Wednesday, 14 December 2011
The Scandinavian Approach
While David Cameron basks in the multitude of plaudits falling from the lips of the tory faithful and Nick Clegg makes a somewhat tragic sight as he attempts to cling onto his armoured car, the Independent threw a glimmer of light on the SNP's proposals for an independent Scotland. I'll leave the analysis of the Cameron non-veto to Richard who has the story so far.
SNP insiders have disclosed key extracts from a 'prospectus for independence' which is currently being compiled, although it will not be published for at least another year.
Rather than focusing on western Europe and the Commonwealth, as the UK does at present, the proposal is to change direction and look north and east for partnerships, trade and key defence relationships. It's exciting to note that the SNP are looking outwith the bubble and a higher level of relationship with Scandinavian countries will do no harm to an independent Scotland.
One aspect occurs though. None of the Scandinavian countries is a full member of the EU. Does this mean the SNP are finally reconsidering their EU policy?
If the independence referendum is won the Scottish government propose:
* To demand 9% of all UK assets, including defence hardware
* To hold a Scottish navy based at Faslane
* To hold a Scottish air force based at Lossiemouth and Kinloss
* An independent Scotland be given the Royal Regiment of Scotland, whose five regular and two territorial battalions would form the backbone of a new independent army.
* To develop a major container port in Fife
I see nothing of concern in these proposals although Scotland will also have to accept their fair share of UK debt.
Somehow the Scottish government will have to ensure the MoD's plans for occupation of army and air force bases are postponed until after the referendum. It would be a gross waste of taxpayers' money if the current plans were processed.
For those who suggest that Scottish military personnel will be ordered to be part of Scotland's defence forces, that is nonsense. It will be on a voluntary basis. But the devil will be in the detail and we must wait until 2014, at the earliest, to know that.