Thursday, 15 August 2013

Micheal Moore, Scotland and NATO ....

Many will have heard of or read the Micheal Moore's mystical, crystal ball view of an independent Scotland's membership of NATO being denied if we kick Trident into touch. Some may have read and laughed aloud at Severin Carrell's self promoting bull in the Guardian on this matter, loquating over what Micheal Moore may or may not have been told by 'officials' in NATO's Brussels's HQ about denying an independent Scotland's entry to NATO if we boot Trident out of Scotland - if we decide to ask to join.

The 'Yes' Campaign is bound together by one major international issue: the removal of all nuclear weapons from Scotland. The SNP's change of heart over NATO, at its conference at Perth in October 2012, was only passed on the condition that no nuclear weapons of any NATO country would be allowed to be deployed on sovereign Scottish Territory and all current nuclear weapons were removed.

Mr Moore claims you can not be in NATO without agreeing to have nuclear weapons on your territory. This is strange because the Pentagon has accepted the deployment of nuclear weapons by the USA to EU NATO members is politically untenable and operationally dangerous, given Europe's electorates anti-nuclear weapon stance. According to the 2012 'Ploughshare Report', by US nuclear scientists, all Europe based US nuclear weapons are in the process of being repatriated and by now the only Northern European Country in which they may remain is Germany, whose Foreign Minister is putting heavy pressure on the Pentagon via NATO to have removed completely. There are now estimated to be less than 20 US weapons remaining in Italy. No where else in Europe are US (aka NATO) nuclear weapons being actively deployed, or seeking to be deployed - the reverse is true.

Spain, Norway and Denmark's membership of NATO is marked by their refusal to store, stage or deploy NATO nuclear weapons in their waters or on their shores. Thus the precedent is already in place for stipulating a non-nuclear status as a condition of NATO membership. As noted Belgium, Holland and Germany have already forced the removal of the same weapons and are seeking to be nuclear weapon free members as is Italy. This leaves you just wondering who Micheal Moore's source in Brussels is and on which planet they live?

Here's the questions I would like to ask the UK Defence Secretary:

1. Given the Penatgon has made clear to the current UK Government, via NATO, they would prefer the UK to abandon their Trident replacement program and rebuild their conventional forces - why are you persisting with the Trident replacement program?

2. Currently the degree of RN overstretch means for the last five years we have not contributed any ships of any type to Standing Naval Force (Atlantic) which is key to NATO's early response to a surface threat at sea against NATO; given our island economy is reliant on the sea for exports and imports is this a sensible approach in terms of the UK's overall economic security?

3. Why are we reliant on P30 Orions from Eire, Iceland, Norway and Denmark to provide our maritime surveillance capability after the poor decision made about the Nimrod update on which £1 billion had already been squandered - just whose great idea was that on either account?

4. What is the point of deploying Typhoon aircraft which have limited endurance, bomb load and were not designed for ground attack or anti-shipping roles to Lossiemouth. A decision up there with getting rid of the Nimrod's without replacement. It would have made sense to deploy the multi-role RN/RAF Harrier Squadron which could actually fulfill that role but you sold them for their scrap value to the US Marine Corps. Which total numpty made that brain dead decision in the MoD?

5. Given the importance of the Scottish sector North Sea oil and gas fields and their expansion into the North Atlantic to the UK economy why is there no deployment of an armed RN ship to either Rosyth or Faslane on a regular basis and the current protection is provided by a couple of unarmed OPV's of the Coastguard and Fishery Protection Agencies?

The way I see it, a properly balanced Scottish Defence Force, after independence, will provide better all round support to NATO than the UK currently manages with its Trident fixation; so why would NATO not wish Scotland to be a fully participating member - given the hash the MoD has and continues to make of things?

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