Action report 24th of January: sit-in protest at the nuke sub base: no to a new arms race, yes for direct action!
On 24th of January, starting at 06.45 AM,, four anti-nuclear activists blocked the traffic at the south gate of Her Majesty’s Naval Base Clyde in Faslane, Scotland. The base is a home for UK’s four Vanguard class nuke subs. Action was recorded by eco-warriors from the nearby Faslane Peace Camp, a permanent protest site dedicated to direct action and general struggling against nuclear weapons and madness alike since 1982.
The protesters interrupted the base’s morning routines by walking into the line of busy traffic and pulling a banderol over the road. Some drivers still tried pushing past, but luckily not over, the protestors. Three activists formed a classical sit-in blockade, soon causing a delightful traffic jam of an estimated 300 cars. An undercover Ministry of Defence (MoD) cop vehicle and a regular police car soon arrived to the scene of political action. Within an hour and after some eloquently peaceful tugging and hand-cuffing the three were arrested and taken to a nearby Clydebank jail.
The action aimed to highlight the revelation of the Royal Navy misfiring of a Trident II D5 ballistic missile from the nuke sub HMS Vengeance on June 2016. Several news sources reported that the missile, rather than heading towards Africa as intended, veered to opposite direction, towards the Florida coast. Feel free to trust the technology of destruction?
The Prime Minister Theresa May was briefed about the test and its tragi-comical results. Instead of inform the MP’s or the general public, she most politely decided to shut up about it like a well-lobbied politician should. Funny detail is that the parliamentary vote over the renewal and future of the Trident took place only a few weeks after the test-fire failure. Understandably enough, some MP’s have expressed their not-all-that-happy feelings over the supposed cover-up.
Besides the political issue, there is also a slight technical issue at stake. The Trident missile system is identical for both the US and UK and most of these tests are carried out by the US Navy. – “How can anyone on their right mind claim these matters to be in safe hands when the UK is freely sharing secrets size of a nuclear apocalypse to the President Trump, whose mood swings, portraited as views and opinions, are as vague and inconsistent as they are bizarre”, says activist Nick Timer.
As a result of the parliamentary vote last July, the decision was made to spend £40 billion to renew Trident. According to the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND), the figures could well be in excess of £200bn.
“With draconian austerity hitting the majority of UK folks right where it hurts the most, it’s typical to still find such sums for this bloated white elephant that apparently might even be unable to hit its targets. Instead of heading towards a new arms race we need to simply scrap the nukes. Getting rid of Trident would set a good precedent“, says Robin Banks, another activist.