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     Scottish CND      Magazine

Ploughshares Takes Off

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A Western Front scene of squelching mud and rotten vegetation with a backcloth of incessant rain and yet more rain; yours truly huddling in a leaky tent where black beetles scurry guiltily from under boxes and blankets and contend with the earwigs for lebensraum. The midgies have given up, or been drowned - the only compensation for the relentless rain.

This was my personal start to the Trident Ploughshares Camp at Coulport on August 11th. Paradoxically, for all the diabolical weather, my own spirits and those of all the other Ploughsharers were as upbeat as the conditions were lousy. In any case, the second week brought a merciful change to sunshine and blue skies - for some time at least.

In a sense this was indeed a battle front, the scene of a crucial yet completely non-violent (on one side at least) conflict. Here I watched as the enemy sailed past - an immense grey evil Leviathan sliding down Loch Long, escorted by tugs and police launches. This was HMS Vanguard, the first of Britainís Trident submarines, leaving Loch Long on her insane mission of mass murder and mutual suicide.

This was one side of the battlelines. Against the unimaginable destructive power of Trident were gathered the forces of peace, the Trident Ploughshares 2000 activists. There were more than 100 of us there; all of us have undergone training in non-violence, and are committed to freeing Britain and the world from Trident by the year 2000. We are pledged to openly, democratically, non-violently and accountably disarm Britainís criminal and illegal weapon of mass destruction, the Trident nuclear missile system. There were people from more than a dozen nationalities at the Camp, people of all types and ages. A Lutheran priest from Sweden, a student from Tokyo, experienced veterans from Greenham Common, environmentalists from Australia, the For Mother Earth walkers from Belgium, folk from Faslane Peace Camp. Young and old, all are united in their belief in peace and non-violence.

We are taking action because it is our duty and right to oppose state plans for genocidal war. As Richard Falk, the Professor of International Law in Princeton, USA said: "Everyone has the right and duty to say NO to illegal State policy ..... It is not disobedience but the enforcement of the law to refuse to be an accomplice to the preparation of nuclear war." Which says it all.

Bringing together so many people with such a wide range of skills, talents and personalities to this place has had a powerful and lasting effect. People have found in each other the mutual power and inspiration to face up to the ultimate evil, the global nuclear death machine, with renewed vigour and determination.

The setting up of the Ploughshares camp at Coulport drew in extensive interest from the foreign media. There was also a front-page story in the Guardian magazine of August 26th. Perversely, the Scottish media have virtually ignored our actions. As if it were a matter of no consequence that 120 people from a dozen different nations should come together in Scotland to confront Britainís submarine superbelsen, and to endure no less than 114 arrests. I cannot explain this silence; I consider it inexcusable.

The important thing is that this gathering is only the start; from these beginnings I believe our project will grow till we finally get rid of Trident. I would urge all who share our vision to join us, and give TP2000 their active support. Please contact myself on 0141 339 1482 for more information.

Brian Quail.

Scottish CND      Magazine