Maybe I’m getting cynical in my old age; but I couldn’t help wondering why the plan to transfer soldiers from Germany to Scotland is back under discussion. What was proposed last year was that the British Army should have five 6,500 member Multi-Role Brigades and one of them should be stationed in Scotland.
One of the Scottish papers is reporting that someone, anonymously, is suggesting that the Scottish brigade should be comprised of Scots, mainly from the Royal Regiment of Scotland, and claiming that the British Army is concerned that if a future operation involving it went wrong, then Scotland would pay a heavy price. There is no reason why the brigade should be based around the Royal Regiment of Scotland. Two non-Scottish battalion-strength units, the Rifles and 45 Royal Marines Commando, are based in Scotland at the moment. My point is that infantry battalions stationed in Scotland don’t have to be “Scottish”. In any case, I don’t think there are 6,500 front-line soldiers serving in nominally Scottish units – basically the RRoS, the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards and the Scots Guards. The Guards are unlikely to ever be stationed in Scotland. The 1st Royal Tank Regiment also recruits in Scotland but I’m guessing this scare story assumes that the armoured component of the Scots-based brigade will be the Scots Dragoon guards. The Several logistics and support units based in Germany have already been earmarked for the move to Scotland and as far as I know none of them have Scottish associations.
I suspect this story has been planted in the media just to remind Scots that if they vote for Independence in the 2014 Referendum, then the transfer of troops to Scotland by the British Army will not be happening. I think by the time all the unit redeployments resulting from the closure of existing decrepit army barracks and RAF and Royal Naval facilities being taken over by the Army, the move will mean 2,000 more military personnel being stationed in Scotland. The British Army would become one of the biggest employers in Scotland – provided people vote the right way in the Independence Referendum. Who knows how big the Army component of the Scottish Defence Forces would be after Independence would be.