Claims about security after independence feel like propaganda

IN an interview for The Herald on Sunday, former senior Anglo-Scottish spook Sir David Omand lays out his case for the Union and an independent Scotland’s projected inability to defend itself from external threat.

Much of what he says is undoubtedly accurate, but I feel, having digested his points, that there is significant bias in this position and in his conclusions.

He states at one point that there is likely to be external interference in an independence referendum. Frankly, that’s a problem for the UK security forces, not a future independent Scotland’s.

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His view that the nuclear submarines based in Scotland and Nato membership are inextricably linked seems to me to be very tenuous. If Scotland’s seas are considered to be strategically important to the North Atlantic alliance it would seem to be counterproductive for them to exclude Scotland from their club on the basis that England doesn’t want to have to accommodate its nuclear fleet within its own borders. Whether Scotland would actually want to join their organisation is still undecided.

He makes the self-evident point that setting up security and defence capabilities would be complex and costly, and would require cooperation from south of the Border. It would certainly take time, and some investment, but is he seriously suggesting the rUK government would refuse to cooperate in establishing a secure state on its border?

Would it actually refuse to share information on serious crime and terrorist threats? That would seem to be a step too far into self-harm for even Westminster.

In the current circumstances Scotland might well have more access to EU intelligence than the UK has.

If, as he accepts, Denmark, Norway, Finland and the Netherlands are capable of looking after their own security, it’s not remotely clear from the interview why Scotland would be uniquely less capable than they are, or indeed Iceland and the Baltic states are.

His assertion that the security services are not involved in surveillance of “the SNP” may

be true at his time, although I suspect it has not always been so. His follow-up that the UK would have to act if there was “evidence” of subversion threatening the security of the state leaves significant room for interpretation!

What is clear is that Sir David raises the prospect of a return to the era that existed before 1707, in which England interfered routinely and clandestinely in Scottish affairs, using its greater weight to bully, cajole and bribe Scotland into a position where it succumbed to a hugely unpopular Union. Are we to see the same tactics rolled out to obstruct a dissolution of that Union? I’m guessing from the contents of this interview the answer is “yes”. This was one of the most insidious pieces of Unionist propaganda I’ve read in some time.

Cameron Crawford

THE so-called Union is well and truly broken. The world is finally beginning to appreciate this and the foreign media is beginning to appreciate the merits of the devolved nations within the “United Kingdom”, with Nicola’s leadership skills being internationally recognised.

But of course within Westminster we have the devolution-deniers trying desperately at the eleventh hour to reverse this! The power grab, the establishment of Edinburgh House, the Union jacking of Scottish produce, are all indicators Westminster is finally losing its grip over Scotland’s right of self-determination.

They are indignant regarding Scotland’s prowess and recognition on the world stage. Pure jealousy that Holyrood has risen to the challenges of the global pandemic better than Westminster. Nothing more, nothing less.

Robin MacLean
Fort Augustus

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