Former defence secretary, GUU journalist and current Scottish MP, Liam Fox, has lambasted the SNP’s vision on the defence strategy for an independent Scotland. Writing on conservativehome.blogs.com, using a very attractive pink header, Mr Fox highlights the perhaps ill-considered position that Mr Salmond’s Scottish National Party (SNP) have put forward on the future of Scotland’s defence.
Current SNP ideas involve taking control of Scottish Forces from the UK Armed Forces. Mr Fox criticized the SNP as viewing the armed forces ‘as though they were at a Pick ‘n’ Mix counter in a sweet shop’. He points out that current plans would involve taking control of armed forces but not the ability to fully resupply themselves or a navy with an appropriate auxiliary. To Mr Fox, this would leave Scotland with an un-deployable military and little hope of NATO membership, esspecially without maintaining the Nuclear Deterrent. The Scottish Government, perhaps in response, are now embarking on a further defence review, but the problem with the Nuclear Deterrent remains. Despite having a morphing vision of what defence in Scotland would be, removal of all nukes from Scotland has remained an SNP promise. The British government is keen to keep the missiles in Scotland though, and has insisted that, should Scotland become independent, any attempt to remove them would cost billions of pounds to the new Scottish state. The SNP however continue to campaign against nukes in Scotland.
Mr Fox’s views should not be taken lightly. Whether or not Scotland will have an appropriately equipped fighting force remains unclear and NATO membership should not be taken for granted. The SNP opposed military intervention in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and Kosovo, suggesting that the military necessary for Scotland is quite different from Britain. A problem arises as the SNP are now potentially seeking NATO membership. Without foreign intervention or nuclear capacity there is little incentive for NATO to accept Scotland. Also with Britain as a key member, if the dispute over nukes continues, it is unlikely that NATO would let Scotland in. The SNP should seriously consider their approach before the independence referendum.