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A' the Blue Bonnets: Defending an Independent Scotland

Stuart Crawford and Richard Marsh
Whitehall Reports, 25 October 2012
Scottish Defence and Security Policy, UK
With the Scottish referendum agreed, new research considers how much an independent defence capability might cost for the potential new state

The return of an SNP government in Scotland in the May 2011 parliamentary election brought with it a manifest commitment to hold a referendum on Scottish independence by the end of the parliamentary session in 2016. With the timing of the referendum, the question to be posed, who should get to vote and so forth now determined, the debate on Scottish independence is in full swing and dominates political discussion in Scotland.

This Whitehall Report therefore makes a timely return to the issue of how an independent Scotland might organise its defence policy and its armed forces, the Scottish Defence Forces (SDF).

This report addresses what the armed services of an independent Scotland would be for, and how they might be organised and deployed to achieve the answer to that fundamental question.

About the Authors

Stuart Crawford was a regular officer in the Royal Tank Regiment for twenty years, retiring in the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in 1999. During his military career he attended both the British and US staff colleges and undertook a Defence Fellowship at Glasgow University. He now works as a political, media, and defence and security consultant in Edinburgh and is a regular commentator on military and defence topics in the print and broadcast media.

Richard Marsh is an economist with Kirkcaldy-based 4-consulting, and an elected fellow of the Royal Statistical Society. He is a member of an expert group advising the Office of the Chief Economic Advisor of the Scottish Government on economic accounting and modelling and is also part of a broader committee advising the Scottish Government on economic statistics. Richard regularly works for governments and agencies in evaluating regional development policies.

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