Scotland's First Minister, and leader of the SNP, Alex Salmond
Scotland's First Minister, and leader of the SNP, Alex Salmond

Since Scottish independence from the United Kingdom became a real political possibility following the election of a majority Scottish Nationalist Party government to the Scottish Parliament, critics ranging from MPs to generals have shot down SNP plans for an independent Scotland to "share" Britain's armed forces.

Unlike the interventionism preached and practised by the British governments of Tony Blair and David Cameron, the SNP is completely non-interventionists, opposing the war in Iraq and the earlier attacks on the Serbia of Slobodan Milosevic.

The SNP leader and First Minister of Scotland, Alex Salmond, this weekend repeated his defence plans that would see an independent Scotland share defence equipment and facilities with what is left of the United Kingdom but would give him the decision on when and where to send Scottish troops.

Another plan being considered would see the United Kingdom continue controlling defence for Scotland, which would in turn pay a share of the costs.

Such ideas have been severely criticised however. According to the Telegraph, Sir Mike Jackson, former head of the British Army, said that dividing the army would not be possible as it would create divided loyalties.

He said, "Everybody joining the armed forces takes an oath to the Queen, her heirs and successors and that represents (allegiance to) the nation state. You cannot have two nation states and two political masters."

"The British Government could argue he [Alex Salmond] is not entitled to any troops as they are all sworn into the British Army."

The plans were also condemned by MPs Patrick Mercer (Conservative) and Anne McGuire (Labour), as well as by military historian Trevor Royle, who said that a sharing deal would create an "awful muddle".