On the day the independence campaign is launched, here is a call for a Scots Navy we can believe in - one grounded in reason and common sense, with a fresh view of what "defence" means.
In doing so we offer a clear alternative to Westminster, for whom defence affairs are a matter of conflicting objectives, confusion, & mismanagement to the detriment of their national well-being.
A manifesto for the Scottish Navy:
1. The Scots Navy protects the national air and sea perimeter of Scotland.
2. The Scots Navy is responsible for:
- the safety of seafarers going about their lawful business in Scotland's waters, and their rescue in time of danger
- the prevention of maritime pollution, and the necessary actions to contain and remove pollution in the event of an accident
- the prevention of unauthorised access to our waters, the fish resources in them or the mineral resources under them
- the prevention of unauthorised access to our airspace
3. The Scots Navy supports the Scots Army to carry out the will of the Scottish Government.
And here is the underlying rationale or philosophical justification for each point:
1. The Scots Navy is an instrument of Scotland's lawful self-defence - defence is the primary purpose of Scottish armed forces.
2. The Scots Navy is responsible for the holistic defence of our perimeter, with protection of the environment standing alongside the traditional securing of the perimeter from human agencies. As guardians of the marine environment the Navy is responsible for the safety & rescue of "users" of the sea. Pollution prevention means a full range of valid and worthwhile tasks - from surveying of the seabed for navigation hazards, to emergency towing of stricken vessels and to policing of existing international maritime law preventing dumping at sea.
A holistic view of defence makes common sense - it gives clear lines of responsibility and also means that the defence forces are relevant to the day-day needs of Scotland providing a practical and rational contribution to society every hour, every day of the year.
3. The Navy is the primary agent of the Scottish Government for defence of the national perimeter, but is commanded to provide full support to the Government's primary agent for lawful external intervention. Instead of several agencies fighting each other for budget and "prestige", Scotland has a rational system - Navy for home protection, Army for external intervention.