Then Hoon was lying to the House. Coulport alone support over 3000 MoD civilians. And without trident there would be no need for the other nuclear berths in Faslane, so the rest of Submarine Squadron 1 would also relocate.
IIRC, back in the 1960s when the decision to procure Polaris had been teken, the shortlisting for bases was either Falmouth or Faslane. Falmouth was by far the most sensible miltary option, with easy access to the south west approaches and the edge of the continental shelf. However, despite Faslane possessing easily mined and blocked approaches through the narrows at Rhu and the Clyde in general, it was chosen for political purposes to bring jobs and investment to an otherwise impoverished part of Scotland.
Well, if Salmond and the SNP don't want the jobs, they don't have to have them. And watch one of the most prosperous corners of Scotland disappear down the toilet.
And now I wait for incoming from Sven for daring to suggest that a Labour minister would be economic with the actualite with the House......
Perhaps the reason for siting these bases where they are in Scotland is that they're relatively easy to defend plus, if you intend to launch an air raid on them, you'd crash into the hills at the end of the loch?
As for the economy of the west of Scotland - it's not just based on Helensburgh, although I can foresee Helensburgh becoming like Dunoon after the USN left the Holy Loch (which is to say, returning to relatively quiet obscurity and being a place of holiday homes and retirement communities).
When they were built, the accuracy of Soviet ALCMs, ICBMs and SLBMs was pretty poor. Whilst that would make little difference with a high enough kilotonage/megatonage in flatter terrain, a mountain in between burst and target would mitigate some of the effects. Perhaps, enough to make the difference between surviving to launch more boats or being destroyed.
"Coulport alone support over 3000 MoD civilians" - sorry think you're over estimating there. The biggest MOD establishment is main building which has about 2000 civillians from PUS down to cleaner working there. No chance that 3000 work in Coulport.
According to the Scotsman, this is all smoke and mirrors in advance of the Scottish elections, to try and scare the serfs into sticking with their Labour masters through the threat of jobs going south.
LABOUR ministers in London were last night accused of spin over a report that the Ministry of Defence is preparing plans to move the Trident nuclear system out of Scotland.
Scotland on Sunday yesterday quoted a "senior MoD source" as saying that the ministry is so concerned about the prospect of Scotland becoming independent that officials are looking at alternatives to the Clyde bases that are home to Britain's nuclear submarines and Trident missiles.
But yesterday, Ministry of Defence officials insisted that there are no such plans being drawn up, and that a Commons vote last month to renew Trident had effectively decided nuclear weapons will remain on the Clyde for the foreseeable future.
Privately, MoD officials dismissed yesterday's report as electioneering by the Labour Party. Both Des Browne, the defence secretary, and Adam Ingram, his deputy, are Scots.