Once there, our expectations of your average protest camp, complete with a struggling fire, leaky tarpaulin, acres of mud, and damp benders, were soon happily defeated. The camp has been there for 15 years, and they have used the time to create a site which more resembles a holiday camp than a protest camp. With plumbed in water and gas, a flushing loo, a cosy communal caravan, a mainline telephone, and the world's only bath which gets warmer as you sit in it (a cast iron bath under which you light a fire) we thought we had hit the high time!
However the holiday camp image is only in appearance, as the camp has regular actions on the base, and is now preparing for eviction. The change of local authority boundaries means they now come under the jurisdiction of a new council who is deter-mined to evict the peace camp. The ostensible reason given for undertaking the eviction, after the camp was supported for so long by the previous council, is a petition signed by 900 members of the community against the camp. The real reasons are probably connected with the empty land which lies behind the camp, which is probably worth a few bob, and a few more bob if the peace camp wasn't there.
This weekend was the "Shut It!" action, a weekend of civil disobedience against the nuclear monster, and actions were carried out under cover of dark at 3 different military sites in the area. The Man-chester crew went out into the night in the van as the mists rolled in, and managed to lose the police and the MoD security in a James Bond style mission involving jumping in and out of vans, hiding in bushes, and very boggy feet. We were eventually successful (we forgot the bolt croppers the first time) in breaking in to Glen Douglas NATO arms depot, writing messages to the MoD, and breaking out again unseen.
Everyone enjoyed the trip, and a few of us talked about getting together to go back, or to get involved with other anti-nuclear actions, possibly as a loose group under the name "Manchester Anti-Nuclear Direct Action". I've also been to a meeting about nuclear waste transport blockading. If you want more details about this, or want to get involved in future anti-nuclear actions, call me.
Cath, CND (0161 834 8301)