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Vote Yes for a nuclear-free England?

Posted on January 04, 2013 by

In a slightly surprising development reported late this afternoon by the Guardian, the Ministry of Defence appeared to suddenly and officially confirm what most supporters of independence have asserted for some time: that if Scotland becomes independent the rUK will lose its nuclear deterrent, as it has nowhere else to put it.

In a surprisingly direct response to a question from CND, the Ministry revealed that “the safety arrangements for Devonport [naval base near Plymouth, widely regarded as the only possible alternative berth for the submarines] do not permit the presence of submarines carrying Trident nuclear warheads”, and that “The MoD’s safety experts are not considering changing that“.

It was already known that even if the submarines themselves could be docked in Devonport, there was no possibility of replicating the Coulport weapons base without years of work costing billions of pounds, but the MoD’s unexpected revelation, as well as being an apparent reversal of the Ministry’s position of a year ago, is a dramatic intervention with radical and complex implications for the independence debate.

It seems fair to say that the declaration isn’t obviously great news for any of the parties involved in the referendum. Firstly, the potential complete loss of the UK’s nuclear deterrent is clearly disastrous news for the Tories, who might otherwise have been privately quite relaxed about a Yes vote. In particular, the party would be horrified at the loss of the permanent seat on the UN Security Council that allows ministers to continue to indulge their imperial fantasies.

Secondly, the knowledge that the entire UK would be nuclear-free in the event of independence is a huge headache for Labour’s cynically-dishonest Trident policy of pretending to want rid of the system while simultaneously planning all along to retain and then replace it. In a BBC debate last year, Scottish Labour’s slippery “deputy” leader Anas Sarwar tried to sell voters the line that getting rid of Trident wasn’t justification for independence:

“I don’t simply want to get nuclear weapons out of the Clyde and think actually, that’s fine, we’ll be fine and we’ll be safe. I don’t think it’s credible to say ‘Let’s move it a few hundred miles down the M74 and that’s okay’. We want to obliterate nuclear weapons not just from Scotland, but from right across the UK and right around the world.”

The fact that the weapons wouldn’t be just moving “down the M74” but completely out of the entire UK annihilates that pretence and forces Labour to confront the electorate with yet another unpopular policy as a reason for/outcome of staying in the Union. (And of course, Labour are no less fond of sitting at the UN Security Council top table with the big-boy nations than the Tories are.)

But the MoD’s bombshell will be leaving Alex Salmond a little uncomfortable as well. Realists had long suspected that a Yes vote would see Trident stay put for a few years while the rUK constructed a Coulport replacement, and that Salmond could exact almost any price in the independence negotiations for allowing the UK to rent out the Faslane base in the meantime. On the face of it, the apparent loss of that huge bargaining chip won’t be filling the First Minister with glee this weekend.

Is the ruling-out of Devonport really the end of the road for Trident, though? Last year the Welsh First Minister, Carwyn Jones of Labour, offered up the deep-water port of Milford Haven at the extreme south-west of the country as a replacement for Faslane. Far from any major population centres, it would seem to offer plenty of potential locations for a weapons base as well as a submarine dock.

The offer was not warmly received in Wales, and is subject to considerable and numerous logistical difficulties, but given the absolute desperation of both London parties to hold onto the UK’s nuclear forces, it seems rash to discount it – or any other proposed solution – entirely. As Wales Online noted, “Despite the huge upheaval it would entail, moving the Trident fleet to Milford Haven could be done, if the UK Government and Welsh Government both put their minds to it.”

What, then, was the purpose of the MoD’s uncharacteristically candid response to CND? The only rational analysis we can begin to put on it is an attempt to soothe Tory voters on the south coast of England that Trident won’t be parked on their doorstep in the event of Scotland breaking away – in other words, a deliberate but covert softening of the party’s Unionist stance, by minimising the consequences of losing Scotland.

(Which at first sounds absurd – the Conservative and Unionist Party abandoning Unionism – until you remember that the idea of Labour abandoning the core principles of socialism would have seemed ridiculous as recently as 1990 too.)

That explanation would fit with the theory of the Tories being secretly relaxed about the prospect of independence, and it would suit the SNP too, but it’s harder to see why Labour would be conniving with the plan – unless Carwyn Jones’ comments were just a hapless piece of grandstanding aimed at appearing to be seeking jobs for Wales, and the Tories have taken opportunistic advantage of it.

We have no idea what the truth is. But it’s almost inconceivable, to the point of rampant insanity, that the MoD would not only just casually announce that would Scottish independence result in unilateral UK disarmament, but that it was blithely refusing to make any sort of contingency plans for the eventuality. So all reason points to there being something more to the situation than meets the eye.

We live in interesting times.

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    250 to “Vote Yes for a nuclear-free England?”

    1. Seasick Dave says:

      It could all just be a crock of Machiavellian lies; you just can’t tell when it comes to the MoD or Westminster.

      Anyway, if the whole of the British Isles becomes nuclear free then that’s great news. 

    2. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      The explanation I’ve put forward is pretty Machiavellian in itself. But otherwise the MoD’s statement makes no sense at all.

    3. jake says:

      …..but of course there’s the matter of the 6,700 jobs.

      The article also suggests that in the event of a nuclear accident Plymouth would be uninhabitable for 100 years….I assume that in the event of a nuclear accident at Faslane it too would be uninhabitable for 100 years…. close to tolerable it seems….but where would the submarines on patrol go if Faslane was the site of a accident of the type they have in their scenario?

    4. scottish_skier says:

      Firstly, the potential complete loss of the UK’s nuclear deterrent is clearly disastrous news for the Tories

      Not if you can blame it on the Scots. 

      UK can’t afford new weapons anyway; it’s financially up crap creek without a paddle with the hull about to be holed. This would provide an excellent way to pass the buck and move on to e.g. privatising what little is left to flog. Would keep Westminster ticking over for a few more terms at least, giving those in power right now a decent amount of time to feather their nests before the brown stuff really hits the fan. What happens when there’s nothing left to sell? Who cares? ‘I’m awright Jack’.

    5. Jock says:

      You’ve missed the EU dimension. I read an article ( can’t find it now) that explained that France would hold the EU nukes so there was no longer a requirement for a UK nuke. The EU Forces have been slowly amalgamating discretely for many years. Nimrods smashed up as a seperate maritime recce unit didn’t fit. Shared aircraft carrier with France. All 3 Forces of each EU country (army/navy/air force)training and operating together at home and overseas .
      So Scotland being independent would be fine as they would de commission the subs and leave them to rot in Scotland.
      The UK spot at the UN Security Council is set to be an EU slot with French nukes as the new cojones.

    6. Juteman says:

      A very thought provoking article.

    7. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “UK can’t afford new weapons anyway”

      Tories will ALWAYS find money for nukes. Anyway, I thought this piece would have fitted well with your “the Tories want to lose the referendum” theory…?


    8. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “…..but of course there’s the matter of the 6,700 jobs.”

      The 6700 jobs (hey, didn’t Labour tell us it was 11,000?) are a bit of a red herring. Many of them are dependent not on Trident per se, but simply on naval vessels being at Faslane. Those would still be there.

    9. Elizabeth says:

      I saw this on moridura’s twitter page:

      “The poll of polls – Westminster voting intentions – SNP:36% (+16%) Labour: 33% (-9%) Tory:17% (n/c) LibDem:7% (-12%)”

      “A combined sample of 582 from six major polling companies over the past 20 days” 

    10. scottish_skier says:


      I have it as better than that (the ‘poll of poll of polls’ 😉 or every Scotland subset there is, I think), but aye, SNP ahead of Labour for Westminster VI (up to 43% SNP) and comfortably so. That’s why Labour are panicking in a big way, not because of polls for that silly little pretendy Holyrood parliament….


      Ha ha, Roger that. 

    11. Luigi says:

      It is funny how only Labour areas (W Scotland, South Wales) seem willing to accommodate Trident (jobs jobs jobs). Trident near Tory constituencies? No chance! Not in my back yard, mate!

    12. Elizabeth says:

      @Scottish Skier
      Wow! nae wonder Labour are gettin a’ het up! ..:)

    13. Vronsky says:

      Lack of contingency plans if Scotland achieves independence is becoming a bit of a pattern.  There’s this too;
      Maybe they know something we don’t?
      @Rev Stu
      Suggested research: Will controls of postal voting be tightened (introduced?) for the referendum?

    14. Jim says:

      There was also the proposal that the fleet would be hosted by our US cousins.  It’s their weapon system after all, which means they will have the oily rags and spanners to fit.

      I do like the EU theory though.


    15. Jeannie says:

      @scottish skier
      I think, due to their awful, wrecking behaviour and woeful, incompetent performances, not to mention unpopular policies, the unionist parties are actually now making themselves unelectable.
      If Scotland votes Yes 1n 2014, who’s going to trust unionist MPs to support our negotiations with the UK government?  If their current behaviour is anything to go by, many of us would fully expect them to sell us down the river, so better to have people representing us that we know we can depend on.

    16. dadsarmy says:

      what most supporters of independence have asserted for some time: that if Scotland becomes independent the rUK will lose its nuclear deterrent, as it has nowhere else to put it

      I’ve got to disagree with this straight away before reading the rest. I think most supporters of Independence have argued that the nuclear deterrent will have to be moved out of Scotland.

      There are elements – the CND for instance – who would be delighted if it meant the rUK lost its deterrent. Well, that fits with their ethos so it’s a fair enough hope – for them.

      But for the rest of us, it’s none of our business what the rUK does with its deterrent once it’s moved it out of Scotland. Independence is about Independence for Scotland, and Trident is a side issue.

    17. DJ says:

      I know I’ll be in the minority here. I will happily lease our good friends England / RUK (and I hope they are good friends) the Faslane and Coulpourt bases for their nukes. It can be part of the negotiation and I’m sure Mr Salmond knows that. So does Mr Cameron!

    18. Ron says:

      Wait, wait, wait. From the Guardian article (my bold):
      “The worst accident scenario envisaged by the MoD would kill up to 11,000 people in Plymouth and would not meet the official criteria for what is acceptable, according to a new report.”
      There were 14,000 residents in Helensburgh in 2001, according to wikipedia, so many more now. But hey, they obviously aren’t important people …

    19. DJ says:

      I will take our good friend England / rUK nukes after independence. I know i’ll be in the minority here but to me it’s all part of the negotiation.

    20. dadsarmy says:

      Mmm, read both articles.
      1). Questions asked by CND – and answers give to them, reported by Rob Edwards, environment correspondent for the Herald (and Guardian). Nice bloke, some good stuff, some extreme views.
      2). Answers given by the “MOD”. OK, I guess they have no axe to grind then.
      3). 11,000 live at risk in Portsmouth compared to the supposed 11,000 jobs – hence lives – at risk ar Faslane. What, safety standards lower at Fasland than Portsmouth? How shocking!
      4). Can’t be bothered with 4.

      Conclusion. NO campaigning.

    21. dadsarmy says:

      DJ – personally I have no axe to grind with Trident passing near my door. I would like to see it go some time – maybe 10 years is all it will take, whatever MOD says.

      Yes, we’ll take another couple of frigates and another full squadron of Typhoons to keep Trident here meantime. I like Typhoons!

    22. DJ says:

      Apologies for similar double post. System told me after first post I had double posted, then didn’t show the first. No criticism intended Rev Stu. System error I assume.

    23. Tinyzeitgeist says:


      ” personally I have no axe to grind with Trident passing near my door. I would like to see it go some time – maybe 10 years is all it will take, whatever MOD says.”

      I presume that you would be so relaxed over westminster delaying negotiations over other matters relating to our independence such as our oil reserves?   

    24. muttley79 says:

      I reckon Wales will get Trident in the event of a Yes vote here.  The reason is that it would tie Wales more closely to the union with England (which seems strong anyway).  I also think Wales would be attracted by the jobs, plus possibly some investment as a thank you.  The rUK would want to stabilise their state in the event of a Yes vote.  You can rule out Northern Ireland because of the security headache involved!!  It seems there is not any suitable sites in England, Devonport does not look at option, it would probably have been the major contender south of the border.

      I honestly can’t see the rUK giving up their nuclear weapons capability.  The British state values these status symbols very highly.  You just have to remember Cameron going to Rosyth when he was up signing the Edinburgh Agreement.   

    25. Morag says:

      To be honest, it sounds to me just like more of the same, “we are not anticipating a yes vote in the referendum so we have no plans to do anything.”

      Is there any indication it’s anything more than that?

    26. redcliffe62 says:

      There is a hard core vote for the SNP at Westminster now of 35% plus of electorate. Most of these will be passionate enough to vote in the referendum.
      Long bow but if we assume that the SNP get out 80% of these voters in the referendum that is 28% of the electorate actually in favour. Labour, LibDems and Tories wil make up another 5 to 10%. It could be more but that is reasonable.

      If it was 38% actual voters, do we imagine the NO campaign will convince another 38%of Scotland’s electorate to actually vote and turn out against a YES, as that would be a 76% turnout.

      Outwith political anoraks, do people actually fear independence or do they simply want to know they will be better off and can pay their bills easier? With the fear getting silly now and questions regurgitated as nothing new to offer,
      I think people will take time to ask if Scotland could be worse off than now if they kept all the oil for the next 40 years.
      That worked in the 70’s, almost got the SNP a lot more seats than just 11 in April 74 under FPTP, and will work again.

      Many people think the SNP are “not bad” and given the mess the Tories are in then will perhaps abstain rather than actually voting NO, which will be seen subliminally as a vote for the Tories whether Labour like this or not. 

      With Sturgeon playing a greater role women will be more likely to come onside. Were Salmond to say he would be standing down and Sturgeon would lead the party post 2014 I think females would support her in droves. Rather like supporting Gillard in Oz, vote for a woman as he cannot be as bad as all those men…… 
      Whether we like Lamont or not, she is a woman and women therefore will support her all other things being perceived to be equal. 

      The union party is right to target Sturgeon after seeing polling as they realise she can swing another 5 to 10% behind the cause that Salmond cannot touch. 
      The YES campaign has enough men in its locker to win the referendum, it needs to target women and that will be the real battlefield in 2013 in my view. 

    27. dadsarmy says:

      I don’t see the connection. About this time last year some UK defence plan showed it would take 10-15 years to move Trident out of Scotland. This was “confirmed” by Chalmers or someone like that. Logistically it would seem to be a fair time. I’d hold them to the lower end, so it was out of Scotland by 2026.

      Some people are strongly anti-nuclear, well I respect that, but don’t hold their views.

    28. DJ says:


      No. Oil is a finite resource which is ours on day one. I have no desire for an independent Scotland to have nuclear weapons, but was looking at the likely reallity of negotiations for independence.

      For some, nukes out is number one; I accept that whilst it is not my priority. I will happily negotiate terms of lease. It’s all about priorities and we each have our own.

      In my case it’s independence first then everything else after. I think most of us on this site agree to differ later on that. 

    29. Edulis says:

      The turnout in the Indyref will be over 70% as it was at the referendum on devolution. That will bring a lot of habitual non-voters into play. We already know from the polling profiles that Independence is most popular within the C-D segment of the electorate and amongst 18- 25 year olds. Those are the very sections which will boost the turnout, so I wouldn’t be surprised if we have a similar result to the devolution referendum.

      Still, it is up to the more motivated Yes side to stand up in the workplace, within the family and the school and to take Obama’s lead in social media to to make sur of a result.  

    30. Dave McEwan Hill says:

      But perhaps very a very convenient get out for an England that can’t afford a nuclear deterrent

    31. mogabee says:

        That’s been my view for a while, Cameron can sell the fact that he’s saving the taxpayers money and defense can be shared with A.N.other!!

    32. Dave Smith says:

      “UK can’t afford new weapons anyway; it’s financially up crap creek without a paddle with the hull about to be holed. This would provide an excellent way to pass the buck and move on to e.g. privatising what little is left to flog. Would keep Westminster ticking over for a few more terms at least, giving those in power right now a decent amount of time to feather their nests before the brown stuff really hits the fan. What happens when there’s nothing left to sell? Who cares? ‘I’m awright Jack’.”

      They didn’t build that runway in Docklands for nothing, SS. Just the right size for a few dozen bizjets, so the elite can ‘bug out’, Saigon-style when it all goes terminally ‘Pete Tong’! 😉 

    33. Tinyzeitgeist says:

      @ Dadsarmy :

      “Some people are strongly anti-nuclear, well I respect that, but don’t hold their views.”

      Ergo, do you think an independent Scotland should be pro-nuclear? And in what way?  

    34. Dave McEwan Hill says:

      Electoral Calcilus have SNP at 15 Westminster seats plus second place in another 42. I would say that at least 18 of those secondas are do-able

    35. Cameron says:

      Scottish-skier kind of beat me to this, but couldn’t this be a silver lining to austerity?

      With regard to Milford Haven, are there any risk assessors out there who could comment on any conflicts there might be in locating the subs next to such a large natural gas storage facility?

      @ Dadsarmy

      Absolutely. What rUK does with Trident is their concern not ours. However, this could be opportunity an opportunity to “turn” anti-nuke unionists to the Yes camp. Is that wishful thinking?

    36. Adrian B says:

      What I find particularly odd about this story is not actually the story itself – odd though it undoubtedly is – but rather its timing.

      Portsmouth is one of the three yards facing the chop under the austerity cut agenda of the Westminster Government. The decision on which yard or yards to close was to be made before Christmas, but was put back a few weeks. That announcement is I think from memory, now due next week.

      I am not totally convinced that any of them will actually face complete closure – not before 2014/2015 at least. I am reasonably certain that work will be found in the short term to keep all the yards going certainly for the short term.

      If I am wrong, is this announcement a softening up for workers at the Portsmouth yard? I would imagine that Portsmouth was actually well placed to handle some of the smaller refitting work required by the Royal Navy. Given the amount of RN shipping held down south this would make sense.

      Getting rid of one of the two Clyde yards would be unfortunate considering that Westminster believe that Scotland will stay in the Union. Either way I don’t think that Cameron would want to send too much RN contract work to Johnny Foreigner. Best to keep the work within these Islands. British Jobs and all that. After all Westminster has made no provision for Scotland voting to leave the Union.  

    37. Vronsky says:


      “Is there any indication it’s anything more than that?”

      We should be on the alert for any signs that it is ‘more than that’.  Expanding and then frigging the postal vote is the most innocent strategy I can think of.  Simply ignoring the result is another – Westminster parliaments are not bound by the actions of previous parliaments, or indeed anything. They have no constitution (you can ignore the rag-bag of infinitely flexible conventions described by Bagehot). It’s why I suggested on another thread that the Yes majority needs to be substantial enough to make such waffling look like a bad idea.  51/49 isn’t going to do it – remember ’79!

    38. Vronsky says:

      I don’t think the threats of partition emanating from Unionists are idle – they’ve done it often before.  How would Stranraer be as a base for nukes?  If Dumfries and Galloway vote No to independence as they did to devolution (a racing certainty) then a move of the border north gets a new base for nuclear filth that is still a long way from the Home Counties and has the additional advantage of increasing rUK’s territorial share of the oil fields.

    39. Adrian B says:

      ’51/49 isn’t going to do it – remember ’79!’

      51/49 technically does do it, where you are quite correct is that we need an unequivocal ‘YES’ vote of a higher percentage more akin to 65/35 to put the result beyond ANY reproach.

    40. scottish_skier says:


      Nowhere voted no to devolution, although Dumfries and Galloway had one of the lower Yes results at Q1 60.7 and was marginally below 50% on Q2 at 48.8%.

    41. TYRAN says:

      – “After all Westminster has made no provision for Scotland voting to leave the Union.” 

      They’ll be on it. To ever mention this would be a monumental own goal, so they just play dumb.

    42. Adrian B says:

      ‘They’ll be on it. To ever mention this would be a monumental own goal, so they just play dumb.’

      I’m well aware of this, however my original comment that you quote was meant to be tongue-in-cheek, unfortunately that wasn’t quite so clear as it may have been – i have forgotten how to do smily faces.

    43. Dave McEwan Hill says:

      One of the more inventive ways to deal with the Dunfries and Galloway problem (if it is a problem, which seems possible) would be to create a movement in parts of the North East and North West of England which wants these areas be part of a new, better governed Scotland

    44. Elizabeth says:

      Sorry to be O/T again – but thought you might be interested in tuning in to GMS this morning with Isobel Fraser and Derek Bateman. Around 41 mins in  they have an excellent piece from economics journalist Mark Coleman on how Ireland is doing nowadays. Some may recall him from a few years ago coming out all guns blazing to take on former SoS for Scotland Jim Murphy who had said Ireland’s financial collapse demonstrated why Scotland shouldn’t be independent. (Jim was ‘too busy’ to speak to him!).  

    45. Cuphook says:

      Given that Alex Salmond wants a Scottish constitution which includes an “explicit ban on nuclear weapons being based on Scottish territory” then there can be no way of keeping them unless Faslane and Coulport are handed over to rUK. Can anyone actually see that happening?
      CND recently issued a report detailing the speed at which these weapons of mass destruction can be dismantled:
      Phase 1 and 2 – it would take one week each to end the operational deployment of submarines and remove key and triggers.
      Phase 3 – eight days to disable missiles

      Phase 4 – eight weeks to remove warheads from submarines
      Phase 5 10 weeks to remove missiles from two submarines
      Phase 6it would take one year to disable all nuclear warheads and remove Limited Life components from Scotland
      Phase 7 – Up to two years to remove nuclear warheads from Scotland
      Phase 8 – to completely dismantle nuclear warheads if would take four years.

      Don’t forget the demonstration at Faslane in April.

    46. ronald alexander mcdonald says:

      I agree with Morag.

      They are confident that scaremongering will do the trick. I don’t think you can read anything more into it. I would add that they will be making plans behind the scenes in case of a YES vote, but the last thing they’ll do is admit it for fear it could add credibility to the Independence movement.  

    47. Vronsky says:

      Oops – thanks for the correction – I was looking at the ’79 referendum results.  I’d still offer the hypothesis, though.

    48. Bill says:

      Ive been saying this for years, even emailed SNP MSP’s, nobody listening. As a former Trident person! We knew that Devonport wasnt suitable, nor is the Welsh proposal.  The criteria by Nato makes Faslane the best choice. We dont even own Trident, its a shared Nato asset.
      It will get worse: The rUK/Establishment will not allow that to happen, Trident WILL remain on the clyde for the time it will take to build a new Faslane, 20-30yrs. Just as an aside I can tell you what we will face, when they tried to disband the Gurkhas as the Gareloch head camp  the Gurkhas shut the gate and refused to go, there wasnt a force capable of stopping them. They stayed! Following a yes vote in 2014, we will see a military build up at HMS Neptune and post indy they will simply shut the gates. 

    49. Bill says:

      Trident criteria: the weapons must be within hr from the vessel. i.e Coulport and Faslane are 1hr apart by sea, thus seperation of delivery system and weapons.  Faslane was a natural basin, so the criteria for a MDA  is set, maximum design accident.  There is lower population and its remote from industrial sites that are a natural target, Milford Haven is out of equation. Nato and USA set the agenda here folks.

    50. Cameron says:

      @ Bill
      “Nato and USA set the agenda here folks.”
      It would be wishful thinking to expect anything else.

    51. Juteman says:

      Are you seriously suggesting there might be a battle at Faslane to prevent Scotlands wishes being carried out? 🙂

    52. Dave McEwan Hill says:

      Absolute unionist rubbish
      As Juteman says are you suggesting they force Trident on us by military invasion?

      If Trident remains in Scotland it willl be bercause an elected Scottish Government has agreed that

    53. Bill says:

      Im not a unionist, so it isnt unionist rubbish. I didnt say an invasion, I said srengthen security. I served in Faslane and other related civvy jobs, I know what they are capable off.  AS doesnt have much room for manouvring on this one who will tell Nato that the UK intends to cut number of Trident assets, rUK will have to renogiate their agreements with Nato. We neededUSA approval to load and fire in San Diego.
       Trident will remain in Scotland for quite some time with agreement or not, its best to get our heads around it.
       I warned the SNP a year ago they will have egg on thier faces over Faslane. They have yet to respond.

    54. Juteman says:

      “they have yet to respond.”
      I wonder why?

    55. Bill says:

      Juteman, a battle! Mind you it would be legend. The hillsides filled with tartan warriors charging MOD Plod at the gates, The Battle of Faslane 2016. No mate a battke or conflict wont happen, its the more the sound of one hand clapping. The rUK authority shut gates and we shout loudly outside with CND, Greepeace et al as they do every year. Meanwhile the Scottish Govt argue with rUK and so it goes on. 20 + years later when theyve built a replacement base that will be home to the by then aging fleet of Trident replacements. Ironically Faslane will be home to those too in a few years. The sound of one hand clapping!

    56. Dave McEwan Hill says:

      Nonsense, Bill

    57. Bill says:

      juteman, its not nonsense.

      Think it through logically one step at a time.

      We return a Yes vote in 2014.

      During negotiations with rUK we assert Trident must go.

      Trident has no where to go and will take 20 yrs to build a new base. It actually took longer than that to prepare for Trident.

      Scotland asserts that isnt good enough and demands disarming the weapons.

      Faslane shuts the North and South Gates and increases security.

      We spend the next 15 to 20 yrs collecting rent for Faslane and Coulport while a new facility is built.

      Its likely that the new Faslane will be home to the Trident replacement and negate the need to move Vanguard boats, they instead will rot at Rosyth or Faslane becoming our problem.

      Or its entirely possible that another Nato country in Europe will be home to Trident replacement. But Im not sure if rUK would readily give up that status of operating/maintaining a Nato asset such as this.

    58. Bill says:

      Juteman, how is it nonsense. Which part exactly? I watched every year as a band of pathetic CND hippies protested outside the south gate with that terrorist organisation Greepeace. We just shut the gates and laughed at them!

    59. Bill says:

      CND are on cloud cuckoo land if they think were walking in past MOD Police, Commanchio Unit, SBS, SAS, Royal Navy and pass three fortified gates remove trigges and keys for a Nato asset and walk out singing Koomba Ya My Lord.  ( Did I mention the Ghurkas!)
      Thats a nonsense! And another nonsense is Scots burrying thier hieds in the sand.
      Civvys used to infuriate me at thier lack of understanding of these things, now more than ever we need you all to wake up.

    60. Dave McEwan Hill says:

      I can’t think of anyway of answering somebody who equates an independent Scottish Governments powers with the non existant political power of CND and Greenpeace.
      You obviously don’t undestand the independence concept.

    61. Dave McEwan Hill says:

      Should,of course have been “non existent”
      The MOD police at the gates of Faslane will be Scottish MOD. Och, why bother!

    62. Luigi says:

      They can move their WMD base to the Falklands, as far as I am concerned.

    63. Cameron says:

      @ Luigi

      That could in fact be a genius suggestion.

    64. douglas clark says:

      Are we going to see some sort of Berlin Airlift into Faslane? Because all the soldiers are going to have to eat and drink and go on rotation, etc. If Faslane stays it will be with the co-operation of the Scottish Government, not without it.

    65. Jeannie says:

      I’ve started many a post with the words, “I really know nothing about this….but” and now I’m about to do it again, so feel free to preface any reply with the words, “You stupid woman”, but, as I was walking on the banks of Loch Fyne this afternoon after reading this article and comments,  something crossed my mind – I understand that it is not the subs per se that are the problem, but the nuclear warheads and these can be removed and the disarmed subs could stay, but if the whole kit and caboodle is moved down south, then the question then is….would we allow subs with nuclear warheads to pass through our waters post-independence? I suppose the necessity to do so would depend on who was being attacked.  They could always take the long way round, I suppose.
      I’m still not sure who they are aiming for.  They’re really an American who would the Americans consider using them against?  If Scotland were to find itself under attack from another country, we wouldn’t have the power to use the nuclear subs anyway, given that they are controlled by the US.  So, if we can’t use Trident to defend ourselves in any case, why keep it and make ourselves a potential target?  And I don’t really understand why, if Trident is so important, the Americans removed their personnel from the so many places on the west coast of Scotland. 
      I’m actually beginning to wonder if Trident is more of an income generator for the American armaments industry than a weapon that might seriously be used, in which case, it might not matter so much to them where it is based, so long as European governments continue to fund it. If it’s use as a weapon of defence is more important, than access to both national and international waters might be of more concern than where it is based?
      OK, alltogether now….You stupid woman……..

    66. Bill says:

      Dave you sound like a unionist, unable to debate and then deride someone cause you dont agree. Mod plod wont be scottish and anyway a few fat coppers with dogs isnt the problem.
      Douglas, No dont be silly Berlin Airlift! Ofcours Faslane will stay with agreement from AS and cooperate with its supplies and 20yr withdrawal plan. Buts thats my point we arent in a position to do anything except agree to English terms over Faslane. Because we cant forcibly remove Trident, what dont you guys get about this. Scotland will have to bend over… 
       Youre spot on its about the warheads, the location and Nato requirements, the weapon delivery system is a shared nato asset and we need permision to fire! Please see if you can get through to Dave and Douglas that we arent in charge of Faslane/Coulport. 

    67. Bill says:

      Dave Where did I compare CND with the Scotish Govt, the Scottish Gov wont have the authority or power to do anything about Faslane without serious compromise. Just need AS to come clean.
      As always when an unpopular view is asserted here , theres always some people on hand to deride, mock and devalue, I served on HMS Vangaurd, did you, do you know what youre talking about. 
      This attitude will erode support for 2014  and doesnt help getting to the truth.

    68. douglas clark says:

      My point is merely that we – as an independent Scotland – could make it extremely difficult for the rUK to supply or maintain Faslane. You, on the other hand, appear to assume it has a similar, legal, status as Guantanamo Bay. To the best of my knowledge, it doesn’t.

      I would be somewhat disappointed if we didn’t get rid of the nuclear capability of the site and take it over as part of Scottish Defence Forces (West). All in a reasonable time scale. Say, a year. I see no reason why the boats and the weapons can’t return to the USA, from whence their strategic objectives originated. That would probably suit everyone just dandy.

      It would also kill the canard that it is, in any sense, not part of the USN.

    69. Cameron says:

      @ Rev. Stuart Campbell

      I posted to you on the Lockerbie thread, requesting clarification of your moderation criteria. 5 January, 2013 at 1:52 pm

      I can appreciate that you may not have spotted my request, though I am somewhat concerned that you my be ignoring me in the hope that I will simply go away. Are you really cool with Morag calling me a wanker?

      5th January, 1.50am

    70. Bill says:

      Oh Douglas mate! That is a pipe dream – sending the boats back to the USA. They were built in Barrow in Furness by Vickers. There isnt anywhere safe to send them within 20yrs let alone one year. The MoD have confirmed Devonport isnt suitable for a reason – so that they can put pressure on Scotland in a Global context that we somehow are causing a dangerous situation by expelling the vessels out of Scotish waters and to where exactly.
      Just to be clear, Im voting yes in 2014, Im against Trident, odd since I served on them but now wiser and older!
      My point us that there are matters beyond us wether you like it or not.
      Also, Im not suggesting Faslane has a Gauntamano like legality, Im asking what will you do when they slam the gates shut. If you like we can meet up at the south gate on independence day and see for ourselves.

    71. Bill says:

      Douglas, its a shared Nato asset, not USN asset. we need Nato approval to fire.
      Why are Scottish civvys not asking about cruise missiles that can be fired by S & T Class boats. Has the Scottish parliament been advised when a vessel is carrying such weapons with nuclear heads.

    72. Juteman says:

      It’s Saturday, Bill. Have a beer or two my friend.

    73. Bill says:

      So post indy Douglas, you would starve Faslane. without thought to Scottish servicemen in England on ships around the World. That under the potential transfer agreements would permit Scots to choose to remain in the rUK forces. You would starve servicemen and women in Faslane with their wifes watching from Churchill married quarters.  Please tell me your kidding and please assure me you dont work for any civil service dept, perish the thought of people like you could influence Scottish Gov.

    74. Bill says:

      Thanks Juteman but im at sea cant have  a beer. This is me chilled! just tired of civvy experts on Trident 🙂

    75. douglas clark says:

      I know where the boats were built. I also know what design they were built to.
      If the USA wants a nuclear deterrent then let’s add ours to theirs in a genuine spirit of international co-operation. You could keep the fig leaf of rUK crews if you have to, but there is absolutely no reason whatsoever that they wouldn’t fit into US naval facilities. It certainly doesn’t take 20years or so to sail them across the Atlantic.
      Given that we can’t even fire a missile from them without the say so of the USA it seem to me to be the most suitable solution.

    76. Jeannie says:

      It seems to me there would be little point to the submarines being based at Faslane if they didn’t have permission to sail through Scottish waters – because they couldn’t get out or into the base and what would the point be in an armed submarine that couldn’t go anywhere?  It would be a bit of a sitting duck, I would think.
      Maybe the trade-off, though, will be a point of negotiation between an independent Scotland and NATO with respect to Scotland’s NATO membership –  remove the warheads and we’ll let you sail through our national waters. Presumably sailing armed subs through a country’s national waters against its explicit wishes might cause something of an international incident? I suppose you’d have to withhold permission to enter our waters until the warheads were gone. Not that I’m at all happy with the thought of armed foreign vessels sailing through waters, mind you.

    77. douglas clark says:

      There is no such thing as ‘an expert’ on Trident at the level we are discussing it. It is a very efficient way of killing millions of people indiscriminately. that is all. Quite who requires that sort of detrerrent, and against whom, is never explained in a way that moves us on from a MAD philosophy.
      The scenario you outline is that we simply give up on our aspiration to be nuclear free. If rUK just sits on its hands and does nothing forever, which appears to be it’s current stance, then you’ll be a happy chappy?
      I expect otherwise and I have given you, slightly lightheartedly but quite seriously, an option that you won’t even consider because it doesn’t fit your world view. There is absolutely no reason whatsoever that these boats and their missiles couldn’t be relocated to the US.

    78. dadsarmy says:

      Bill, your argument is good and has grounding, but a look from the rUK point of view puts a big dent in it.

      From the rUK point of view, Scotland will have its own army, navy and air force, and its own couple of attack submarines – and special forces. We can be presumed to have a democratically elected and relatively friendly government – for a limited time, say 10 years. After that any sort of scenario is theoretically possible. Russia, for instance, made advances to Scotland last January, and so has China.

      We could have a military coup in 2026 and a junta in charge who could eye nuclear assets – even as the basis of a dirty bomb – with interest. We could have a Scottish Government formed by the CND, or an extreme right reincarnation of the Scottish Conservative and Unionist party – or a far far left party of power.

      I’m not saying any of this is likely, but the rUK would be foolish to leave a nuclear asset on foreign and potentially hostile soil, subject to attack, blockading, and even infiltration for any longer than logistically neccessary.

      Faslane and Coulport will be emptied in about 10 years. Less if the rUK government decide not to renew Trident – a decision they’re leaving until 2015, despite the advance design spending of £350 million. And the UK Government plan B is probably complete, probably months or even years ago. If not, then the responsible people should be sacked.

      This is all posturing – just like Danny Alexander’s peculiar £1 “subsidy” per head. Disinformation and misinformation – kind of like the whole Normandy landings thing. Britain has always been good at that.

    79. douglas clark says:

      From your link:

      49.  Professor Malcolm Chalmers told us he did not think using the US was an option because it would raise questions about how independent the UK’s deterrent was:
      The option of having the Coulport facility in the United States was looked at when Trident was first purchased. I think part of the reason it was rejected was that it was seen as just a step too far to being perceived as not having an independent deterrent if both your missile servicing and warheads were based in the United States. It would have saved money. There was also an issue at that time, which was not fully explored, as to whether the United States would be prepared to have a foreign nuclear weapons base on its territory or whether it would ask, “If you are not even prepared to have your nuclear servicing done in your own country, how serious are you about having an independent deterrent?”
      What? Recognising that the King has no clothes?

    80. Bill says:

      My link above dicusses the unlikelyhood of keeping nukes in another country. They wont goto Usa or France. Youre correct in that they may not be replaced which is best for all. But the time frame for moving them is huge as is costs.  They will be on the gareloch way beyond indy.
      we are poweless!

    81. Bill says:

      Douglas I dont have an issue with “fig leaf” crews or kings clothes, what all that means I dont know. The rUK will never send boats to USA, are you MAD. What about the crews and family, move them to San Diego. My 3 month patrols dived with no comms was hard enough. Thats a crass idea rejected by parliament already.
      Stuggling to understand your argument. You say the boats can and should be moved to USA yet my link provides evidence that its impausible then you deride me for not undertanding!
      Is it  that sailors not being brave heroes are not thought of in the same way, if it were brave squaddies we were dicussing you wouldnt be suggesting banishing them and families to some remote corner of the great USA

    82. douglas clark says:

      No one has asked the USA, according to your own link!

    83. Jeannie says:

      Of course, if Scotland does not in fact join NATO, will NATO be happy to leave one of its biggest assets in a country which is not a NATO member? So many questions.

    84. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “Is it that sailors not being brave heroes are not thought of in the same way, if it were brave squaddies we were dicussing you wouldnt be suggesting banishing them and families to some remote corner of the great USA”

      In fairness, Bill, I’m pretty sure we already DO post our squaddies halfway across the world. Afghanistan springs to mind. Not with their families, admittedly, but then why couldn’t Trident crews do “tours” in the same way soldiers do?

      (None of this should be taken to endorse the arguments of either side in the discussion you guys are having, btw.)

    85. Jeannie says:

      Actually, this is a most confusing discussion.  If Trident is a NATO asset then presumably an independent Scotland will have to negotiate with NATO as to what happens to it.  If Trident is a UK asset, we will have to have the discussion with Westminster.  If Trident is an American asset, we will have to have the discussion with the Americans.  My understanding is, that at the moment, its actual use would be a joint UK-American decision, irrespective of the fact that the subs are based in Scotland.
      With independence, we would be hosting a weapon which would be 100% present in Scotland, over which we have a 10% or so ownership but no control whatsoever over its deployment though 100% control of its movement through our waters.  Crazy or what?
      Within the context of an independent Scotland remaining in or joining NATO, whichever the case may be, some kind of compromise can no doubt be reached.  But if the context is one in which an independent Scotland is not a NATO member, it’s hard to work out how the situation might be resolved quickly.

    86. Bill says:

      Thamks Rev very amusing. Its a good point I had never considered the idea.The sailors would qualify for foreign earnings deduction scheme for seamen and never pay tax!
      Beside it stll leaves the problem that the USA would never have another countries nukes on its territory.
      I was referring to Douglas` idea to base Trident in the USA as unworkable even if we asked them!
      The Trident system consists of 4 boats, one in refit, one on maintenance, one ready to relieve and one on patrol.
      The ships crews dont just drive the boat they maintain it and see it through its lifetime, the crews are with it 24/7 in dry dock. To base Trident in USA would mean those crews would remain in the USA for ever, is it pheasable? what about wife kids family, they all wont want to leave UK! Its a really crass idea, makes me cringe thinking about it.
      Yes weve posted brave hereos abroad for years, not least Germany with there families. The Navy isnt like the Army, the army are posted together as one unit. The Navy draft poeple around individually. We were on patrols for months in end during cold war and got no recognition, just spat at and assualted in Helensburgh by locals, we werent brave hereos.

    87. Bill says:

      The delivery system, The boats, is a shared nato asset. the nukes are ours. We cant act without nato approval. They are a pointless and meaningless bit of kit. But were stuck with them and powers greater than wee eck mean we have huge problem that will blow up in our faces in 2014 just as we goto the polls.

    88. douglas clark says:

      I did not deride you! I pointed to a piece of the jigsaw in the link you provided. According to the evidence led by Professor Malcolm Chalmers no-one asked the US their opinion.
      My use of MAD was as an acronym for Mutually Assured Destruction. It was capitalised because that’s just the way it is. I believe a typical Trident mission is approx 3 months. If they retain rUK crew, then simply count the travel from San Diego to the UK as part of their working time. Problem solved! The families can stay wherever they want to too.
      Out of curiosity, on what basis did Parliament reject the idea? As it appears to be the case that no-one at a political level in Westminster is (allegedly) contemplating a rUK, then obviously Faslane is a-OK as a base for Trident. If that is their assumption – a NO in the referendum – then they don’t have anything to worry their pretty little heads about, do they? 

      I am currently reading about Arctic convoys and the RN  ships that defended them. Believe me, I bow to no-one in my admiration for their bravery. They were equally brave during the Falklands and elsewhere. I have no doubt they are just as brave today. As were the sailors on the Merchant Navy ships.

      What I have found interesting through my reading is that the USN provided all the convoy support nearly as far as Iceland, even before they entered WW2. The Washington / London axis was pretty strong back then. I have little or no reason to believe it is any weaker now.

    89. Bill says:

      Rev, Diary of a Submariner on a Tridnt Tour of Duty 2016
      Joined HMS Vangaurd in San Diego. (remember our weapons trials here with fondness)
      Sailed for 3 month patrol.
      On return spent 3 months assisting maintenance with HMS Victorious.
      Went back on patrol for three months.
      On return Vangaurd goes into dry dock for survey and some maintenance.
      6 months late vessel ready to resume patrol.
      3 months later back in Scotland on leave with wife in Helensburgh
      Spend a few weeks on training courses and then back out to Boat for 3 month patrol.

    90. dadsarmy says:

      Bill, is it possible to split refit / maintenance from loading / unloading?

      My thought being that Faslane remains as the base for the time being, but unloaded. After refit / maintenance the subs go over to the US and load, or before go there and unload. The US stores the missiles so no problem there.

      Is that possible?

    91. Bill says:

      Douglas I know what MAD is! I know a patrol is 3 months cause I served on them.

    92. Bill says:

      Douglas are you MAD! count travel as working time and families can go where they want.
      The patrol time is 3 months min, sometimes went over most famously over 4 months, crew came back skinny and malnourished as they ran out of food! Its a war canoe, a nuke deterent not a P&O cruise. And cmon thats not even clever, families can go wherever they want. So a naval wife with a job/career or kids and family ties should what move to USA! Can I suggest that you goto married quarters in Helensburgh and canvass the doors wuth that idea, please utube the slaps and handbags accross your face.

    93. Bill says:

      Rv, its a nato requirement that the warheads are no more than an hr apart. System wouldnt work. Also youve just added 3 weeks to crew time. The whole lot Im sure could be set up in Pontypandy, but will take a long time. The best weve got is that they arent renewed then problem solved for Scots and rUK.

    94. velofello says:

      @ Jeannie;
      You’re spoiling their argument here with your commonsense!
      Campaign at the closed gates? No, blockade the movement of the submarines.
      How about this scenario:
      The Yes campaign wins the referendum. The SNP then encounter the realities of negotiating with Perfidious Albion over the removal of Trident. And NATO will have their say, so too the Americans, and the SNP suffer consequent credibility. Time passes, the 2016 Holyrood elections  return a coalition of the “unionist” parties and sadly then Trident removal is then off the agenda.
      Following a Yes campaign victory in 2014 perhaps we need a referendum before 2016 on Trident removal. Any rental deal on the Trident/Faslane/Coilport facilities simply will ensure Trident’s ongoing stay in Scotland. And are any of you comfortable with these submarines and nuclear weapons plying back and forth in Scottish waters and not under the command of the Scottish armed forces? what kind of independence is that? Colonial?


    95. Bill says:

      Rev, the whole system works as it relies upon each part.

      step one, remove missiles
      step two remove warheads
      step three go into dry dock
      …. complete hull survey and repair that damaged main vent…
      … refloat and reload..
      … get ready for sea cause youre already late relieving HMS Vanguard who are starving!

    96. Juteman says:

      @ Bill.
       Did you forget to add ‘fat’ to your ‘wee eck’?

    97. Juteman says:

      This seems to have turned into a bitter together thread.

    98. Bill says:

      Douglas, I didnt feel very brave on HMS Courageous when we used to get caught by Russians in their waters when we used to do sneaky periscope photography of installations, coastlines and propellors of dived russian boats at 800ft doing 22 knts. I felt very afraid!

    99. douglas clark says:

      Not at all! It was to avoid the relocation to San Diego that I made my suggestion. But it would free them up from living in Helensburgh. Not that Helensburgh isn’t a nice place, it is.
      There are ways of organising work that would make far more sense than that outlined in your diary. I would have thought that, at least in peacetime, that it is not beyond the wit of man to ensure that after a tour of duty, you got an equivalent amount of time off. I also gather these boats are prone to fires, so, no, I doubt it is much like a P&O cruise.

    100. Bill says:

      vellofello, you really think Nato would allow Scotland to blockade Trident! Good night all its very tiring in cloud-cuckoo land. 

    101. douglas clark says:


      Fear is a natural reaction. Bravery is overcoming it. You would appear to have the latter in Spades.

      Doesn’t make your arguement, err, watertight though.


    102. mogabee says:

      Just a little aside. When the SNP proposed joining NATO at their conference, the proviso was that they would only join if NATO agreed with their anti-nuclear stance. Otherwise it is a no-no. Does that change this discussion at all?

    103. Bill says:

      Sorry we hated Helensburgh. They hated navy! we used to get attacked, spat at and driven out of homes in the community. Ourselves included. Stabbings too!
      I agree that with some planning and wit a systen might work but we arent in peacetime. In the World of nuke deterent and spying these boat crews have done more time away than your average “hero”,  There is time off it wasnt all bad but youre not off for 3 months it doesnt work that way. On your 3 off yes leave is taken and course etc but your in the base doing support stuff for the on crew.
      Find a Navy forum and ask around , the system cant work any other way. And cant relocate to USA and stuff the family. Squaddies get treated bette than that.
      Scotland will remain in Nato we will have Trident a least till they expire and then were free of nukes.

    104. Bill says:

      Thank you Douglas. Watertight! Im still learning and considering my views over time and at least wboth be voting Yes and in doing so means Scotland can make decisions for herself.

    105. Jeannie says:

      Night Bill.  Thanks for the info.  You mentioned a few things I wasn’t aware of.  Wasn’t thinking about blockades, mind you.  Just suggesting that maritime and international law with respect to a nation’s territorial rights (if territorial is the right term in this context) should surely be a significant consideration.  But I haven’t heart much discussion of this aspect.  Away to watch Borgen now……Danish politics for a change:)

    106. Bill says:

      Mogabee, interesting point but its semantic. The SNP can declare an anti nuke nato membership all they want but keep Trident till it expires in around 13 yrs. An agreement to rehome Trident with rUK will be negated by the fact Trident will have been scrapped before they build a new home.

    107. Dave McEwan Hill says:

      Why are we having this discussion?
      An independent Scotland will have exactly the same choice as any other independent country to decide whether it has nuclear  weapons in its territory.
      That is all.
      They can be entirely removed in months.
      In an independent Scotland the MOD will be a Scottish MOD under the  control of a Scottish Government
      Nuclear weapons or a nuclear base  could not be forced on us except by military assault.
      Is this what Union Bill is suggesting? Scotland invaded by US or England like what happened to Iraq and a nuclear base enforced on us on our territory against our will?

      That some people in Scotland would like them to remain here is a different issue.

      That some future Scottish Government may madly want them back is also a different issue

      That the MOD has decided that this Faslane facility is “too dangerous” to be sited close to Plymouth is the story.

      Please stop feeding this nonsense 

    108. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “Is this what Union Bill is suggesting?”

      Can we keep this civil, chaps? I haven’t seen Bill be rude to anyone, he’s just expressing a view.

    109. Dave McEwan Hill says:

      Sorry, Stu. He just accused me of being a unionist. Did you miss it? Can’t get any ruder than that.

    110. Derick says:

      if ‘Bill’ is voting Yes, my name is Alistair Darling

    111. KOF says:

      Y’know, after reading this thread, I’ve come to the conclusion that Bill is pretty much spot on with his thoughts regarding the subs and nukes. They are a vital part of the great global industrial military complex and as such must be thought of in those terms. We are currently an ignored fish in a small pond, on independence we will be a very small fish in a very big pond. If we push too hard on the “overnight” theme, then we risk being NOT ignored by some very big bad fish indeed. 
      Rome wasn’t built in a day and you can’t disentangle a multi billion dollar defence system from Scotland with all it’s subsequent international political components overnight either. However you can do it in 10 to 20 years. 
      A nuke free Scotland will happen, it just won’t be very Disney, that’s all. 🙂

    112. Dave McEwan Hill says:


      Why can’t you?
      Are you another invasion theorist?

    113. dadsarmy says:

      Yes, I figured about 3 weeks. What about another crew taking over to the US for reloading, and the normal crew flying out when ready and reprovisioned? A bit messy – but needs must? There’s also France I guess on the same deal – there is co-operation between the two, and I daresay the French wouldn’t mind being owed a favour. The range if I remember is 17,000 miles so I guess whatever it’s called, patrol areas could be changed to cut travelling time short.

      Oh – the 1 mile thing. Well, you have to ask yourself who exactly are the nuclear full members of NATO, who set the rules.

    114. douglas clark says:

      Bill has a point of view which appears tied up in his ideas of realpolitik. I am not sure I agree with him but it is perhaps just as well we discuss this sort of topic now and not in 2014.
      There are all sorts of levers the US and rUK could attempt to pull if they were minded to. None of which involve military action. We ought, at the very least, to recognise these possibilities. My own personal preference would be to take all four of the submarines to the middle of the Atlantic and scuttle them. Given that that is a completely unrealistic option, I wonder what is a realistic option.
      It is not really productive to call people who have already said they are going to vote YES unionists. We are, after all, still behind in the polls. If we can, realistically, discuss things like this here without name calling and ad hominems, we’ll all learn something and be better prepared for the storm that is, almost inevitably, going to hit us before the referendum.
      Of all the topics we talk about here, this is the one with the greatest geo-political impact by far.
      Just saying.

    115. douglas clark says:

      Borgen was good btw.


      Night night.

    116. dadsarmy says:

      Just as another thought, where there’s a will there’s a way.

      A for instance of this is where a certain country would like nuclear power stations but this is being opposed by another country because of the potential of creating nuclear weapons. Well, the characteristics of a nuclear reactor are pretty well known, and it can be estimated pretty closely, exactly how much plutonium they can produce. So, under the control of an inspectorate, every so often the plutonium is handed over and removed from the country.

      Fuel rods for refuelling are kept in a secure facility, with the rods in a deadman’s switch setup so they get poisoned by inaction – if I remember (probably not), it’s boron, so the things are suspended above a boiling vat of boron, hubble bubble, no more trouble. Just in case the country of the first part wasn’t really genuine and closes its borders, so as to hog all that lovely plutonium. This all with the trust and perfectly agreeable agreement of the two countries concerned and their main friends and impartial observers. And the world lives happily ever after.

      Unfortunately genuine is often not a word in the vocabularly and there is no window for the trust to go out of. Hmm, getting late!

    117. Morag says:

      Read the thread with interest.  I have this to relate.

      I was wearing my WoS sweatshirt when I went to a social event in the village a week ago.  Someone read the slogan – ALL OUR BASE WILL BELONG TO US

      Then remarked, “shouldn’t there be full stops after the last two letters?”

      Crushed again!

    118. Cameron says:

      @ Rev. Stuart Campbell

      I take from your lack of response to me that you are ignoring me in the hope that I will go away, and that defamation of character is acceptable on this blog.

      I shall proceed with this understanding?

    119. Bill says:

      Dadsarmy, Your make a very good point, Im sure some arrangements couod be made, starts to get expensive factoring in more crews and personnel. As Ive said when crew are “off” they are infact not off. They work at the base, sure its a time to take leave and do courses, sport etc inc Field Gun, I miss that! So I just cant figure out how that would work, I guess the maintenance etc can be done by USA then we just turn up with a crew. Thatd work. But thats considered as a bit lame in the eyes of the USA, the notion being were big enough to handle Trident but not capable politically of housing the system in the UK, or England in the future. Then the USA have to consider that a foriegn power is on USA soil with nukes, just like Holy Loch, but yanks wouldnt reciprocate that to England, not now with Obama and a cooling of the special fake relationship.
      Granted all this is rUK problem post indy, as I said I want Scotland to make decisions for Scotland as a soverign indy country. I will be voting YES, Indeed Im a complete pest at work, pubs, etc when I speak to Scots, even at the airport every 2 weeks. Im planning to self fund leaflets and post them myself. I will be at the polling station in Kirkcaldy armed with literature for the undecided. Im not going to stop.

      Im also not going to censor myself for your comfort. If we cant debate big stuff without falling out how will you get the message accross. The unionists will be laughing at us as we squable whilst the undecided vote no.
      Douglas is correct, Im not expecting anyone to agree but if we dont have answers for 2014 we will encounter a problem. The Scottish Gov arent listening. The article clearly reminds us of the MOD stance, that there isnt a safe alternative for Faslane. That doesnt mean Faslane will close thats not what the MOD said.
      Scotland will be held up in the global stage and embarrassed by the suggestion that we would some how create a dangerous incident with Trident or its vessels.

      Its likely they will stay, “negoitiated by both govt” until they expire in 10+ years or new facilities found for them.

      Ive never said there will be a battle with highlanders and marines, or we will be forced at gun point Im saying the MOD have ways you wouldnt believe.

      A very small example, the SD Victoria a Serco vessel paid for by MOD as a SBS training ship in Devenport is chartered to the Navy. Its a civillian ship. The schedule at one point allowed the owner to charter the vessel for a civillian dive job, against “advice” from the Marines. Its considered thier ship! On the morning before sailing 6 Marines of the cockle shell hero stock boarded and installed themselves in the messroom. They drank tea and ate all day, nobody asked them to leave, nobody could. What are you going to do, no really what can you do?

      Trident wont go overnight. AS or “wee eck” will put a postive spin on it, we collect rent for Faslane/Coulport until such times as iether Trident expires or leaves for its new home. It took over 20yrs to prepare Coulport for Trident!

    120. Bill says:

      Dave – “Absolute unionist rubbish”

      Dave youve called me Unionist several times, dont worry mate Im not offended, Ive been called worse, and anyway nothing happens when one gets offended, its just words. I used the same term below when comparing your tactics, “like” a unionist they deride and devalue and insult then shout and cry foul!

      “Dave you sound like a unionist, unable to debate and then deride someone cause you dont agree.”

      I know we all wont agree on every topic here but be armed with knowledge so you have the answers, who knows when you debate it in the real World you will be able to say I heard from an ex submariner who thinks such and such about Trident. Trying to convince a work mate or friend to vote yes in order to get rid of Trident by telling them dont worry mate we’ll just chuck em out of Faslane overnight or telling them theyre gonna crew change in San Diego in the future. (Still keep having an involuntary chortle at that). That strategy wont work, the electorate like you are smart and have google! Telling them a range if views based on research and logic will get them on our side, such as;

      Trident may unfortunately remain till they expire and arent replaced by rUK.
      We collect rent / forms part of settlement.
      No they wont open the gate when ScotGov officials turn up demanding an inspection/meeting or demand triggers and keys are removed.

      just saying.

      Still gonna vote Yes in 2014 knowing its real and things will take time.

      Thank you all for your support and debate.

      Please research and be ready with answers to convince people but most of all press your MSP for an answer.

      Oh and all the best for 2013

      Former Naval Person
      War Pensioner
      Merchant Navy Engineer Officer

    121. Bill says:

      Dave McEwan Hill says:
      4 January, 2013 at 9:58 am

      ” Im sorry, Morag but your attitude to those who do not entirely agree with you leaves a lot to be desired and is counter productive.”
      Dave we have a saying for this, pot kettle black!

    122. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “@ Rev. Stuart Campbell
      I take from your lack of response to me that you are ignoring me in the hope that I will go away, and that defamation of character is acceptable on this blog.
      I shall proceed with this understanding?”

      I have absolutely no idea to what you’re referring. In the last three days there have been 609 comments posted on this site, many of them extremely long and detailed. I haven’t read every word of every one, by a long chalk. I have seen no such complaint directed by you to me, nor have I noticed anything I’d characterise as “defamation of character”. Please be more specific.

    123. Cameron says:

      @ Rev. Stuart Campbell

      Sorry Rev., I’m not trying to make a big issue of this.

      I have provided you with references to the timeline, but I can imagine the amount of posts you have to moderate must be overwhelming at times. So to clarify again, the offensive post was made by Morag on the Lockerbie thread, 5th January, 1.50am.

    124. Cameron says:

      @ Rev. Stuart Campbell

      P.S. It is reassuring to me that you have not singled my posts out for special attention.

    125. Morag says:

      RevStu, I had no idea what the hell Cameron was on about either, until eventually the penny dropped.

      See here.

    126. Cameron says:

      @ Morag,

      Your post at 1.50am was indeed ambiguous, and if your intent was indeed as innocent as you now protest, I unambiguously apologise for accusing you posting a not to subtle innuendo impugning my character. However, I am not entirely convinced, given the prejudiced, arrogant and insulting nature of a lot of your comments.

    127. Cameron says:

      @ Morag

      with regard to the Silverstein quote you are referring to, I do not actually consider it to be evidence, as it can be interpreted in any number of ways. Yet another wrong assumption on your part.

    128. Morag says:

      I made no assumption as to whether you subscribed to that talking point or not.  I merely listed it as one of the things you could go talk about somewhere else, where there were people who wanted to talk about it.

      I see you do recognise the quote after all.

      As I said, I don’t require your approval, any more than you require mine.  If you pile into a thread on one topic trying to divert it into a heap of discredited paranoid fantasy surrounding a different topic, then I’m not inclined to be sweetness and light.

    129. Cameron says:

      @ More

      It appears that you are still refusing to accept that if there any collusion in the collection, analysis, interpretation or prosecution of the evidence, there was a conspiracy to cover-up the truth of the event. Be that for Lockerbay or elsewhere.

      It is truly mind boggling that somebody who claims scientific credentials, applies Hanlon’s Razor in such circumstances. Especially when they obviously have doubts about elements of the judicial process as carried out (possible evidence of a cognitive dissonance). Scientific examination is rendered useless if the hypothisis which is being tested, if it is constrained by assumption which do not relate to the real world. I think I shall find a dark corner to cry in.

      Then again, you dismissed the links I provided, out of hand, despite one of them being a review of a book written by the 9/11 Commission’s own Senior Counsel, Dean of Rutger Universities’ School of Law and former Attorney General of New Jersey, John Farmer.

    130. Cameron says:

      Correction; if there any collusion “to pervert” the collection, analysis, interpretation or prosecution of the evidence, there was a conspiracy to cover-up the truth of the event.

    131. Morag says:

      As regards Lockerbie, I think that is self-evident.

      As regards batshit crazy tinfoil hat conspiracy theories relating to a different atrocity, I’m through.  Been there, done that, spat the chewed remains on the carpet.  Not going there on this blog, that’s for sure.

    132. douglas clark says:

      This thread isn’t even about Lockerbie. As far as I know there isn’t a thread about 9/11 on this site at all, or if there is, it must be very old.
      Could we keep vaguely on topic? I enjoy off topic comments as much as the next man, but this is just becoming a fillibuster.

    133. Cameron says:

      You can lead a horse to water……

    134. Holebender says:

      Bill, you seem to think it would be acceptable behaviour for the rUK to simply barricade themselves inside Faslane (or Coulport) but not acceptable for the sovereign Scottish government to blockade those same bases. Why is that? Why do you think the rUK would get away with squatting on the territory of another independent country but that that country would be pilloried for resisting such aggression by simply refusing to allow any movement of personnel or materiel into the occupied territory? What will the MOD do when the tea and biscuits run out?

    135. Cameron says:

      @ douglas clark

      I appreciate and apologise for your confusion, and do not intend to post any further about the mater on this thread. However, I do not think the issues are as unrelated as you suggest.

    136. Dave McEwan Hill says:


      Nicely put

    137. douglas clark says:


    138. dadsarmy says:

      I think that as soon as we voted YES to devolution, the UK should have taken slow steps to remove Trident. It’s had 15 years to make plans, make adjustments, and maybe start the process. In this respect the UK has been negligent and foolish.

      But if I was Admiral Nukem, in charge of the UK nukes, I’d want them in my control as soon as possible, as Scotland could be considered a foreign and potentially hostile country. I’d be talking to my oppos in the RAF and the Army, considering contingency plans to take over Glasgow Airport and the roads to the border, and setting my plans in motion to obtain sea superiority in the approaches to the Clyde – and the Clyde itself. I’d consider that my duty.

      This would involve keeping forces available at all times, while Trident continued to be based in Faslane – a base in a foregn country. Very expensive, and UK Gov has cut my budget to the bone. I’d be telling Hammond “We need those nukes out ASAP, and I need an extra squillion pound budget to guarantee their safety, while in hostlie waters.”. I’d also be suggesting he talk to the US and France ASAP as they are fellow nuclear powers within NATO.

      Ultimately they won’t be out with triggers removed in 2 months, nor will the be here for a lesiurely 20 years. It’ll be something in between, and as Admiral Nukem I’d want that to be somewhere, realistically, around 5 years. Or I can’t guarantee the security of the rUK’s nuclear deterrent.

    139. Bill says:

      Finally back to topc!

      Holebender, Ive never said I would accept rUK holding up in Faslane, Im pointing out a possible senario, based on my experience in the Forces and logic of MOD. I would assume post yes vote and indy takes two years to reach a settlement including what to do with Faslane/ Coulport. AS hasnt a leg to stand on with this issue, he will have to accept Trident stays until it expires. Only then are the bases ours, or fully ours, maybe we share them until Trident goes. Most of you folks are of the opinion that failing to negotiate Trident out by say 2016, we are going to demand they a. Leave and or b. hand over the triggers and keys! Theyre just not going to do that.
      There isnt anywhere safe to put them until they expire, so when ScotGov is complaining in the EU parliament about a breach of intnl treaty if were a member,the rUK Gov will point to Scotland and assert that our demands to remove Trident puts at risk the Vessels/Weapons securit and integrity at risk. We will look very petty and small in the eyes of the World.
      I ofcourse may be wrong, it is just a viewpoint, but no one else here has set out a likely senario that doesnt involve cloud cucko land ideas like sinking them ofshore, send them and families to USA, remove keys and triggers in a week.
      Are you guys serious?

    140. Bill says:

      And Dave who rattled your cage, are going to debate nicely without calling me a unionist. So cmon Dave, whats another senario for Trident that doesnt include singing kumba ya my lord outside the south gate.

    141. Bill says:

      Thats it in nutshell, somewhere inbetween the fanciful idea of removing triggers/keys and before 20yrs, thats why I imply by reason that they will stay till they expire and arent replaced. Expect AS to let us know nearer the time that hes negotiated the best deal, we collect rent and when they go thats it, say 10-12 yrs.
      There isnt anywhere to put them without compromising safety and crossing Nato et al
      They cant be moved in 5 years unless they were transfed to another country but thats never going to happen.

    142. Dave McEwan Hill says:


      Which is all a problem for the rUK

      Nobody suggested they would be moved next Saturday or whatever but you asserted that an independent Scotland wouldn’t control the matter and that UK could keep the base whether we liked it or not.

      That’s all. I won’t be commenting further on this.

    143. Bill says:

      Again right about then time rUK have had since devolution to at least plan. They havent indeed they just keep coming at us with more, like maritime boundary changes and what did Scotland do, roll over and take it.
      Theres as yet a hidden agenda or simply rUK wont replace Trident. The decision to replace Trident is in 2015 so it will interesting to see. If we vote NO its obvious we keep Trident and its replacement. A yes vote which I firmly believe is the only outcome, will force the rUK to drop any replacement plans as there isnt a facility capable of supporting Trident in the rUK. It ‘d take 20 -30 yrs, huge sums, political continuity and willpower to build a new Faslane/Coulport. This only leaves one senario, they remain in Scotland till they expire, or by that logic they are scrapped the rUK Gov in 2016 ish, nuclear disarmament by a Tory, aye right.

    144. Bill says:

      Thanks Dave for the debate, goodbye.
      Your wrong, some here quote the CND idea that they can be disarmed in a week, thats next saturday. I didnt say Scotland wouldnt have any say or power Ive Ive asserted Scotland doesnt have much room to negoitiate on this, AS knows it! We will have little choices. I didnt say rUK can do what it likes I said its a tall order to expect them to allow ScotGov in to disarm Trident, theyve got special forces units designed to protect the base. I was asserting and indeed asking us all to consider what are you going to do? Nothing.
      Trident will remain until they expire in about 12 yrs.

    145. Juteman says:

      Have i stumbled into the Twilight Zone?

    146. Bill says:


      why wouldnt trident be safe in Scotland, post indy we will still be a defence partner with the rUK, in Nato, in EU in Sterling Zone, still Liz as head of state, a sort of Indy Lite! We have hundreds of military assets in Scotland that are Nato and of interest to rUK, not least of all the civvy companys like QinetiQ, remember them? Depleted uranium shell testing in highlands, nobody complained before. This is why torys et al have given up defending the union cause there will still be a union post indy! Not a political one but a union nonetheless.
      Ein Volk, Ein Reich, Ein Cameron.

    147. Bill says:

      I was thinking the same thing when people here suggested sinking Trident in the North Atlantic or sending Trident to USA with wifes, (my old navy mates are pissing themselves with laughter). My favourite one is the idea that ScotGov post indy is going to forcibly disarm Trident or blockade and starve them out!
      Oh Jesus have mercy I cant take it anymore.
      Does anyone inc you Juteman have a clue about Trident, cmon lets here your scenario for Trident removal, and if I hear Kumba Ya My Lord and a guitar Im jumping overboard.

    148. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      I think Bill’s view is at the extreme end of the reality, but it’s founded in sound reason. A military conflict at Faslane is unthinkable, but so is the UK continuing to base the subs there against Scotland’s will – the practicalities of that are horrendous, not so much with the boat crews and suchlike but with the civilian staff, supplies etc. The Scottish authorities could blockade the base to prevent them getting in and out easily enough. It’s hard to see how the rUK could run the base for years with sailors alone.

      The UK wants to keep hold of Trident more desperately than there are words to describe, but it would not want an international standoff with nuclear weapons. There will be negotiation, it will be an immensely strong bargaining chip, and Salmond will agree to lease the base for a few years, during which time the rUK will build a new base – quite possibly in Wales – as fast as it humanly can. I lack the expertise to predict how quickly that would be, but a lot would hinge on it being before the next Holyrood election in 2020.

      That gives the rUK almost six years from the referendum. That’s a long time, especially for a No.1 priority job. I would hazard it could – would have to – be done or all but done by then.

    149. Juteman says:

      We vote Yes in 2014. Negotiations should take a couple of years, and Tridents removal will be part of those negotiations. I expect Trident to be removed in that time.
       We could send in a few regiments of the Mars Stormtroopers if we run into any problems. I believe David Icke is their CO.

    150. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “Negotiations should take a couple of years, and Tridents removal will be part of those negotiations. I expect Trident to be removed in that time.”

      To be honest, I think you’re the one in the Twilight Zone if you see that happening. CND’s timetable is for the decommissioning of the weapons, not their relocation. They have nowhere to go.

    151. Bill says:

      Well said Rev. The only snag is time frame isnt humanly possible.

      The Trident Works Programme at Coulport and Faslane, co-ordinated by the Property Services Agency, took 13 years to complete. Planning work at Coulport began in 1982, and the estimated final cost for the entire programme, at 1994 prices, was approximately £1.9 billion. This made it the second most expensive procurement project in the UK after the Channel Tunnel project.

    152. Juteman says:

      That wouldn’t be our problem Stu. The rUK can do with them whatever they like.

    153. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “The only snag is time frame isnt humanly possible. The Trident Works Programme at Coulport and Faslane, co-ordinated by the Property Services Agency, took 13 years to complete.”

      That was a very long time ago. My bet is they could do it a lot faster now, especially with a ticking clock. It’ll cost plenty, but surely if we’ve learned anything it’s that to the UK Government, be it Tory or Labour, that UN Security Council seat is literally priceless. Westminster would sell us all for meat to pay for it, without a second thought.

    154. Bill says:

      Juteman at no time have I said I believe marines etc will be stomping on our guts, in the event of a stalemate I postulated that Scotland would be limited in its powers regarding Tridents future. many people here and CND Greenpeace sites think Scotland can disarm Trident or force it to move the day after indy, Im asserting thats nonsense, we wont have authority or ability is what Im saying. Its going to be politically embarrasing for Scotland if we dont have a clear policy that the public agree with and understnad the technical reasons for.
      We need to convince folks its a bitter legacy pill to swallow but in time Trident will go, in the mean time we share the base and continue to play nicely. Remember those sailors are Scottish sons, brothers, husbands and fathers in that base not scum as we were called by Greepeace.

    155. Cameron says:

      @ Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “I think Bill’s view is at the extreme end of the reality”

      Not meaning to be deliberately argumaentative, but;

      “Scottish authorities could blockade the base to prevent them getting in and out easily enough”

      What?! Do you mean declare war?

    156. Bill says:

      Thats agreeable, we will need loads of cement! good job im on a Tarmac dredger then, just think my work willset us free!

    157. Bill says:

      A blockade would stop vital or critical people and parts in which would ultimately lead to unsafe acts or situations with reactors or weapons. Blockade is never going to happen.

    158. Juteman says:

      The UK government have had over 2 years notice for the referendum. Another couple of years after. If four years isn’t enough, then the rUK have been negligent.
      An independent country does have the authority to decide what weapons can be on its land.

    159. Bill says:

      64. Alternatively, a separate Scotland could, in cooperation with the UK, allow Trident to remain on the Clyde long enough for the UK to identify and develop a new base elsewhere. This would mean armed nuclear submarines operating out of Scotland for 20 years or longer. Developing a new base, particularly replicating the facilities at Coulport, could only be done at great expense, and the UK Government has made it clear that any such costs would be included in the separation negotiations. This would be alongside other items such as retaining the Bank of England as a lender of last resort and financial regulator for Scotland, or access to intelligence and the work of GCHQ.

    160. Cameron says:

      @ Juteman

      “An independent country does have the authority to decide what weapons can be on its land.”

      Absolutely, but I don’t think it is that cut and dried when you do not own or control the weapons. I am not saying that they “should” be here, only that they “are” here.

      When the decision is finally made as to what “will” be done about them, I do not think we have the loudest voice in the room.

    161. Bill says:

      Yes I agree. but what im trying to get folks to see that Trident cannot be safely put anywhere else, rUK wont allow you to disarm and itll take decades to build from scratch a new facility. Its likely they stay until expiry date. So I ask again, what are you going to do?

    162. Bill says:

      Thankyou Cameron.

    163. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “A blockade would stop vital or critical people and parts in which would ultimately lead to unsafe acts or situations with reactors or weapons. Blockade is never going to happen.”

      I agree. Which is why a deal will be negotiated.

    164. Bill says:

      Rev, A deal where Scotlands voice isnt the loudest in the room. They wont ignore us and we will have leverage but were stuck with a legacy cause we all didnt stand together in the past, now its different, we will stand up and be counted in 2014 and change Scotland. Its just some change will take longer than expected.

    165. Bill says:

      Its a dellusion to persuade people to our cause by telling them vote yes and will disarm Trident next Saturday.
      Goodnight all and much love, peace, even you Juteman! Weve just left port for another cargo of 30000 t of sand for Tarmac, gonna need it for new dry dock, ship lift and berths for Trident!

    166. Cameron says:

      @ Bill

      The path to the water can be long and winding, and Dobbin isn’t always cooperative.

    167. Bill says:

      Cameron says:
      6 January, 2013 at 8:32 pm

      @ Bill

      The path to the water can be long and winding, and Dobbin isn’t always cooperative
      I was just thinking the same the same thing, excepf yours is more polite. See you at Faslane in 2016 bring your guitar and well hold hands singing Jesus Loves me…. and see if that forces them of the Gareloch! 🙂

    168. dadsarmy says:

      I’m with Bill, but also with Dorice in the Guardian. Rebuilding Faslane is little problem, rebuilding a Coulport is far different an undertaking, and probably won’t happen.

      What I see is an opportunity – realistical a neccessity – for it to clear our its nuclear shop, which includes a lot more than Trident. It will be a reduction of nukes.

      Trident won’t get replaced, but nor will the rUK become non-nuclear. It will adopt the LibDem’s idea (amongst others) and go for Astute and the Tomahawk replacement, which will have a range of maybe 3,000 miles rather than the current 1,200 – 1,500. Instead of (Shadow?) class subs, the rUK will just get another 4 Astutes added to the production line, modified of course for nukes, as well as for the tetting problems of the first in class. The advantage of this is that out of a fleet of 12 Astutes – who knows ehich one(s) carries the nukes?

      As Admiral Nukem, sounds like a plan to me.

    169. dadsarmy says:

      Bill, don’t agree about the blockade situation, unsafe reactors or weapons. The weapons would have “triggers” removed, and the reactors shut down, if it came to that. The rUK would not deliberately cause a nuclear incident in Scotland – pawticularly so near its own borders.

    170. Cameron says:

      @ dadsarmy
      Any guesses at how much our buyout cost could be? I’m sure we will have to chip in for the alternative.


    171. dadsarmy says:

      A last thought on that is that there’s a lot of other nukes in Castle Douglas, and as a “sweetener” to the negotiations, the rUK can promise to have them out in 5 years – to the centre of Exmoor or wherever. And another way of looking at it is, that the rUK will want its Independence from Scotland as much as the other way around.

      Until Trident leaves Faslane and Coulport, Westminster is kneeling and begging at Holyrood’s goodwill pursestrings …

    172. Cameron says:

      So we set our price?
      I’m not sure I am with you on the triggers and reactors. Just because the missiles have had their triggers removed, does not mean they are either safe or no longer a security priority. The same for the reactors. Any thoughts of restricting access to them is simply delusional.

    173. dadsarmy says:

      Cameron – cost.
      My indirect answer is that Faslane and Coulport are part of the negotiations. There will be a strong mutual defence treaty with the rUK – something the SNP have talked about as well. Part of the price for Trident staying for a time is reciprocal use of training and maintenance facilities for the kit we’re getting as our share. Because of both of these, Scotland will get more than a fair share of some kit, such as we’d get two full squadrons of Phantoms, 3 or 4 frigates, and possible even on that basis, HMS Duncan or similar. Scotland “automatically” remains in NATO.

      To a large degree the UK forces could continue as though nothing had happened, though split and mostly based as though Scotland and rUK, except that they would function differently within the UN and NATO – for instance if the rUK interevened in Iraq, Syria, Iran, Scotland would do its own thing with its own forces. I’d say also that in the event Scotland refused to participate in e.g. Iraq, we also wouldn’t provide cover for home port duty (or some name like that) for the rUK, which HMS York did, but HMS Lancaster is doing now.

      Just to add the rUK could also then continue to use Cape Wrath and Tain, and similar.

    174. Dave McEwan Hill says:

      I was always aware we would regularly be confronted with confusionists

    175. Cameron says:

      Sorry, I’m being a bit thick here.
      Cost and price are the same thing depending on where your are looking at them from. Do you mean that it will cost us, but that there will be an offset against old kit? Is HMS Duncan a sub and does it have Tomahawk capability, or potential to refit for missile launch?

    176. Cameron says:

      I definitely don’t like the sound of providing cover for rUK troops sent to overthrow whichever of the UK’s dictator pals has fallen out of favor. Tantamount to putting our own troops on the ground/to sea. Same goes for NATO.

    177. Holebender says:

      Bill, I believe you have basically got it arse backwards. Your oft-repeated position is that the Scottish Government will basically have to bend over and accept whatever the MOD wishes to ram between it’s arse cheeks. I think it will be the SG with the whip hand and the rUK with its breeks round it’s ankles.

      Let me explain; the UK wants nukes but has put all it’s eggs in one basket – one delivery system with everything housed in one base. Scotland doesn’t want nukes, but the only UK base is in Scotland. The UK is desperate and has no contingency plan, Scotland can take a deal or leave it. In that negotiation, we are in a strong position while rUK is very weak indeed. Nobody seriously thinks the nukes will be gone the day after the referendum, but we can definitely extract a high price for letting them stay a while.

      As for talk of us having to pay something towards a replacement base, how is that in any way our problem or liability? Part of the price for letting the nukes stay a while will be no bill to us for the replacement,  and the rUK paying to restore Coulport to its former condition. Guaranteed.

    178. Dave McEwan Hill says:


    179. Cameron says:

      When I mentioned a possible chip in, I thought it would get lumped in to the overall calculations, not necessarily considered separately. That’s a poor way of looking at it?

    180. dadsarmy says:

      When it comes to toxic clear-up in one successor state, there are UN guidelines I read ages ago about responsibilty for cost between successor states. My guess is that as the rUK also has its toxic problems, the total cost would be estimated, and split according to formula – either population or GDP. This would include the North Sea, wherever responsibility doesn’t fall to the block operators.

      Apart from that shared responsibility, generally it’s the case that movable assets are shared according to formula, whereas fixed assets become the property of the successor state. This would presumably mean that Faslane and Coulport would “legally” be ours, not just the land but the buildings too.

      Subs and missiles (and floating docks) would presumably be shared according to formula, but because of the NPT there would undoubtedly be a case for the larger part to keep all of them, with a cost equivalent return to Scotland – which basically would not be allowed to be a nuclear state according to the NPT.

      It seems to me that for Trident to even remain at Faslane and Coulport after Independence, a temporary exemption is effectively needed from the NPT. Being temporary, this in itself could enforce strict limits on the timetable for renewal.

      As can be seen from recent events over Palestine, the UN seems no longer to be a walkover for the US – or the UK. I doubt Russia and China would idly stand by, considering that Russia had some sort of similar problem vis a vis the USSR, where it mostly voluntarily took over as continuing state in most cases, after a lot of bartering back and for, where in fact it left off some states all the debt involved, to keep the USSR military assets.

      One thing is for sure, it’s certainly not the case that Scotland pulls down its pants.

    181. dadsarmy says:

      NPT – Non-Proliferation Treaty (on nuclear weapons). Sorry if you knew this!

    182. Bill says:

      Astute class isnt suitable for replacing Trident function. Still a good delivery platform for a sea battle or to return a salvo in a MAD situation but we need ICBM undetected is the only way to stop some crazy chineese, N Korean, Russian or American for that matter from nuking us without a MAD outcome. Cruise missiles fit S & T class but are not long range like Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles that assure peace by sea power!

    183. Bill says:


      You read my posts clearly thank you, and you put it more directly, arse cheeks apart etc

      Let me try to re-explain my view point. Im in agreement that on paper we have the moral high ground, the rights and intl law on our side, afterall an indy country has the right to make its own laws and uphold them.

      What Im saying is the reality is arse about, Trident cant be moved anywhere no matter what you think or believe. You can protest with CND outside the south gate singing We shall overcome some day holding hands with smelly hippies but rUK and ScotGov will have to accept that Trident will remain in Faslane till they expire.

      If by some miracle the warheads/boats are scrapped, or moved to France/ USA then thats a solution but as Ive understood it those options are unlikely.

      What is also extremely unlikely is forcing rUK to,restore Coulport to its former glory! We will use the facility in the future when Scotland gets its own nukes! 

    184. Bill says:

      Were letting Scottish pride get in the way here. Whilst were not too wee, poor or stupid to manage our own affairs we are a wee country, big hearts but were a small insignificant country in a World of greater problems. The UN are trying to stop Africa descending into chaos, trying to stop Isreal wiping out Palastine and North Korea well the list is endless. When Scotland whines to the UN that rUK havent removed Trident yet as promised I think theyll be too busy to hear us.
      Scotland wont have to bend over, nor will rUK force us to bend over, we have no choice but to walk into that meeting with our trousers folded neatly over our arm.
      We have no choice because theres nowhere to move Trident to! Honestly what part dont you get about nowhere for Trident to go! Unless they scrap them in 2016 or before the expire around 2018-20.
      Cloud Cuckoo land. We’ll just have to agree to differ chaps but Im concerned what message your ideas send out to voters as we try to explain our views.
      My wife cant stop laughing at the suggestion here that the crews and families should piss off to the USA. And shes an undecided voter, ” is this the great web site you told me about! full of academics and thinkers…”
      Good luck telling your friends that dont worry we’ll demand rUK disarm Trident and leave and theyre going to turn Coulport into a rose garden at rUK expense!
      oh deary deary me!

    185. douglas clark says:

      You are making somewhat of a meal of the ‘move to America’ point.

      My current proposal is that the boats move to America, are crewed by rUK crews, are serviced, along with their missiles and warheads in America and that crews are rotated in and out as required to drive the boats.

      Families can live wherever they want and the costs of transfer and the time of transfer would be paid by the rUK government, but see c) below.

      Given that we can’t even fire the bloody things without the approval of POTUS, that proposal would:

      a) be cheaper

      b) accurately reflect their NATO as opposed to rUK ownership

      c) give rUK the opportunity to cross charge their costs to other, non-nuclear NATO members

      d) de-target Scotlands largest population centre

      e) allow the wives and families to live wherever they wanted and not in Helensburgh, which is apparently an unattractive option.

      f) pave the way for rUK to become the 51st or 52nd state of the US, which is what the Westminster politicians probably really, really want, deep down in their troughing little hearts and souls, (well. you are proposing that Scotland acquires it’s own nukes in due course, so I am allowed to speculate on equally unlikely scenarios, that’s the way it goes when we spin off into fantasy land.)

      g) free up Faslane to become our main base for the Scottish Defence Force (Navy) West.
      You make a big deal about the US not wanting to have the boats. But you don’t know that because they have never been asked!

      Apparently the missiles have to be serviced in the US already, so they can’t have a problem in principle with the Royal Navy’s nuclear forces being in their territorial waters.

      I would be vaguely astonished if we allowed any of the Trident submarines to cross the Atlantic for these refits alone, i.e. without their accomanying Hunter-killer support, so a nuclear fleet gets well into range of the continental US without so much as a peep of protest over a very long time indeed.

      Given that, essentially it is their own fleet that is coming ‘home’, that is hardly surprising.
      I would imagine that the PM – Cameron – if he’s still around, will be trying to get the President to make some sort of statement about all of this. That would be his strongest card. I am not at all sure how the Scottish public would react to being telt!

      You have made some interesting points here and I agree it is not something that is open to simple solutions, but you also preclude any options that don’t fit exactly with your own world view. The situation will be fluid rather than set in stone.

    186. dadsarmy says:

      I don’t think there is currently a nuclear warhead suitable for the current Tomahawk with which Astute class is fitted, unless the Americans aren’t telling. But I daresay one could be developed, even without US help. Testing could be a problem all the same.

      As for range, sitting back at 8,000 miles and launching into space for a multiple re-entry, or launching for surface trajectory from 1,000 miles (or further perhaps in 10 years time), the effect is arguably the same – you don’t know what’s going to hit you, when, where from, or whether you’ll be able to intercept, so you don’t take the chance – it’s still MAD, just that this time you don’t actually flatten Moscow with around 500 warheads.

      I don’t agree at all with your UN argument, the UK likes to consider itself a leading and influential UN member, and wouldn’t want to lose that influence by being its most disobedient member. Not that it always does do what it’s told by the UN, but nuclear proliferation is an uncomfortable subject for the UN.

    187. dadsarmy says:

      We will use the facility in the future when Scotland gets its own nukes!

      Bit surprised at this non-starter, and I don’t mean CND or anti-nuke attitudes. I have to wonder how much of your posts are a wind-up.

    188. Cameron says:

      I for one have lost the plot.
      The reason I asked about whether there was any potential to refit HMS Duncan class subs, taking them from a non-nuclear capability to something less palatable, is that this is what the Israelis have done to at least six of their vessels. They have done this with the assistance of German industry, which certainly isn’t supporting the NPT through their actions (do not want to name the particular company here as it could be considered OT, but the info isn’t hard to find). With regards the NPT, it is my understanding that the USA is currently developing a new generation of weapons that blur the distinction between conventional and non-conventional weapons in order to circumvent the NPT (again this info is out there). 
      I suppose von Clausewitz was correct, politics really is war by other means.

    189. Dave McEwan Hill says:

      If anybody hasn’t noticed by now that Bill is a wind-up they shouldn’t be let out on their own 

    190. douglas clark says:

      I think that this is what HMS Duncan looks like:

    191. Cameron says:

      Ah….I don’t think I would like to do a crash dive in that one.
      I hope you got the essence of what I was trying to convey though. Essentially, that the future is uncertain and we can not rely on any other nation upholding the NPT. That is if they are even signatories of the NPT, which Israel is not.

    192. Bill says:


      Again correct shipmate, the NPT may bar Scotland as a new state from having Trident and rUK too I believe may fall foul of NPT in two ways, one is planned replacement and two is the theoretical re-homing Trident to rUK.

      But as Ive tirelessly said, there isnt anywhere for Trident to go. They will remain unless they are scrapped after a Yes vote. Cant see rUK giving up a seat on the Security Council that easily.
      There maybe is yet a technical solution that will work, a location for the boats, warheads nearby, even inland with tunnel rail to connect. It would still take years.

    193. Cameron says:

      Should our objectives be based on principle or expediency?

    194. douglas clark says:

      There are, probably, hundreds and hundreds of places they could go. Someone, I can’t remember if it was here or elsewhere, suggested the Falklands. What about Saint Helena? What, exactly, is wrong with the Scilly Isles? Lots of deep water close at hand.

    195. Holebender says:

      Bill, we are looking at the same evidence and reaching diametrically opposed conclusions. We agree there is nowhere to put Trident except on the Clyde. You believe that gives the rUK the upper hand, but I believe all the advantage is with Scotland. The rUK wants nukes, Scotland doesn’t. Scotland has the only viable nuclear base, the rUK doesn’t. Explain to me how that gives the rUK any sort of advantage. Scotland has something the rUK needs, the rUK has nothing we need in this particular scenario.
      Scotland has the base and all land, sea and air access is over Scottish territory. Scotland can dictate terms and the rUK must either eccept or lose the ability to operate nuclear-armed submarines. It’s as simple as that.

    196. Bill says:

      Sorry Douglas Ive never heard so much drivel in my life,

      “There are, probably, hundreds and hundreds of places they could go. Someone, I can’t remember if it was here or elsewhere, suggested the Falklands. What about Saint Helena? What, exactly, is wrong with the Scilly Isles? Lots of deep water close at hand.”

      There isnt hundred and hundred of places, even the defence select committe accept there isnt anywhere they can go.

      Falklands: That would cause an intenational incident as Argentina would see it as a direct threat not as a convienent parking space. It would take 20 to 30 yrs to build a facility in Falklands. Go speak to a marine civil engineer!

      As for St Helena & Scilly Isles the are independent of the UK… och whats the point!

      Now back to the serious part, there isnt anywhere for trident to go, that weve agreed on. Now the difference between who has the upper hand rUK or SG.

      Holebender says:
      7 January, 2013 at 1:09 pm

      Bill, we are looking at the same evidence and reaching diametrically opposed conclusions. We agree there is nowhere to put Trident except on the Clyde. You believe that gives the rUK the upper hand, but I believe all the advantage is with Scotland. The rUK wants nukes, Scotland doesn’t. Scotland has the only viable nuclear base, the rUK doesn’t. Explain to me how that gives the rUK any sort of advantage. Scotland has something the rUK needs, the rUK has nothing we need in this particular scenario.

      Scotland has the base and all land, sea and air access is over Scottish territory. Scotland can dictate terms and the rUK must either eccept or lose the ability to…

      SG – Yes we will have moral high ground, treatys, and land etc as you say.

      rUK – The rUK will not allow Scotland to threaten rUK with nuclear disarmanent, nor will they tolerate a blockade. I believe our hand isnt strong because of the fact there isnt anywhere to put Trident till the expire.

      Because there isnt anywhere to safely put Trident the rUK know that any SG demand is the sound of one hand clapping.

      So AS demands they are what?

      The only thing we can demand is for them to be disarmed in one week by removing triggers/keys. Or else we will what?

      a. blockade of the facility by land, air and sea


      b. tell a grown up

      rUK know that SG wont threaten anything, we have only one outcome and that is they stay until expiry.

      Only scrapping them early or disarming is only way they will go before expiry and Im really struggling here guys to believe that a Nuclear Superpower drunk on the idea of permament member of security council would give all this up, unless as the Rev Stu. states in his article that we could be missing something as yet to come out.

      Can you tell me what exactly are we going to demand and what the consequences are if rUK dont comply?

    197. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “Can you tell me what exactly are we going to demand and what the consequences are if rUK dont comply?”

      In fairness, Bill, that question’s been answered several times. You don’t agree with the answer, and none of us can know if it’s right or not, but that doesn’t alter the fact that the answer’s been given. Just saying “Yes it will”, “No it won’t” back and forth over and over again isn’t going to get any of us anywhere.

    198. douglas clark says:

      None of the three are independent.
      This is from the Scilly Isles Councils’ own web site, my highlighting:
      “The Council is the smallest unitary authority in the UK, and is responsible for the Isles of Scilly, located 28 miles off the south west tip of Cornwall.”
      I think “in the UK” is a bit of a clue, don’t you?
      On the subject of Saint Helena, it is not independent either. See Wikipedia. Here is an extract or two:
      “It is part of the British overseas territory of Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha”
      and perhaps more to the point:
      “Executive authority in Saint Helena is invested in Queen Elizabeth II and is exercised on her behalf by the Governor of Saint Helena. The Governor is appointed by the Queen on the advice of the British government. Defence and Foreign Affairs remain the responsibility of the United Kingdom.”
      The Falklands is – possibly – the rUKs only hope of off shore oil. The Argentinians are already beating the drum since the incredibly stupid idea of naming some disputed chunk of Antartica “Queen Elizabeth Land”. There are times when I think they are trying to re-enact the 19th C and who am I to cavil at such a the thing? It is just an extension of the Victorian values they wish to impose on us all.
      If rUK has to fight anyone, not through choice as Blair did, I think the Argentinians are likely to top the list. Wonder what the Argentinians have been doing about re-arming since the Falklands War in 1982?
      Google is your friend.
      Well they have upgraded quite a bit. Their Air Force looks a lot more capable, although their navy still looks a bit rubbish. If I were Cameron I’d make damn sure I’d sufficient resources down there now. They could start building the facilities for Trident at the same time…….
      Anyway, the real option is to give them to the USA. You know it’s the right thing to do. For all practical purposes they are theirs anyway.

    199. Holebender says:

      Bill, to turn your question on its head, what exactly could the rUK threaten Scotland with, given that the only nuke base will be on our territory?

      I just can’t see where you conclude that this is a weakness of Scotland and/or a strength of the rUK. 

    200. Bill says:


      a good book is your friend too, may I suggest starting with marine civil engineering and work your way uo to naval archictecture.

      Your ideas for Trident location are simply crass.

    201. Bill says:


      I think you cannot answer my question, if you did it would illustrate why SG doesnt have the upper hand.

      Can you imagine the meeting between UK & SG regarding this specific point, AS demands that Trident are disarmed or removed? He wont ask that as both options arent on the table. We can only ask that Trident arent replaced, and in the mean time collect rent or include it offsetting national debt or other financial gain that wont involved actual cash!
      Cameron knows we cant demand removal of triggers/keys, relocate or remove boats. UK gov know we can only agree on time frame for removal which is around 2020.
      We have nothing to bargain with and as Ive been trying to put accross, its a fantasy that we could blockade Faslane/Coulport or force rUK to disarm.
      rUK would have to scrap them in an event of YES vote or wait till expiry. They may be hedging bets that a Indy Scotland with Labour gov in the future may allow Trident to stay or its replacement.

    202. Bill says:

      Well well Mr Douglas Google esq.

      Scilly Isles:

      Most of freehold land owned by duchy of cornwall, Islands rely upon tourism, farming and agriculture. Just imagine the tourists taking pictures of Trident facilities! Mind it would take 30 yrs to build the infrastructure on the Islands including married quarters. Douglas are you serious?

      You havent a clue of how the Trident deterent works do you? Placing your entire system on a remote Island with a population of 2000 is truly stupid.

      Ive forwarded all your clever ideas to the MoD, once they stop laughing they may respond, I’ll let you know the outcome but I think you can guess.

    203. Bill says:

      Holebender Sorry I wasnt clear in answering your question, what could the rUK threaten Scotland with? Thats the point I started with, were full circle. The rUK doesnt have to threaten us with anything, they dont have to do anything except shut the gates at bases! Its the sound of one hand clapping.

      The onus is on SG to agree to terms on Trident, disarming or removal isnt on the table. AS knows it DC knows it and its high time the Scots understood this. We can only accept a reasonable safe timetable for removal by expiry date.

      Unless the MoD have come up with a plan that partly disarms or reduces the fleet giving a phased withdrawal or reduction in fleet.

      If theyre still theyre after 2020 Id be the first to knock the gates down and storm the base with greepeace!

    204. Bill says:

      Douglas, sorry youve really hit nerve with your crass suggestions for Trident bases. You really expect forces families to be banished away to remote Islands from family connections!

      I have a friend who is in charge of safety at a very senior level for MoD in the Falklands and also was based in Assencion for years, I will email him for his opinion!

    205. Bill says:

      Here what the current serving members of the submarine service think of you

      “It won’t happen, all those jobs the jocks would loose, let alone what the ladies of Dumbarton would have to say about it. No chance, the Scottish parliament is just baring it’s teeth but it will never bite.”

      Why dont you sign up over ay Navy Net and ask what they think of your Ideas for Falkland Islands!

    206. douglas clark says:

      I was making the point that you were wrong about the legal status of the three locations.
      If tourism out-trumps the security of the realm, then why the heck did they build at Faslane in the first place?
      I see you have now increased your construction time-scale to thirty years.
      Whilst you are e-mailing your friend, perhaps you could ask him about the relative security of Faslane, and why, exactly the security case is so much better for an installation right next to Scotlands’ major population centre. If he replies that there are hardened facilities there, then ask him when Helensburgh, Dumbarton, Greenock, Gourock and Port Glasgow and the rest of the Clyde estuaries population centres like, err, the Glasgow conurbation, can be provided with similar security. I am really not at all convinced that you have looked at the wider picture, from a civillian point of view, whatsoever. The risk of a first strike by anyone may be small, but it is real. And we get wiped out. A risk that the Unionists and RUSI appear to think is ‘worth taking’. Not sure I agree.
      Here’s an idea for you. Send the boats to the US temporarily until your construction timescale is met, and then reloacate them wherever.
      Just get your tanks off my lawn!


    207. Cameron says:

      Should our objectives be based on principle or expediency, given the widespread flouting of the NPT? Not least by one of our own EU “partners” (Germany).

    208. Bill says:

      Ok ok ok, you got me. Youre right about the current legal status of those three example locations, as you say just a little google and I would have seen that. You just know theres a But coming up, and youd be right,

      But, The Falklands are going to be in a long dispute with Argentina, which have now escalated the issue to more peaceful intnl forums. So If I were Admiral Trident I wouldnt set up a Faslane/Coulport facility on a disputed island so close to a former agressor. Also the intnl community would see it as agression towards Argentina. Parking a nuclear arsenal on its door step. You know it and I know that they will never build a Faslane or Coulport on the Falklands.
      The FI strategy should it get invaded again is a pull out and fall back to Assension Is, then retake it via Air combat, this is the well known plan on the Islands which I visited last year.

      I changed the typically quoted 20yr to build coulport based on the time it took to indeed build, changed to 30yrs considering the locations youve suggested. Starting with building a power station on the Island of choice, Vangaurd or indeed any nuclear submarine power plant requires a dedicated supply and back up systems for during its shutdown state and warming through states when its most vunreable.

      Staring a base including nuclear bomb proof silos for warheads, ship lift facilities for dry docking etc is a huge undertaking and is never going to happen.

      The choice for Faslane included its proximity to populations, this allows for a potential enemeny to factor in when deciding to launch, they have to accept they are killing hundreds of thousands and affecting milions by thier actions. Its this human shield that goes some way to protect the system. This is arguably moot considering that a exchange between two countries using ICBM will multiple warheads gaurantees that mutual assured destruction scenarion we all fear.
      Placing our entire system on a remote island wouldnt have its human shield. The enemy would be able to make the decision to strike without the consideration for human loss. As I said a lot of moot but this is typical thought processes among senior planners. All of which is negated if the enemy is reponding to a first strike and has no option but to return all its got.
      Furthermore, Faslane is defendable by land sea and air. A conventional force attacking and attempting to take Faslane would have to cross dense populated civillian areas, and can be counter attacked via all directions around the base.

      Sending to the USA as a temp measure is a good idea but the Trident are due to expire around 2020 which is long before a new base can be built, still might be possible as a temp solution if the USA have the room and resources or political will to see that through but that still means condeming forces families to a life of hell if crews are stationed in USA from 2016 to 2020. We either support our hereos including Navy not just squaddies or we dont give a shit about them -considering many are Scots.

      I will be emailing my mate and will also asking him to ask around on the Island if they want Trident!

    209. douglas clark says:

      Err, ’tis you that was telling me how pretty the Scilly Isles are. I would imagine that forces families might be more content in a sub-tropical paradise than the midge infested West Coast of Scotland.

      I would have thought that either Ascension or Saint Helena would be pretty defensible, especially if the former is already being mooted as the forward base for the retaking of the Falklands. Given that they are both basically static aircraft carriers, or in the latter case could be made into one. It currently lacks an airport.

      If you are talking about a conventional invasion, the enemy would be sitting ducks from a range of around a thousand miles and the time over target for planes may be non-existent. Obviously, nothing much will stop a good old ICBM.

      BTW, there is also Diego Garcia. Though my personal preference would be just to give it back to their original inhabitants sooner rather than later. Later may be too late.

      I am not at all happy with planners who see me as part of their war games. On that basis you outline alone, the logical place for a replacement Faslane is in Central London. I imagine that might meet a rather large NIMBY vote. Including, I suspect, from the planners.

      Interesting that you are at least considering the possibility of a temporary solution.

    210. Bill says:


      The possibilty of a temp location for 2016 to 2020 does indeed appear in my logic but the likelihood is low on analysis. The MoD would have to start now with an agreement with the USA. As far as we know they havent.

      The USA only a limited number of places where Trident could go and Im not sure theyd have capacity.

      The logistics involved to move 8 crews and families plus support services including other civillian staff, Im nit sure if the average Rolls Royce engineer had considered the move overseas. Not everyone would see that as a an exciting adventure. The USA we know are very difficult with immigrants and visitors. As a merchant seamen, lost 9/11 if our ship is in the USA we arent allowed ashore, ship would get fined if we stepped off the gangway and just to make sure they post an armed policeman. I cant see the USA giving visas to 4 x 130 of a crew plus wife, kids and civillian support staff in 2016 with 6 months notice.
      Im trying to imagine the logistics of moving coulport weapons and warheads, spares tools and staff to USA also by sea no doubt. It would be an exodus. If it was just an ordinary vessel or submarine then yes but Trident is a very sophisticated system in terms of engineering, support, maintenance, deployment and its strategic use.
      I do like the idea of Trident going Im just trying to be logical and realistic, not trying to be awkward or argumentative. Just sound reason.
      Put yourself in the position of each person involved in Trident and think it through. Submarine service are volunteers and they pick the highest scoring crews from training, they would withdraw their voluntary service and request to return to general service if theyre stuck in San Diego for years. The marital breakdown is bad enough in the forces without asking those brave men to not only do patrol from san diego but remain their till Trident expires with nothing but a few weeks annual leave a year. Unless the families go with them but logically that doesnt compute or work out in minds eye. We could argue that its not our problem but many of the crews are Scots that you want to vote Yes in 2014 and at the same time kick them out of Scotland.
      I do wish there was an alternative, such as a phased withdrawal, theres always one vessel in refit, so Id scrap the boat that was in refit in 2014 on a yes vote or 2016 after indy.

      A yes vote does indeed disarm the UK but not immediately, if the rUK wish to replace Trident after indy thats entirely their own business. Theyd need to start from scratch and your proposals maybe possible but Id suspect Wales would be better option. Theres more infrastructure and multiple power sources that can supply the base.
      Im sorry that most dont agree but this is sound logic, there isnt anywhere to put Trident, the rUK are not going to disarm them or scrap them before expiry that leaves only one outcome, they stay in Scotland even after indy til expiry.

      This means by logic that those items are not on the table to negotiate. So with a smirk David Cameron will offer Alex Salmond an incentive such as offsetting our share of national debt by an ammount to be agreed.

      rUK has limited options too, disarm Trident in 2014 when we return an overwhelming majority Yes vote or begin scrapping/ phased reduction after indy around 2016.
      My money is on Trident remaining till expiry around 2020.

      The other argument that was held up to scrutiny here and indeed ridiculed isnt that implausible, in the event of a Yes vote and independence around 2016 if Trident are still on the Gareloch and rUK have made any progress as agreed to disarm, reduce or move then what are you really going to do? I know it doesnt sound nice as it implies were physically weak and powerless, so our prides hurt, what would William Wallace do? Through spears at the main gate? The rUK could tie us up in legal battles till the vessels expire. I think thats unlikely as the rUK would lose so much credibility as it bullies Scotland.

      Thats why I say both AS and DC know whats on the table to negotiate. not a lot you can do with such a huge legacy as Trident.

    211. dadsarmy says:

      Bill, there are forces stationed on the Falklands, with families. There are / were forces stationed in Germany, with families. It’s not exacly a new concept. The Yanks in Germnay not only had their families, they had their own golf course (played it), their own stock car racing circuit (went there), their own baseball ground (not interested).

      Interesting that this thread is being discussed on:

      I recognise a comment from page 1 of that thread.

    212. Bill says:

      DadsArmy you make a typical civvy mistake. The Army move around as a unit, so the blackwatch get posted to germany as a whole unit, they all go together with family for a few years then come back, yes ok. Navy personnel move around individually, so although theres a submarine squadron there isnt another one to take its place.

    213. Bill says:


      Interesting link.

      Brought back old memories, Missile Mary’s toys?, we called Polaris crews Bomber Marys!
      As you can see the Submariners themselves are laughing at us.

    214. douglas clark says:

      These chaps weren’t kept out, were they? Quite the opposite in fact.

    215. Bill says:

      Douglas what are you on about.

    216. douglas clark says:

      You were making a point about the US and it’s Homeland Security policies and suggested that the US would have trouble granting visas to UK military personnel. Well, that’s an example of them being welcomed into the very heart of the US military.
      The British Embassy in Washington also has this to say:
      “Exercises and Ship Visits
      Units of the Royal Navy and Royal Marines regularly conduct exercises with their US counterparts. Royal Navy ships and submarines make frequent visits to ports in the US, often accompanied by ships of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary. The British Naval Staff co-ordinate these events, supported by local US military organisations and British Consulates.

      All quite chummy, really. As one might expect between two close allies and NATO members.

      Incidentally are you AnonSailor over on navy-net? I would be interested in hearing their views if they cared to visit.

    217. Bill says:


      Im well aware that we conducted joint ops, training and much much more with Nato allies esp USA just like your link describes.What that has to do with giving a home to 500 Trident crew plus family kids and pet dogs for 4 years is beyond me. I always thought civvies didnt have a clue! Youve reinforced that view. Please for gods sake when will you see the Navy isnt the Army.

    218. Bill says:

      Douglas you think I didnt know that, we did autec range firing and nato excercises most years on Courageous etc

    219. douglas clark says:


      My second link was about the Navy and the Marines!
      The point is that Homeland Security doesn’t seem that bothered. Immigration, even temporary immigration, to the US is a huge issue, but it tends to be addressed at likely terrorists and Mexicans rather than allies. I think you have overstated the difficulties there.
      The sum total of your arguement is that Faslane is the only option. You have put up smoke screens around every other possible option, the main one, obviously, being a temporary relocation to the US, pending the construction of a suitable alternative within the rUK’s domain, which, inter alia, includes the Scilly Isles, Diego Garcia, Plymouth, Ascension and Saint Helena.
      There is a political will amongst many Scots to get shot of WMDs as soon as possible. This is not limited to the folk who will vote YES in a referendum, but it is certainly part of the package that the SNP are presenting to the electorate. I find it hard to believe that any independent country could be forced to retain WMDs on it’s soil if the will of the people, democratically expressed, was to the contrary. At least, not in the West.
      We’ll see.

    220. Bill says:

      Douglas thats well put and very lovely on paper. Your suggestions for Trident come with built in smoke screens. Its insane to hold the view that rUK could build a new facility in 2 years and move everyone to the FI oe IoS etc you surely dont believe that.
      We could agree to disagree but it leaves me concerned that yes campaigners like yourselfs are telling folks a load of rubbish just to get a vote.
      When I discuss Trident will fellow Scots I assert the logical reality as ive discussed here, it is recieved well and respected for its candidness.
      I will by way of experiment next time tell folks that na dont worry were gonna demand the navy leave faslane immediately or well kick their heids in!

    221. douglas clark says:

      My favoured option, as I told you many, many posts ago, is to take the four boats out to the mid Atlantic and scuttle them.
      It ought not to beyond the wit of those that want to retain these WMDs to find a solution that doesn’t have them stuck in my back yard.
      If we get independence and if we are so determined it would take a very foolish rUK government to attempt to retain Faslane.
      If I, a mere civillian, can come up with ideas, I see no particular reason why the combined intelligence of the military can’t come up with better solutions. I’ve even given you a temporary solution pending the construction of a suitable base within the rUK’s sphere of influence.
      One thing I hadn’t thought about that I’ll share with you now. How’s about the rUK just takes the boats and the bombs and moves them down South and mothballs them whilst they construct the new base? The MODs section that deals with mothballing and destruction of assets might not be large, but it seems to be, more or less, in charge anyway.

    222. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      Man, this one just keeps on going, doesn’t it?

    223. douglas clark says:

      It’s like two bald men fighting over a comb

    224. dadsarmy says:

      Bill, maybe you should read this, from a Commons Select Committee 25/10/12:

      you’ll see that the witnesses accept that Scotland can just kick Trident out, though that might be unwise. The interesting thing also is that unless Scotland is in NATO, the nukes can’t just stay here. But at the SNP conference where the SNP voted to pursue / keep NATO membership, a prime condition of that defence resolution is that Scotland will be non-nuclear.

      Your pals might be having a good laugh, but  they would do well to read at least one official Parliamentary report on the matter as well.

      Another paper worth reading (involving Chalmers as well), is:

      I remember during last year Chalmers saying as I did earlier, that Trident could be moved in 10-15 years. A quick look can’t find a link, there’s one somewhere.

    225. Bill says:

      Douglas me old dhobey bucket now youve lost the plot. Please read some books on how to “mothball” a nuclear submarine and “destroy” ICBMs and warheads. I dont claim to be the First Sea Lord or an Intnl expert on this subject but youre clearly beyond your competency on this subject.

    226. Bill says:

      Ive either failed to explain my viewpoint or you dont understand. Ive never disputed the legal position what Im talking about is the reality. The reality of whats on the table, many scots and snp were shocked at the nato decision but I knew they would vote to remain in Nato, they had no choice but to accept the idea, ScotGov dragged kicking and screaming into the modern world! Its embarrasing and its about to get worse.
      There are many experts that have chipped in potential locations and constructio time, yes all range from 15 to 20 yrs, and yes Im familiar with the links and other documents, you guys dont have a monopoly on reading books, im not some dumb sailor. Engineer Officer and Grad.
      The experts that quote 15yrs also accept that it requires huge sums of money, resources and political will with no protests or barries and a continuity of political party in power. Financially the UK or indeed the rUK doesnt have the money, were heading for a tripple dip recesion and thats a depression by any other name.

      Just for the record:

      I understand the legal positions if Scotland versus Trident, I agree with getting them out of Scotland asap, however the reality owing to the facts leads me to believe they wont be moved overnight.
      You already accept 15 to 20 yrs to build a new facility, lets say Wales, so Trident remain until the new bases are ready, yes. ok that means Trident stays after indy until at least 2020 which is about the end of their life.
      So were agreed that Trident stays in Scotland till 2020. Finally we got it sorted out then!

      If SG agree that the Nato Deterrent stays until a new base is ready in say 20yrs, its possible well also see the New Trident on the Gareloch! The SG would need to agree only till expiry of Trident.

      Ofcourse this is all moot because we just dont know, both the UK and SG are keeping us in the dark as to their intentions.

    227. Bill says:

      So the choices for rUK:

      1. Scrap Trident on the event of a yes vote in 2014, starting with the vessel in refit.

      2. Trident decision is due in 2015: Decide not to replace Trident and commence scrapping them.

      3. Dont replace Trident and allow them to expire, then withdraw from Faslane/Coulport.

      All of these choices challenges the Torys to give up all that power!

      Choices for SG:

      1. Demand and enforce the removal of Trident in 2016.

      2. Blockade and sanction the facilities!

      3. er, em, Im stuggling with this list guys…

      4. Accept Trident hasnt anywhere to go and in the interest of safety allow them to remain until expiry in 2020.

      5. Put trousers back on and leave that meeting behind.

      I will eat my hat if by some miracle the Torys choose to scrap Trident or allow it to be disarmed before 2020.

    228. dadsarmy says:

      Not quite sure why you’re syaing 2020 for the current expiry of Trident, I think it’s more like 2026 or 2028, even without the usual project overruns.

      The main problem with your argument is the idea that the SG will have their pants down. I think the opppsite is much more like it, though since that’s confrontational and quite insulting as is the original way around, I think it’s more polite and diplomatic to say that the rUK will be entering the meeting with a bag full of giveaways, including a far more than fair share of all forces kit exluding anything nuclear powered.

      They’ll also come with pen in hand to sign a strong mutual defence treaty, with open doors to all training and maintenance facilities for planes, ships and whatever else is in the package for the Scottish Defence Force, full support for NATO including nuclear-free guarantees as other countries have. Within Reason Salmond – or whoever is doing the negotiation – will be able to name his or her own price for Trident to remain until 2026. Which realistically may extend to 31st December 2029, but not a day later.

      It shall be called the Faslane Agreement, and as with the Edinburgh Agreement, Salmond shall have his wicked way with the UK Government, even with their pants up around the waist.

    229. uilleam_beag says:


      You harp on about “logic” but your basic maths just don’t add up. At various points you insist that a replacement base would take between 15 and 30 years to build (admittedly, depending on the location of this new base), but then in virtually the next line put the withdrawal date as the year 2020 – just six years after the referendum and only four from the likely date of formal independence in the event of a yes vote. 

      Your own argument about the Scottish government having “no choice but to walk into [negotiations] with our trousers folded neatly over our arm” hangs on the fact that insistence on the immediate removal of Trident could create a safety incident due to the lack of an alternative base to move them to. That falls down immediately due to the fact that by your own admission the subs are right at the end of their natural working life and have only a few more years’ service left in them. 

      As such, the Scottish government would be putting forward the entirely reasonable proposition that the decomissioning of the missiles is simply brought forward a few years (not in any way to suggest that process could be completed by “next Saturday”, though it could be underway in time for formal Independence Day, or shortly thereafter). The fallback position might be to allow them to remain until their expiry date of 2020 or, at the very outside, give a 10-year window from the referendum* during which rUK pays a punitive rental rate for use of the base while they prepare their alternative in a slightly accelerated timeframe. 

      I do not consider it conceivable that an independent Scotland would feel the slightest inclination to budge an inch beyond that in those negotiations. To do otherwise would be electoral suicide, given the strength of sentiment on the issue (in my unscientific opinion). 

      I don’t see any way at all that the rUK goverment would have Scotland over a barrel in the way you suggest. In what way could the rUK force an independent Scotland to house Trident’s replacement? Your logic simply doesn’t stack up.

      That’s unless, of  course, we the electorate do something ridiculously daft, such as vote SLab back in at the 2016 election. In which case, we may well hear the administrative belt buckle clanging against the lino before the returning officer finishes his sentence. 

      * On the proviso that Trident can safely be extended a few years beyond its current expiry date; I do not profess any knowledge of how achieveable that might be. 

    230. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “4. Accept Trident hasnt anywhere to go and in the interest of safety allow them to remain until expiry in 2020.

      5. Put trousers back on and leave that meeting behind.”

      You’re losing me, Bill. That the rUK has nowhere to put Trident ISN’T SCOTLAND’S PROBLEM. It’s the rUK’s. Trident can be rendered harmless, decommissioned and dismantled pretty easily and quickly – it’s moving it that’s difficult.

      So there’s no reason for Scotland to allow it to remain on its territory armed and operational, unless the rUK makes a VERY generous offer to lease the base while it builds a replacement, and unless that replacement is built in triple-quick time.

      So why you think Scotland is the one that’d be going into that meeting with its trousers down is bewildering. It holds all the aces. It CAN force Trident out of action. Everything else on the negotiating table, as far as the rUK is concerned, is secondary to keeping Trident. It has nothing of any great import to threaten Scotland with.

    231. Dave McEwan Hill says:

      Thanks, Stu.
      Any way of nipping this nonsense in the bud?

    232. uilleam_beag says:

      @Dave McEwan Hill
      “Any way of nipping this nonsense in the bud?”

      Not likely, I’m afraid, Dave. The nonsense has bloomed, been dead-headed and rebudded several times over already. Bill still thinks he’s the only one making any sense. 

    233. Bill says:

      Vangaurd has already done almost 20yrs in service.

    234. Holebender says:

      OK Bill, the MOD locks the gates. Then what? Nothing moves in or out. What sort of deterrent would Trident be while it’s locked away in Faslane?
      Are you now going to revert to it’s somehow OK for a foreign power to barricade itself inside Scottish territory, but not OK for the sovereign Scottish government to take steps to remove them? Your thinking is completely illogical and back to front as far as I can see. You are just not managing to get across why you think Trident is somehow Scotland’s problem and that Scotland must accept whatever rUK says. It doesn’t make sense. WTF are the MOD going to do shut up in Faslane with no route in or out except what the Scottish government allows? The Clyde bases are completely surrounded by Scottish territory by land, sea and air. Nothing can move in or out except by crossing Scottish territory, but you believe this renders Scotland powerless. I just don’t get it.

    235. douglas clark says:


      All we need to do is return all the warheads to the AWE at Aldermaston where they will be, hopefully, treated with kid gloves. As far as the boats themselves are concerned they are just bits of metal once you remove the fuel rods. The missiles can be returned to the US for ongoing maintenance.
      There is nothing intrinsically difficult about any of this.

      You are quite stubborn that there is no solution but your solution.

      Anyway, if they want any more ideas they can start paying me a consultancy fee.

    236. Dave McEwan Hill says:


      I got it a while ago

    237. dadsarmy says:

      It’s a dirty habit, but it helps to pass the time at sea.

    238. Bill says:


      Nip yourself in the bud. This site posted an article and invites comments.

      Im sorry if my comments arent of the gushing compliments type towards the authors, well done, jolly good another great article, tally ho and yes in 2014.

      So we comment and debate, hopefully we all gain something new and go on. You lot so far want to sink Trident in North Atlantic, send crews to Falkland Islands and blockade Faslane. Oh and my favourite believe a new base can be built in pontypandy in 3.5 yrs, wonder what fireman sam would think.

      I have offered comment based on sound logic wether it happens or not depends on what UK decides in 2015 when the decision is made on Trident replacement which may be influenced by ScotGov & UK Gov settlement agreements.
      Its far fetched to believe we could blockade or force disarmament unless they scrap Trident.

    239. Bill says:

      Yes your right, if the decision is made to disarm and scrap them, then your idea is perfect. I never questioned the actual method of disarming or mothballing, thats fairly easy. Triggers and keys out in a week or two, missiles out at coulport and send the warheads to AWE.
      Pull the cores out and bingo all done. I never questioned that.
      What Im asking is do you really think Cameron will disarm in 2014 or around 2016 when were expected to be independent?

    240. Bill says:

      Holebender says:
      9 January, 2013 at 5:17 pm

      OK Bill, the MOD locks the gates. Then what? Nothing moves in or out. What sort of deterrent would Trident be while it’s locked away in Faslane?

      Are you now going to revert to it’s somehow OK for a foreign power to barricade itself inside Scottish territory, but not OK for the sovereign Scottish government to take steps to remove them? Your thinking is completely illogical and back to front as far as I can see. You are just not managing to get across why you think Trident is somehow Scotland’s problem and that Scotland must accept whatever rUK says. It doesn’t make sense. WTF are the MOD going to do shut up in Faslane with no route in or out except what the Scottish government allows? The Clyde bases are completely surrounded by Scottish territory by land, sea and air. Nothing can move in or out except by crossing Scottish territory, but you believe this renders Scotland powerless. I just don’t get it.


      Yes your right, if the decision is made to disarm and scrap them, then your idea is perfect. I never questioned the actual method of disarming or mothballing, thats fairly easy. Triggers and keys out in a week or two, missiles out at coulport and send the warheads to AWE.
      Pull the cores out and bingo all done. I never questioned that.
      What Im asking is do you really think Cameron will disarm in 2014 or around 2016 when were expected to be independent?

      Are you seriously suggesting the SG would blockade the ports of Coulport and Faslane. Thats very unlikely. I dont know where you got the idea that I said they would blockade themselves, I said they would shut the gates so no unauthorised walks in demanding the keys/triggers.

      Its laughable that a wee tartan army is going to blockade a Nato asset, sorry but thats delusional.

      I think the anomosity and predujice towards my points of view is now getting in the way. I must apologise its a snare and dellusion thinking I could debate here.

      Ive never said its a Scottish Problem, I clearly outlined it in a previous post that by the very nature of the situation there isnt a lot to negotiate on. This is why AS SNP are very quite just now about it.

      Have you asked your SNP MSP what the postition is on Trident, I have and they dont respond. Good luck.

      You dont get it because you wont accept that there isnt anywhere for Trident to go , if you did then thats a start.
      Also you believe we can force rUK to disarm! Thats hard for me to believe and the likes of Cameron giving up all that power?

      I didnt say completely powerless just not the loudest voice in the room
      We will have to keep Trident till expiry unless by some miracle that Cameron disarms and starts to scrap them.

    241. Bill says:

      Tinyzeitgeist says:
      5 January, 2013 at 2:26 am

      @ Dadsarmy :

      “Some people are strongly anti-nuclear, well I respect that, but don’t hold their views.”

      So you respect other views but deride mine! then mock me and called a unionist by someone here.

      This is a talking shop, nothing more. The Yes campaign are lame, the SNP being walked over by UK Gov and MSM. And the bulk of debate and answers at WoS or Newsnet et al but the undecided voters in the real World are none the wiser.
      Were failing to get the word out and when we do chat with friends you want me to tell them were going to disarm Trident in a week or blockade Faslane.
      I spoke with the Martian defence minister and hes happy for Trident to be relocated but asserts that it’d take 20 yrs to build.

    242. Bill says:

      So im derided by you for having a view, so im nothing but a bored sailor? and by impication of a bad habit  calling me a w****r !
      Think thats a bit low mate, apology would be nice!

    243. uilleam_beag says:

       @ Bill

      “I didnt say completely powerless just not the loudest voice in the room”
      No, you said Scotland would by necessity enter into negotiations with trousers neatly folded over an arm. If that’s not an expression of “completely powerless”, I don’t know what is. 

      Nobody is suggesting that a blockade of Faslane would be a first option in negotiations, but it would be a viable fallback position – a threat to use as a bargaining chip, if you will. 

      It would be infinitely preferable to conclude the negotiations in an amicable manner, but given your entire argument (such as I have been able to discern to be the confused logic underpinning it) is based around the rUK playing hard ball from the get go, it’s necessary to consider what counter options are available. In essence, it’s a situation where Scotland has the luxury of playing chess while Westminster can only play draughts. Actually, I’m not convinced they can even see the board.

      Your supposition is that rUK throws a hissy fit when Scotland requests disarmament/removal of Trident at the earliest reasonable juncture, and in fact demands to get to house Trident Mk II in Faslane until such time as they get around to building an alternative base. Your timescale for this is a generation or two later – which in Westminster subtitles-for-the-naive translates as “never”. 

      All Scotland has to do, in response is to revoke any recognition of the base’s legitimacy. Step one, refuse to allow the subs passage through Scottish waters unless inspectors have verified they are unarmed. Step two, confine personnel to base. Step three, constrict access of supply vessels to the port. Step four, demand immediate withdrawal of troops and refuse to resupply food to base. 

      If at any point the rUK government attempts to breach those reasonable requests, they are immediately committing an act of war, and would be seen as a bully in the eyes of the world.

      So it comes back to our requesting the immediate decommissioning of nukes held on our soil as an opening gambit; if the rUK leader (D.Cameron or his successor, perhaps) hopes to get an interim ‘stay of execution’ then they can expect to pay through the nose for the privilege while they built their new overpriced sandcastle. Ten years from independence day is the most they will get. Even that much is generous.

      BTW, I don’t think you’ve been derided for expressing your opinion. You have been derided, however, for refusing to accept any opinion that doesn’t match your own. At times you have been pretty disparaging in your choice of language in the way you have described those who disagree with you, whether they were polite or not.

      Also, I’d say Dadsarmy’s quip about “a bad habit” was probably tongue-in-cheek; that’s the way I read it and I wouldn’t take it personally. I’m pretty sure worse things happen on dry land  😉 

    244. Dave McEwan Hill says:

      The facts,gentlemen.
      The reason given by the MOD that they could not take Trident to Plymouth because it was too dangerous for the civilian population is the correct one.
      Which of course, lets you know what value they put on the lives of the civilian population of Argyll, Inverclyde and much of central Scotland.
      Can we read the excerpt below, absorb it and recognise that much of the demented nonsense on this topic has been designed to obscure the simple fact that the removal of the Trident submarines from the Clyde is not at all a difficult task  This is taken from an excellent piece on Newsnet Scotland

      “However, an official answer given by Defence Minister Philip Dunne last month stated that there are actually more authorised berths at HM Naval Base Devonport, in Plymouth, than on the Clyde.
      Asked by Angus Robertson MP, how many nuclear-powered submarines can be berthed simultaneously at HM Naval Base Devonport? Mr Dunne replied:
      “Up to eight operational submarines can be accommodated at the wharves and jetties at Her Majesty’s Naval Base (HMNB) Devonport.  A further four operational submarines can be accommodated at mooring buoys and anchorages, which are used for temporary berthing in the Naval Base waters.  Additional operational submarines can be accommodated at Babcock Marine’s collocated dockyard.
      “There is also capacity at HMNB Devonport for further nuclear-powered submarines that have left service and are in afloat storage.”

    245. Holebender says:

      Bill; “Its laughable that a wee tartan army is going to blockade a Nato asset, sorry but thats delusional.”
      So there we have it, Scotland is too wee to stand up for itself. The might of the British armed forces (including Scottish regiments, etc.?) will crush our puny wee tartan army.
      You don’t really sound like a committed independentista although I don’t doubt your commitment.

    246. douglas clark says:

      I would have given you more credit if you had bowed out of this debate, here, on what has essentially become your own thread on Wings Over Scotland.
      You and I will never agree, that much is obvious, and I am willing to admit that I have quite enjoyed the tooing and froing that you and I have indulged in. Insults are like water off a ducks back, btw. When the BNP don’t like me, then this is trivial stuff.
      Anyway, it has been a hoot.
      Sadly, you have not conviced me and I have not convinced you.
      Such is the human condition.
      Best wishes for your future, wherever that may take you……
       Whether your right or wrong…

      etc, etc.

      Just saying.

      I meant to add this, apparently it is difficult:

      See if that works!

    247. douglas clark says:

      Well, it did the second or third time around!

    248. dadsarmy says:

      It’s a fairly common expression, though perhaps normally “a nasty habit”, rather than “a dirty habit”.

      It’s, errr, supposed to be funny, where both people laugh. Well, men perhaps, not women. Though who knows, but best not to talk about these things. Unless you’re a woman perhaps, though that might offend the men. Though I kind of doubt that unless they’re very uptight properly brought up types like, who wouldn’t say boo to a goose.

      Umm, well, when I say goose I’m talking about the bird some people get for Christmas, not the kind that needs stuffing. Umm, well, when I say stuffing I mean the type with breadcrumbs and herbs. Very nice too. Have you ever noticed when you get turkey you never get enough stuffing? Sheesh, I’m all at sea now! Time to pump the bilges.

    249. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      As with the Lockerbie thread, this one’s going nowhere. I’m calling it.

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