I have written in a number of places about the parlous state of Britain’s defense and the present and previous governments’ culpable failure in this regard.
The Royal Air Force, for example, has gone from 17 fighter squadrons to just 7 of all types in fifteen years. Its bombers, the Nimrod long-range patrol aircraft and the Royal Navy’s Harriers which could take off from improvised flight decks (for example container-loaded ships) have been disposed of.
Famous military writer Frederick Forsyth has said, “Five years ago a Conservative-led government (of all things) stripped British armed forces to the bone in the most stupid Defense and Strategic Review we have ever had, abandoning centuries as a formidable power and treating our servicemen as criminals for the slightest misdemeanors.”
However, further cuts to the army are being forecast and a new threat has emerged that represents an unforeseen and potentially critical menace to Britain’s defense capability.
When Scottish nationalism was seen as no more than a joke, Britain wound down and ultimately scrapped its strategic, nuclear-capable, V-bomber force and reduced its strategic nuclear deterrent to a force of ballistic-missile submarines based at Faslane in Scotland.
The anti-nuclear Scottish Nationalists were decisively defeated at the recent secessionist referendum. According to a new poll, however, it seems quite possible that following the next election they will hold the balance of power in Westminster.
A study of marginal constituencies suggests Labour and the Conservatives are heading for electoral deadlock at the general election in May, with neither party able to govern. It also revealed a dramatic surge in support the SNP
It might have been better for Britain’s security if the secessionist referendum had succeeded.
Scottish nationalism in its present form has nothing to do with the Highlands romanticism of tartans, kilts, bagpipes, and tossing the caber. It is a rather grubby brand of resentment-fueled socialism that subscribes to the whole left-wing package deal.
During the referendum campaign Scottish Nationalist leader Alex Salmond said that he wanted the nuclear subs out of Faslane and out of Scottish bases.
The Royal Navy was making contingency plans to home-port them at an English base such as Portsmouth. This would have been an added heavy expense for the underfunded British defense forces (funding is already well below the agreed NATO minimum of 2 percent of GDP) but was at least possible.
However, if Salmond holds government in the palm of his hand, he has given notice that the price of his support for any party will include not merely the removal of the subs from Scotland, but the abolition of the nuclear deterrent altogether.
The fairyland-inhabiting Greens would certainly also support this if they gain any seats (and they have had up to 11 percent in the polls). The Greens’ policy calls for not merely the scrapping of the nuclear deterrent but, ultimately, of all defense forces.
Defense policy for the Greens will be replaced by “town twinning” and the defense bases converted into National Parks. Economic growth will be reduced to zero, and everybody will get a non-means-tested gift from the taxpayer of $142 a week.
The Greens could be laughed off except for their poll numbers and the possibility of a de facto anti-nuclear alliance with the SNP.
Further, if Britain proves unwilling to defend itself, will Obama’s America be prepared to go to war for it? It all sounds unpleasantly like Constantine Fitzgibbons 1960s novel When the Kissing Had to Stop, which ends with the Russian occupation of a disarmed Britain.