Black Watch Identity Must Not Be Compromised

Dunfermline MSP Bill Walker has voiced support for an MP’s calls for Westminster to debate the future of Scotland’s regiments, following reports that the names of the Black Watch and Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders are to be merged.

Perth and North Perthshire SNP MP, Pete Wishart, has demanded the UK Government abandons any plans that would further compromise the identity of the battalions, which he says would be a bid to mask cuts to the army.

Mr Walker commented: “The Black Watch has a proud history stretching back nearly three-hundred years, and the UK Government must not run roughshod over that.

“I urge the UK Government and the Tory Defence Secretary, Philip Hammond, not to arrogantly dismiss our concerns but to listen to Mr Wishart, to the Scottish Government and, most of all, to the people of Fife and Scotland.

“The coalition must consider the powerful attachment Fifers and Scots have to the history and traditions of our regiments. They have already tossed one-third of Scots regiments onto the scrapheap — three out of nine battalions.

“They recently disbanded the Lowland Gunners, which now means that only eight of the 140 regular units will be Scottish recruited. Of those, a tiny two per cent are actually based in Scotland.

“These figures are a complete betrayal, and I agree with Mr Wishart that any plans to further merge our regiments are simply an attempt to disguise the ever-disproportionate and, frankly, disturbing MoD cuts to Scotland.

“In the past decade Scotland has lost more than 10,500 defence jobs under successive Labour and Tory-Liberal administrations. We have been hit with a massive £5.6billion underspend.

“The UK Government is running Scotland’s defence capabilities into the ground. It begs the question, how exactly is the Union making Scotland stronger? The Union is depleting our resources, and we must not allow this happen.”

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