The case for Yes: By Danny McCafferty, chairman of Yes West Dunbartonshire Better together focus exclusively on the SNP, ignoring the fact that the overwhelming majority of voters are not in any political party.

Among them are a great many that support independence or are undecided. they deserve respect.

The focus in this article is defence, something which affects us all, regardless of party politics.

At a time of “austerity” involving destruction of our welfare state, public service cuts, job losses and wage freezes, proposals to spend £100 billion renewing a weapon of mass destruction makes no sense.

Surely priorities must be to defend our NHS, housing, education and pensions, and not maintaining a weapon capable of destroying humanity?

Trident has not saved jobs. It undermines employment on conventional defence. If renewed it will continue to do so.

Over the lifetime of the existing programme 40,000 UK defence jobs have been lost.

A weapon which must not ever be used blocking creation of jobs and services we need.

Scottish CND co-ordinator, John Ainslie has stated that there is a deliberate attempt to scare the public by exaggerating the economic implications of nuclear disarmament.

He is backed by Stephen Boyd, S c o t t i s h Trades Union Congress assistant secretary, who described suggestions that 11,000 jobs would be lost if Trident were not replaced as inaccurate.

Figures released by the Ministry of Defence under Freedom of Information revealed that 520 civilian jobs at Faslane and Coulport are directly dependent on Trident.

Contradicting CND, STUC and the Ministry of Defence, Better Together continues with the untruth that removing nuclear weapons from HMNB Clyde would wipe out 11,000 jobs.

Their negative campaigning is unsurprisingly called “Project Fear.” Workers do have fears over future job security. Better Together plays on those fears.

Logically, it isn’t a reason for voting no. The opposite is true. It is a case for diversification away from Trident to something more sustainable and worthwhile, opening up career opportunities for present and future generations. Only a YES vote will deliver that.

The possession of nuclear weapons is immoral. Constructive engagement with trade unions to develop and implement alternative employment plans endorsed by the workforce is essential.

Taking on board the concerns of defence workers is in the interest of the peace movement.

Getting rid of Trident removes the fear of nuclear war, simultaneously freeing up resources for productive, socially useful work.

There are differences of opinion within the YES movement as to whether Scotland should seek to retain membership of NATO. That’s a healthy debate. Britain, France and America possess nuclear weapons.

The other 25 member states don’t. Canada and Norway won’t host nuclear weapons on their soil. Scotland would be in a similar position.

Britain would cease to have that capability after a YES vote since Trident cannot be relocated anywhere else.

That leaves only France and America. It would be a significant reduction brought about through voting YES.

An independent Scotland will continue to require workers in the conventional defence industry and Faslane will be the HQ for the Scottish Defence Force (army, navy, air force) with thousands of jobs on site.

Establishing, developing and maintaining multiple resources of protection rather than a single weapon of aggression entails real defence; of jobs; of communities; of our country.

And we will never again be dragged into illegal wars based on lies and misinformation.

BAE Systems announced last year that naval shipbuilding would end in Portsmouth, consolidating its foothold on the Clyde.

The company said that it had agreed with the Ministry of Defence “to consolidate its shipbuilding operations in Glasgow with investments in facilities to create a worldclass capability.” The firm has released details of two investment options for its Govan and Scotstoun shipyards.

One of the options is a £200m single site strategy, while the second option is a £100m two-site strategy. Charlie Blakemore (BAE Systems Maritime — Naval Ships) said: “We are working with local authorities and the Ministry of Defence to progress the investment proposals and are committed to building a future legacy for our business that we will all be proud of.” That contrasts with the doom and gloom prophesies that Clydeside shipbuilding will close under independence.

Major global businesses like BAE do not invest to lose money.

But defence is not all about preparedness for war. We should avoid thinking that it is only to do with the armed forces.

A primary function of government is to ensure the security of its citizens, protecting them, their property and way of life against any threats.

With independence, Scotland will have the powers needed to take a joined up approach to tackling crime. Something which is a day to day defence issue.

The already established, Scotland Serious and Organised Crime Strategy and new Scottish Crime Campus will ensure that domestic and international agencies continue to work together sharing intelligence, dealing effectively with organised criminals.

Some measures needed such as the control of firearms and decisions on the proceeds of drug trafficking, are still reserved to Westminster.

Rather than just dealing with the consequences of crime under devolution, an independent Scotland will be able to use full powers to make our communities safer, stronger and more secure. That is defence.

With independence, we can also ensure that national security and intelligence functions are focused on defending our democracy and securing our rights and freedoms.

Our security and intelligence agency will ensure the safety and security of Scotland’s citizens, within strict legal controls determined by the Scottish Parliament elected by the people.

Our armed forces, police, fire and rescue, ambulance, intelligence services and justice system will be able to work and cooperate in new ways fit for the defence needs of our citizens in a modern, ever changing world.

They will be able to respond effectively to civil as well as military emergencies.

But, only if we give them the power and resources to do so in an independent Scotland. We are big enough. We are good enough. We are rich enough.

Defeating fear is our first line of defence. We have to believe in ourselves.


Why we are Better Together, by Jackie Baillie People in West Dunbartonshire are being asked to make a decision on 18 September which will have far-reaching consequences for all areas of Scottish society. Do we want to keep the security which comes from being part of the United Kingdom or do we go it alone and start a new separate state? Defence is one of the important areas to consider.

I believe we have the best of both worlds under devolution. We have a strong Scottish Parliament which has the powers to deliver distinctive Scottish solutions in a wide range of domestic affairs. But we retain the ability to share and pool our resources together across the United Kingdom to achieve more together than we could alone.

Defence is one the best examples of how this works. Scottish service personnel work alongside their colleagues from England, Wales and Northern Ireland to keep us safe. It makes sense to share our resources in order to protect our borders, fight against terrorism and keep our people safe.

Separation is a threat to jobs Locally, in West Dunbartonshire, we know that defence can mean a whole lot more than simply protecting our borders. For families in Dumbarton, Clydebank and Alexandria this is also about our livelihoods. Faslane is the biggest single-site employer in Scotland and a much-needed source of jobs for our towns. Direct employment alone gives us a workforce of 6,500, with a further 4,500 dependent on the base for jobs through the supply chain. The annual spend in the local area is more than £260 million per year.

Independent research has shown that a quarter of all full-time employment in West Dunbartonshire relies on the base. The UK Government has also announced that Faslane will become the base for all of the UK’s submarines by 2020, bringing up to 3,000 extra jobs to the area.

The scale of the threat to quality jobs and our local economy posed by separation cannot be underestimated or brushed aside by the SNP.

Despite all the bluff and bluster coming from Alex Salmond, the SNP still don’t have a credible plan to replace these jobs in our area. The last time they promised that Faslane would be the main naval base, they were saying exactly the same thing to people in Rosyth. Now, the White Paper says that both sites could be retained. This is despite admitting that Scotland would have only a handful of ships following separation, and all depending on negotiations. This is fantasy politics coming from a party that will do anything and say anything to get your vote to break up the UK. There is no credible plan to replace the 11,000 jobs which would be lost with separation.

Separation shuts shipyards Separation would also mean the end of shipbuilding on the Clyde. As part of the UK, Scottish yards get special preference for defence contracts worth billions of pounds. If we go it alone workers on the Clyde would no longer benefit from the sheer scale of the UK’s defence budget. The UK Government has already guaranteed work for our shipyards by bringing forward the orders of three patrol boats and naming the Clyde as the preferred choice for the type 26 contract. Workers on the Clyde know this, with Duncan McPhee, Unite convener at the Scotstoun yard saying that the consequences of leaving the UK would be ‘devastating’. We’ve already suffered enough from high unemployment recently, the SNP, with their plans for separation, would put more jobs at risk.

False promises With so much at stake locally, the Nationalists’ plans deserve a little more scrutiny. Time after time they tell us that the money could be better spent elsewhere, on things like schools and hospitals. In reality, of course, they have already spent it 10 times over, in their heads. What the SNP won’t tell you is that any money saved from Trident would only be used for conventional defence.

Worldwide nuclear disarmament is a noble ambition and one which I share. But let’s not kid ourselves that this is what the nationalists are offering. Moving Trident from Faslane to somewhere south of the River Tweed would not change the number of nuclear weapons in the world and would make absolutely no difference to the environment and the safety of Scottish people. It’s nimbyism on a national scale. And the hypocrisy of the nationalist position doesn’t end there. Under the SNP’s plans, Scotland would apply to join NATO — a defence alliance with nuclear weapons at its heart. The Scottish Government’s White Paper also states that Scotland would allow ships from other countries to enter Scottish waters “without confirming or denying whether they carry nuclear weapons”. How can Alex Salmond expect the Scottish people to trust him on anything if his promise of a ‘nuclear-free Scotland’ really means a don’t ask, don’t tell approach to his flagship policy.

We’re stronger together The SNP say that we can do everything the UK does currently and more on a budget of just £2.5 billion. Alex Salmond believes that any threats to Scotland would suddenly stop at the border. He would spend only seven per cent of the money which the UK Government currently spends to protect Scotland. That’s less than the budgets of Denmark and Norway for defence alone. The £2.5 billion figure used by the Scottish Government does not even take account of the significant start-up costs for creating a new defence service. The SNP don’t want to tell you what the real cost will be.

Everyone knows that it makes sense to do some things together. Most Scots agree that decisions about defence are best taken jointly with people in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. The only way to keep it this way, and protect the defence jobs our local economy relies on, is to vote No in September.


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