There is scope to wonder if those who support an independent state for Scotland have really thought through the defence, security, intelligence and defence implications. At the very least negotiations with Westminster would be immensely complex and the outcomes likely expensive.

Would an independent Scotland end up sharing Westminster's defence strategy for the Union as a whole for example or would there be a dividing up such that the new Scotland ends up with three fighter jets and half an aircraft carrier? And even if there was the political will to relocate Trident the costs and logistics would be enormous even if an alternative location could be found which seems doubtful. Would the English, Irish or Welsh want Trident in their own backyards?

As regards security the Union is already losing out due to Brexit and having to renegotiate access to cross border intelligence data bases. So if Scotland were to be independent would a new north of the border security agency have to be set up? How much intelligence would it actually get? Would GCHQ co-operate or would the new Scotland have to buy certain services from the agency post independence? As regards the nation state security of a separate Scotland, I suspect its security would be reduced in the international sphere. Afterall, it would begin to look like small fry or simply the weak underbelly of a divided Union. Imagine the security implications of trying to deal with a reduced defence capability, Trident having moved, and a huge hinterland of vast underpopulated territory combined with a complex and difficult to defend coastline. I suspect that the states that actively target the Uk now through cyberspace and other modern ventures to undermine a nation would have their eye on a weakened Scotland without the monies to mount a proper defence, security and intelligence service for itself.

As for the diplomacy side, would an independent Scotland have the resources to set up embassies around the world? Or would it in practice have to pay for a room in existing UK embassies around the world? Does there seem much point in this?

All in all, there are many reasons why an independent Scotland would not be viable financially, economically and politically, but the defence, security, intelligence and diplomacy factors have been under rated in the debate until now.

Elizabeth Smith