By a Newsnet reporter
Scots have become used to outrageous claims from Unionist politicians about the terrible things that would happen if Scotland voted to become independent. This week Conservative peer Peter Fraser, Lord Fraser of Carmyllie, has made possibly the most astonishing outburst of all. According to Mr Fraser, the Westminster government could bomb Glasgow and Edinburgh airports to defend itself from possible attacks if Scotland became an independent nation.
Mr Fraser insisted that if the Scottish people voted in favour of Scottish independence, the country would be left undefended. He expressed his fear that enemies of the rump-UK would then be able to use Scotland as a base for launching air strikes, adding: “If that were to happen what alternative would England have but to come and bomb the hell out of Glasgow airport and Edinburgh airport.”
The former Solicitor General for Scotland and Lord Advocate also claimed that the SNP’s desire to remove UK nuclear forces from Scotland and to reduce the country’s navy to “fishery protection vessels” would turn Scotland into a warzone. A country with a few vessels for fishery guard was “asking to be invaded,” he said.
He added: “I would not wish my beloved Scotland to be a war zone for those with evil intent on the sovereignty of England. That was, however, the risk. If we totally failed to defend ourselves alone or in conjunction with England, we offered up ourselves as the battleground.”
The former Lord Advocate said he did not know who could have “evil intentions against England” but claimed that the twentieth century taught the world that never “let your guard down.”
Mr Fraser’s outburst comes in a week when SNP defence spokesperson Angus Robertson has highlighted the lack of UK defence cover in Scotland due to cuts in the MoD budget. The cuts leave Scotland without any long distance surveillance capacity, and with just two Royal Navy vessels other than those devoted to the protection of the UK’s nuclear capacity based at Faslane on the Clyde.
However at the same time as he made his comments about Scottish airports being bombed, the Tory peer said that nothing will stop Scotland from becoming an independent nation and questioned whether fighting to keep the Union together is worth the effort.
Mr Fraser, a former minister in John Major’s government, made the remarks on Monday during the launch of a pamphlet he wrote for the think-tank Politeia. In the pamphlet he writes: “All empirical evidence points to a break-up”, and criticised Unionist politicians for their lack of “fresh thinking”, adding that “the status quo points only to disaster” and claiming “there is a muddle over why the union matters.”
Mr Fraser has a problematic history with Scottish airports. In February 2007 police were called to Dundee airport following reports of a disturbance on board an aircraft. Police arrested Mr Fraser, who was charged with disorderly conduct on an aircraft which had just landed at the airport. Later that month the Crown Office announced that it had dropped charges due to insufficient evidence.