A few weeks ago it seemed that Project Fear had caught a very bad dose of military industrial complex.
The British government revealed intentions to award lucrative, job saving shipyard contracts to the Clyde and not to Portsmouth.
But Philip Hammond, the defence secretary, announced that a final decision on the contract for 13 type 26 global combat ships would not be made until after the independence referendum in 2014, when there would still be time to reprieve shipbuilding at the English shipyard.
The subject of the message was clear: if the Clyde wants these contracts then the natives must vote ‘NO’!
When I tuned into this story I was told, in the unmistakable phonetics of Estuary English, that the idea of these damn fine ships for Her Majesty’s navy being built in an independent Scotland which was not in her realm was nonsense.
In the breathy coverage of these MOD contracts, it wasn’t made clear to this fella in Donegal when South Korea joined the United Kingdom.
They must have, because they’re currently building some great big floaty things for the Royal Fleet Auxiliary.
All of this seemed to be a case of Britannia Waives the Rules.
A mature response to the MOD taking out a contract on Scotland’s Claim of Right would be to repel all boarders at the border.
The very idea that the excellent workforce on the Clyde needs some sort of MOD hand-out to keep it going is offensive.
This Welfare Warfare State is something that a confident nation would be well shot of.
The British navy owned the sea lanes of the world in the 19th century in a way that only the United States navy does today.
The Chinese are investing massively in a blue water navy, but it is a work in progress.
Currently, it is an organisation set up by a republican rebel from Kirkcudbrightshire that rules the waves.
I am sure John Paul Jones would sneer at those who would infer that his native land couldn’t defend itself.
It is his enemy the Royal Navy which has lost prestige on the high seas in recent decades.
In fact, a reasonably accurate history of Britain’s decline on the world stage could be sketched out by looking at the decline of its military capabilities at sea.
The much boasted about British independent nuclear deterrent is a post imperial myth.
Yes it is nuclear, but it is entirely American and in any arms reduction talks Polaris warheads in Royal Navy submarines were considered part of the US inventory and Trident and the proposed replacement are no different.
The idea of an independent British launch without the go-ahead from an American president is delusional.
Moreover, the people who put British soldiers in boxes don’t care about this expensive unusable toy, and in Helmand Province they’re doing pretty well against the Queen’s boys, thank you very much.
In the last decade, the British Army capitulated to the threats of the Mahdi Army in Basra and left the city, and in Afghanistan the US Marine Corps had to come in and rescue Britain’s soldiers from defeat at the hands of the Taliban.
If anyone in the Better Together campaign gets a nice warm feeling from the success of the excellent armed forces in foreign fields then I suggest they change their brand of mushrooms.
As Lord Dannatt styled it, Britain “is now down among the little nations of Europe” when it comes to military strength.
An independent Scotland could have an excellent defence force.
That is, a military establishment that could DEFEND Scotland.
The bad news for jingoistic types in Scotland would be that the days of invading far off lands and killing the locals are gone.
This may bring pangs of grieving at Ibrox, but most Scots will see that type of ethical non-aggressive military as something to be rightly proud of.
The current SNP policy of NATO membership is, of course, at odds with such a defensive stance and John Finnie and Jean Urquhart were, in my opinion, correct to stand firm.
There are major players in the ruling Fine Gael party here in Ireland who keep warm at night with dreams of the Irish Defence Force going into battle under the NATO standard.
The Royal Navy also has a very bad dose of the military industrial complexes at the moment.
They’re waiting to take delivery of two aircraft carriers that they cannot afford to operate.
One of them will be immediately put up for sale.
As far as military procurement goes, the tale of the UK’s two Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carriers is truly the stuff of satire.
Moreover, the only western-built plane that can operate from the ski jump decks – the F-35B, aka the Lightning II – has an uncertain future due to a plethora of serious technical problems and massive cost overruns.
This is the Short Takeoff/Vertical Landing (STOVL) variant and it is the model that is most plagued with snags due to the massive complexity of the machine, which some aviation experts believe will never be operational.
Currently, the UK has zero ability to launch and recover a fixed wing aircraft on the high seas.
During the 1970s, when the SNP started to win seats, I remember the discussion about the country’s inability “to go it alone”.
In my Irish household in Glasgow, reared on songs and stories and heroes of renown, it was just a youngster, but I found it difficult to respect these Scottish people arguing for their own infirmity as a country.
Now I see a military industrial version of the same lack of self-belief among some Scots.
The Brits in Project Fear that want to crow that the Scots are the best in the world when the air is filled with cordite also imply that an independent Scotland couldn’t defend itself.
Ironically, the Scots who have no problem with seeing a Scotland standing her own ground in the world are the ones who don’t fetishize military hardware or bask in tales of martial glory under the Union Jack.
The idea that the British stride the world as a top class military outfit in the 21st century is, quite frankly, bollocks.
I don’t remember the British army, even though it was full of putative ‘martial Scots’, telling the Peoples’ Liberation Army in 1997 that they couldn’t have Hong Kong back.
Since 1945, the UK has been unable to conduct a military operation of any substantial size without the assistance of the United States.
When Britain acted without USA approval during the Suez Crisis on 1956 they were quickly brought to heel by the guy in the Oval Office.
There have, of course, been a series of grubby Counter-Insurgency operations littered with war crimes.
In Kenya the British ran death camps (a decade after her soldiers had liberated Bergen-Belsen) and in Aden the locals achieved all of their war aims and the British were ejected ignominiously.
Had the USA remained completely neutral during the Malvinas war in 1982 then the Argentinian air force would have been up against unarmed British planes.
The UK’s inventory of American made sidewinder missiles was soon used up and the Reagan administration authorised that the British get some more.
UK land operations on East Falkland were assisted by US satellite photographs of Argentinian troop positions.
In Ireland, Britain dirty secrets from the Dirty War are only now being revealed and I suspect that people around the world are better informed on this than folks in Blighty.
The very idea that Britain is now a big hitter on the world stage is risible.
However, an independent Scotland would be able to equip her military for justifiable defence and not illegal, imperialist adventures.
Its excellent shipyards can build many things that the country and the world needs.
This new concept could be called Project Fuck Off.
Now no one in Scotland should be scared of that.
Phil Mac Giolla Bháin’s new book: ‘Minority Reporter. Modern Scotland’s bad attitude towards her own Irish’ is in all good bookshops in Scotland and is also available on Kindle.