Referendum 2014
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Referendum 2014
The Scottish independence referendum and the debate about Scotland's constitutional future
Curated by Peter A Bell
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Defence and Foreign Policy in an Independent Scotland

Defence and Foreign Policy in an Independent Scotland | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it
In 1985 Thatcher signed off theAl-Yamamah arms deal between Britain and Saudi Arabia worth an estimated £20 billion. In 2008 JosephStiglitz published details of the worlds first 3 Trillion Dollar W...
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The missing (hundreds of) millions

The missing (hundreds of) millions | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it
Today's papers are full of a report from right-wing thinktank the Institute for Fiscal Studies proclaiming that an independent Scotland would be even more unaffordable than the last time it was com...
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Yes vote ‘worse than Suez’ for UK defence policy

Yes vote ‘worse than Suez’ for UK defence policy | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it
SCOTTISH independence would be a “more seismic event” for British defence and foreign policy than the 1957 Suez crisis which effectively ended the UK’s status as a world imperial power, a leading expert has claimed.
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Royal Navy is now 'too small' to protect Britain

Royal Navy is now 'too small' to protect Britain | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it
CUTS to the Royal Navy have left it too small to meet its commitments, a naval historian warned yesterday.
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Scotland is the bedrock of Britain's defences - Telegraph

Scotland is the bedrock of Britain's defences - Telegraph | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it
The SNP's proposals for its future armed forces are risible and would undermine the UK’s safety
Peter A Bell's insight:

Con Coughlin displays all the ignorance of Scotland's independence movement that one would expect from a British journalist as well as all the sneering contempt for Scotland that we would expect from a British nationalist fanatic. But there is something more here. Something that seems to fit with a coordinated series of defence-related pronouncements from the British establishment over the last few days. Something with very disturbing undertones.

Con Coughlin appears to be suggesting that Scotland's independence poses a threat to the security of the rest of the UK (rUK). There is a distinctly Putinesque tone to a diatribe which, in another context, would surely be interpreted as a thinly veiled threat of military intervention to thwart the democratic process.

Of course, Coughlin is just another opinionated, self-important hack who mistakes his prejudices for wisdom. He certainly doesn't speak for the UK Government. But he does provide a glimpse into the pernicious ideology of extreme British nationalism. Such people are always worth keeping an eye on.

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Is the war over yet?

Is the war over yet? | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it

It feels like the blitz.  The heavy artillery has been deployed [again] to bombard the Scots into submission.

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The Navy Lark

The Navy Lark | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it
Admiral Sir George Michael Zambellas KCB DSC DL First Sea Lord   HMS Pinafore… Be careful to be guided by this golden rule Stick close to your desks and never go to sea And you all may be Rule...
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Don't believe defence scares, British security could benefit from Scottish independence

Don't believe defence scares, British security could benefit from Scottish independence | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it
Former British Vice Admiral John McAnally entered into the Scottish constitutional debate the other day by warning of the “dire” defence implications for Scotland and the rest of the United Kingdom should…
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MoD ‘used Twitter’ for Russian warship information

MoD ‘used Twitter’ for Russian warship information | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it
QUESTIONS have been raised over the lack of maritime surveillance in the UK after Defence Secretary Philip Hammond admitted that his department relied on Twitter for information about a Russian warship which moored in Scottish waters over the christmas period.
Peter A Bell's insight:

One can only wonder at the perverse "logic" of British nationalists as they argue that the failings and deficiencies of the British state's defence policy constitute a reason for Scotland staying in the union.

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The monsters of Foreignland

The monsters of Foreignland | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it
If it's Thursday, it must be foreigners. Today's terror attack on the independence movement is an attempted pincer movement, themed (again) around the dire menace posed to us by those swarthy, prim...
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Defence of the realm: how Scotland will protect itself is suddenly on the frontline of debate

FEW independence debates generate such heated discussion as that around defence.

Peter A Bell's insight:

One should never read any media message without considering its purpose. We should always ask what the piece is for - what it is intended to do. In the case of most articles in the mainstream media concerning Scotland's independence debate the answer is not difficult to deduce. The purpose is to promote fear and uncertainty.

Ostensibly, of course, the purpose is to analyse and inform. But we rarely find any meaningful analysis. And virtually none that seriously questions the claims of the anti-independence campaign. There's usually little in the way of actual information and what we do get is very selective.

A good clue to the bias of such articles is what's missing. There will be disparaging comments about SNP defence proposals for an independent Scotland, but UK Government plans will rarely be examined in order to provide a picture of what awaits us should the people of Scotland fail to seize the opportunity of independence.

We are told nothing of the defence thinking of other pro-independence parties apart from the SNP - despite the fact that these parties will have a significant role in independence negotiations and in the future governance of independent Scotland.

We are certainly not told of the lies being peddled by the No campaign's propaganda machine. Such as the claim that the SNP had proposed using Hawk trainers in a combat role. Completely untrue, of course, but a falsehood which British nationalists continue to promulgate.

Also missing are thoughtful and thought-provoking positive perspectives on the defence issue such as that which appeared in this very newspaper some six months ago under the headline,"Defence of the new realm" (http://bit.ly/1fjgAla). One might reasonably have supposed that the thoughts of Dr Phillips O'Brien, director of the Scottish Centre for War Studies at the University of Glasgow, might be considered a valuable contribution to the debate. But they do not serve the purpose of promoting uncertainty, so they are excluded.

Similarly, it is hard to see how something purporting to be an analysis of the issue of defence in an independent Scotland could possibly ignore the recent contribution from think-tank, Scottish Global Forum. Their paper, "Securing The Nation: Defending an Independent Scotland" (http://bit.ly/1i9giQj), offers arguably the most thorough examination of an independent Scotland's defence options so far produced. But it is generally positive in tone, therefore it has no place in the narrative presented by the mainstream media.

Kate Devlin is right. The defence issue is one of the more heated aspects of the independence debate. Wouldn't it be good if the media were to provide some light to go with that heat?

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Silly scare story about armed forces proved false | Yes Scotland

Silly scare story about armed forces proved false | Yes Scotland | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it

Another day and another silly scare story from the No campaign. This time from officials at the Ministry of Defence. The team of the Defence Secretary, Philip Hammond, say Scots could join the UK armed forces post-independence only if it was in the "national interest".

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Navy urged to go Danish should Scotland gain independence

AN INDEPENDENT Scotland should equip its navy with Danish frigates built under licence on the Clyde, according to a new report.
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Voting No will give you cancer

Voting No will give you cancer | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it
Voting No WON'T give you cancer at all, of course. (Although with the English NHS now privatising cancer care, with the likely knock-on effects on Scottish NHS funding, you'd better hope even harde...
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Scottish independence: Scrapping Trident 'could shift power from West to East' - Telegraph

Scottish independence: Scrapping Trident 'could shift power from West to East' - Telegraph | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it
Ending the UK's nuclear capability is a 'far greater' issue than the SNP realises and will affect geopolitics for years, leading think tank claims in scathing report
Peter A Bell's insight:

How is it possible to come out with such ill-informed, confused and often contradictory nonsense and still be labelled a "leading think-tank"?

The rubbish about independence meaning rUK would have Tory governments in perpetuity has been debunked so often and so comprehensively that only someone who keeps their head in a warm, moist place could have failed to realise that it is utter bunkum. And did it not occur to Professor Dorman that, even supposing rUK did have continuous Tory government it would be because that is what the people of rUK voted for? The fundamentals of democracy seem to be a bit of a mystery to the good Professor.

The stuff about "Scots caught in turmoil abroad" is pure scaremongering. Evacuating civilians from trouble-spots is problematic for any country, including the UK. There is no reason whatever to believe that such problems would be any more intractable for Scotland than for any other nation. And is Professor Dorman really saying that rUK would refuse assistance in such circumstances? Would any country other than rUK be so petty?

Professor Dorman is also sorely ill-informed if he seriously imagines that the SNP has plans to scrap Trident after independence. The SNP is a political party. Political parties don't have that kind of power. Only governments do. And the Scottish Government will have no power to scrap Trident, only to insist on its removal from Scotland. Unless it is being suggested that rUK would "gift" its weapons of mass destruction to Scotland, then the obscenity would remain entirely the responsibility of rUK.

Perhaps most idiotic of all, however, is the contradiction of acknowledging Scotland's strategic importance to the defence of the UK while suggesting that Scotland would be excluded from Nato. It doesn't take a defence expert to realise that the factors which make Scotland strategically important to the British state also make Scotland critically important to Nato.

The Scottish Government has clearly signalled its intention to cooperate fully with rUK, other European nations and Nato in defence matters. Is Professor Dorman really suggesting that rUK would refuse that cooperation? And that others might follow suit?

What I find most offensive about all of this, however, is the arrogance with which Professor assumes that the people of Scotland should sacrifice the rightful constitutional status of their nation and their own sovereignty in order to serve the interests of a British state with lingering imperialist pretensions. We've done that for over 300 years. Enough!

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You And Whose Army?

You And Whose Army? | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it
What is it about Britain that makes the Unionists proud? If you ask, it wont be long before someone mentions the war. Defence seems to be a keystone of belief in Britain, as if regiments, march pas...
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Rum, sodomy, and the lash

It's another of Project Fear's carefully coordinated frightnights. It's another drive-by Tory. This time it's Tory Defence Minister Philip Hammond, again. Phil has come to Scotland to make a positi...
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Keep watching the skies

Keep watching the skies | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it
Remember, readers, how last year "Better Together" tried to ridicule the fact that we'd put a satirical line about "space monsters" into one of the questions in our first Panelbase poll? Remember h...
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It is the English who should be on their knees, begging the Scots to vote ‘No’

It is the English who should be on their knees, begging the Scots to vote ‘No’ | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it
In the entire global history of the political campaign, has any been more misconceived, wretchedly executed and potentially self-defeating than the one designed to keep Scotland within the United Kingdom?
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Hammond: Scots need more evidence to vote Yes...No means extra devo powers

Hammond: Scots need more evidence to vote Yes...No means extra devo powers | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it
DEFENCE Secretary Philip Hammond has said he has faith in the basic common sense of the Scottish people to see through Alex Salmond's "half-baked rhetoric" and reject independence.
Peter A Bell's insight:

Another pompous, patronising British politician ventures north to lecture and scold the people of Scotland. The mistake that the likes of Hammond make is imagining that other are as impressed with their standing in the British establishment as they are. It would never occur to them that being representative of Westminster, with all its associations of ineptitude and corruption, might actually count against them. That the people of Scotland might actually trust him less, rather than more, because he stands for the British state. Hammond and his ilk genuinely seem to believe that we are all hanging on his every word, however little sense those words make.

His remarks on the subject of the economics of defence spending nicely illustrate the vacuousness of his "argument". He refers to the gross underspend in Scotland - the discrepancy between what Scottish taxpayers contribute and the benefit we derive - but does so without actually addressing the issue. Rather than seeking to challenge the calculations, which might have been difficult, he simply insists that we accept the situation. It doesn't matter that Scotland gets a raw deal because it's for the benefit of the British state.

I wonder how well that same argument would go down if we applied it to London and SE England. Suppose the huge chunk of the defence budget that is pumped into London's economy was instead coming to Scotland, would Hammond defend this on the basis that it didn't matter that Scotland got more than its "fair share" because it was for the benefit of the whole UK? Or would such an argument be inaudible amidst the cantankerous wailing about taxpayers in the south "subsidising" Scotland?

And how much worse would these complaints about "subsidy junky Scotland" be if the people of London and SE England had to watch their taxes boosting Scotland's economy while they received nether economic nor practical benefit? How would they react if Russian warships were sailing up the Thames while the nearest RN vessel that might challenge them was based hundreds of miles away on the Forth or the Clyde?.

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Defence firms urged to speak out

Defence firms urged to speak out | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it
A British Government minister has urged the defence industry to intervene in the Scottish independence debate, prompting SNP concern about "underhand" activity.
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Shawnigan Lake School Law 12's curator insight, April 24, 10:09 AM

Chapter 9&10 The criminal court system & Defence: Michael Labuschagne: Defence firms should speak out because their knowledge of the situation in the Scottish independence debate. Their  Defence of the Defence firms are having the law on their back because they have the right to not speak out as Defence firms even if they know they are doing wrong and they can pass the committee with lies and deceit.

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MoD confirms gaps in Navy tasking in UK Waters | Scottish National Party

MoD confirms gaps in Navy tasking in UK Waters | Scottish National Party | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it

The Ministry of Defence (MOD) has confirmed that there have been recent gaps in the dedicated Royal Navy vessel coverage of UK waters.

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SNP claim Scotland 'under-protected' after armed forces cuts

SNP claim Scotland 'under-protected' after armed forces cuts | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it
Nationalists say committee report shows shortcomings in Coalition defence policies.
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Scottish independence: MoD sinks white paper plan

Scottish independence: MoD sinks white paper plan | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it
THE Scottish Government’s plan for joint defence procurement to save the Clyde shipbuilding industry post-independence has been rejected by the Ministry of Defence.
Peter A Bell's insight:

The contrast is telling. The Scottish government offers a sensible, practical proposal that would work to the mutual benefit of both Scotland and rUK, and the British establishment dismisses it in a knee-jerk reaction without being able to give anything remotely like a sound reason.

Increasingly, the UK government and its agencies are looking like spoilt brats who would rather break a toy rather than share it. Such petty, petulant conduct does not bode well for the negotiations which will be required after a Yes vote next year.

But we should not be too concerned. We should bear in mind that a Yes vote changes everything. The negotiations will not be conducted in the same atmosphere as the campaign. Perhaps the loudest noise we will hear on the morning of 19 September 2014 will not be the jubilant cheering of Scotland's people but the screeching of brakes as hordes of British politicians perform simultaneous U-turns.

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Wave Power

Wave Power | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it

In the annals of liberation struggles I have never come across shipyard contracts being deployed against the natives, but hey ho.


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