THE first of three new Royal Navy frigates is being built on the Clyde. Whoop, and indeed, dee-doo. The news was plastered all over the BBC’s Reporting Scotland and the Unionist papers, all of whom bigged it up as one of those Union benefits that we’re always being promised but which all too often fail to materialise. The fact they were giving lots of publicity to a development that could be used to argue for Scotland’s continuing membership of the UK wasn’t at all surprising.

Neither was it at all surprising that all of them neglected to mention that during the 2014 referendum campaign the Clyde shipyards were promised that they would build 13 new frigates, a number which was reduced to eight not long after Westminster secured its No vote, and then which was reduced further to three.

Scotland should be grateful for whatever scraps are tossed its way. But never mind, the new ship is to be named HMS Glasgow. Doesn’t that make you feel proud to be British?

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Rumour has it that the original name chosen for the frigate by the Ministry of Defence was HMS Friggy McFrigface, but that was rejected as it sounded too much like a sexual activity. The second ship is going to be called HMS Vote No, and the third HMS Patronising BT Lady.

The ship’s mess will serve only cereal. The ship might be called HMS Glasgow, but it’s going to be based in Devonport. Scotland will continue to be woefully undefended by the Royal Navy. Late in 2013, a Russian warship was spotted in the Moray Firth. It took the Royal Navy more than 24 hours to get one of its ships into the area because the only one available was off the south coast of England. Scotland only interests the UK as a base for its nuclear warheads.

Perhaps if there was decent investment in Scotland’s shipbuilding industry it could be like Norway’s and build a large range of civilian vessels, then it wouldn’t be so dependent on the whims of the MoD. As it is, it suits Westminster to have a weak shipbuilding industry in Scotland, because then it can be held hostage to promises from the British defence establishment. If you deny a person the resources that enable them to fish for themselves, you can keep them dangling from a hook.

Scotland having to make do with crumbs from the table is normal for the UK. This week the British Government announced the latest phase of the high-speed rail line, HS2, which is to be built at a cost of £55.7 billion, which works out at £400 million per mile. The entire electrification project between Glasgow and Edinburgh was originally forecast to cost £742m. Even when expected cost overruns are taken into account, it’s still only about two miles’ worth of HS2. What many consider a vanity project costing billions gets the go-ahead, despite a number of studies showing that it will mainly be of benefit to London, which already enjoys a disproportionate share of UK transport investment. Meanwhile, other rail investment projects are scrapped. The line from Cardiff to Swansea will not be electrified after all, and neither will the Midland main line between Sheffield and Nottingham, or the branch line from Oxenholme to Windermere. There are currently no firm plans for high-speed rail to reach Scotland. The line isn’t expected to reach northern England before the 2030s. By the time it gets to Scotland, many of the readers of this article will be dead. Realistically there’s more chance of David Mundell acting as the voice of Scotland in the UK Cabinet rather than the voice of the UK Cabinet in Scotland than there is of Britain’s high-speed railway ever reaching Scotland.

If we’re exceptionally lucky, high-speed rail might struggle into Scotland around about the same time that some genius who will be born in the distant future invents a matter transporter making planes, roads, and railways obsolete.

Mind you, since at least one leading Tory – that would be Andrea Leadsom – thinks Jane Austen is a living author, that would still allow the Tories to promise high-speed rail to Scotland within our lifetimes. We’ll be several hundred years old, and we still won’t be eligible for a state pension.

Angered at the fact that Scotland was being left behind, a couple of years ago the Scottish Government announced plans to build a high-speed railway between Glasgow and Edinburgh, but in the absence of any firm plans to connect the line to the rest of the high-speed network, it’s not financially viable.

While countries all over the world are investing in high-speed rail, Scotland is being left at the end of a branch line. Whether it’s ships or it’s planes, Westminster condemns Scotland to a third-class service.