By G.A.Ponsonby
The Ministry of Defence are planning to scrap proposals that would have seen thousands of army jobs coming to Scotland.
In a move that will be a blow to the anti-independence Better Together campaign, a Sunday newspaper has reported that plans by the MoD for a so-called “super garrison” at Kirknewton, outside Edinburgh are expected to be shelved.

According to the Sunday Times, army chiefs are set to scrap the plans that would have led to thousands of soldiers being posted near the Scottish capital.  The newspaper reports that the MoD are advising the UK government to abandon the plans, which were initially announced by former Defence Secretary Liam Fox.

Under Mr Fox’s proposal, five brigades returning from Germany would have been re-located to central Scotland, this was reduced to three this summer by new Defence Minister Philip Hammond.  However the MoD is now urging the UK government to instead re-locate the troops to Salisbury Plain in southern England.

Speaking to the Sunday Times, Angus Robertson, the SNP defence spokesman, said: “The MoD is backtracking on its promises to Scotland before even making the basing announcement.

“A promise was made to build a major new barracks, retain bases, have a new training area, establish a multirole Army brigade and substantially raise troop numbers in Scotland.

“This promise followed disproportionate spending and personnel cuts in Scotland as well as plans to end the RAF presence at two out of three bases.

“Westminster makes bad defence decisions for Scotland and it is high time to improve things and make the right choices in Scotland. To do that we will need a Yes vote in the 2014 independence referendum.”

Any shelving of the plans will come as another blow to the No campaign which last week was left reeling at the news that one of the UKs three shipbuilding yards looks set to be closed by BAE Systems because of cuts to UK defence spending.

Two Scottish yards on the Clyde at Govan and Scotstoun are vying with a base in Portsmouth as each hope to avoid closure.

Speaking to the newspaper, a spokesman for the Better Together anti-independence alliance said: “Scotland is much safer and stronger within the UK.  The separatists’ plans would absolutely decimate the armed services.”


# ButeHouse 2012-12-02 02:08
Better Together is a brilliantly simple slogan............shame it isn't true.

It's only a slogan, a shadow against a wall with no substance which is why we are hearing no exciting plans for a non Independent Scotland following a NO Vote because there will be NO exciting Scotland following a NO Vote......

..there will be a shattered, disappointed Scotland who will see its resources syphoned down to London even quicker than now in case the Nats make a second, more successful try at claiming their massive revenues which flow over the border every day.

We cannot let that happen:

# clootie 2012-12-02 07:16
I keep telling people..........miss this chance and you will see an increase in the asset stripping of Scotland.
# G. P. Walrus 2012-12-02 07:36
I see this sort of thing as acceptance by Westminster that independence is going to happen. They are simply not investing In Scotland now because they see it as money down the drain.
# hiorta 2012-12-02 09:02
Indeed. The Unionist towel is being thrown in.
There is little point in Scotland giving any more money to any more grandiose projects - they always get severely watered down before they happen.

Poorer yet and poorer together.
# parsonrussell 2012-12-02 11:01
I see it as a "What have we got to lose attitude".

Either we get a yes, and they will have invested in our nation, or we get a 'no' and they wont give a shecht about spending on the toothless northerners.
# Macart 2012-12-02 07:57
Yup definitely feel so much safer living under the protective umbrella of a Westminster defence posture. A nuclear target with no army and no air bases. We can all sleep soundly knowing we're better together.
# UpSpake 2012-12-02 08:39
Well, well, well, my predictions came true. All smoke and mirrors by the MOD.
The clue was in the timing, nothing substantial to occur till after the referendum if we can all recall ?.
However, set against a well thought out security and defence strategy by the Scots government then the 'deployments' and the slashing of our airforce bases along with the scrapping of long range reconnisance aircraft could have been put into context of the needs of a Scottish Defence Force.
Pity no such plan existed.
Next, the naval yards.
# Shagpile 2012-12-02 09:20
Portsmouth is not able to build or launch any warship bigger than a minesweeper I read somewhere recently.

Scotland will probably need the capacity of both Clyde yards to rebuild our navy. I would imagine there will be maintenance contracts our fleet of P3 Orion to be awarded.

The absolutely daft bit about this is that they are not considering the future defence requirements of the rUK.

There will be cooperation in defence. Only a fool or bigot would think otherwise. Westminster is stuffed fool of both, so no surprises there.

I envisage as a product of the independence negotiations, Scotland will probably receive 4 minesweepers in addition to the 2 or 3 ships we may be entitled to. It makes economic sense, and it makes sense in terms of defence needs... for both nations.

The only uncertainty in my above is the actual hardware/assets BAE might be asked to maintain. They are not the only NATO approved contractors.
# cardrossian 2012-12-02 11:17
The SDA envisages two small naval fleets for the coastal defence of Scotland, one for the west coast and one for the east coast, all boats to be suitable for the actual task, and all boats to be built in Scotland. The air and land forces required would of course complement this, all procurement being carried out in Scotland where possible. (There are obviously some things we would have to buy from abroad)
Of course we proabably can't do that under EU rules, but since we have no intention of remaining in the EU, preferring to be in EFTA, that problem should not arise.
# exel 2012-12-02 12:22
cardrossian 2012-12-02 11:17: Are you for real: “All boats to be built in Scotland”

I can just see it the SDA manifesto for 2016, “we will transfer all navel procurement to the north east of Scotland where we have a predominance of BOAT BUILDERS”
# fynesider 2012-12-02 13:09
"Of course we proabably (sic) can't do that under EU rules, but since we have no intention of remaining in the EU, preferring to be in EFTA, that problem should not arise"

Totally agree..
# Mad Jock McMad 2012-12-02 14:14
The SNP proposal is for the SDF naval force to based around 6 Type 23's we will be entitled to plus around 20 OPV's. The main naval base is to be at Faslane with an OPV patrol base at Invergordon to cover the North Sea and Norwegian Sea.

This is part of a fully costed defence plan including the air wing and land force that will cost £1 billion less per annum to run than we currently pay for 'Better Together Defence' to Westminster according to the independent RUSI report.

If we order the new Type 26 from BAE they will be built in Scotland at Govan and Scotstoun because BAE have already stated to build the type 26 at Portsmouth requires additional investment to create the infrastructure and capacity required where as no investment is required in their Clyde yards. Under EU defence procurement rules countries can make home based companies 'preferred supliers' on security grounds - in the UK two examples are BAE and Augusta Westland.
# piston broke 2012-12-02 11:01
I never really believed that more troops would be based in Scotland. What I'm wondering though is what happens if we achieve independence, as I believe we will.
We will have to be given our share of military hardware as part of the settlement. Will this equipment come to us complete, or will they attempt to remove all of the secret stuff first, leaving us with shells?
# bringiton 2012-12-02 12:27
Or a pro rata reduction in our share of the Westminster debt.
# alexb 2012-12-02 11:07
Comes up to the usual standard of the "jam tomorrow" promises which never materialise. And the same will happen if the no vote prevails. It doesn't bear thinking about.
# govanite 2012-12-02 13:32
O/T watching politics show

BBC trying hard to criticise Salmond again. The FM not quite going as far as calling them what they are, but the day is coming.

We must never forget that no matter how often the BBC claim objectivity, they have a vested interest in the continuance of the union. They are stakeholders in the union. No matter how nuanced, they are unable to prevent their interest creeping in to the discussion and tainting their objectivity. The toast of tripoli being just one example. For a broadcaster funded via taxation to use that language is disgraceful.

I think that now is the time for the SG to take the gloves off. After all media behaviour is in the spotlight and it would not be out of context to raise the issue publically. At least remove the veneer of objectivity at the BBC. There is little to lose, they are attacking independence daily. With open conflict the cloak is removed. Without objective credibility their impact is reduced.
# Davy 2012-12-02 17:03
I watched the politics show as well, and Isobel Fraser was relentless in her attacks on Alex Salmond regarding the Leveson report, then she had Lamont and Davidson on immediately after asking them what they thought of it, and only asked them "once" jointly about the number of times their parties had been in bed with the press and let both of them off with a none commitial reply to the question.

It was a disgraceful event and certainly showed exactly that Isobel Fraser and the BBC's position's were firmly in the unionist camp.

Alba Gu Brath.
# mackdee 2012-12-02 13:59
"Blow for anti-inpendence campaign"

Its a blow for Scotland!!!!!
# gedguy2 2012-12-02 14:30
Are we really surprised that the UK government has backtracked on its promises? I would have been surprised if they hadn't backtracked.
# Louperdowg 2012-12-02 14:30
Slightly OT, but I heard from a property developer friend yesterday that the London based (but with Edinburgh offices) chartered surveyors that he uses are advising that he knocks down the value of his properties by a substantial amount due to "the economic downturn and the uncertainty about Independence".

Shocking really, and a symptom of the Unionist mindset which must be countered.

Independence for Scotland should be an opportunity to be grasped by these companies.
# MAcandroid 2012-12-02 20:38
He needs to switch to a Scottish firm of CAs
# daintyapple 2012-12-02 14:57
People, how the hell can we expect the UK's mod to commit to building stuff and basing stuff in a Scotland that might separate from the UK?? This is the kind of head in the sand stuff that the snp and their like do and think. They want separation from the UK and when consequences start to arise of separating, they then start complaining about the consequences.
# maisiedotts 2012-12-02 16:46
Quoting daintyapple:
People, how the hell can we expect the UK's mod to commit to building stuff and basing stuff in a Scotland that might separate from the UK?? This is the kind of head in the sand stuff that the snp and their like do and think. They want separation from the UK and when consequences start to arise of separating, they then start complaining about the consequences.

So how do you explain the asset stripping since 1980? Or as Fruitbat explains the Rosyth Ripoff of 1993?
# daintyapple 2012-12-02 20:22
The asset stripping since the 1980s is due to industry moving from the western world to the east in places like China. So are you going to blame Globalisation of the UK goverment? As for Rosyth, are you going to compare 1 issues two decades ago to the many many decades of UK investment into ship building in Scotland that has benefited Scotland even to the point where England only has 1 UK shipyard and Scotland has 2?
# hiorta 2012-12-02 18:11
There seems little point in advising dainty apple et al that when Scotland retakes her 'free' status, there is no UK.
# Breeks 2012-12-02 22:07
Simple answer is we don't expect it Daintyapple. Lies and deception are what we've come to expect from Westminster. Westminster promises the earth to keep Scotland quiet and happy, then quietly sells us out.

The SNP fights to defend what Scotland's already got with one hand, while trying to secure Independence with the other hand so the country can be governed properly for the good of its people.

Westminster promised Scotland the troops being based here to sugar the pill of losing our air bases. Now the air bases are gone without a ruck, they can sell us out on yet another promise.

It's time to vote YES and get Scotland run by the people who put Scotlands interests first and don't treat our assets and interests as expendible.

Every asset lost is one more asset an independent Scotland needs to rebuild. You say the SNP has it's head in the sand??? Why not ask yourself who it is selling us out? It's not the SNP.
# Edna Caine 2012-12-02 22:49
daintyapple -

I'd be quite happy if the UK MOD kept all the troops in England. Also if they refused to place any orders with the Clyde yards.

This would be seen as petty posturing and give a huge boost to the vote for separation. It would also mean that, when independence is achieved, the new Scottish Government, of whatever hue, could advertise placements for the cream of the armed forces and plan its own needs in a modern defence environment.
# Fruitbat 2012-12-02 15:04
Don't be too sure about the Clyde being safe. Remember what happened to Rosyth in 1993! When the new Trident submarines were meant to go there for maintenance as it had facilities that required only a minor upgrade the contract went to Devonport as it was a Tory stronghold - and they needed an investment of over 140 million pounds to upgrade their dock facilities and the approach channel was also too shallow for the boats draft. Now Rosyth is a 'store' for old nuclear submarines - I think 7 just now.
# oldnat 2012-12-02 17:11
Look on the bright side. It reduces the ability of the UK to ship a lot of "No" voters into Scotland.
# velofello 2012-12-02 17:12
I think this "leak" by the Sunday Times is what the Establishment term "rough wooing. Now you can have it now you cannot, we have the power to decide". I do remember posting here last year that the Kirknewton barracks would never come into being.
Next up closure of one of the Clyde shipyards with investment in Portsmouth to bring it up to requirements. The Portsmouth investment cost ? "No matter, whatever it takes".
You have to face what you are up against here. The UK Establishment's strategy is to maintain the UK's standing and influence in global affairs, and presumably their overseas investments. The investment cost to upgrade Portsmouth will come out of our taxes, whether direct or indirect - whatever it takes.
The Establishment's rough wooing of Scotland is intended to herd the undecided fearty sheep into the Better Together fold.
# Rafiki 2012-12-02 17:14
Kirknewton was always pie in the sky. The MOD spent millions refurbishing Glencorse not all that long age; surely they wouldn't want to waste that money?
# Alibi 2012-12-02 19:41
"The separatists’ plans would absolutely decimate the armed services.”

I don't actually see a 10% reduction in military strength as being a bad thing - given that we won't be waging any illegal wars...

Of course the BT spokesman probably doesn't know what "decimate" actually means, namely exactly a 10% reduction.
# Willie Hogg 2012-12-03 14:09
Alibi, you remind me that the original use of the term decimation referred to the Roman Army's collective punishment of rebellious legionnaires. They randomly selected one tenth of the force for crucifixion. Similarly, the French army shot every tenth man in rebellious units in the First World War. It seems BT fears Scotland faces such punishment.

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