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     Scottish CND      Magazine

Trident Ploughshares 2000

After the August camp, we Horts sat down together to discuss our feelings about the actions. Rather to our own surprise it emerged that we had all felt rather disempowered. In our group only Ellen is prepared to get arrested for a major action. The rest of us are all totally committed to getting rid of Trident - indeed we have been campaigning together for over 14 years - but for reasons of health, jobs and family just couldn’t manage a prison sentence at the moment. We felt like hangers-on, second-rate, behind-the-lines, undervalued.

It was Kay who hit on the notion. She brightened up and said “What the Horts are good at is communicating. Our role is to explain TP2000 to ordinary folks by symbolic actions.”

“That means an action in Glasgow” said Nonie (thinking of a longer lie-in the morning) “Kentigern House, the offices of the M.O.D. in Argyle St,” we all chorused brightly, remembering past encounters with spray cans, etc. And so the Tigers’ Eyes Action was born.

At 10.00 a.m. precisely six surreptitious conspirators crept around the corner and clicked on two D-locks, effectively closing the main doors of the M.O.D. Under the surprised eyes of two WPC’s we then superglued notices on all the doors, windows, and nearby lampposts saying “Department of Planning for International War Crime” and “Closed until the cancellation of Trident”. By this time the media and reinforcement police had arrived. To our surprise (and relief) we weren’t arrested but politely requested to move to the other side of the road. This suited us fine as there was a derelict building site, and after unrolling two huge banners, we produced our piece de resistance, posters of great big Esso Tigers’ Eyes with the words CRIME WATCH and TP2000 IS WATCHING, which we hung right opposite the M.O.D.

Our simple action attracted good media coverage. BBC Radio News and BBC and 1TV News at prime time, and the World Service all carried it and gave us the opportunity to highlight what was happening down at Faslane and Coulport...... the object of the whole exercise.

Totally fired up, powerful and ready to take on the world, Ellen and I then went down to Coulport to join in the action on Sunday. The camp was wonderful, well-organised and welcoming, and we were soon plotting away. On Sunday morning armed with a pair of bolt-cutters, Ellen joined three other women in cutting the fence at Faslane near the North Gate and attempting to reach the security fence. The police were onto them in a flash, and Sylvia was arrested with one leg inside the Base, the other firmly trapped by a MOD Plod. The other two were also arrested, but although Ellen was happily and vigorously snipping away, they wouldn’t arrest her - too much of a handful I reckon. We then spent a happy afternoon trying to get her bolt-cutters back - after all a perfectly innocent civilian who just happened to be carrying bc’s, and who wasn’t charged with a crime, etc., etc. No joy!

Helen Steven, Gareloch Horticulturalists

Scottish CND      Magazine