Academics launch book on security policy in independent Scotland

Book of essays reviews security and spying plans for independent Scotland

TOP ACADEMICS have launched a new series of essays analysing the nature of the security debate in Scotland. 

Considering the implications of Scottish independence for defence, wider security policy, and specific policy areas like the intelligence services, the work has been compiled and published in the book ‘Security in a Small Nation: Scotland, Democracy, Politics’ edited by Andrew W. Neal of the University of Edinburgh. 

At a seminar considering the book yesterday (Monday 8 May), Neal and a selection of the book’s contributors presented some of their work. 

Neal explained that despite the reserved nature of military and international affairs to Westminster, in reality there is an “overlap in security governance [between Scotland and Westminster] despite defence being reserved to Westminster on paper”. For instance, senior police in Scotland have “daily assistance” from the UK security service on terror and crime issues. Wider issues within a ‘security’ agenda - for instance in relation to climate and environment - are also issues already planned for by the Scottish Government. 

Juliet Kaarbo, whose chapter was entitled ‘Perspectives on Small State Security in the Scottish Independence Debate’, compared the approach of the pro and anti-independence campaigns in the run up to the 2014 vote. 

Kaarbo explained that size was at the heart of the different perspective - with the pro-independence case arguing that Scotland would benefit from a Scotland-specific security policy. “Small may be beautiful in a way. Small may have its advantages,” she said. 

The anti-independence campaign focused on issues of risk and uncertainty from changing the current security arrangement, with examples like the Trident nuclear system being particularly contested in the debate. 

Experts Sandy Hardie, Charles D. Raab and Andrew Defty all spoke in relation to security services - its capacity and oversight structures. 

Sandy Hardie, a former foreign service officer who supported the campaign against independence, said there would be scepticism towards security services if Scotland became independent. He added that there would be a “very strong imperative” for defence and security cooperation between Scotland and the rest of the UK. “Would there be good working relationships? Yes, there would,” he added.

Raab and Defty considered first the work that would be necessary to balance private and security in oversight, and secondly how the Westminster system of oversight currently operates.

Since 2014 the SNP has taken a critical approach to the Investigatory Powers Act, which extended security service powers in areas of bulk data collection - made infamous by the Edward Snowden revelations. 

Snowden’s revelations also revealed a secret Scottish spying system, where data from GCHQ was then sent to the Scottish Recording Centre. 

Picture courtesy of UK MoD

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Peter Dow's picture

Peter Dow

Wed, 05/10/2017 - 13:30

My policy for Scottish independence would be to agree a British military base deal making the Faslane and Coulport nuclear submarine and weapons bases SOVEREIGN BRITISH TERRITORY, as per the British military bases in Gibraltar and Cyprus.

This would decouple the nuclear weapons issue from the Scottish independence issue. Then Scots who support the retention of the British nuclear deterrent could happily vote for Scottish independence safe in the knowledge that doing so wouldn't be a green light for all things CND and peacenik.

My way wins Scottish independence.

Obsessing about the CND versus nukes debate, which is not about Scottish independence per se, but is a very different issue altogether, would LOSE Scottish nationalists our opportunity of Scottish independence.

The SNP cannot afford to be held hostage to the CNDers in their ranks. They must be stood up to, as they were over the new SNP pro-NATO policy.

If CNDers decide to quit the SNP over a new SNP policy to support the nuclear weapons bases on the Clyde, so be it. No great loss.

We need people who work for the MoD now to support and to vote for Scottish independence. They will if my policy is adopted by the SNP.

SNP CND peacenik nonsense will be one of the biggest reasons why people voted "NO" in the indyref in 2014.

One of the reasons "NO"-voters think we are "Better Together" is for defence. If the SNP can show that defence can be just as solid with Scottish independence as it is now in the UK then many of 55% who voted "NO" will switch to "YES" to gain all the real benefits of independence, such as prosperity and fairness.
Peter Dow is a Scottish scientist and a republican socialist whose legal human rights are cruelly violated by the police and courts in Aberdeen, where he lives.

Peter Dow's political defence blog publishes the truth about the wrongful and unjust royalist arrests, prosecutions, convictions and punishments he endures.

Alex M

Wed, 05/10/2017 - 16:53

What kind of independent country grants sovereign territory to another country? If Scotland were independent then Britain would not exist. Why would we grant England sovereignty over part of our country? I know of no poll that shows a majority of Scots to be in favour of using nuclear weapons.


Wed, 05/10/2017 - 18:06

Sovereign Military Bases that are rank with organised crime as in the case of Cyprus?

How the hell does it decouple anything? Nuclear weapons would still be based on the doorstep of our countries largest city meaning it would still be a target and still at risk from nuclear accidents and since a new Nuclear Weapon Ban Treaty is about to signed by the majority of the worlds countries, what sort of message would that send to the rest of world.

"Hi, we are Scotland, be our friends, do trade with us, don't worry about the Nukes they belong to the rUK they just keep them our garage."

Nuclear weapons are not a defensive weapon, so can't be considered by any sane mind to be part of our defence policy.

Yes a better case needs to presented to win over those that have defence concerns, but not at the expense of our integrity. Nuclear Weapons are an affront to civilisation.

PS: Your slanting of a large amount of people with the term "peacenik's" is a terrific way for you to make friends by the way.


Sun, 05/14/2017 - 19:53

Its the economy, stupid.
WHY HAS NO ONE HEARD OF "Beyond GERS" and The White Paper Project?

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