Good evening! This week's edition of the In Common newsletter comes from Isobel Lindsay, the vice convener of Scottish Campaign against Nuclear Disarmament and a member of the Committee of 100, which was set up in the 1960s to contest nuclear weapons in Britain.

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IMAGINE a small country with a population of five million. It is well-respected in the world and was elected as one of the rotating members of the UN Security Council. It has welcomed over a hundred-thousand Ukrainian refugees and also been a vociferous critic of Israeli brutality in Gaza. It has for decades sent troops to war zones throughout the world as part of UN Peacekeeping forces.

Its military expenditure is 0.23% of GDP and it has chosen not to be part of a military alliance. It played a central role in the development of the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons and together with Norway helped to rescue the Cluster Bomb treaty. Since it became fully independent it has not been invaded and occupied. Perhaps because it is not perceived as a threat.

You would think that this is a model that might be quite attractive to a Scottish independence party. But for some reason, looking to Ireland as an international model for Scotland's foreign and defence policy appears to be taboo.

READ MORE: Three key takeaways from the independence paper on 'Scotland's place in world'

Ireland is often praised as an active member of the EU, just don't talk about it in the context of international security and military policy. That has to be based on a very conservative conventional military approach with no fresh thinking about real security based on the massive direction of change arising from modern technology and major new risks.

To be fair, the UK's five-yearly Integrated Reviews have shown a rather greater awareness of the significance of these changes, although there is little relationship between analysis and Westminster priorities. Let's stop using the word defence and instead use security. Scotland most certainly needs a strong security plan, but it needs to start with an analysis of security challenges and effective responses.

High on the list has to be cyber security. Destroy sub-sea cables, underground cables, major computer networks and – unlike even one or two decades ago – our whole financial system, communications system, energy system and most of the rest of our economic system collapses for a significant period. It only took a few people to blow up the NordStream pipeline. Although oil will be phased out (we trust) within the next twenty years, Scotland will have a major marine-based energy industry to protect.

Climate change will bring huge security problems: loss of coastal communities, vulnerability of food supplies, mass migration. Ironically, while we can hope that it does not happen, the countries most adversely affected are most likely to be in the south, which includes southern European states. Russia may be seen as the problem today, but it is likely to be much less adversely affected in the fairly near future in comparison to countries in the south. This may mean for them water and food shortages, social break-down and large-scale migration north.

Just to be cheerful, add pandemics to the list. In 2015, the UK review of serious risks included pandemics – they just didn't bother doing any preparation for them. Serious organised crime may not seem to fit in this list but as well as fuelling the drug trade, it is estimated to cost the UK well over £40 billion a year – and Scotland has a huge and under-protected coastline.

Of course, Scotland's biggest risk of all is that we have been made the location of the highest concentration of nuclear fire-power in Europe.

The National: Vanguard-class submarine HMS Vigilant, one of the UK's four nuclear warhead-carrying submarines at HM Naval Base Clyde, Faslane, west of Glasgow, Scotland on April 29, 2019. - A tour of the submarine was arranged to mark fifty years of the

There are over 200 nuclear bombs and their delivery systems based on the Clyde, close to our largest population settlements. These are manufactured in Burghfield in the south of England and transported regularly to and from Faslane/Coulport through our towns and cities. We will be a top target in Europe and vulnerable to any accidental contamination. The most important single thing we can do for our security is to take this target off our backs.

An independent Scottish state must think afresh about security. Some things are obvious. We must have a very strong Coast Guard and Border Security service, something currently neglected. We must ensure that we are ahead in drone technology. We should follow Ireland and contribute regularly to UN Peacekeeping.

We need to build our own expertise in advanced cyber security. We must have thorough plans in place for the early removal of nuclear weapons. We must increase food security by increasing domestic production. We must not tie ourselves into outdated ideas based on the norms of the past. Preparing to fight past battles has generally been the pathway to failure. Scotland must focus on practical responses to the real risks that we face.