UK Nuclear options - post Scottish independence

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Assuming that Scotland decides to leave the UK - what are the options for the continuing nuclear deterrent? It seems to me that on the one hand, a loud voice for nuclear disarmament would be gone (the SNP), but the rUK would be faced with having to rebuild a lot of infrastructure to support the Vanguard class submarines and their successors, presumably at one of their bases on the south coast of England. The great expense of this and the inevitable NIMBY outcry leads me to believe that this might spell the end of the nuclear deterrent for the UK, at least in this form. So what are the options? As I see them we have: A) Disarm B) Switch to nuclear tipped cruise missiles on other ships/submarines C) Switch to an air delivered deterrent, eg. B61/ ASMP-N D) Continue with current system, but rebuild infrastructure. Of all of these the air delivered deterrent is by far the quickest, easiest and cheapest option - so could we in fact see a return to an RAF/FAA based nuclear deterrent? Discuss.
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Profile picture for user Fedaykin

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The only thing in that list which is a deterrent is CASD with Trident anything else is not worth the effort or money. So the only realistic options on this list is: A) Disarm D) Continue with current system, but rebuild infrastructure On a personal level I rather resent the SNP (with CND cheering them on) effectively dictating the future nuclear posture of the UK.
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True, the other options effectively are a 'me too' capability, but I think that's still an important thing to keep, if only so it can be expanded on later. My own feeling is that the SNP, by saying their policy is to join NATO, are actually giving a tacit endorsement of the NATO nuclear deterrent. If they really didn't want it on moral grounds then why do they want to live under it's protection? Or is it just that they don't want to be accountable for it or have to pay for it? Hmm....
Profile picture for user Fedaykin

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No the SNP totally hates nuclear weapons, you only have to watch footage of their conference. Joining NATO is nothing to do with giving tacit support for nuclear weapons. It is all about making the idea of independence sound less scary for the Scottish public, it is exactly the same with other issues. They don't really want to keep the pound or the Queen but will say otherwise for the referendum. It is politics. In the end whilst it is no secret here that I support CASD via Trident I also feel this is a decision for the whole nation. A decision to retain or remove our nuclear capability should be made by all of us via our elected parliament in Westminster or a national referendum. If parliament or the nation via a referendum decide to drop our nuclear deterrent whilst I will be personally unhappy I would nevertheless respect the will of the nation. On the other hand I highly resent the SNP (and their CND cheerleaders) via a referendum of only the Scottish population of this nation effectively dictating what should be a national decision.

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The SNP have had the long standing anti-nuclear policy, but realises, that to enforce a totally nuclear free Scotland would make NATO membership nearly impossible. So by getting rid of the UKs Subs from Scotland, they can fulfil their long time promise, and then operate a "don't ask don't tell" policy to visiting ships.

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On a personal level I rather resent the SNP (with CND cheering them on) effectively dictating the future nuclear posture of the UK.
As opposed to the English dictating to the Scots that they must have our nuclear weapons stored in their back yard? Democracy... only useful if it gives the results you want. :rolleyes:

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A decision to retain or remove our nuclear capability should be made by all of us via our elected parliament in Westminster or a national referendum.
Since when are the SNP going to insist on the dismantling of Trident and the Vanguard subs that carry it? Thats news to me. If and when the SNP have the mandate to insist they are removed from Scotland, why don't the Royal Navy relocate the lot to Portsmouth? [would be useful considering the recent BAe jobs lost.] Oh... it wouldn't be because the locals might not like nukes on their doorstep would it? [note: I am not Scottish.]
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As opposed to the English dictating to the Scots that they must have our nuclear weapons stored in their back yard? Democracy... only useful if it gives the results you want. :rolleyes:
You make a good and fair point, but you have to see the other side of the coin - it's effectively another sovereign state pulling out the rug from the rUK and dictating rUK's defense policy. How democratic is that?
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Oh... it wouldn't be because the locals might not like nukes on their doorstep would it?
Given the jobs it would create in the local area they might not be as hostile as you might think. We'll see.
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As opposed to the English dictating to the Scots that they must have our nuclear weapons stored in their back yard? Democracy... only useful if it gives the results you want. :rolleyes:
What do you mean "their back yard"? It is OUR back yard. Unless there is a yes vote in the Scottish referendum we are still one nation. How are the English dictating to the Scots? Are Scottish MP's prevented from sitting in our NATIONAL parliament? No! Actually Scottish MP's have been used to force through legislation that doesn't even affect them. Yes the SNP are dictating the matter as independence could very well mean total nuclear disarmament for the UK as a whole. These are not facilities that can be easily picked up and dropped elsewhere. This is a national decision as far as I am concerned. You might be Scottish but like myself you are also currently British as well and represented by an MP in our national parliament. You have a voice nationally just like the Welsh, Northern Ireland and the English.

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You make a good and fair point, but you have to see the other side of the coin - it's effectively another sovereign state pulling out the rug from the rUK and dictating rUK's defense policy. How democratic is that?
By telling (the now foreign) rUK to get (the now foreign) rUK's nuclear weapons off the land of that other sovereign state? I don't find that unreasonable. [No doubt it won't happen overnight, but be a staged procedure that would allow relocation.]

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What do you mean "their back yard"? It is OUR back yard. Unless there is a yes vote in the Scottish referendum we are still one nation.
The nuclear weapons won't be removed if there is no yes vote in the referendum.
How are the English dictating to the Scots?
Do the Scottish want the nuclear weapons? If not, how was it democratically decided to place them in Scotland?
Yes the SNP are dictating the matter as independence could very well mean total nuclear disarmament for the UK as a whole. These are not facilities that can be easily picked up and dropped elsewhere. This is a national decision as far as I am concerned.
If the Scottish vote for Independence, they then are their own nation, who can make their own decision. At that point, there is no UK. One of which (and one I would entirely agree with), would be to remove a foreign power's nuclear stockpile from their territory. If the English (and technically, I suppose Welsh and Northern Irish*) want to keep the nukes, then they are free to do so, just do so on their own territory. *Whether you consider NI wholly part of the UK is relevant to this discussion, but would open up a boat full of worm cans. The point being, there is simply no way the NI politicians would accept the movement of Trident to NI.
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Because by declaring the rUK to now be foreigners, you are putting them in the position that carrying out their chosen defense policy may be untenable. Admittedly it's a messy situation, one where neither side can get everything it wants, but that's the opposing point of view. As you say, it does depend on how it is done, and if there is time for a proper handover. But still, it puts the other 90% of the UK in the position of having to buy some new and expensive defense infrastructure which they have already invested in Scotland for the past 50 years. If Scotland is demanding control of Faslane and the associated facilities, I think it's only fair that they either A) Count the entire cost of these facilities towards their total portion of the defense assets when it's all divided up. or B) Refund rUK taxpayers for the 90% of the facility that they paid for.
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Do the Scottish want the nuclear weapons? If not, how was it democratically decided to place them in Scotland?
So what? You are also currently British, you are represented in our national parliament meaning nuclear weapons are not being imposed on Scotland. It was a national decision. Personally I think they should have been placed in the South West but that is immaterial, until a referendum that goes for independence you are still part of the family and defence is a national decision.
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Do the Scottish want the nuclear weapons? If not, how was it democratically decided to place them in Scotland?
Scotland's democratically elected govt. Which is the same govt for everywhere else in the UK. When it comes to UK defense policy, everywhere is taken as a whole, the UK is treated as a single entity.
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Because by declaring the rUK to now be foreigners, you are putting them in the position that carrying out their chosen defense policy may be untenable. Admittedly it's a messy situation, one where neither side can get everything it wants, but that's the opposing point of view. As you say, it does depend on how it is done, and if there is time for a proper handover. But still, it puts the other 90% of the UK in the position of having to buy some new and expensive defense infrastructure which they have already invested in Scotland for the past 50 years. If Scotland is demanding control of Faslane and the associated facilities, I think it's only fair that they either A) Count the entire cost of these facilities towards their total portion of the defense assets when it's all divided up. or B) Refund rUK taxpayers for the 90% of the facility that they paid for.
Amen to that

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Lets say the UK have to move the Sub Fleet out of Scotland I think a good place to build a new base would on Walney airfield Barrow-in-Furness as the UK subs are built in Barrow that would mean there is already maintenance support for them there redevelopment of the airfield into the new base could see air support for the sub fleet
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Not a bad idea, but given that nuclear subs are already looked after at the south coast I think it would be hard to beat them for local expertise and infrastructure.
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I personally think nuking the Scots is a bit of an overreaction. Brown? Possibly. Moggy

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But still, it puts the other 90% of the UK in the position of having to buy some new and expensive defense infrastructure which they have already invested in Scotland for the past 50 years. If Scotland is demanding control of Faslane and the associated facilities, I think it's only fair that they either A) Count the entire cost of these facilities towards their total portion of the defense assets when it's all divided up. or B) Refund rUK taxpayers for the 90% of the facility that they paid for.
I would not disagree with that; but would point out that the SNP would be of the opinion, "we never wanted it, so it means nothing to us". So I expect there would be some negotiation on what constitutes the value of the facility. [which would have to be used rather than cost]

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So what? You are also currently British, you are represented in our national parliament meaning nuclear weapons are not being imposed on Scotland. It was a national decision.
And herein you miss the entire point about the English dictating to the Scots... [simply by dint of there being more English MPs than Scottish, or Welsh, or NI... put together.] If the Scottish people as a whole didn't want it and their representatives reflected this, yet the "national" decision was to put it there; then that decision was taken through use of a non-Scottish (to be absolutely correct about it) majority in Westminster. Have you missed the entire reason for them wanting devolution? You don't actually think its because they just don't like the English?!?