Sunday, 14 July 2013

Faslane Flodden Flannel And Fiddling Votes

The Ministry of Defence, whether by accident or design, has let slip a think piece on what to do about Faslane, the key base for our Trident missile nuclear strike force.  It is in Scotland, up the Firth of Clyde and turn left not long before Glasgow.  If Scotland becomes independent it could be left with the Scots as a peace offering but they may not want it.  The picture above is of The Isle of Arran in The Firth, home to many of my forebears.

One reason is cost, the more significant one is that a lot of Scots feel that not only is nuclear war wrong but engaging with it could be more of a liability than an asset for them.  Canny chaps, they realise that any nuclear facility is not just a strike force to hit others but in fact a prime target for the others if it all becomes two or more sided.

If the others are not over fastidious in their selection of targets and have spare capacity in their own nuclear capability as well as computers capable of multi targeting then it may not be just Faslane that gets hit.  Glasgow might as well.  This may suit some in Edinburgh and other places but the possibility exists that their coordinates also may be in the targeting systems.

There is a real risk therefore that all that kit might have to be moved south.  The question is where?  If Wales is ruled out because they might not like it at all then that leaves England.  The trouble here is that there are not many places around the English coast where the waters are both deep enough and with choices of passage to allow relatively secure movement as and when necessary.

The Ministry of Defence, perhaps after a hard day on the hospitality at a procurement session are said to have suggested that the little bit of Scotland on the low road to Loch Lomond could remain as UK territory, a mini Gibraltar, only without the sun and fun.  This could almost be guaranteed to be a cause of dissent and endless trouble.  One way of avoiding this is thought to be offering the Scots a chunk of England as a swap. 

There are dafter ideas but I am struggling to think of one.  They could have Hull, or Westminster or what is left of Dunwich, once home to a prominent family of Scott's but it is not likely that this will be popular, at least in Scotland.

Perhaps it could be included as an extra question, with a few others in the Referendum to come in 1314.  The logic for this date is apparently because 700 years ago, the King of Scots, with sundry lords of largely Norman, Norse and other descent won a battle against the King of England with other Norman lords, both using companies of foreign jobbing mercenaries along with a few servile locals required as field fodder.

This anniversary it is hoped will procure a number of marginal votes to help the SNP win, regardless of anything that has happened in the centuries since.  The Referendum might and indeed with advantage have been held a sooner.  But there was a slight snag with the autumn of 2013.  The 9th September is the 500th anniversary of the Battle of Flodden when King James IV of Scots got it badly wrong and died in a major defeat with heavy casualties for the Scots, see Wikipedia.

As it happens there seem to be more of families of my ancestors there on the Scots side who also died for their King and Country.  For some reason there is very little in the media about this coming date and its significance.  There will be a few interested who will take part in events to mark the date, but I suspect they will not be widely reported.

There are all the signs that the various Referendum campaigns will be a series of cheap stunts, wild claims, fake figures and on the SNP side "Brigadoon" like fantasies and a reversion to the early 14th Century notion of the Scots as a wandering tribe who finally made it to a promised land. 

What is becoming clear is that all the complicated and difficult issues are being almost entirely ignored.  Like it or not the Faslane question is just one element in the highly complex area of defence, border controls and security.

More worrying for the Scots there are indications that while the Westminster government is clearly corrupt, incompetent, bungling and misguided and in hock to bent bankers, the madder end of the green factions and oil oligarchs the only lot worse than them in Europe could turn out to be those who take power in Edinburgh.
Which takes us back to why the Union happened in 1707 despite the probable wishes of the majorities north and south of the Border and the result of the Battle of Flodden.  Earlier in 1314 at Bannockburn among the defeated southern Norman and mercenary force were a number of early Albanian Stradioti light horse.  Where did they get to afterwards? 

Did they scatter into The Borders to become later Borderers?

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