Report calls for a defence revolution to help win independence


THE coronavirus pandemic is “irrefutable proof” that security policy must be “revolutionised”, anti-nuclear campaigners say.

In a new report, SNP CND, which opposes nuclear weapons, argues that the principle of human security – which seeks to identify and address challenges to public survival, livelihood and dignity – should direct policy in an independent Scotland.

The UK Government has come under heavy criticism for what is seen as a lack of preparation for the pandemic.

According to the report, a shift in emphasis from traditional defence to aspects of wellbeing would guard against future health crises, climate change and more.

And the activists claim that by adopting this strategy their political party could gain a “distinct advantage over its main electoral rivals” in 2021, potentially making constitutional change more likely.

The report argues that “the traditional post-imperial national security approach is hardwired into British thinking”.

It states: “The Covid crisis makes certain that the 2021 Scottish Parliament election will be about much more than who wields a range of devolved powers more efficiently and a bit more equitably.

“As people go to the polls they will ask if they and theirs would be safer or less safe in an independent Scotland.”

Arguing that the multi-billion pound Trident system has “no utility in any security paradigm”, the report – titled Scotland’s Place In the World: An equitable and sustainable approach to the development of the foreign and defence policies of an independent Scotland – contends that a Scottish national security policy must be driven by the country’s human security needs.

Comparing Scotland to other nations like Ireland and New Zealand, it calls for a Scottish Government consultation on security strategy and argues that the human security move would allow leaders to begin preparing to defend the population against the impact of climate change.

Bill Ramsay, convenor of SNP CND and author of the report, said: “The unpreparedness of the United Kingdom for the Covid-19 pandemic is irrefutable proof that when it comes to the protection of the life and the social and the economic wellbeing of everyone, there needs to be nothing short of a conceptual revolution in how government thinks about, plans and puts in place security policy.”

He went on: “The challenges of climate change have actually signalled the demise of the national security approach as the principal means of scoping out real and potential threats.

“The Covid-19 crisis has simply brought this forward.

“This is not to say that Scotland does not have issues of national security to resolve – of course it does, and of course it always will have.

“In 21st-century Scotland, as everywhere else, the security threat scale has been transformed. Much of what really matters is no longer addressed by traditional armed forces responses. This is most starkly obvious when one considers the plight of the USA.

“As one US military analyst and Iraq War supporter put it in a Washington Post op-ed a couple of weeks ago, ‘We need N95 masks not F-35 fighter aircraft’.”

On the political element, he continued: “We believe that as this report highlights Scotland’s inherent geopolitical stability it will have an important role to play in framing the narrative for indyref2.

“A familiar trope of indyref1 was that Scotland is ‘too wee and too poor’. That trope had a sibling, that Scotland is ‘too wee, too isolated and too weak’.

“Our indyref2 strategy should have us on the front foot.”

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