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Police dismantle Trident

A fine heading indeed, and true - albeit it was only a model Trident. A clever contrivance of copper tubing and heavy gauge plastic some 25 feet long, which was parked in the road outside the Scottish Parliament. And this replica sub had portholes, so the folk inside could see what was happening in the world outside.
There were ten of us involved: Emma Bateman of Leicester; Adam Conway of Southampton; Janet Fenton of Edinburgh; Rosie Kane MSP; Peter Lux of Norwich; Brian Quail of Glasgow; Jane Smith of Grantown-on-Spey; Jane Tallents of Helensburgh; Sarah Whiteside of Cupar; and Angie Zelter of Norfolk.
On the eve of the action, on 9th March, we all met in St Augustine’s Church in Edinburg for a rehearsal of the event, and on the 10th in the morning, we swung into action, like a well-oiled machine.....well, sort of.

The submarine was taken to an area nearby by lorry, and we lumped it in sections onto the
Canongate, and set it up. Then we locked on inside. And waited. And waited.
Eventually the police arrived, and hung around. The hours passed. Some goodies mysteriously appeared courtesy of the Scottish Parliament catering dept. (nice one, Carole Leckie), and hot chips from Benny’s chippy were very welcome indeed. We could make brief sorties outside the sub to go to the loo, or to stretch out legs.
We had chosen the Scottish Parliament because our action was an appeal to the MSPs to act on our behalf, and to speak up against Trident. Most of them scuttled past, but they could not help but see us. We had parked the submarine at an angle, to allow emergency vehicles to pass by. So we had taken every precaution to preserve safety
Eventually Inspector Boyd took the decision to arrest us. I was the first to be nicked, just before 10 pm.
And never was I so glad to be nicked. I was as as stiff as a board after spending so many

hours cramped up inside the sub. Then it was off to St Leonard’s and a not very pleasant night in the cells.
Sheriff Noel McPartlin presided at the trial on the 5th Dec. He seemed a decent cove, and certainly gave us a fair hearing. The Prosecutor, Mr Stewart, predictably made much of the Lord Advocated Ruling. We were at pains to point out that we were not pleading necessity as per the LAR, but were denying that the offence had taken place.
However, notwithstanding the evident fair-mindedness of the sheriff, old habits die hard - or rather, the courts still refuse to consider the ‘actuality’ of Trident - and we were all found guilty on two charges of obstructing the road, for which we were fined £50, and of obstructing the police in their duty, for which we were fined £250. However, I suspect that most of us will not be paying our fines.
I must say I found being on trial in court in a group of ten to be a powerful and empowering experience. To hear the same matter dealt with is so may different and cogent ways, to be part of a team where each person was giving witness in their own special personal way, was quite unforgettable.

I think my feelings can be best expressed by quoting the words of Lance Goodie, who was one of those who had shared the action:
”It was an honour and a privilege to be there and hear your cogently worded arguments - if anyone had any doubts about what TP is about you guys summed it all up in court - you were all absolutely brilliant and I am glad I was there to witness it”
To which I can only add a heartfelt “amen”.
Brian Quail

 

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