Saturday December 9, 2006
It was as clear as the glaring light of my police cell that nothing within the political system was going to change the government's decision. Democracy in the Labour party has all but been destroyed by Tony Blair, Gordon Brown and sickening opportunism from many who should know better. The response of the Lib Dems has been pathetic.
Civil disobedience is the only way to give voice to the majority of people who want the UK to champion, not undermine, the nuclear non-proliferation treaty, and who want the billions being sunk in the Clyde to be spent on ending the poverty that feeds violent conflict. Civil disobedience is not an end in itself. It is leading to pressure on the Scottish parliament to rid Scotland of nuclear weapons. With the SNP strongly against these arms and likely to become the majority party at Holyrood in May, the fact that defence is not among the devolved powers is not going to protect Trident. The Scottish parliament can use its transport and environment powers to make the base unworkable, and/or it can appeal to the international laws - now part of Scottish as well as English law - that make nuclear deterrence illegal.
Civil disobedience is infectious. On January 8 Scottish parliamentarians who will join the blockade. Clerics too have got their act together, including canons close to the Archbishop of Canterbury. You don't have to be an Angie Zelter. And if you get locked up you should be the proud recipient of a letter - "the evidence is sufficient to justify my bringing you before the court of this criminal charge (of breach of the peace) ... I have decided not to take such proceeding" - from a wise procurator fiscal who knows that when the law moves away from moral common sense, it loses its legitimacy and people lose faith in the institutions trying to implement it.
· For more information on the Faslane blockade see Faslane365.org.
· Hilary Wainwright is co-editor of Red Pepper