Thursday 16 December 2010
Are Scotland's Assets Being Stripped Once Again?
In the past few weeks there has been discussed about which RAF base in Scotland, namely Lossiemouth or Kinloss, will be chosen for closure as part of the Westminster government's recent defence review. Now Leuchars has been introduced to the debate the day we learn than 200 RAF Leuchars staff are to be deployed to Afghanistan next year.
It's been impossible for me to give knowledgeable comment on the Lossiemouth and Kinloss debate but I do have some knowledge of Leuchars - not least because the very name means RAF in this this part of Scotland. It has been there for 100 years and constantly added to the Fife community and the safety of the islands which compose the nation of Scotland. Less than ten years ago it lost its highly commended search and rescue service, leaving the burden to RAF Lossiemouth. That was a drastic decision which affected lowland Scotland, yet little protest was made.
The Scottish government are lobbying for RAF Leuchars to survive. The people have to lobby for both Lossiemouth and Leuchars to survive. If these bases are allowed to be closed they will never be reopened. Remember the promises given about industry reinventing itself after Margaret Thatchers cuts? Industry couldn't. Their bases were no longer there.
Today we have Westminster deciding Scotland only requires one 24 hour coastguard station. My long-dead father will be birling in his grave. In the past 40 years the coastguard service has been gradually reduced causing our seafarers concern. Scotland's waters are not only associated with oil, but we have a struggling fishing industry which relies upon the expertise of their nearest coastguard in case of emergency. It's not only seafarers who reply upon the service, it is communities who exist in coastal areas. In the past I've mentioned Scotland's coastline these days is wide open to all and this decision that make that far more evident. We're never informed of the smuggling which goes on around Scottish coastlines, nor are we informed about other illegalities.
Perhaps I'm being paranoid. I'm quite prepared for that accusation. But I do think Scotland is being further isolated from England.
It's up to the Scots to stand up and protest. Don't forget, independence will never be offered, it will be taken. In this new Westminster coalition they have nothing to lose destroying Scotland in this way.