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Scottish Independence

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Old September 9th, 2014   #1
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Scottish Independence

I'm on a number of defence industry and maritime news alerts.

In the last week there has been some increasing concern that a yes \vote would have a negative impact - there has been an increase in concern from the commercial maritime businesses and groups as well as defence areas

am wondering of someone casn enlighten me on the following article and whether its tone is accurate

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LONDON — If Scottish voters vote “yes” on the Sept. 18 referendum over independence from the UK, it would carry far-reaching effects on the military and the defense industry here.

The splitting off could lead to the division of military assets, banishment of Britain’s nuclear armed submarine base and moving the country’s high-tech defense industry south to be closer to its largest customer.

Polls show that the “no” votes are ahead of the “yes” votes, but the gap is narrowing and a “yes” vote remains a possibility.

Scotland has a devolved government led by the Scottish National Party (SNP), which carries limited powers.

A vote for independence would have profound implications for the UK, especially in the defense sector where the strategic, industrial and security issues involved have been part of the increasingly fierce arguments between the two sides in recent weeks.

The demands by the SNP to eject the Royal Navy’s submarine nuclear deterrent from bases at Coulport and Faslane on the River Clyde by 2020 top the list of defense issues. Coulport is the nuclear ammunition depot and Faslane is the nuclear submarine base.

But it’s far from the only significant question that has emerged.

The fallout for the defense industry and its workers in an independent Scotland, along with the division of military assets and the diminished capabilities of the armed forces on both sides of the border, would also figure highly in the event of a break-up of the UK.

That includes thousands of military and civilian jobs in Scotland that go with it, which has grabbed much of the attention in the defense debate.

The British government’s plan is to house all of its nuclear-powered submarines on the Clyde by 2017 as the Navy transitions from the Trafalgar-class boats to the new Astute class of hunter-killers.

The Trafalgar boats are based at Devonport in southwest England alongside a large nuclear submarine repair and refueling facility.

One option would be to relocate the Trident missile submarine base to Devonport, although that is fraught with difficulties and comes with a potentially huge price tag.

An independence vote would present a significant challenge to the “rest of the UK’s” (rUK) nuclear forces, according to a report from the Royal United Services Institute last month. In terms of Scottish independence, rUK would comprise England, Northern Ireland and Wales.

“While it is technically feasible that the rUK could continue to base its forces in Scotland after its independence, in the long term this option may not be politically feasible,” the report said.

However, it would be impossible to relocate the nuclear base in just four years. One option, according to report authors Hugh Chalmers and Malcolm Chalmers, could be to link the transition to the introduction of a new class of nuclear missile submarines to replace the Vanguard-class boats planned for 2028.

The SNP has said it would transition the Faslane submarine base to a conventional naval facility and also turn it into the joint defense force headquarters.

Giving evidence to the UK Parliamentary Defence Committee last year, Malcolm Chalmers said banishing the Trident missile submarines could impact an independent Scotland’s hopes of joining NATO.

“It is one thing accepting a re-division of territories, which very few other countries would sympathize with at all, but quite another if it was seen to be taking a radically different foreign policy course, and that is what rapid expulsion [of the nuclear deterrent] would be,” Chalmers said.

A policy document released recently by the SNP proposed a defense budget of £2.5 billion (US $4.1 billion) a year with the focus on maritime capabilities as it eventually builds a military with 15,000 regular personnel and 5,000 reservists.

The British government says that’s too little cash and a Scottish defense force would be underfunded, particularly when infrastructure and start-up costs are taken into consideration.

The SNP envisions Scotland taking a share of Royal Navy assets, including two frigates, a command platform, four mine-countermeasures vessels, two offshore patrol vessels, up to six smaller patrol vessels and auxiliary support ships.

Other key elements of the military would involve taking a minimum of 12 Typhoon jets and six Hercules C-130Js and the creation of an all-arms army brigade, all taken from the British military inventory.

British government ministers are reported as saying that such a split is laughable.

The SNP reckons it is entitled to just over 8 percent of British military assets in any division of spoils triggered by independence.

That poses questions about what the already shrinking UK armed forces would look like post independence.

The First Sea Lord, Adm. Sir George Zambellas, said independence would “damage the very heart of the capabilities that made up the Royal Navy and the Royal Marines.”

“An independent Scotland’s claim on the Royal Navy would greatly weaken the carefully evolved whole, as bases, infrastructure, procurement, spares, personnel and training face a carve-up,” he told the Daily Telegraph this year.

That’s a consequence the other services would also face, although to a lesser degree.

The UK Parliamentary Defence Committee report said independence would result in the remainder of the UK facing the loss of vital personnel, bases and equipment, representing as much one-twelfth of current assets. Besides the nuclear naval facilities, indepedence also calls into question the two Royal Air Force bases there: Lossiemouth and Leuchars, which under current plans is closing and being reopened as an Army base.

“There would be a consequent loss of capability, particularly in the short term,” the committee said. “The rUK government would face a difficult decision about how to manage this shortfall when the financial resources available to do so would be reduced to a similar degree. This raises the very real prospect that the rUK would face the same level of threats to its defense and security as the UK faces today, but with armed forces which were less capable and resilient.”

Scotland’s defense industry employs more than 12,500 people in companies such as BAE Systems, Babcock, Raytheon, Selex ES and Thales, mostly in high-tech businesses heavily dependent on the UK as the prime customer for the bulk of their £1.8 billion or so in annual sales.

Companies such as Thales and Babcock have warned independence would have a damaging effect on their activities as Scotland turned from being part of the domestic industry to being a foreign supplier.

“Independence would take its largest domestic customer and make it an export customer, with all the inherent complexities and challenges that would involve. This could clearly have a negative impact on Thales,” Victor Chavez, the Thales UK CEO, said in a recent statement.

Much of the industrial debate, though, has centered on BAE’s naval shipyards on the Clyde and whether the Royal Navy would continue to purchase warships like the Type 26 frigate and a new class of offshore patrol vessels from what would be a foreign builder in the event of independence.

The Defence Ministry in London has said the policy will be British warships from British yards, but the debate is clouded by the fact that BAE’s Clyde yards are the only current facilities capable of building warships bigger than offshore patrol vessels.

“In the event that Scotland voted to become independent, we would need to discuss the way forward with the MoD and UK government and work with them to deliver the best solution in those circumstances,” BAE said.

The company, Britain’s only significant surface warship builder, will make a decision on whether to proceed with a £200 million investment on the Clyde after the vote. ■
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Old September 9th, 2014   #2
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GBP has been totally oversold, which I'm surprised the mkts priced in at all.

It's the accuracy of recent polls. With most of senior cabinet members going up today to support the 'better together' and Carney giving a lengthy lecture at the BCI this afternoon, this along with the mkts, points to a collective seriousness, on the back of the recent polls results.

The finance industry (mine) is on of the key sectors at risk and much of the concern is related to currency debate and the required monetary & fiscal policy making decisions.

The seriousness of Independent Scotland's defence policy hasn't been fully defined as Scottish parliament question time seems to demonstrate before session closed. Much debate was argued relative to the Scottish ship building industry and how sustainable this would be going forward.

The articles tone seems correct based on the last 3-4 days.

If Scotland gets the 'Yes', Spain must be extremely worried
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Old September 10th, 2014   #3
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I'm completely baffled that so many are considering this/voting yes.

The scots need to realise that industries serving the UK will move to the rUK, and that will include defence. For all sorts of industries theres policies regarding "buying local" (at varying levels), trade tarrifs, taxes etc.

And what is the go with Scotland thinking they can just carve up the military assets? I cannot even begin to imagine how there can be existing policy around this, however economies of scale are significant and the maintenance costs of small fleets will not reduce with their size.
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Old September 10th, 2014   #4
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They want the pound, the UK says they can't have the pound so they say they won't take their share of UK debt, if they don't take the share of UK debt they don't get their share of UK assets.

I almost died laughing when the Royal Bank of Scotland said they'd pay to move their HQ to London if Scotland becomes imdependent.

So that's the financial stability Salmond reckons he can promise, the kind where your banks up sticks and base in a different country and presumably pay taxes in that country.
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Old September 10th, 2014   #5
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The Yes campaign, & especially its leader, Alex Salmond, has consistently claimed that no businesses will move, that the UK will continue to have its warships built in Scotland, that Scotland will continue to use the pound via a currency union with the UK, that Scotland will automatically become a member of NATO & the EU, that Scotland will be exempted from NATO's nuclear requirements for new members . . . . and when various companies & the leaders of NATO, the EU & NATO deny all this, they're wrong & he's right.

Sadly, he seems to have convinced a lot of Scots.

He's persuaded them that Scottish manufacturing will flourish if it's freed from the UK - but never mentions that the big problem for it is an exchange rate set by reference to the City of London, which he wants to keep. Shipbuilding will boom - although it is dependent on Royal Navy orders which will stop completely if Scotland ceases to be part of the UK. Finance will continue to be a success story - although the Edinburgh-based financial firms get most of their business from or via England, & are all preparing to move there (& not pretending otherwise) if Scotland breaks away. And so on.

Doh!
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Old September 10th, 2014   #6
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Further, the estimates (and hopes) pinned to NS oil & gas is joke. When asked any serious questions, Salmond points to Norway and doesn't even consider that Norway has been financially prudent over many years regarding this resource tap.

Personally, the recent poll change is purely knee-jerk.

Just glad that If 'No' succeeds, the independence push for Scotland (and Salmonds career to a degree) will be all but dead and the debate won't be raised again for another 30-40+yrs..

Most invest banks & asset mgrs (there's quite a few) have indicated moving along with RBS, which in all seriousness, won't be difficult at all
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Old September 10th, 2014   #7
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They want the pound, the UK says they can't have the pound so they say they won't take their share of UK debt, if they don't take the share of UK debt they don't get their share of UK assets.

I almost died laughing when the Royal Bank of Scotland said they'd pay to move their HQ to London if Scotland becomes imdependent.

So that's the financial stability Salmond reckons he can promise, the kind where your banks up sticks and base in a different country and presumably pay taxes in that country.

I have not followed this lately but it seems to be very similar to the the 1995 Quebec referendum. The close "no" vote only came about due to intense last minute campaigning explaining the negative effects of separation including hard terms that would be imposed, e.g. No common currency, asset and debt split would be dictated, real border, etc, etc. it would seem Cameron did not take this possible outcome seriously just like Chrétien in 1995.
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Old September 10th, 2014   #8
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This all doesn't stop at scottish indepence at all since the mainly liberal / left pro european votes from the scottish population would vanish out of the rUK voter poll resulting in a shift to the political right.

UK politicians used the thread of leaving the EU so much that large portions of the eurosceptic populations have accepted it as an actual possibility and if scotts leave the UK and it comes to a vote on the matter it actualy might result in rUK leaving the EU.

This is actually a bit scary since a yes on the independence vote would change the political landscape of rUK fundamentaly, I think a lot of people are too caught up on the consequences for the scottish economy when they should actually be worried about the rUK's political future.
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Old September 10th, 2014   #9
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This all doesn't stop at scottish indepence at all since the mainly liberal / left pro european votes from the scottish population would vanish out of the rUK voter poll resulting in a shift to the political right.

UK politicians used the thread of leaving the EU so much that large portions of the eurosceptic populations have accepted it as an actual possibility and if scotts leave the UK and it comes to a vote on the matter it actualy might result in rUK leaving the EU.

This is actually a bit scary since a yes on the independence vote would change the political landscape of rUK fundamentaly, I think a lot of people are too caught up on the consequences for the scottish economy when they should actually be worried about the rUK's political future.
What is The SNP's position on EU membership? What is the Eu position on this? If the rUK did leave the EU, would the rUK still have an open border? The answer to the latter should be made clear prior to the independence vote.
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Old September 10th, 2014   #10
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Scotland says it's automatic, the EU disagrees and Spain and I think Belgium will actively veto Scotland's membership on the grounds of them having their own problems with regions wanting to split away.
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Old September 10th, 2014   #11
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I'm completely baffled that so many are considering this/voting yes.
Because it's easier to blame people living hundreds of miles away from you for your problems, rather than look closer to home.

I'm sure some people voting "yes" are doing so for what they think are laudable reasons, but I think many voters take a position that "England steals our oil" - despite the fact they're somehow able to afford free university places for all, compared to eye-watering fees in England.

Anyway, a poll out tonight had "no" leading by 6%.
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Old September 10th, 2014   #12
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Scotland says it's automatic, the EU disagrees and Spain and I think Belgium will actively veto Scotland's membership on the grounds of them having their own problems with regions wanting to split away.
If that is the case and if the rUK does not allow a currency agreement, Scotland won't find much joy with a new currency for years. This is what the Canadian government made clear to Quebec in the event of a yes vote. This, together with many companies stating they would move out of the province brought some reality to the sovereignty fantasy.
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Old September 10th, 2014   #13
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Because it's easier to blame people living hundreds of miles away from you for your problems, rather than look closer to home.

I'm sure some people voting "yes" are doing so for what they think are laudable reasons, but I think many voters take a position that "England steals our oil" - despite the fact they're somehow able to afford free university places for all, compared to eye-watering fees in England.

Anyway, a poll out tonight had "no" leading by 6%.
I guess sober second thought is setting in. Hopefully this will lead to a "no" result.
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Old September 10th, 2014   #14
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If that is the case and if the rUK does not allow a currency agreement, Scotland won't find much joy with a new currency for years. This is what the Canadian government made clear to Quebec in the event of a yes vote. This, together with many companies stating they would move out of the province brought some reality to the sovereignty fantasy.
Indeed, it would be chaos. They would have no currency and would show to the rest of the world they are wiling to default on debts payable so buying in an as yet unknown currency would be very expensive.

This is why the No campaign push the currency argument, Salmond keeps saying he'll get it all his own way and it'll be grand when it's simply not the case.
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Old September 10th, 2014   #15
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Indeed, it would be chaos. They would have no currency and would show to the rest of the world they are wiling to default on debts payable so buying in an as yet unknown currency would be very expensive.

This is why the No campaign push the currency argument, Salmond keeps saying he'll get it all his own way and it'll be grand when it's simply not the case.
The SNP seems to be using the same play books as Quebec's Parti Québécois, promise the masses that sovereignty will result in Utopia.
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Old September 11th, 2014
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