Because we want to see a Europe that is truly whole and free.  Where all countries, and all people, are at peace with themselves and with their neighbours.” –
      The unionist position is very similar to the one regarding Scottish membership of the EU. A strawman argument that is all too easy to knock down. The size of the country, its attitude to nuclear weapons and the size of its armies, are clearly not a deterrent to membership, at least as far as NATO is concerned.
      Strange then that a recent “non-partisan” defence report never bothered to mention any of this or indeed of the UKs support of the open door policy.

    13. Morag says:

      It doesn’t matter.  They can and will lie their little heads off, the media will report the lies as scare stories, and they will never be corrected.

    14. Inbhir Anainn says:

      Now I never knew that UK nuclear submarines had been involved in 14 (or more) collisions since 1979. Parliamentary Questions also revealed that there had been 213 fires (or more) onboard nuclear submarines.

    15. Vincent McDee says:

      Does anybody know where Magnus Gardham has gone? Nothing from him since the 29th of June.
      Is he on holidays or has he been sectioned?
      Just asking because my high blood pressure tester misses him, not really interested myself.

    16. Bugger (the Panda) says:

      James Anderson
      One little correction Anders Fogh Rasmussen is not  a General but a Danish politician who would have been a better choice for the post that Barosso now holds until just before the Referendum.
      In my humble opinion, he would have added a bit of intelligence and common sense to the E U as he actually is doing to Nato. He is far to polite to speak out on Scotland but I am pretty sure he would behind supporting an independent Scotland in Nato.

    17. Inbhir Anainn says:

      The full list of incidents of collisions involving Royal Navy nuclear powered submarines for which the Royal Navy holds records is as follows:
      HMS Superb grounding in the Red Sea in May 2008.
      HMS Tireless struck an iceberg while on Arctic Patrol in May 2003.
      HMS Trafalgar grounded on Fladda-chuain in November 2002.
      HMS Triumph grounded in November 2000.
      HMS Victorious grounded, while surfaced, on Skelmorlie Bank in November 2000.
      HMS Trenchant grounded off the coast of Australia in July 1997.
      HMS Repulse grounded in the North Channel in July 1996.
      HMS Trafalgar grounded off the Isle of Sky in July 1996.
      HMS Valliant grounded in the North Norwegian Sea in March 1991.
      HMS Trenchant snagged the fishing vessel Antares in the Arran Trench in November 1990.
      HMS Spartan grounded west of Scotland in October 1989.
      HMS Sceptre snagged the fishing vessel Scotia in November 1989.
      HMS Conqueror collided with the yacht Dalriada off the Northern Irish coast in July 1988.
      All the vessels, apart from HMS Superb, which was decommissioned in October 2008, were repaired and returned to service.
      Information is not held centrally for the period 1979-88 and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.
      Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what fires have taken place on UK nuclear powered submarines since 1979.
      Mr. Bob Ainsworth: The records of fire incidents onboard UK nuclear submarines are not held centrally prior to 1 January 1987. Since this date the Royal Navy records provide the following information: 213 small scale fires, that are categorised as a localised fire such as a minor electrical fault creating smoke dealt with quickly and effectively using minimal onboard resources.
      21 medium scale fires that were generally categorised as a localised fire such as a failure of mechanical equipment creating smoke and flame requiring use of significant onboard resources. Three fires occurred while the submarines involved were in naval bases, requiring both ship and external resources.

    18. Juteman says:

      Think of the UK state as the big bully at school. He always had creepy hangers-on that used him for their own ends.
      That’s your typical unionist politician, that is.

    19. Boorach says:

      @ Desimond
      Should that anagram not be: goon bore regrets? 🙂

    20. MajorBloodnok says:

      It’s hell in there you know.

    21. SCED300 says:

      ‘The only people who peddle this line are the Nationalists. No-one from Better Together thinks that Scotland couldn’t go it alone.’“
      So what are all the stories the Better Together and the Westminster Government about? Have they so lost touch with reality that they don’t know they are saying them!

    22. Vronsky says:

      Let’s start a campaign for Scottish membership of the mafia.  It’s only distinguishable from NATO in that NATO kills more, more often, much faster and they love being on TV.  Sixty percent of the people posting here (I counted) believe that Scotland should be in NATO.  Mafia too poofy for you?

    23. Krackerman says:

      Vronsky – got something to back up that little rant? Last time I checked NATO stopped the genocide of the Muslims in Serbia…. and unless history has changed  then without NATO and the threat of atomic war we’d be either dead or speaking Russian…
      You might not like it but NATO has secured peace in Europe for nearly 70 years.
      What the f*k have you ever done?

    24. scottish_skier says:

       then without NATO and the threat of atomic war we’d be either dead or speaking Russian

      Got something to back up that little rant? 

    25. Krackerman says:

      History not enough for you? Or do you think that thousands of years of European conflicts just happened to stop when the weapon developed to the point to M.A.D..?
      Given the soviet over-throw of the democratic Czechoslovakian government, the blockade of Berlin and it’s continued military build up it’s pretty clear where it was heading. In ’49 nothing stood between Stalin and the Atlantic except for the newly signed treaty and a fleet of B29’s that the soviets thought contained atomic bombs…. This was a bluff – the USA had no functional atomic bombs. The soviets backed down.
      You can feel free to thank NATO any time for the freedom and liberty you have to even consider voting in any referendum.

    26. Murray McCallum says:

      While I obviously find it repulsive, I am able to understand the Soviet occupation of Eastern Europe.  With as many as 15 million military deaths and maybe the same again civilian deaths, I could see why the Soviets would want a buffer they totally controlled.
      For me, the war in Europe was effectively won in the East (or lost from the German viewpoint).
      I also do not agree with the concept that the Soviets would naturally have moved even further West, in the absence of US forces, at the end of WW2.  I do, however, believe there was some military appetite in the West to attack Eastwards in 1945.

    27. scottish_skier says:

      Kman: History not enough for you?

      No, not really. History does not tell us what will happen in the future (never mind in alternate realities), only gives us some lessons on what might happen in similar circumstances if we don’t learn from it.

      What you postulated is that if NATO hadn’t formed we’d all be dead or speaking Russian today/right now. That’s wildly speculative; unless you have access to a multitude of parallel universes and the majority of them show that if NATO hadn’t formed, we did all die or ended up speaking Russian right now?

      Remind me, who brought down the USSR? This is important as it explains why the German Reich would have eventually fallen even if the Allies/Russians hadn’t invaded Europe and why, after 300 years, Scotland will likely be leaving the union.

      And note I made no attack on NATO; I just questioned your post which was a rather wild assertion with no possible way to factually back it up unless, as noted, you can see parallel universes. 

      Maybe the Russians might have tried an invasion, but would they have succeeded and for how long could they have held on if they weren’t wanted?

      Nope, it is highly improbable we’d all be dead or speaking Russian today if NATO hadn’t formed. Granted though, history may have taken a quite different course. We might not have had a cold war for example. After all, the man on the street in Russia feared the west might bomb them as much as the man on the street in the west feared the opposite.

    28. Titler says:

      As someone who recently did make the argument that the United States would be extremely unhappy with the Farlane base being brought into question, but who is neither pro-Independence nor pro-(current) Unionism, let me just answer this with a very simple point.

      You are comparing a Fascist dictatorship in the 1970s, being visited by the most liberal sitting US President ever (and himself a Submarine commander, so actually familiar with the realities), at a time where other sittings were still available in Europe for the US umbrella, namely the far more strategically useful Scotland… with a democratic, independent Scotland where the main opposition party (Scottish Labour) wants the base to stay open, where northern Atlantic bases are few and far between for a US which is far, far less tolerant of other nations democratic wishes than ever before, and which now justifies pressuring Europe to ground the aeroplane another head of state in the name of a nebulous “National Security” and fears of terrorism.

      Understanding this is not being pro-Union, just pointing out that the world has changed and some decisions for Scotland in 2014 will involve hard compromises or consequences. None of which is to say that nuclear disengagement is not the right decision to make for Scotland. But the idea that Independence is the panacea for everything is increasingly bizarre; Because the US will dick you about over this, no matter what situation Scotland finds itself in in 2014. Indeed, I’ve been avoiding the news since yesterday after the latest disgusting example of Floridan domestic dickery. This alone is a huge, huge leap of positive thinking faith; It’s not like you vote Yes, then suddenly the US stops being the global asshole it’s increasingly proud to be.

      My point again is that independence, without wider political engagement, is not enough. Is Scotland anti-Trident? CND says yes, but polling as always is inconsistent depending on who is asking the question. However, when the US comes to lean on Scotland (and it’s pressure will be lovingly embraced by both the UK Government and your own toadying shitty licklespittle Labour party) those polls need to be far, far more decisive… which is why I said you need to be CND more than SNP on that issue, so the SNP and anyone else who still believes in democratic responsibility can say in the face of bullying “Sorry, but our people say…”. And so Labour will be less likely to be pro-Trident in the face of domestic pressure on the votes they need to get back to the debating table. None of which Generallisimo Franco had to worry about when speaking to lovely old Jimmy Carter in the 1970s.

    29. Hetty says:

      The proof will be in the pudding, should we succeed and have a YES vote, who will come crawling round to sweet talk our Representatives and the good people of Scotland? Will it be oil? Will it be Trident? Will it be water? Hmmm, lots to ponder. 

    30. David Smith says:

      Whereas you may be correct about those B29s, I think you may be mistaken about the US not having a stock of A-Bombs in 1949. 
      They were in fact already in possession of a all but growing number of devices, conveyed not in the B29s sent to the UK, but in home-based units using both B29s, but especially the massive new B36 bombers.
      Back to sub-related bawbaggery for a moment though; didn’t a British and a French SSBN collide ‘somewhere in the Atlantic’ about ten years back?

    31. Angus McLellan says:

      @Vronsky: Would it have helped if this has been called this The NazisNATO A Warning from History?
      Sure, the ethical choice would be to not join NATO, but that’s hard in lots of ways. If you haven’t heard it already, have a listen to the very interesting talk Professor Iver Neumann gave in Edinburgh back in March. It’s available from here:
      If you want to make ethical considerations the be-all and end-all of policy, you’ll make a lot of enemies. The Chinese government are a set of bastards. Are you going to trade with them? What about the barbarians in Saudi Arabia? They have oodles of cash and money talks. Will you really tell them to fuck right off back to the Stone Age, which would be the moral thing to do? What about lesser evils, like Dubai and Bahrain? The Russians? The Congo (either one)? If the world is a better place today than it was half a century ago, it is still full of governments which you wouldn’t wish on your worst enemy.
      Any absolutist moral foreign policy would be very challenging to maintain just like Neumann says. Saying No to NATO would just be the first step on a very long, hard road. After all, isn’t the EU bad as in its own way? The WTO? The IMF? The UN? There’s a danger of ending up like Kim Jong Il in that film, all on your own singing “I’m so wonewy“.

    32. scottish_skier says:

       Because the US will dick you about over this, no matter what situation Scotland finds itself in in 2014.

      In what way shall it ‘dick’ Scotland about? I’m trying to imagine what possible threats it could seriously use against a small European nation of 5 million. Bomb us maybe? I’m not remotely concerned about Scotland telling them to fuck off as was done over Megrahi. It’s the UK that turns around and bends over for the US.

      Certainly, if you want to increase the chances of losing trident from Scotland, you need to vote Yes. Even if somehow Scotland was forced to retain it for e.g. 10 years, we’d still not be paying for the waste of money that it is.

      And seriously, Labour? Labour have been in terminal decline in Scotland for decades now. A labour-type party will likely have clout in an independent Scotland, but it is highly unlikely it will be the one sitting in Holyrood/Westminster right now. That party is dying before our eyes and its death is intimately linked to why there’s a referendum next year. I thought that was well understood; it’s in every academic paper/book on the subject and you only need to read the news to hear about it.


    33. Murray McCallum says:

      I don’t feel particularly strong about NATO membership one way or the other.  Either view makes valid points.
      The removal of WMDs from Scotland are non negotiable.  They must go.  Any so-called ally that has a problem with that is not a true ally.

    34. Titler says:

      Oh… and whilst I typed the previous post, I see there was a debate with Scottish_Skier about “speaking Russian”. Soviet Studies graduate here; and nope on that I’m afraid. It’s a profound misreading of Soviet intentions, because their policy developed from the Stalinist tradition of “Socialism In One Country”, developing and protecting the Russian Motherland in the face of competing economic systems. There were still internationalists in the early years, but they all ended up exiled or with an ice pick in the head to make way for Stalin’s own theories and paranoia. Indeed, on the verge of WW2 Stalin purged all the officers who told him the Germans were arming to invade (and Hitler even said outright in Mein Kampf where he intended to take his Lebensraum from) because he was terrified of starting a war whose results he couldn’t predict with a country who, from the Soviet perspective of Economics, was closer to the Soviet system than the democratic capitalists. 

      In fact, the Soviets never really outright invaded another country in their entire existence; Even Afghanistan was an invitation from a neighbouring Communist country to come fight Islamists for them. Oh, once they had their troops in your country from a defensive war or request for aid, there was no way they were going to give you anything back… Once you went Red, you never got the Bear out of your bed. But Soviet policy was always “We hold what we’ve got”, rather than “let’s go and invade some more”. Chechnya? Former Soviet sphere, and Russia’s backyard is how it’s still seen today. Georgia? Same again, defending our fellow Slavs in Stalin’s old stomping ground. Eastern Europe? Taken during World War 2, in a just war to drive out Fascists, but you’re not having your freedom back now they’ve gone. Vietnam? Invite for fun fighting capitalists together. You may think it’s splitting hairs… but that’s how the Soviets thought, at least those who survived the Purges.

      Thus nuclear weapons in the Soviet mindset then were always just a force multiplier, but Soviet doctrine was essentially cautious, defensive and opportunistic and would have been in any situation that wasn’t a complete absence of resistance. Conventional weapons were deterrent enough to protect Europe, and NATO just a way of formalising battle plans for a war that the Soviets really weren’t planning on starting at all.

      No, if you want “We’re invading because we just don’t like your face” during the Cold War, you need to look to the United States. They’re still at it today, natch. Which, bringing us nicely full circle, to why an independent Scotland is more likely to find the US a bigger headache than Russia; You don’t need Russia’s gas exports, and are more likely to want to take a humane, less warlike face than the US wants to see.  Where as for the Rest of the UK, Russia is more of a problem because we like getting told how to behave by Uncle Sam, and if he takes his belt off and wallops us it’s only because he loves us…

    35. Morag says:

      Scottish Skier said:
      I’m not remotely concerned about Scotland telling them to fuck off as was done over Megrahi.

      Since you mentioned the Megrahi affair, I’ll chip in my tuppenceworth.  My book which conclusively proves he didn’t do it will be published later this year.  (You will buy it, all of you, won’t you?)  The next step will be to turn this into public knowledge.

      Now, assuming the latter objective is achieved, how will the US react?  The Crown Office and indeed Kenny Macaskill are currently showing every sign of not liking this unfolding development one tiny little bit.  I think that’s probably because it shows the original investigation to have been incompetent in the extreme, indeed criminally negligent.  At best.  But how much more annoyed are the US likely to be?

    36. scottish_skier says:

      Any so-called ally that has a problem with that is not a true ally.

      Quite, and what surprises me is the attitude of many on the pro-union side, particularly those of Tory/right-wing leanings. They seem to feel that nothing can be changed, better just sit back like a lazy, feckless bastard and take it.
      Have never understood this attitude; one of dependency, of meek acceptance, of sit on yer arse and don’t try to make a difference as you can’t change anything from what is supposed to be a party for ‘strivers’.

      Nope, the right have zero get up and go. Not for me.

    37. Murray McCallum says:

      The Russians invaded Finland.  I do agree with your general point – the Russian ethos of defense of the motherland (which I guess you may argue formed the basis of invading Finland).

    38. Angus McLellan says:

      @Skier: I can see that the US – most countries really – have an interest in a No vote. But like you, I can’t see any reason for them to be unduly concerned after a Yes. The same is true of rUK and Scotland. Megaphone diplomacy today has nothing to do with real talks afterwards. After all, Ireland and the UK stitched up a deal lickety split after a shooting war that left 2,000 dead behind. A slanging match that hurts a few over-sensitive egos is not in the same league.

    39. ianbrotherhood says:

      Speculation on the outcome of this or that historical episode is as tiresome as it is pointless – it’s hard enough to determine simple facts, let alone postulate on the permutations thrown up by imagined events and motivations. 
      It’s like trying to guess how a specific chess match turned out, when you can’t be sure of the precise location of all the pieces. 
      All the same, some folk think they ‘know’ what would’ve happened because of this or that conflict, why it unfolded as it did – these are the people who feel entitled to embark on writing their own ‘History of the World’. Some, like Churchill and Francis Bacon, perhaps felt a sense of obligation to do so. Others, like Hendrik van Loon, seemed to be doing it for their own entertainment. 
      In Scotland right now, we really need people whose ambition isn’t quite so lofty (e.g. someone to explain why a character like George Robertson was deemed suitable Sec-Gen material for NATO).
      Finger-wagging paeans to an organisation whose origins and function are a matter of zero concern to the average citizen are not helpful.
      If, in due course (post-Yes) NATO sees fit to start bombing independent media outlets in Scotland? Then we’ll deal with it. In the meantime, any hogwash about Scotland having an obligation to NATO should be treated with the contempt it deserves. 

    40. AlexMcI says:

      @Titler I don’t profess to know much about the subject, but your last post kind of makes sense to me. But I will let you guys who seem to know more about it debate amongst yourselves. Who knows maybe I will learn something.

    41. Titler says:

      It’s the UK that turns around and bends over for the US.
      Yes it is. What I don’t understand is the reluctance to accept what that will mean. You’ve got the UK MOD, the penis-substitute US and the English Tory Establishment lined up on one side… and people think the debate is just going to stop being nasty and brutish once Scotland votes for independence? The very best result you can hope for is Scotland stays SNP forever, the SNP doesn’t change it’s policies, nuclear weapons are removed from Scottish soil… but after years of acrimonious debate, US pressure on rUK to have an alternative ready right now, lots of austerity for England but multi-billion pound spending on a new base, with the associated tabloid bitterness and racist Scot-bashing that will rise from it.

      Standing up to bullies as a reason for independence, that I can easily understand. Pretending they go away when you decide to stand up? I don’t understand that at all. When the Telegraph et all say they expect Scotland to suffer, they aren’t making a prediction… it’s a promise. All the more reason to leave an abusive relationship? Of course. But cherry picking history to say it can be easy is just self defeating. It’s not going to be easy at all, and I think expectations should be adjusted for that; Frankly, I’m expecting some sort of Scottish payment just to get the Atlantic Abuse loving rUK to take their stuff and go… which is the way most abusive relationships end, with shabby little compromises just to get the required space for the healing to begin.

    42. Murray McCallum says:

      Frankly, I’m expecting some sort of Scottish payment just to get the Atlantic Abuse loving rUK to take their stuff and go…
      Steady there.  Maybe we could offer special independence Scottish sovereign bonds in the form of “Former United Kingdom Obligation Forfeits” (FUKOF) bonds which are redeemable upon presentation at a time and place yet to be decided.

    43. AlexMcI says:

      As much as paying anything towards removal of the things would piss me off, I’m a realist about these things, it might be 5 years and who knows what will happen in these negotiations. but it’s all speculation until we know the outcome of the referendum. 

    44. Titler says:

      @ Murray McCallum:
      Finland was part of Tsarist Russia, becoming independent during the 1917 revolutions. The Soviets fought alongside the Finish Reds during the resulting Finish Civil War. Later, once the Russian Civil War ended and the rise of the Stalinist wing of the Soviets was complete, they saw Finland as part of the Russian sphere of influence still, and as the successor state to Russia, and having sacrificed it’s own blood there recently, it thus belonged to the Soviets. It doesn’t make sense to us, and morally it’s dubious to say the least, but the strain of Russian Nationalism in their culture was and still is excessively strong; you see it even in authors we admire, such as Solzhenitsyn and the appalling record of Russia on homosexuality today: A very paternalistic, inward looking, authoritarian, Russian Orthodox faith that transcends politics and religion to infect almost all of their Elites… Invading Finland was an aggressive action, as was the joint invasion with Germany of Poland… but from the Russian mindset, it’s completely different from invading Germany itself; Western Germany had never been “Russian”, where as Poland had been.
      In fact, as a parallel, think of it as a “Russian Cringe”. The sense of losing previous prestige was simply too much to bear for the Russian Bear. And has been from from early Tsarist times to Putin today. A sense that Russia was always Europe’s backwards cousin, and needed to avoid being seen to go backwards at all costs. 

    45. CameronB says:

      Well said Ian. Let’s get the fight won, before we start arguing about what we would like to do with the prize.
      Look, I’ve even refrained from mentioning Operation Gladio. 🙂

    46. Braco says:

      The fears and warnings you voice, which we are aware of but refuse to accept, are just some of the reasons why we have a Scots political culture that has a mature democratic movement on the cusp of something extra ordinary while you, on the other hand, have an English political culture with no realistic democratic options, other than those even further to the right of the current three.
      If I were you, I would worry less about how we Scots are going to fight the bullies post Independence that we have been fighting for decades pre independence and start thinking seriously about how the English electorate/population are going to go about recapturing your own democratic process from the very same bullies that you consistently warn us about, but have been conspicuous in your failure to deal with up until now in your own backyard.
      I would go as far as to say it is this failure by the majority English electorate to deal with these establishment ‘bullies’ you talk of, or even show an appetite to try, that is at the heart of Scots losing faith and finally breaking the United Kingdom.

    47. ianbrotherhood says:

      I’m not spoiling for a fight here, and I bow to your knowledge of history etc, but where did this come from? –
      ‘You’ve got the UK MOD, the penis-substitute US and the English Tory Establishment lined up on one side… and people think the debate is just going to stop being nasty and brutish once Scotland votes for independence?’
      Who, in this discussion, suggested any such thing?
      I’m not speaking for anyone else here, but the implication that we anticipate some effortless slide into a post-Yes Shangri-la is uncalled for.
      The fact that most of us here avoid so-called ‘revolutionary’ rhetoric doesn’t mean that we don’t recognise the importance of what’s happening, and how serious the consequences could be. 
      Have I misinterpreted your comment?

    48. scottish_skier says:

      The very best result you can hope for.

      Oh no, I can hope for much more than that. Maybe you can’t, but I can.

      Who knows what of that hope may not come to pass. Some won’t of course, possibly quite a lot. Some hopefully will.

      I won’t give up hoping though. Nor trying either.

    49. Krackerman says:

      “In fact, the Soviets never really outright invaded another country in their entire existence”…. wow… tell that to Poland – there are some 20,000 murdered officers in Katyn who might have disagreed with the blatantly false picture you just tried to paint of the USSR.

    50. ianbrotherhood says:

      ‘…it’s all speculation until we know the outcome of the referendum.
      Aye. Of course it is.
      But why should one man’s speculation be given preference over another’s, and so regularly, so definitively, that his ‘guess’ assumes a credibility which has no basis in fact?
      Look at the discussion over on the other thread about this Kelly character – he’s just one of many who blithely ‘assume’ that there will be a ‘No’ majority.
      Truth is – and you’ve already stated this – that the reality on the street is the opposite. I know ONE person who intends to vote No. The likes of Terr Kelly also know this, but they have nothing but bluster and sheer brassneck to sustain them – qualities they have plenty of.
      My circle of friends isn’t huge, and my family doesn’t contain many who are eligible to vote, but I do meet folk and ask them, and I’ve met very few who are definite ‘No’ voters. If someone put a gun to my head and forced me to give a ‘result’ for next Sept? I’d put it at between 62 and 67% of votes cast being ‘Yes’.
      There’s no science involved here – it’s honest gut-feeling.
      I can’t be the only one who feels this, but who, in the MSM, dares write an article or prepare a report for broadcast with such figures ‘assumed’ to be correct?
      Said it before, and say it again now – we need the likes of Derren Brown as a consultant for the Yes Scotland campaign, cause it’s ‘All In The Mind’.

    51. Krackerman says:

      Not to mention the hundreds of thousands of Poles shipped off to Siberia in four massive waves of deportation between 39 and 41.
      Holy cow – and you think NATO is the enemy?

    52. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “an independent Scotland is more likely to find the US a bigger headache than Russia”

      Completely agree with your assessment of Russia, but I can’t agree with your conclusion, because I think you maybe don’t fully understand the political realities around Trident in Scotland. It simply isn’t thinkable that it will be allowed to stay beyond a shortish transitional period, because the culture that it must go is far too entrenched. It’s a red line orders of magnitude beyond anything UK politicians have ever betrayed a promise on.

      As Angus’s piece today shows, the US will ultimately realise that it can’t do very much. The idea of it invading Scotland is just inconceivable, but so is the idea of any other arm-twisting that would result in Trident staying, for the reason above.

      So the US will adopt a pragmatic approach, as it did in Spain. Scotland’s geographical location is still crucial to the US and NATO, and they’d much, much rather have a friendly and cooperative, even if nuke-free, Scotland than a hostile one. However much it would wish we hadn’t got rid of Trident, it will hug us close out of fear if not love.

      For what it’s worth, I fully concur that the US is a vastly greater menace to world peace than Russia is. The place utterly terrifies me. (I linked to a mind-bogglingly frightening article about the militarisation of its police and judiciary today.) But it can’t stop Scotland voting Yes, and if that happens they will very very much want a good relationship with it.

    53. scottish_skier says:

      Not to mention the hundreds of thousands of Poles shipped off to Siberia in four massive waves of deportation between 39 and 41.

      Like in Kenya?

      Or South Africa?


      Much closer to home of course so more relevant. Also more recent in the latter case.

    54. ianbrotherhood says:

      @Krackerman (11.00pm)-
      It would really help if you sourced these quotes, to save us scrolling back, searching for them.
      It might also help the discussion in general if you stopped citing events which happened seventy years ago, and have nothing to do with the topic in question.
      Do you want to start an ‘Atrocity Exhibition Competition’?
      Be assured – ‘we’ will come out worst, feeling nauseated and ashamed.
      Please, don’t go there.

    55. frazzle dazzle darling says:

      Are we the only country in the world to have had our own nuclear weapons, located on our own shores and land, used as a threat against us?  And just how much of a mess have they made of Faslane and co that the decommissioning/clean up so going to cost so many billions?  Or are they just hamming it up so that the sums can either be used to scare us out of our skins, or just fleece us?  Is it possible that there are no nuclear warheads and the establishment have just been putting all of those millions and millions in their “sky rockets”? – Possibly wishful thinking.

    56. Stuart Black says:

      From today’s Telegraph, a trenchant reminder of why Trident is so important to Westminster’s cross-party concensus.
      No outline of why, for example, Germany, Italy and the rest feel that they can co-exist without the threat of these useless and unusable doomsday weapons, but the telling line comes towards the end of the letter, signed by the ‘great and the good’, and quoted mid-article in the link above.
      “It is our view that if Britain is to remain a leading global power with strong defences, nothing less than a continuous-at-sea deterrent will do.”
      It is imperative that we get away from this kind of overweening, arrogant shite that drives the mindset of our Unionist political masters. Scotland has no need to rely on this kind of grandiose self-image and anyway, in case of aggression, as I stated on a thread yesterday, my daughter’s a kick-boxer, and she’ll set aboot ye.
      Or perhaps we just need politicians with larger genitals, I suppose it would be fairly simple to incorporate an inspection into the selection process. 😉

    57. Stuart Black says:

      Jeez, I don’t normally go anywhere near the Telegraph, but I have to say it’s providing a rich vein of humour today. I stumbled across this irony free zone from a link at the side of the Trident article, linked to above.
      Entitled “Spy on your neighbours, says former MI5 head Stella Rimington”, it contains a delightful juxtaposition as follows:

      She made the plea as she warned that MI5 could not be expected to spot every danger and that further attacks were likely unless Britain wanted a “Stasi” state where everyone was monitored.
      is followed by
      However, Dame Stella, who was Director General of MI5 from 1992 to 1996, said she supported the Conservatives’ plans to give the police and spy agencies the power to monitor every phone call, email and web visit.
      What can you say? These people are a joke… 😉

    58. CameronB says:

      Well I’m not laughing. How are we going to deal with the data already collected on Scots, if we vote Yes? I would think that like most things, Scotland has already payed for more than its share of spying. We should own any data concerning us, if it was collected without good reason. I want mine destroyed, if there is any.

    59. Stuart Black says:

      CameronB says – We should own any data concerning us, if it was collected without good reason. I want mine destroyed, if there is any.

      Absolutely, though I wouldn’t hold out much hope on that front.
      One of the things that horrified me about the Blair/Brown administrations was the policies of intrusion that they were so keen on, I.D. cards, DNA databases and the like, we spent the Cold War pointing terrified fingers at the soviet methods, and as soon as it faded away, our governors embarked on exactly the same path, frightening.
      But they are still a joke.

    60. ianbrotherhood says:

      Here’s George Robertson’s letter, as printed in today’s Herald:
      ‘In a week where the Trident issue will be getting renewed attention it is important to nail some of the wild assertions and fallacies about Scottish public opinion on the subject.
         Two recent serious tests of public opinion have been carried out by polling organisations. One was commissioned by Lord Ashcroft, the Tory peer, and the other by the House of Commons Select Committee on Public Administration. Both give the lie to the claim that the Scots are overwhelmingly opposed to continuing with Trident.
         The Lord Ashcroft survey was specifically done in Scotland (and partially covered in this newspaper) and put to people that the Trident system was coming to the end of its useful life and it would have to be scrapped or replaced.
         Only one third (34%) said the UK should give up nuclear weapons completely. More than half thought that Trident should be replaced either by an equally powerful system (20%) or a cheaper, less powerful system (31%).
         The Public Administrative survey asked a UK audience: “If the UK Government decided there is no cheaper alternative for an effective nuclear weapons system, and you had to choose between keeping the current nuclear weapons system or giving up nuclear weapons altogether, which of the following statements would come closest to your views?”
         The answers? The UK should order four new submarines to maintain its nuclear weapons system – 57%; the UK should give up nuclear weapons altogether – 27%; don’t know – 17%. A decisive majority.
         In Scotland, 49% opted for the “order new submarines” statement, 43% for “abandon nuclear weapons”, and 8% were don’t knows.
         It should be noted that 49% is four percentage points more than the SNP polled in the 2010 General Election.
         If we are to continue having a rational discussion in the run up to the referendum vote these facts must be a better guide than baseless assertions on the state of Scottish public opinion.
      George Robertson
      Former Secretary of State for Defence and Secretary General of Nato,
      House of Lords, London.’

    61. Murray McCallum says:


      Thanks for posting that letter in.
      George Robertson’s passion for WMDs is clear.  He skillfully uses specific opinion polls to give the appearance of widespread support for his passion.  I guess he has already banked a “No” win in 2014 given the popularity of this.  He must be very confident.
      However, the trouble is anyone can cite individual polls to support their stance.  It would be interesting to see WMDs openly debated in the context to UK austerity and growing debt.
      For the life of me I don’t see Scottish support for WMDs based in Scotland.  Also, his snide comment “…should be noted that 49% is four percentage points more than the SNP polled in the 2010 General Election” implies that opinion polls are as accurate, or comparable to, a universal democratic vote!

    62. Stuart Black says:

      And that Telegraph letter in full:

      SIR – Today, the Government will present the findings of a review into alternatives to our Trident nuclear deterrent. We firmly believe that we should not water down the strategic deterrent that has been the cornerstone of our national security for the past 45 years. Britain’s continuous at-sea deterrent is vital to ensuring this country has the ultimate defence and the means to deter any current or potential aggressor.

      In an uncertain world in which the number of nuclear weapons remains high and some states are increasing their holdings, we should not take risks with our security by downgrading to a part-time deterrent.

      We cannot possibly foresee what threats will develop over the next 30 years. Reducing our submarine-based Trident capability would weaken our national security for the sake of a very small fraction of the defence budget. It is our view that if Britain is to remain a leading global power with strong defences, nothing less than a continuous at-sea deterrent will do.

      Lord Robertson of Port Ellen
      Defence Secretary, 1997-99
      Nato Secretary-General, 1999-2004
      Sir Malcolm Rifkind MP (Con)
      Defence Secretary, 1992-95
      Lord Reid of Cardowan
      Defence Secretary, 2005-06
      Dr Liam Fox MP (Con)
      Defence Secretary, 2010-11
      Bob Ainsworth
      Defence Secretary, 2009-10
      Lord Boyce
      Chief of Defence Staff, 2001-03
      Lord Stirrup
      Chief of Defence Staff, 2006-10

    63. CameronB says:

      F-35 and Trident key in US-UK relationship talks
      03 May 2013

      Trident review ignores credible option – a non-nuclear Britain
      15 July 2013

    64. Murray McCallum says:

      The UK cannot realistically afford a nuclear deterrent.  However, given the deep rooted desire to punch above its weight and be a global military power can I suggest a modification to the Faslane annexation concept.  An idea would be for the USA to annex Portsmouth and use it as a multi nuclear launch capability site.
      This is an optimal position for the UK as it eliminates the threat of the Scottish separatists and maintains the nuclear deterrent in the hands of the people that actually control them.

    65. Angus says:

      The key is there Murray, the uk cannot afford Trident’s replacement and without Scotland will be even less able to afford them or house them and that means that testosterone fuelled “status” will be lost in the eyes of those who like to increase nuclear threat by continously building the bloody nuclear weapons and the means to launch them! Being skint matters not as long as long as the crippling debt is added to by purchasing nuclear bombs to kill people we have never met, men women and children we have nothing against because one thing is for sure, and that isbuttered button pushers will be in “ze bunker”, as history tells us the mindset of those who would willingly kill the innocent.

    66. Patrick Roden says:

      @ Murray McCallum,
      Spot on!  their are graveyards in Russia that have each stone representing a whole village or town that was wiped out by the German army.
      This was called the war of ‘Inhalation’ so can you imagine the terror the Russians felt as the advancing German inhalated towns and villages?
      We should also bear in mind that this was not the first army from the West to invade without provocation.
      No wonder they remained suspicious of the West and had an almost pathological desire to make sure we could not encircle them with our ground armies.

    67. ianbrotherhood says:

      Harold Pinter, on NATO:

    68. ianbrotherhood says:

      …and Alex Salmond’s statement on NATO bombing Yugoslavia:

    69. Titler says:

      ianbrotherhood says:
      15 July, 2013 at 10:38 pm
      “I’m not spoiling for a fight here, and I bow to your knowledge of history etc, but where did this come from? -”
      Well, somewhat from comments like this, although it followed later in the thread:
      “we have a Scots political culture that has a mature democratic movement on the cusp of something extra ordinary while you, on the other hand, have an English political culture with no realistic democratic options, other than those even further to the right of the current three.”

      … but which nicely illustrated my point;  That politics in Scotland is saner at present I think we all agree on, but whether the Scottish political system is healthier, and what keeps it thusis a different question. Because it’s rather the other way around, Scotland has a young democratic movement, where as Westminster is literally the old hag of parliaments; it’s staid, stable, rutted.

      But then, so are the main opposition north of the border, Scottish Labour. And thus when people here talk about democratic, exciting Scotland, you’re really talking of just one party, the SNP. And not every wing of it either; but what matters is the fact that outside of the SNP your politics are largely terrible too, which often feels somewhat brushed over to those of us who’ve not maintained a sense of youthful joy about politics. Yet if the Labour wins the post-Independent election, Trident probably stays whatever the public’s opinion on that particular policy. Disappointment and disengagement naturally increases, because that’s the sort of effect modern Labour politicians inspire. Unless… unless you’re secretly hoping for a one party SNP state forever?

      I know posters here actually wouldn’t be, not as a principle… but as a reality let’s also be honest and say that’s the assumption that’s being made. Likewise, as one other poster here did seem to struggle with, identifying the nuances and complexities in something is not saying “ARGLE BARGLE I LOVE EVIL”. Saying Hitler was a vegetarian and devoted to dogs doesn’t excuse the holocaust for instance; but it does make it hard to poison him if you keep spiking the beefburgers. And it also doesn’t turn loving animals into an evil act. It does however mean you also have to seriously consider exploding innocent animals yourself…

      Would you guys do it? Would you seriously raise the black flag and start slitting throats if Scottish Labour were voted in and just ignored you on Trident? Yes, here in England I often feel that setting fire to myself in the jobcentre or putting a brick through the local Tory MPs window or some other act of self destruction is now the only way anyone would even notice… and even that wouldn’t change our politics for the better. That’s the level of despair we deal with, I fully admit. But then I check the polling results in 2011 and Scottish Labour gets 31.7% of the vote, not too far behind English Labour down here, percentage wise… So I personally am desperate to hear how things can be kept healthy and democratic before the wider desperation sets in; because once it does, I’m not entirely convinced the Scots will actually, truly start shedding blood to stop it either. Virtually no one does or ever did. What I’m looking for the Scottish Example about how to stay alive and healthy.
      Regarding the debate about America… and keeping it somewhat simple, no you won’t see much obvious pressure from Barack Obama. That simply isn’t his style; the NSA revelations should however illustrated his actual style, which is to bribe allies with extremely dubious “friends with benefits” offers behind the scenes, that don’t actually benefit the citizens involved but rather “National Security”. And when it comes to Trident, the USA doesn’t need the base, only that the deterrent has access to the North Atlantic waters; so expect a quiet fudge that they’ll give access to the successor to PRISM (you know there will be one) or something similar (spy satellite data, joint military training exercises) to Scotland that you won’t talk about, in exchange for “generic transit rights” through Scottish waters, which don’t sound too threatening; then hiding behind the veil of operational security as to what exactly they do when taking advantage of those rights… All hush hush, we won’t talk about it sorry. Think about the CIA Rendition flights that used Scottish airspace previously. There’s the likely precedent Obama will aim for.

      And that in turn is because they’ll be getting a complete tongue-bathing from the rest of the UK who will be desperate to host the base themselves; Now the USA will lean on the rUK, because they need the bases up and operational as fast as possible, if for nothing else the colossal profit to be made from the new systems and the ability to claim they are protecting jobs back in Porksville USA. That pressure will thus be passed on to the Scots indirectly, because the English politicians will negotiating in the worst possible faiths, but with the intention of getting the best deal as quick as possible for themselves. If the Scots representatives to the negotiations are honest, you’ll get extremely offensive deals being haggled over for weeks… if they’re not honest, Trident will be off your soil pretty quickly, but I’d be extremely suspicious as to why.
      So… I guess both points can be summed up by saying “I expect crap.”

    70. CameronB says:

      Are there really two PRISMs, or just one PRISM with NATO involvement?
      July 18, 2013
      Britain pockets billions from selling weapons to rogue states
      July 18, 2013

    71. CameronB says:

      Britain’s Chemical Sales To Syria Revealed
      July 17, 2013

      The headline is a bit of a red herring. It’s basically the same as “selling weapons to rogue states”.

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