No propaganda behind a paywall I suppose. You can read this one free.
So many questions to ask before we even get to the flawed argument.
Why is is this the headline story?
Is this just more Unionist panic as the polls run away from them?
How did this story make its way only to the Herald, to Neil Mackay who never writes this kind of heavy stuff? Did he even write it? Tell us, it’s the Leask we deserve.
If you want to explore the Leask Thesis, try this:
Why a GCHQ boss and not someone more connected with NATO -George Dark Forces Robertson, former NATO supremo?
I’m no security expert but would a GCHQ boss be that informed on the politics of NATO?
Personally, I’d rather we didn’t join NATO, a force largely for the imposition of corporate USA’s interests on other parts of the world, under the cover of an alliance of ‘free democracies.’
Anyhow, let’s look at the argument he makes
ONE of Britain’s most senior spy chiefs has warned that SNP plans to rid an independent Scotland of Trident nuclear weapons are incompatible with the party’s intention for the country to join Nato after a Yes vote. Sir David Omand, the former head of GCHQ, said the SNP’s policies on Nato and Trident were guilty of “magical thinking”. Omand, a Scot who was born and raised in Glasgow, was also the UK’s first Security and Intelligence Co-ordinator, a post in which he oversaw all of the country’s spying agencies and developed CONTEST, Britain’s current counter terrorism strategy. He made his comments in a wide-ranging, exclusive interview with The Herald on Sunday.
So a spook boss, but no mention of NATO or other international policy.
Omand also warned that a newly independent Scotland would struggle to set up its own functioning intelligence services, and would find itself heavily reliant on British security agencies such as MI5, MI6 and GCHQ. After independence “Scotland would be vulnerable”, he added.
That’d be the security agencies that got us into Iraq and failed to prevent the London and Manchester bombings? The security forces that did so well against the IRA?
Why would we want to be spying on our neighbours anyway?
Omand also said:
A newly independent Scotland may be spied on by England if London thought Edinburgh was acting contrary to its interests.
So what? They already do spy on anyone they fancy spying on. Which interests might we be acting contrary to anyway?
Russia would definitely interfere in any future independence referendum.
Much less so than London would?
Friendly nations such as America, France and Germany could also start spying on Edinburgh if a future independent Scotland gave cause for concern over security.
They already do spy on each other and what might we, as opposed to the UK, do to concern America, France or Germany?
The UK has not spied on the Yes movement – but would if there was any sign of subversion by a hostile foreign power like Russia.
Ha ha! Good one. Pull the other one.
In terms of security, Omand added: “I think independence does pose a significant risk.” Managing that risk “would require significant adjustment to what I read as being the position of the Scottish National Party, namely its anti-nuclear stance, and the magical thinking about the level of security that would be enjoyed in an independent Scotland without significant assistance from England.”
That’ll be the England that cannot use its nuclear deterrent unless Washington approves?
Tackling threats from hostile states, international terrorism and organised crime would cost a lot, he warned – as would the establishment of an independent Scotland’s armed forces.
We’d be in the EU with far wider and better connections than an increasingly isolated UK after the messy divorce of Brexit.
On the risk of England spying on Scotland, he added: “Key to it would be: would there be well substantiated fears in London that Edinburgh would be taking decisions that would directly harm the security of the citizens of England – which they might not intend as harm but would be decisions which could inadvertently have knock-on effects?”
Such as? I know who is more likely to harm the security of the citizens of England. The current PM.
The SNP’s policy on Trident, Omand said, “makes Nato membership problematic”. He suggested one way of resolving the dilemma would be “a long lease on Faslane and Coulport [by England from Scotland] and you swallow your non-nuclear instincts … I have no answers to any of these problems, all I can point out is that it’s difficult and it’s expensive and I think I and my fellow Scots deserve to have the proposition fairly set out before any talk of a further referendum.
Problematic? Maybe but there’s no precedent suggesting it would be particularly and there’s clearly no problem in being a NATO member without nuclear weapons. Most members don’t have them and the current Secretary General is Jens Stoltenberg, former leader of the Norwegian Labor Party:
Norway, population 5 million, its own security services and military.