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GB – Scotland’s secession could ‘disarm’ UK

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Laaska News Feb. 1, 2012

As it is known, a number of Scotland’s politicians want their country to become independent from the rest of the UK, and the latter recognizes Scotland’s right to independence.

However, if Scotland secedes, the UK could be left without nuclear weapons at all, as at present, all its nuclear weapons are stored at two naval bases, Coulport and Faslane, which are both situated in Scotland.

An article recently published in the UK newspaper The Guardian says, with reference to a report produced by the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, that these two bases are the only bases on the UK’s entire territory that are sufficiently suitable for storing nuclear weapons. Back in 1963, the UK Defence Ministry came to the conclusion that the sites in Devonport, Barrow, Portland, Falmouth and Milford Haven could not present viable alternatives as nuclear storage facilities.

Some time ago, another UK newspaper, “The Daily Telegraph”, wrote that even if Scotland secedes, the UK Defence Ministry hopes to able to come to an agreement with the authorities of the newly independent state that the bases in Coulport and Faslane would remain part of the UK for at least another several years. As for the option of storing UK weapons in a third country, a UK senior military source has called it “a nightmare scenario”.

In Scotland itself, the attitude towards the nuclear weapons at issue is rather skeptical. Scotland’s First Minister Alex Salmond says that as soon as Scotland becomes independent, it will get rid of them. So, it looks like with losing Scotland, the UK may lose all of its nuclear weapons as well, as there would just be nowhere to store them.

At present, the UK is planning to re-equip its navy with “Tridents”, latest generation US ballistic missiles. According to estimates, this will cost the UK about ₤ 20 bln. But won’t this turn out to be a waste of money, given the possibility that Scotland might vote for independence?

UK’s Defense Minister Philip Hammond believes that he has found a solution. He says that in the event of secession, Scotland will have to compensate the UK for the expenses fit will incur by building new facilities for storing its “Trident” missiles. But would the authorities of independent Scotland agree to that?

The above-mentioned report published by the CND openly refers to Mr. Hammond’s ideas as “idle threats”.

The report draws a parallel between the situation which could emerge after Scotland’s secession with the aftermaths of the collapse of the Soviet Union, when Ukraine, Belarus and Kazakhstan became nuclear powers not because they produced nuclear weapons of their own, but simply because they still had the weapons stored at the facilities which were located there in Soviet times.

As you might remember, there are plans to hold a referendum in Scotland on the issue of independence. Initially, the referendum was planned for 2014, but now, UK’s Prime Minister David Cameron insists that it should be held at an earlier date. The right to appoint this date should be left to London, Mr. Cameron believes, but any other details could be decided through negotiations. Well, it looks like that as far as the nuclear weapons issue is concerned, it would be rather difficult to the parties to these talks to find a common language.


Laaska News.