I am a child of the 80’s and thanks to Margaret Thatchers diatribes and attacks first became politically conscious then. My political teething ring included being involved in CND. Of course like many people of my certain age, we were brought up on documentaries about conspiracy theories, we attended civil liberties meetings,. I remember one hosted by the council for civil liberties which took place circa 1990 in the headquarters of Glasgow City council . The opening session welcomed everyone who attended and the agents of MI5 who were in attendance. I laughed, wondering why such groups should be interested in me, of course they were looking for the really dangerous people. It is easier to digest that way.
Several decades later on and after a hiatus where I learned to live with a long term illness, where I had children, I have begun to get involved in politics again. Things seem much more heavy handed now. I am part of a theatre group called Acting Strange Scotland. In fact my very first blog here was about my visit to Faslane Peace Camp and how I was inspired by the campers. After that first visit, a group of us decided to visit the peace camp again and perform some short sketches. We wanted to get our message across in a fun way and always with a smile on our face. So we advertised on Facebook and twitter and asked some friends to get involved.
We met in the Wynd Centre in Paisley our rehearsals were going swimmingly we were learning most of our words. Last week we were rehearsing as usual when two police officers arrived asking for “the organizer”. I went out panicked in case something had happened to one of my children. The jolly nice policemen assured me it was nothing untoward and they wanted to ask some questions about our visit to Faslane Peace Camp. To be honest, i was shocked and called for Neil another “organizer” to come too. The police made it clear they knew from social media sites such as Facebook and twitter they knew we were going to Faslane and wanted to know about how many people were going and bizarrely what kind of banners we were bringing. I was grateful to Neil who reminded me we didn’t need to give any other information apart from our name. The police were very polite, Rozencratz and Guildenstern aren’t dead, but they like us felt such time had been wasted asking a theatre group questions while more serious crime went on around us. When we left we congratulated ourselves about being so radical the police needed to speak to us and we laughed.
Yesterday we visited Faslane, we performed our sketches, sang some songs, recited poetry and ate some cake with the Peace Campers. As usual we learned so much from this non violent direct camp which is now the oldest occupation in the world, 30 years old. We attended a demo at the gates lots of police where there and very worried about the presence of an International film crew who were recording all the days events as part of a documentary about Trident. They asked the crew for their press passes which of course they didn’t have to do but did so to save time. Campsie SSP had brought their banner and believe it or not the cardboard tube it is stored in was confiscated (temporally) in case it was used for a crime!! Again we laughed thank goodness for a sense of humour.
It has made us all think though and be aware that someone is watching us. We are all ordinary members of the public who of course want to make a difference and protest but we realise now how much more is at stake. Our personal freedoms and the right to protest. Some draconian measures are being used to harass members of the public as they exercise their right to protest. As a friend’s Pauline’s song lyrics say, we are protesters not terrorists. I am concerned the powers being given to the police are becoming so political and where those affected have no support to question what is happening. A small Theatre Group being visited by the police? A two weeks ago I thought this was someting out of Heart Of Darkness but now I am aware of the bigger picture. Information is power for both sides and this side is looking forward to learning more.