SCOTLAND'S IMPOSSIBLE DREAM

 TO ACHIEVE PARITY WITH UNION STATUS OR BETTER FORTUNES OUTSIDE THE UNION BEING ITS OWN BOSS?

 

Scotland's avowed intention is to cede from the Union, to become a Sovereign Nation and to become a fully blown member of the European Union. For very obvious reasons when trading with the EU specifically with a near neighbour fellow member, tariffs and taxes would never be a problem, but in Scotland's case that limits trading to other nearby EU Members subject to ship routeing in UK international waters [the UK EEZ - UK Exclusive Economic Zone] rigidly controlled by the IMO [International Maritime Organisation]/and or The UK Maritime and Coastguard agency,  the UK Hydrographic Office controlled by The UK Admiralty  by sea for bulky imports and exports and by air for intermediate trading, again subject to the UK Air Traffic Control and prior use of UK air space. One can see at a glance that more or less as soon as a vessel leaves Leith on the Forth or Glasgow on the Clyde and turns to starboard or port respectively she is virtually trespassing in UK waters, with the initials 'UK' in their face at every turn except when turning north to exit through their own Newly defined  EEZ parameter. The same would impose possible restrictions on freighting by air.  Taken all in all of their routes, it would be a prerequisite to remember that any reassignments would be on call by virtue of Scotland's desire to cede from an established criteria which must not impede or frustrate the UK status quo, a state which has not altered its parameter except by the impositon of Scotland's newly defined go/no go areas without an expressed permission given only on request for  legitimate access/entry to sovereign territory. Access to Scottish air space for UK long haul great circle routes would require a re-route exiting over UK air space out over somewhere like Portrush in Northern Ireland instead of as now over Lockerbie in Scotland .

At this stage in the game we have addressed only Scotland's ability/inability to trade freely by sea and air to such immediately available countries like for example, via the North sea to France, Germany, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark and beyond to the Baltic States of Sweden, Poland, Finland, Lithuania etc, and within limits to Eire [Dublin]  via the Irish Sea: all small and lack lustre economy's not worth stressing over. - regrettably! Yes, even Germany and France before our recent election in 2019 were under performing and far under our successful economic performance. Other than that it makes a mockery of tariff free trade for to trade elsewhere would impact upon the profits of trading which virtually all EU members, virtually next door to one another do not have. That alone would impact upon Scotland's prosperity and its very reason for opting out of the devolved UK system which has benefitted the Scot's as well as other members of the UK.  The Scottish preference for trading and espied as their utopia, will be a much lesser market when the UK is trading elsewhere under WTO [World Trading Organization rules] like for example, buying meat and dairy products from  New Zealand as was the case prior to us joining a now failed Union [which we octogenarians remember well] with, under President Macron's idea for the future of the EU, will further decline as an organisation taking down many good people's economies and aspirations.  Our leaving is timely and well due. Farewell and adieu to the EU.

Before finishing this section the Scot's will inevitably give away their fishing grounds now under repositioning rules on joining their precious EU, pushed much further north but that runs the risk of alienating Iceland who upon seeing Scottish encroachment will retaliate as they did in the 1970 fishing wars with the UK, only on such an occasion they will not have a navy to combat the Icelandic aggression: in fact they won't have a navy period unless they start from rock bottom!

The Scots are a lovely nation, a faithful to the core part of the Union, and despite Sturgeon's protestations, I think she is heading for two slights which will humble her and/or the SNP.  The first is the witness stand at the trial of Alex Salmond where cross examination and the period of her mentoring by Salmond to become his deputy will be under close scrutiny in court. Then will come the time when she offers to revoke her country's membership  away from the union, when I believe and I am willing to put money on it, the Scots will vote her down and we will witness full on, her modern-day 'Ides of March' and she with the SNP grandees will be stabbed in the back by her people including many SNP devotees.

 That leads us to the land border with Scotland often referred to as the Border Regions. If there are difficulties with air and sea trading, the Scottish border which to appease Brussels and London will be a very hard border, will be prohibitively too expensive to build and maintain at 96 miles long! It would almost bankrupt the Scottish economy for the onus would be on them to build it as the opt out nation.

I know from some experience [naval service in east and west Scotland] that the border cannot be considered as a straight line east to west, but is in reality a convoluted route following in part the River Tweed in the east  [96 miles between Marshall Meadows Bay on the east coast just north of Berwick upon Tweed and Bowness on Solway, plus the necessary Boat Patrol to cover the narrow open waters of Solway Firth itself. In that 96 miles there are countless dirt tracts and minor roads  for tractors, SUV's and 4x4's for crossing the border, plus several main carriageways and a whole myriad of B-Roads running out of Scotland into England.  To secure the border between an EU country [Scotland] and a non EU country [England] would involve wiring off the dirt tracks and creating huge impassable ditches with five metre high steel fencing, closing each and every B Road [eg B721, 6470, 6399, 6357, 6401, 6352, 6396] and from the remaining A Roads, keeping just three [east, centre and west] as customs check points, viz, A1, A68 and A74M as hard custom points along the length of the hard border.  Of course it would create absolute mayhem, adversely affecting tourism and the orderly flow of traffic north to south between two foreign countries. That is what would be on offer with Scotland funding the work to achieve this blocking effect at a bill estimated to run to the billions of pounds Sterling GBP. The costs to the Scots in their new currency is not know until one is adopted, where the adoption of the pound sterling is definitely outlawed and the adoption of the euro is very much doubted.  On that score alone much confusion would occur, not to mention it would be years before Brussels would allow Scotland to trade with a wide open border with literally no control whatsoever. Whilst tiny by comparison with Donald Trumps completed Mexican/USA border which is a staggering 2000 miles long, the Scottish/English border will be just as controversial, and just as opinionated by the Scots as it is for Mexicans and South Americans using Mexico as a rat race trying to enter the USA.  It is a pipe-dream to imagine England helping the Scots in creating a hard border which would fulfill Brussels strict requirement for for tariff free trading. The SNP wants a total separation from the Union and from the Tory Government and by hell they'll get one. For those wishing to use the soft border example to be found and existing between Eire and Northern Ireland as a precedent for their own wants, forget it, for that situation came about as a peace dividend in the Good Friday agreement, a dividend to which Scotland is not entitle nor will ever be.

These restrictions alone are thought to totally wreck what will be left of the Scottish economy which will debar her entry into the EU as a trading partner. After all their pushing and fighting for an unnecessary cede from the Union, away from the Westminster devolution system which guaranteed Scotland's working capital and functionality, and encouraged its prosperity, but the SNP performed badly in all social services, education, NHS, police, justice and security.  Scotland's request for a Section 30 permission to hold a second referendum in Scotland is currently denied but totally misunderstood. Section 30 has two clearly defined and different sections, one to be completed by the ceding nation [the Scottish devoluted Assembly or Scottish Parliament] and the other by the UK Government. By refusing to grant a Section 30 the UK is not stopping the Scottish Parliament from holding a referendum - they can do that without permission and at any time, except that after the failure of the 2014 Scottish referendum, both sides, Holyrood and Downing Street AGREED that a generation would have to pass before a new referendum could take place. Defining a 'generation' can be complex but it is generally accepted as being between 25 and 30 years. It is loosely defined as a period from one's own birth, through childhood, through puberty and adolescence to becoming an adult and to having one's own children.  By holding a second referendum it would break their side of the bilateral agreement and the law of the land [of the UK with Scotland still an integral part of the UK at that point] would intervene on the side of the non-breaker. In essence, by denying a Section 30, Downing Street is saying that under no circumstance will the UK Government part of the Section 30 be completed let alone signed to either approve or disapprove Scotland's aspiration until 2014+27[half way between 25 and 30 years] = 2041 technically!

  However were it to be sanctioned by the UK Government in say five to ten years time and the Scots voted for it, and subsequently ceded from the UK, at that point onwards, they are on their own, sink or swim, and it must be understood that there is no going back and the generous devolution funding from London would cease immediately - for they will inevitably sink, straight to the bottom of a self created mire.

So what might that mire consist of?

Well certainly many Scots would be wounded to learn that the Scots Guards would be withdrawn from the House Hold Division and British army and be replaced with troops from a more friendly and reliable country [by SNP standards, not that the Scots Guards themselves are not loyal to the Crown for they most certainly are] probably the Gurkha's and anyway, arguably better fighters!  Also remember that they, the Scots Guards where the only regiment to mutiny on UK territory whilst actually station in the UK in England. They should no longer take part in London ceremonial duties nor take part in military assignments or campaigns for and with the British Army. During Lord Mountbatten ceremonial Royal funeral in which I played a leading role, I and my coffin bearer party were domiciled in Chelsea Barracks as guests of the 2nd Battalion Scots Guards which were nothing less that super hosts.

Secondly,  Balmoral should no longer figure as a UK Royal Residence and should be floated off the UK property portfolio, the proceeds of any subsequent sale going to the Royal Family to do as they wish with the money. Our Royal family has long walked shy of holidaying abroad in a foreign country seeking to remain at home in the UK and UK territorial waters.  This would not offend or deviate from that historic practice exercised by the monarch. 

Of course a Royal Yacht was the ideal compromise as a floating hotel given its  privacy and protected by an escorting British warship. Alas, that well known mean and failed Labour Party took away that special holiday! However, one hopes and assumes that independent Scotland will apply to join the Commonwealth and as such, the British monarch will still be represented in Scotland as she is in any other foreign aligned Commonwealth  country. This [the separation of Scotland from the UK] would involve there being a UK Embassy in Edinburgh with a chargé d'affaires appointed, as Scotland's size and importance would not warrant an Ambassador.  The monarch, during Commonwealth duty visits would reside in the Embassy and not in the Presidents abode [formerly first minister residence] at Bute House.   Further, if Scotland applies for Membership of the Commonwealth, one assumes that Scotland will have a Governor General appointed to it by the UK whose job will be to represent the British monarch in Scotland.  As such in some ways Scotland will remain beholding to the British monarchy ergo to the British Commonwealth.  It is my bet that Sturgeon will opt not to join and that would be for the best for the UK. Were she to join, there would be times requiring due deference to the Union Flag which would probably "stick in her throat"? For one who detests the idea of Britishness so completely with marked venom which pre-occupies her time and reason for being Scotland's first minister, voluntarily to join or associate with anything British would be a glaring paradox!

Scotland has quite literally nothing to offer NATO militarily except for dockyards and air fields, but might wish to join as a non-combative nation for administrative purposes only, which would cost it approximately half of the combative fee which is currently 2% or better of GDP: Scotland's commitment would be 1% or better of her GDP. 

All British war memorials, shrines and war graves including those at the bottom of the sea, specifically on Orkney at Scapa Flow, chiefly the wreck/war grave of HMS Royal Oak,  would automatically provide free access without impediment for all British service personnel [and next of kin] to continue paying their respects. This would circumvent the need for such UK personnel/NOK to have EU passports or visa's. These sacrosanct places of homage remain British, and not foreign, [viz  Scotland's] despite the fact they may lay in a foreign land, and we would expect the Scot's to treat them accordingly, and allow British and Commonwealth War Grave Commission operatives to visit carte blanche without prior warning on an as required basis. If there are any purely Scottish memorials in the UK, then the Scots would have a comparable access as defined above. I am not aware of any!

 That all references to Scotland in media broadcasting should immediately stop to include every daily occurrence, news, weather, sport etc, and that Scotland would have to start its own broadcasting system and meteorological office. Scottish domestic sports should not be broadcasted on the BBC or indeed on any medium owned direct by Scotland or a Scot residing in Scotland.   

 Honours, decorations, medals and mentions in the London Gazette should cease forthwith on the day Scotland  leaves the union. All such medals awarded to Scots when Scotland was part of the Union should be retained but have a prominent letter '[S]' shown behind them eg, OBE[S] when in written form, and worn on the side of any uniform they choose to introduce on the RIGHT HAND side depicting either that they hadn't won the award/honour/medal/ themselves, or that the medals were now chiefly of no significance when worn of a uniform of a newly divorced and now foreign country.

All trains from England should terminate in either Berwick 0n Tweed in the East and Carlisle in the West, requiring substantial rejigging of both areas to create new terminals. The Scottish Government to supply and run trains from these staging posts into Scotland proper.

Ships building yards in Scotland should no longer be given ship building contracts once the current contract to build six ships of the Type 26 frigate is completed.  Thereafter, they should go either to other UK builders yards or to foreign yards mainly in the far east, in particular South Korea to the giant Hyundai ship builders the largest in the world, where good and much cheaper vessels are built. For Royal Navy vessels they should be built in the most appropriate yards and completely fitted out in UK only yards chiefly Portsmouth and Devonport. Northern Ireland yards and Welsh potential facilities should be rewarded for their loyalty towards the Union, both having maritime connections and skills, of great interest to the UK Government.

All military bases throughout Scotland should be relocated back in England or elsewhere in the Union, WALES for example. If Northern Ireland can get its act together in Stormont and show a decided non-nationalist loyalty, then they too should share in the replacement/dispersement of Scotland.  That includes all submarines, the submarines based at Faslane and all weapons at Coulport.  All base properties and facilities should be destroyed and dismantled but if required, sold to the Scots at market value, but not the equipment therein which should be declared classified [not for foreign eyes] and returned for safe keeping to a suitable UK military base in either England, Wales or Northern Ireland.

At every opportunity the passing of Scotland should be used to enhance the image and status of Northern Ireland and Wales notably by sharing Scotland's central government grant amongst them accordingly. The sharing reduced to two countries only in addition to England instead of the original three plus England!

That the union flag should be redesigned to rid it totally of the colour blue, and at the same time the principality of Wales should have St David's flag incorporated into the union flag in lieu of the Scottish Saltire, and have its status changed to a country instead of a principality. Its devolved funding would be increased pro rata/materiel benefit to the nation, to reflect its new status.  The huge expanses of Milford Haven along with Pembroke Dock should be expanded into a naval base of the UK from which to operate submarines both SSBN and SSN. A working replacement for Faslane and Coulport giving the Welsh an all telling and well deserved upgrade for status and central government enhanced funding. In all respects Wales should be considered as number two or three in the Union taking their place accordingly. Given the iffy status of Northern Ireland and Stormont with Dublin hovering in the background, Wales, I would say, if willing, is definitely number TWO in the UK pecking order.

Scotland would need many new things, for example a new currency, a new national anthem, new national flag if not the Saltire, passports, visas and work permits to enter the UK or to work here under the immigrant rules followed by all non-UK countries world wide under the adopted Australian immigration system . A re-flagged airline, an embassy in London, non-automatic attendance at the cenotaph, joining the ranks of other foreign, dominions and colonies, this despite those Scots who gave their lives for the Union, now no long of consequence for Scotland outside the Union. 

That the UK Border Control Police with HMRC man the Scottish hard border it to be set just tens of metres on the English side of the border.

UK Banks would not be allowed admin or call centres in Scotland e.g. Lloyds Bank has it credit card organisation run from Edinburgh.  I would certainly look for a new card supplier were that not the case and we are Lloyds top premier customers!

Scots who are Scottish residents representing Scotland would be barred from Westminster.

Scots who are Scottish residents using our UK airports for international travel would use and queue at Non-UK travel documentation checks.

All Scots, and there are thousands of them living abroad and in England, Wales and Ireland should not be offened by these compulsory demands, and should be treated in all respect as of now. In  other words welcomed as British and not as members of a self selected foreign nation. Life in all its rich aspects would not alter one iota for these thoroughly welcomed and deeply respected Scots who for whatever reason set up home in a different part of the UK other than Scotland. Post Scotland leaving, as long as they don't have Scottish residency, they remain as bona fide as any Englishman in the newly defined UK. British [non Scots] living in Scotland should retain their Scottish residency and ownership of property and way of life without post ceding Scottish iterference.

FULL WELL KNOWING THAT ALL THE FOREGOING IS TRIPE, EXCEPT FOR THE AGE GROUP 16 TO 24, for no other reason than the proud, loving, loyal, shrewd and accomplished Scots, to a man and woman have suffered in each count for the survival of our dear country, the UK, even unto the grave in countless wars, confrontations and major altercations.  It is significant, if for no other reason, that  our hearts shed a tear upon hearing the central bands of the Foot Guards, the RAF buglers, and the fife and drum band of the proud Scots at our National Remembrance Services, playing national tunes and songs, specifically saluting Scottish regiments who won so many battles but left so many dead on the battlefield! How in hell's name can anybody endorse the severance from our precious UK nations for the whim of a hopelessly ambitious woman who herself and possibly her family members, has never been called upon to give ANY sacrifice whatsoever.  She has used the naivety  of young Scots by driving down the enfranchised date of maturity to age 16, mere children in the eyes of the vast majority of organisations chiefly of the law courts, who protect them from media outlets when their crimes and misdemeanors  are proven by not revealing their names and actions, deemed to have been committed  in their immature and irresponsible tender years, and yet she has perverted their minds into thinking that they are indeed mature and responsible voters, promising a utopia while blatantly ignoring what the middle-aged and elderly Scots have done for their country and their thoughts on the matter.  Her allegiance is purely and simply parochial, bordering on a gut reaction that all things English irrespective of political persuasion are almost evil and offensive to Scotland per se, quoting the growth of the SNP whilst conveniently forgetting the way Scots voted in 2014 on a referendum for independence, and will I suspect and hope to see repeated. Such an affirmative referendum is the short cut to suicide for Scotland were Westminster to allow it to happen, and the Government, by refusing to give the go ahead for the requested, nay, demanded Article 30,  is manifestly  protecting both the Scots and the Union from the actions of one woman, a megalomaniac. Hitler changed the name of his country [by adoption only] from Germany to Nazi Germany and as eggs are eggs, Sturgeon intends to move Scotland back in time to the days of Walter fitz Alan, pre Union times, when inevitably it will revert to back to an 18th century poverty, a mass of warring clans and continuous wars with the UK all of which will be its undoing as a proud 21st century country:  I was going to add "and prosperous" country, but after much fiscal evidence and poor standards in such critically important areas as the Scottish NHS, education and other main stream services under SNP devolution, matters have deteriorated to the point of concern, this despite a more than generous central Government grant. From where, one might ask, will Scotland, as an independent country, get the revenue income it desires to enhance and move forward, without the UK's generous allowance? The answer I fear, is that it won't, in fact it will start to go backwards, demanding sky-high taxes from its workers, with essential services diminishing still further and for why?  Ideology and grandiose ideas based on monopoly money with not a shred of evidence that on leaving the Union Scotland will meet its Prince Charming in the form of a welcoming EU. It won't, and who then will cross its palm with silver with a yet to be designed new currency, as the UK Government does now, willingly and with good heart, using the sure-footed Great British Pound.  It has to be the case that as a Union we are immensely strong and still very much despite the ridicule, a world player, but as the REBELS chiefly the Scots but could so easily be the Welsh or Northern Irish we are weakened as a Union, but the bottom line is that so be it,  England will always come out of any split weakened but still much stronger than any of  the other three break away areas. A terrible cliché I admit, but one needs to ask 'why fix it when it is not broken'? It begs the question so it is acceptable for my argument!   

With over thirty years in the Royal Navy I met and served with many many Scots, some officers, some ratings, with all but a handful [and every country/area has them unfortunately] excellent men, good friends, and very much pro UK.  I also served in Scotland on both coasts, in the west at Faslane, Rothesay, Helensburgh,  and in the east at Rosyth, Cochrane, the dockyard and Pitreavie in Dunfermline,  and have a bucket load of happy memories. From those times [collectively] I cannot for one moment consider that the Scots I served with and met would want to become independent, free from - as Mrs Sturgeon calls it -  the Yoke of the UK, as though by belonging to the Union is somehow burdensome?

Like so many others, I well understand the need for Scots to run their own affairs in their own country so the SNP majority makes good sense, but I fail to understand that she has the licence or need to purloin the country and use it for different means, especially when such a perceived future is so unsure, unsafe, and unwarranted?

I'd be very surprised and bitterly disappointed were the Scots in Scotland to give their approval for Sturgeon to pull her plug for it would mean disaster for many scores of years to come, and a total misuse of political power and with tragic consequences.

I have a picture in my mind of a WW2 megalomaniac who took his country to war which for him and them ended in a heinous crime and mega disaster. His countrymen turned upon him and his lieutenants and deposed them. The scene was photographed, and whilst now in the 21st century nobody yet nobody would want to have a rerun of such an event, think on about a metaphorical punishment which yet might befall this crazy woman north of the border.  Some might find this disgusting, too appalling to take a second glance, but the mighty often fall from grace, but fortunately are replaced before an Armageddon moves to centre stage - thank God!  Sturgeon argues that the UK is pulling Scotland out of the EU but how she or indeed anybody else can claim that, is beyond comprehension.  The 2016 EU referendum was a national UK [one family] vote for all eligible people over the age of 18,  not four separate countries voting unilaterally, and the vote clearly indicated that there was a majority 'leave' vote full stop. In hindsight it cannot be picked over, discussed, and ridiculed because he or she didn't like the outcome.  The vote was conclusive, unambiguous and final. To not accept that vote suggests arrogance and a lack of understanding on how polling works, and if one doesn't understand such a basic principle, one shouldn't be the leader of a country, especially one with a tiny population [lead by officers with  inflated ego's] when compared with the relatively vast size of the UK vote as a whole. 

Mussolini 3rd from left, his lover 4th from left,  and his close aids pay the ultimate price for taking Italy to join Germany and the WW2 Axis powers, at the hands of Italian partisans, as Italy surrenders in 1943 and joins the Allies.

It has a parallel in antiquity - on the 15th March 44 B.C. a specific date that the Romans called the 'Ides of March' which happened every year and was to do with when a new moon occurred in the month of March. Julius Caesar was the Chief Roman and Rome was becoming wary of his increasing powers and dictatorial ways, so on that day a group of Roman senators decided to stab Caesar to death. As a 'woe betide' - whenever something or body was overstepping the mark they were told "Beware the Hides of March" as a warning to cut the crap and rule fairly and nicely in future. One might have a word in Sturgeon's ear?

Finally, I'll wager that millions of my fellow Englishmen/and other Unionist Welsh and Irish would readily endorse my closing paragraph which is designed for us all to remember that the Scot's gave lot's to the success of the Great British Union contributing to its growth and welfare in times of war and in peace, good fortune and adversity, earning such accolades as the 'fighting devils in skirts' such was their fighting prowess on the many battlefields we have all collectively stood on shoulder to shoulder throughout the last two hundred years or so.  I am a Yorkshire man with no Scottish connections and  was born in 1938 and so too was one my favourite admirals, a born and educated Scot, in Edinburgh, who delighted in using the initial letters of his name to permanently signal his Scottish roots and that not only intrigued me even when he got to the very top as the First Sea Lord, and something I admired greatly: his is still John Cunningham Kirkwood SLATER and he chose [which became officially quoted in the most important of naval books] the first two letters of JOHN plus the first letters of CUNNINGHAM and KIRKWOOD viz JOCK, and with his official name and post nominals, his resplendent name appeared as  Sir [JOCK] John Cunningham Kirkwood Slater GCB LVO DL., but he preferred to keep people not in the know guessing, reducing his name to Sir Jock Slater etc.  An additional fiercely proud aspect of his name was that he was a great nephew of the famous WW2 Admiral of the Fleet The Viscount Cunningham of Hyndhope - Hyndhope being in the Scottish borders.  Cunningham was born near Dublin at that time part of the United Kingdom, but of Scottish ancestry parents living in that part of the world because his father was a professor of anatomy at Dublin's famous Trinity College University. Cunningham had only just tasted formal education when he was moved to Edinburgh [to live with an aunt], and educated there before moving to the south coast of England to commence his education ready for the Dartmouth entrance examination. For all pragmatic reasons Cunningham was a Scot. Another of my famous Scottish admirals was the swashbuckling Cochrane: put the three together and you can see how easy it was to get hooked, and to love and admire some Scots, although I wouldn't say all?

I would ask all Scots, those domiciled outside Scotland and those living in Scotland who will vote against leaving the Union, to keep the faith and the Scottish belief in the Union and the Crown, to hold it dear, to remember and revere your kin folk, and forever be grateful for the Scottish influence upon the Union.  Always remember too, that if being independent is not to your liking, you above all others are welcome here to start afresh in any part of Union with open arms.   

 Good bye, and may lady luck always be close by your side.