Professor Michael E. Smith, the Chair of International Relations at the University of Aberdeen, is a man who it’s fair to say knows his onions when it comes to the politics of transatlantic defence. A native of the USA who describes himself as “increasingly intrigued about independence”, he’s written extensively on EU military and security policy, and also understands the internal machinations of NATO a touch better than plebs such as ourselves or even, dare we say it, Willie Rennie.
An expert analysis on Scotland and NATO from a renowned academic. Professor Smith highlights some of the scaremongering that Better Together are deploying in the vain hope of retaining Trident in order to secure their seat in the United Nations Security Council
Vote Yes in the 2014 Referendum on independence for Scotland.
We’ve already noted part of Willie Rennie’s appearance on Newnight Scotland this week, reinforcing the strange phenomenon by which the Unionist parties continue to suggest that an independent Scotland would be a dictatorial state more reminiscent of Zimbabwe than a modern western democracy with a proportionally-elected parliament.
Watchful readers will know that one of the recurring themes on this site is the impossibility of finding any real ideological differences between the three main Westminster-based parties. But to be scrupulously fair, we think we might have uncovered one now, in the light of this week’s bizarre Lib Dem policy paper on Trident.
DOWNING Street has been quick to pour cold water on media reports that the Ministry of Defence (MoD) is toying with the notion of declaring the Trident nuclear submarine base in the Firth of Clyde a "sovereign base area", in the event of Scottish voters opting for independence. Effectively, this would mean Faslane and its nuclear stockpile remaining under British sovereignty, controlled by the MoD itself.
Even moderately alert readers will recall our expressing slight concern on Saturday at the recent disappearance of a page from the Scottish TUC website, in which the trade-union organisation outlined its view that the renewal of the Trident nuclear weapons system would result in a net loss of thousands of jobs in Scotland – a position which is strongly at odds with that of the Labour Party.
It has long been clear that, if they remain in government, the Tories intend to replace Trident, and this week’s Lib Dem Trident Alternatives Review shows that they are also committed to maintaining the UK as a nuclear state in the face of public opposition. But what of the Labour Party?
The No campaign is fond of mocking the SNP’s insistence that an independent Scotland could be a member of NATO while still getting rid of Trident. The USA in particular, it’s frequently argued, would simply not stand for the Scots taking the strategic base at Faslane out of the North Atlantic picture while still seeking the benefits of the alliance’s military presence and protection.
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