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Anonymous

While I strongly disagree with the SNP’s stance on Trident and Scottish Independence, I object to your term “a toxic force in British politics” to describe the democratically elected MP’s representing the vast majority of the Scottish people and your anti-SNP sentiment. Perhaps it should be considered that the rise in Nationalism in Scotland may have a lot to do with the abject failures of the other parties and not necessarily just a desire for independance. Oh, and I am a Scot, living in Scotland and damn proud of it. I have the greatest respect for our British Armed Services and have concerns about future cuts in the defence budget.
Bryan Pitbladdo, Edinburgh.

Mike

Hi Bryan. I agree I don’t think we should demonise what is really just a reflection of our present voting process. The SNP do now represent the vast majority of the Scottish electorate although they do not necessarily reflect their views. Likewise we have a ‘majority’ Conservative government in the UK when we clearly do not all hold views that match the elected government. In statistical terms I really believe all elections/referendum should quote the %’s in relation of those eligible to vote. This would be a far better indicator of how strongly people do actually agree with a parties policies. For example in the general election 24.5% of those eligible voted Conservative. In Scotland 35.5% of those eligible voted SNP, interestingly 150,000 less than voted Yes in the referendum. Bringing this back to defence the latest available figures for retaining nuclear weapons for example show that the Scottish Public: Agree 44% Disagree 36% whilst the rest of the UK: Agree 51% Disagree 27%. So of those in Scotland who expressed a view a greater proportion will be unrepresented by their MPs, unless of course they are prepared to recognise this! I suspect attitudes to defence in general would show even less difference between parts of the UK, I’m pretty sure a true majority in all parts would support stronger defence in an increasingly troubled world, where party politics not constantly muddying the waters and driving a wedge between us.

navylookout

Thank for your comments Bryan. I stand by comments that SNP will be a toxic force, but let’s be clear I am not anti-scottish, love Scotland and believe strongly that the Union in best for us all. (This writer was born in England but has Scottish grandparents). I would accept that Westminster has not always done what’s best for Scotland and Scottish Labour has dismally failed to represent them. But the harsh truth is that an independent Scotland will be financially far worse off, less secure and the SNP’s plans for a bigger public sector will quickly plunge the new nation into heavy debt and crash their economy.
There is no problem with the Scots having further autonomy for domestic affairs but the Union is best for our defence (even if you discount Trident) and provides greater clout on foreign policy. Nicola Sturgeon has one over-riding aim – to gain independence and cares little for what is best for the UK, arriving at a Parliament she does not respect or believe in and carrying a nasty dose of anti-English sentiment. She has already started haranguing Cameron with demands for another referendum. See: http://www.breitbart.com/london/2015/05/15/sturgeon-demands-give-me-more-powers-or-well-hold-another-referendum/

UKExpat

I am very sorry to have to say this but I have to agree that the SNP are definably an extremely Toxic force which clearly does not represent the majority of the Scottish people. They only came close in the referendum by cheating and telling lies. The cheating revolved around getting the vote for immature 16 year old children and not allowing the million or so Scots resident elsewhere to vote. There was a multitude of lies examples of which include no Scottish admission to the EU, as Spain and Italy were going to blackball them, there would be little or no Scottish oil money, given that 2/3 rds. of the oil is in Shetland and Orkney waters whose populations clearly want nothing to do with an independent Scotland, add in the oil price drop and there is little or no oil money left, the Scottish offshore fishing fleet would instantly be out of business as it is dependant on having EU quotas, 90% of the UK’s quotas are currently used by Scottish trawlers and would be lost, definitely no RN warship production in Scotland as it would be far to expensive for the UK. Add in the effect that the UK to comply with the EU may have make a closed border it is highly likely that had Scotland become independent after the referendum it would either be bankrupt now or poorer than Greece.
The current state of affairs is also very precarious as a one party state is often the first step towards dictatorship, Even though there is no vast majority as the SNP polled 1.4 million votes and the others polled nearly 1 million again with out recourse to the million or so Scots living in other parts of the UK who could not vote against the SNP. I feel so sad when I see the terrible predicament that the Scotland has got itself into particularly when you factor in what the SNP will do to both Scotland and the UK as it keeps running head long for independence irrespective of the damage it will do to both parties. Poor Scotland!

Tiny Toy

Some European nations are increasing spending, but they’re doing so from a position of spending considerably less than we are currently. Even if we reduce spending considerably, we would still be spending more (as a percentage of GDP) than they will be after increasing it.
Other European states (France, Italy) manage to get a great deal more bang for their buck than we do in the UK. We need to be a lot smarter. The CVF and F-35B shambles is a ridiculous white elephant that will carry on sucking funding out of other areas for decades to come, severely limiting the number of Astutes and GCS we can build and perpetuating the incredible total absence of capability in marine patrol and BMD.

ThirstySailor

The SDSR will be very interesting indeed, if the T26s or CVS capability is cut that will be absolutely shocking. The T23 fleet is now expected to run well into 2020 and beyond, the manpower chaos deepening all the time as we demand far more from much less. Our politicians know the cost of everything but the value of nothing and wont stop cutting our once great Royal Navy until it is far too late.
Manpower gapping despite axeing the T22 frigates and all the T42 destroyers and Illustrious is still in a very fragile state. Can the reserve forces plans cover the capability gaps and manpower gaps throughout the fleet? I think we are very close to a headline event due to the utter shambles of the manpower within the RN now.
Can do attitide they always said, I suspect many are now looking to civvy street and thinking ‘I can do’ much better outside…..

JJ

As much as I appreciate the requirement to have a nuclear deterrent such as Trident I think people fail to realize the sheer destructive power nuclear weapons have and if we were ever put in a position where we have to use them you can almost be certain that there will be an equal response if not greater (for example from Russia who have put a priority on nuclear capability) the consequences of such will be catastrophic not just for the U.K but the E.U as a whole. My primary concern lies in our missile defense which I believe falls down solely to our 6 type 45 destroyers, Now I realize there are missile defense facilities in the E.U that we also count on for missile defense but that’s in an ideal scenario expecting they won’t disabled by some means or overwhelmed, The fact of the matter is that for our independent missile defense of our country alone we are relying on 6 type 45 destroyers for the defense of over 60 million people and that is if all 6 types 45’s are equipped with ABM’s all at one time.
My point here is that I don’t see the point in investing in an already existing nuclear capability when we have very little means to independently defend ourselves from an equal if not greater response of nuclear weapons, It’s all well and great being able decimate a country off the map but if the chances are we’ll be melted in the process then there are no victors, A real deterrent lies in the ability of being able make the enemy’s offensive capability completely in-effective.

Sarah Jane Cook

Vested interest here, daughter at Dartmouth. However, it seems to me that the easiest way to save money would be to axe the RAF. The army flies and operates on land, the navy flies and operates on water and land – and the RAF is the junior service!

AlanN

Mr Cameron now finds himself in control of one of the worlds most historic and important military forces for freedom in the history of mankind. Cuts to defence spending always look like a good idea to politicians of all parties in piece time, but he should remember that the primary role of any government should be the defence of its people and their freedoms and (to quote a man far more famous and influential on world history than ether me or Mr Cameron) “To build may have to be the slow and laborious task of years. To destroy can be the thoughtless act of a single day.”

Hugh Grant

Whilst the so called SNP is not the problem – Obviously they are NOT part of the solution either. The SNP killed the Labour party and allowed the Conservatives to get back in – IN power and without a coherent opposition. Thank you Nicola for achieving that. But the problem as always is not Scotland’s wee voice it is Westminster and politicians. Defence needs to be taken out of the hands and ideologies of politicians and placed in concrete in the law of the people. But alas it won’t be. I remember in my Navy days worrying about defence cuts in the 1970’s. Today I watch and worry if there is ever going to be a valid military defence for the UK – both now and in the future. Russia, China, Middle East, etc, all are building up and their mind set is clearly aimed at a future conflict. Their preparations are not simply a waste of time and money but a concerted planned action for a future within their thinking. UK was not ready for WWI or WWII – And is evidently not going to be ready for the next war. UK Political philosophy today is not good stable management and leadership in dangerous times, it has become Liberal and naïve. We need a Churchill and there isn’t one on the horizon. Perhaps the end really is nigh.
Hugh Grant.
Inverness.

Bill Gibbons

It’s a shame politicians see pounds instead of capability, perhaps one problem is BEA, lack of competition leads to the building of ships to make profit for the dealers not capability for the navy .
Britain has always been inventive , but always give that away .
It’s a shame to see our navy so depleted when we can give away 12 billion each year in “aid”
The defence of the realm first , aid second , and third ensuring the aid goes where it should .
If war breaks out we have no capability to defend , double the destroyers and double the frigates and let’s have the navy the nation deserves .
The astutes are built , double them too.
And please less of this fitted for but not with , a billion pound ship should be fitted with all the assests it needs to avoid being sunk .
It’s no Good having a Ferrari with out an engine .