Defence

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See also: NATO

FOR THE UNION FOR INDEPENDENCE
Defence post-independence

Westminster states that upon Scottish independence, the national security of both Scotland and the remainder of the UK would be jeopardised.[1] Devolution has not extended to defence since it is important to maintain one common approach for the whole of the UK.[2]

Economic impact

The presence of UK defence within Scotland has a significant positive impact on communities, both through the provision of jobs and the growth of local economy.[3] Scottish public finances could suffer as a result of independence, as the new state would have to re-configure the structure of its defence forces – this would cost an indeterminate amount of time and money.[4] The SNP has estimated costs of up to £2.5bn in the re-design of Scotland’s forces; however this amounts to only 7% of the total UK defence budget.[5] Scottish independence could also put thousands of shipyard jobs at risk, as it is unlikely that the UK would continue to commission warships to be built on the Clyde.[6]

NATO Membership

If Scotland were granted NATO membership as an independent state, it would still lose out on the benefits of its current place within the UK.[7] Further to this, the SNP’s plans to remove Scotland’s nuclear trident do not match NATO’s basis as a nuclear alliance.[8]

References

  1. HM Government, Scotland Analysis: Defence, https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/ attachment_data/file/248654/Scotland_analysis_Defence_paper-FINAL.pdf
  2. HM Government, Scotland Analysis: Defence, https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/ attachment_data/file/248654/Scotland_analysis_Defence_paper-FINAL.pdf
  3. HM Government, Scotland Analysis: Defence, https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/ attachment_data/file/248654/Scotland_analysis_Defence_paper-FINAL.pdf
  4. HM Government, Scotland Analysis: Defence, https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/ attachment_data/file/248654/Scotland_analysis_Defence_paper-FINAL.pdf
  5. HM Government, Scotland Analysis: Defence, https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/ attachment_data/file/248654/Scotland_analysis_Defence_paper-FINAL.pdf
  6. http://bettertogether.net/blog/entry/independence-would-cost-thousands-of-jobs-defence-firms-confirms
  7. HM Government, Scotland Analysis: Defence, https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/ attachment_data/file/248654/Scotland_analysis_Defence_paper-FINAL.pdf
  8. HM Government, Scotland Analysis: Defence, https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/ attachment_data/file/248654/Scotland_analysis_Defence_paper-FINAL.pdf

Defence post-independence

With its existing defence bases, an independent Scotland would already have the essential infrastructure, and expertise, for the redesign of its military forces.[1] The units of the Scottish Army would retain their identities and traditions upon Scottish independence.[2] The SNP plans to disarm Scotland of its trident by 2020, it argues that Scottish people have never agreed to the country’s ownership of nuclear weapons.[3] Further to this, the presence of nuclear weapons has resulted in a neglect of Scotland’s other defence forces – notably a lack of maritime patrol aircrafts.[4]

Economic impact

An independent defence force could impact positively on the Scottish economy. While Scotland currently contributes £3bn of the UK’s defence spending, a disproportionate £2bn is spent on the country’s forces. The SNP proposes a new budget of between £2.5bn and £3bn, which it argues would also give extra money to the country’s public services.[5]

NATO membership

The SNP plans to apply for NATO membership following independence. Despite its opposition to nuclear weapons, it will join several other non-nuclear NATO members.[6] It would be in the best interests of Scotland’s neighbours in the UK and Europe that an agreement is met regarding its NATO membership. Failure of this would result in a large gap in the security and defence of North West Europe.[7]

References

  1. Chapter 6: International Relations and Defence, Scotland’s Future, http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Publications/2013/11/9348/10
  2. Chapter 6: International Relations and Defence, Scotland’s Future, http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Publications/2013/11/9348/10
  3. Chapter 6: International Relations and Defence, Scotland’s Future, http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Publications/2013/11/9348/10
  4. Chapter 6: International Relations and Defence, Scotland’s Future, http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Publications/2013/11/9348/10
  5. Chapter 6: International Relations and Defence, Scotland’s Future, http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Publications/2013/11/9348/10
  6. Chapter 6: International Relations and Defence, Scotland’s Future, http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Publications/2013/11/9348/10
  7. Chapter 6: International Relations and Defence, Scotland’s Future, http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Publications/2013/11/9348/10