KPC at Faslane


A group of 12, including 8 members of Kingston Peace Council, travelled to Scotland at the end of April with the intention of blockading the Faslane Naval Base, home of the Trident nuclear submarine fleet.  Faslane 365 is a year-long campaign in which groups from all over the country, and beyond, are invited to go and shut down the base for at least one 48-hour period each during the year.

Some of us stayed at the Peace Camp, and some rented a local cottage, the owners of which were initially apprehensive when they learnt of the purpose of our visit.  However, we had a useful exchange of views, and they told us that they were against Trident, but were not happy with the blockades and the peace camp.  Relations between us were OK after that.

On our first day (the Sunday) the police allowed us to put our banners round the fencing on the roundabout outside the base, and they made a very impressive, eye-catching display as vehicles approached from the brow of a hill.  On the Monday we were only allowed to have them on the fencing either side of the gate.  We spent a lot of time leafleting the cars as they drew up to the roundabout, and although the take-up rate seemed slow, we did give out about 100.  We had some encouraging feedback from this because apparently very few groups are leafleting.

There have been complaints from the local community that they have been seriously inconvenienced since the blockades have been going on, with children being late for school and people missing appointments, so at a recent meeting with residents the Faslane 365 organisers agreed that there should be no blockades before 9am, so that children should not be delayed during the exam season.

We therefore waited until midday to carry out our action.  Some of the group had roles as drivers or observers, but several of the rest of us sat down in the road across the entrance to the base as some vehicles approached.  This was intended to be a dry run for a more serious action, so we had decided that we would all move when asked by the police to do so.  However, some people were dragged up, almost before they had sat down, without being asked to move.  In the end only 4 people were willing to put themselves in the position of being arrested and there were at least 2 dozen police present at all times, so it seemed that it would be a fruitless gesture to try it again.  We therefore decided to just carry on for the rest of the day with our banners and leaflets.




However, most of the police were pleasant, we had wonderful weather and we made good contacts with the Peace Camp, so it was generally a rewarding experience.