THE Scottish Government has published the 11th white paper in a series laying out the policy prospectus for an independent Scotland.

“An independent Scotland’s place in the world” was launched on Monday by External Affairs Secretary Angus Robertson and Independence Minister Jamie Hepburn.

The white paper lays out Scottish foreign policy in a host of areas including international aid – which would be boosted to meet the UN’s target of 0.7% of gross national income (GNI) – the armed forces, and nuclear weapons.

Here are three key takeaways from the paper:

Scottish Government leadership ends automatic support for treaty banning nuclear weapons

The National:

Not strictly in the paper, except by omission, was an apparent U-turn from SNP leadership on a treaty banning nuclear weapons.

Former first minister Nicola Sturgeon had repeatedly expressed support for the 2017 Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW), saying that an independent Scotland would be a “keen” signatory despite the UK Government’s objection.

However, Angus Robertson told journalists only that an independent Scotland would continue its obligations under the 1968 Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

He insisted that questions around whether to sign up to the TPNW would be “for the government of the day”.

The shift from SNP leadership brings them into line with UK Government policy on the two treaties.

Scotland would be nuclear free – regardless of what the UK Government wants

A vote for independence would be a vote to remove nuclear weapons from Scottish soil, Angus Robertson insisted, arguing that the current bases on the Clyde would become the headquarters of a new armed forces.

The white paper says that the 113 UK Government military establishments across Scotland would come under Scottish Government control post-independence – though they may be subject to “formal agreements” with other nations.

However, Robertson was clear that Faslane would not be on the table and the UK Government would be compelled to remove the nuclear submarines at the site. Pressed on where else the weapons could be stored, Robertson said that would be an issue for the UK Government to answer.

The Scottish Government also insisted that removing nuclear weapons from the country would not be a barrier to joining Nato, pointing to Finland’s recent ascension and Scotland’s place on the map as key arguments for its inclusion in the alliance.

But none of it has been costed

The white paper says an independent Scottish Government would establish a dedicated diplomatic network across the world, a new Scottish intelligence agency, and an entire system of armed forces, complete with air, land, and marine capability. However, there is no mention of how much this may cost.

The white paper does include annual defence spending from five “comparator countries” – Ireland, Finland, Sweden, Norway, and Denmark – which ranges from around US$1 billion a year to $8bn a year. But there is no mention of set-up costs.

Concerns were raised that, while Scottish ministers have pointed to Trident and nuclear weapons as an area of spending which could be redirected to other policy areas post-independence, this money and more would need to be spent building a new army.

Pressed on the issue, Angus Robertson would only say that any costings would be established by the “comprehensive, expert-led Defence and Security Review” which was also pledged in the white paper.

You can find the full paper on the Scottish Government website.