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Daughters of Rebecca at Faslane

Genny | 17.11.2006 12:59 | Faslane | Anti-militarism | Culture

Welsh activists took part in the Faslane 365 blockade between Monday and Wednesday this week.

Red Dragon
Red Dragon

Merched Beca
Merched Beca

Approximately 100 people from across Wales took part in the rolling 1-year Faslane 365 campaign over three days this week (Mon 13th - Wed 15th November). 19 protesters including eight teenagers, some of whom were as young as 14, were arrested for blockading the nuclear base. Those under 16 were almost immediately de-arrested by the police, but those aged 16 and over are treated as adults in Scottish law and were detained overnight in police cells along with everyone else. Warning letters from the procurator fiscal were issued to arrestees on their release. Since the campaign began on October 1st, only one Faslane 365 case has been referred to court.

The South Wales group brought with them a contingent of the Rebel Clown Army, a giant red dragon and assorted politicians, while the North Wales group included a sizeable group of "Merched Beca" (Daughters of Rebecca) with voluminous skirts, bonnets and blackened faces. The actions of Merched Beca in 1839-44, where protesters dressed up in women’s clothes and destroyed much-hated toll gates in Wales, led directly to a Royal Commission to examine the issue, and by 1844 most of the remaining toll gates had been legally removed, allowing ordinary people to move freely along the roads. The 21st Century Daughters of Rebecca hope that their nonviolent direct action as part of Faslane 365 will bring about the decommissioning and dismantling of Britain’s nuclear weapons, allowing taxes to be diverted to more useful purposes.

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Hide the following 22 comments

an insult to the real Merched Beca

17.11.2006 13:54

As a Welsh woman whose ancestors fought the tolls and destroyed turnpikes, I find it insulting to their memory that you have associated their real struggle with your so-called "direct action".

If you were really the "21st Century Daughters of Rebecca" you would have torn down those fences, rather than pantomiming with the police.

The Merched Beca would laugh at your silly 'non-violence' and refusal to act.

drylliwch y cyffion

llongyfarchiadau gyfeillion

17.11.2006 14:32

Congratulations to all of you who went to Faslane this week and to all who were arrested.
It was a brilliant action, well prepared for and well carried out. Absolutely no comment worth making
on the first response to the posting!

Phil Steele
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17.11.2006 14:46

There is always more than one way to approach a problem. Tearing down a gate is one response. Demonstrating and blockading day after day is another. If I was an original Daughter of Rebecca looking at Wales today, I think I'd be happy that people are coming together to take action, whatever form that might take.

Interesting how some of the most vehement criticism which appears on this newswire seems to be of stories about people getting together to take action against militarism, injustice, state oppression etc., especially campaigns which are reaching out and involving people who may not have taken part previously. Just what the government doesn't want, eh?


On you go!

17.11.2006 15:45

You and your private army of "crack commandos" don't need the Faslane365's Steering Comitttee's persmission to seize control of Faslane. Coulport, Devonport and Aldermaston using lethal force.

But given your emotional age, I feel a little safer that the MoD police and the Royal Marines are in charge of keeping these illegal weapons safe, in prefence to stupid wee kids who think they know it all.

At the very least, you could do something positive and post up your report of how you got through the acoustic fence, the motion detectors, the thermal imaging CCTV, the triple razor wire, the other fences the MoDPlod and the Marines.

"To the streets!" etc.

Big Wuss

blah reply to big wuss

17.11.2006 19:33

You're not helping with your insults - no-one's said anything about crack commandoes, and despite all the defences that you mention that may or may not exist, people have managed to get into Faslane and onto the submarines in the past, and will in the future.

The way they've done it? Over or through the fence, and then walk on, or by sea. If you want details of how to climb fences, or get round other things, it's already there - try



18.11.2006 00:41

"If you were really the "21st Century Daughters of Rebecca" you would have torn down those fences, rather than pantomiming with the police. "

Big Wuss

An issue of context

18.11.2006 03:51

We must consider the issue. The Faslane blockade is not about gates, but about nuclear weapons. The link to Meched Beca is that the toll gates were a method of collecting taxes, then used in the further subjugation of the populace. Nuclear deterrents are a vast sink of tax, causing the intimidation of foreign nations and limiting the betterment of local populations. The weapons, as the toll gates, are only of use to the people employed to maintain them, and the powers that wish to belittle others.
As to the violence issue, I would have a go at bashing down a toll-gate, but I don't feel man enough to take a sledgehammer to a nuclear war-head. To get rid of these weapons we will have to persuade the people who commisioned them to order their dismantlement. If anyone on this discussion wants to volunteer, I respect you.
The point of the blockade is to show that we are willing to hamper the running of this system. If the response to a nuclear attack is delayed by children sat on a road, then either the system must be improved or it must be removed.
The protesters choose to relive Merched Beca because it is a great example of Welsh protest. If their choice does not strike you as apt, consider that their options are limited. Attitudes similar to yours have bred complency, apathy and dejection. This is why Wales is so fixated on its history, but does not concern itself with the present of future. Resistance to oppresion and the creation of a more robust society is the best way of honouring our heroes, not preserving them as a comforting idyl.
Just as you need to evolve Welsh to incorporate technology and still avoid 'Wenglish', so you must also allow politil expression to evolve. The taxation of one population to fund the destruction of another is not as tangible as the tollgates, and cannot be destroyed by a mob. But changing political opinion, while retaining credibillity may. Nuclear detterents are just as intimidating, the taxation as usurious. The fearfull are foreign, and our rights of movement are intact, but the effects as s great or worse, the problem is merely displaced. Failure to act though complacency is complicity; objecting to action on some aesthetic sensibillity is a light excuse.
I myself am English. I hope that my praying, standing for two days in the rain, talking down police, halting nuclear convoys and gently changing peoples opinions WHILE wearing your national dress has not offended you. I'm sorry that more Welsh people did not attend. Despite being in traditional drag we retained our dignity and the legitimacy of our issue, whereas violence would have immediately denegrated any point.

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18.11.2006 08:58

At least you are DOing something, unlike, I suspect, your critic.

Blockading the gates causes far more expense and generates more publicity than breaching the perimeter... unless you get far enough in to actually do more than get marched away in cuffs.

Thanks for making a positive contribution.

(A local)

Big Wuss


18.11.2006 09:11

Anyone interested in running up the cost of Trident and adding to the REAL national debate should have a look at the 365 website.

Big Wuss
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18.11.2006 17:56

Do you have any links to back up your claim that blockading the gates causes far more expense and generates more publicity than breaching the perimeter or did you just make that up to win the argument ? The Serious Organised Crime and Police Act makes it unlikely anyone is going to risk the personal expense involved in breaching the bases over the next year. Some of us regret rather than rejoice in it. Blockading the bases simply ease your own conscience, the costs of secuirty are minimal compared to the expense of renting the nuclear submarines from the US of A. The real deal is to get onto the submarines and smash the toilets, that simple pacifist act renders the submarines unusable for a period of time.

Have you ever blockaded the gates or breached the perimeter or are you just implying that you have ? It sounds to me that you work for base security, you are certainly making their job easier by discouraging serious breaches.



18.11.2006 19:36

Never breached *Faslane*. It stands to reason that the cost of 50 strathclyde police (plus van rental; fuel to Clydebank; breakfasts and Reliance vans etc.) and a dozen modplod over several hours is going to cost more than patching the fence up. Ideally, I'd like to have a few hundred activists to hit the fence at once in the middle of the night.

Unless of course you want to take advantage of some the weaknesses caused by mother nature or approach the berths by water making sure you have no metal on you- making sure you are dressed for hypothermic temperatures.

SOCPA is being tested by a couple of Trident Ploughshares ladies, in England. So far, to my knowledge no-one has received a custodial sentence under SOCPA and the highest fine has been £500- correct me if I'm wrong!

I can't see how SOCPA will put off every single foreign national. I mean, if I were from say Finland, I'd not exactly be that bothered, given that no-ne has gone to jail over it yet (assuming I'd be bailed to appear).

Fuck smashing the toilet, get some cockroaches, mice and scabies (not exactly 100% NVDA) on the sub!

Even just sticking some hazard tape on a sub would be enough to trigger a full check.

Inspector Wuss of the MoD Police


18.11.2006 21:48

Have you breached or blocked any of the bases then ? If not then why masquerade as an activist urging others to action that you yourself aren't prepared to take ? That would be shabby behaviour if it is the case. There was a young Finn who breached a south coast base and got onto a submarine - is that who you are referring to ? Do you know their name ? I ask because there have been people masquerading as nuclear activists on this forum and others recently saying things similar to you without evidence or argument and I am getting fed up with it, at. I'd think the new nuclear power station in Finland should be a higher priority for the Finnish myself rather than travelling to Britain, but then I don't travel at all for environmental reasons. Same for the French, Germans, Spanish, Dutch but especially the americans. Nothing wrong at home ? Although it is nice to meet them and swap skills, it's interesting that they feel that they have to come here to do something positive, more tourists than activists methinks. Sad they are more successful and active than the "locals". Still, it is fun to talk the talk isn't it ? Costs nought, 'cept real change

The Serious Organised Crime and Police Act does seem to be deterring proper actions but I haven't kept up on actual fines, I'll take your word for that. The threat seems enough.

You refer to the costs involved in blocks. The costs of any action are minimal compared to the costs of the bases so that is irrelevant. A proper breach requires a full security review which "stands to reason" costs more than a bit of overtime for already employed policemen, doesn't it ? I was hoping you had actual figures to prove your point since it "stands to reason" that I don't, since I had to ask.

You refer to "more publicity" for blocks rather than breaches. Search Lexus-Nexus and you'll find that to be dubious at best, but apart from that you also have to ask what sort of publicity you are gaining by having a few activists blocking local traffic without risk to themselves rather than having a couple of people risking their lives successfully proving how insecure these bases are. Contrary to popular belief not all publicity is good publicity.

Mice and cockroaches and scabies seem a dreamland solution of an opiate smoker while smashing the toilets makes the submarines unsailable. You don't need a hundred activists for that, you could do it yourself if you are "local" and have nothing better to do with your time than comment here.



18.11.2006 22:32

I think you have been hanging around the dossers that pass themselves off as "peacecampers" these days a little too long.

You'll be telling me next that the SAS regularly train troopers "in surveillance" in the bushes round the back: "Because we found some shit and toilet roll there!" Lay off the soapbar and cider.

Do they really have china toilet pans in Vanguards? I'd be surprised.

I'm slated for two 365 blockades. I wouldn't waste my time breaking in; I have personally got more immediately important causes to go to jail for.

I'm living in a sleeping bag at the moment. I haven't been home for the last 10 days due to activism, court & family commitments and won't get home for another 4 days yet.



thought so

18.11.2006 23:48

-I think you have been hanging around the dossers that pass themselves off as "peacecampers" these days a little too long.

Oh, so you don't like peace-campers ? You must be better than them then. That explains why you don't know the Finn who got onto the submarine. And yet you list Faslane as if you were a peace camper. How odd.

-You'll be telling me next that the SAS regularly train troopers "in surveillance" in the bushes round the back: "Because we found some shit and toilet roll there!" Lay off the soapbar and cider.

I don't drink or smoke. Only the surveillance or bullshitters don't fear surveillance and encourage a careless attitude towards it.

-Do they really have china toilet pans in Vanguards? I'd be surprised.

So you haven't read the Trident Ploughshares manual then ? Have you heard of T.P. ? Did you think the submarines come to the surface every time someone has a call of nature ?

-I'm slated for two 365 blockades. I wouldn't waste my time breaking in; I have personally got more immediately important causes to go to jail for.

Again with the "waste of time". Well good on you for lying down in the middle of the road, it's good to prioritise that over the useless disarming of the weapons - and so much safer. Maybe you should read up on what other people have already achieved before you elect yourself General.

-I'm living in a sleeping bag at the moment. I haven't been home for the last 10 days due to activism, court & family commitments and won't get home for another 4 days yet.


Busy normally. Careful too so carefree I have no home anymore but don't see that as a boast. 10 days outdoors, that must be like being in the Territorials. Best get home to the family before you get the sniffles.


Typical self-important twaddle

19.11.2006 09:11

Your response is so pompous, paranoid and egocentric and couldn't get anymore wide of the mark. I'm not got to spoil everything by disabusing you of your stupidity.

Too be insulted by an ignorant fool is a complement.

Surveillence. SAS don't surveille protestors (MI5, SB, CID do). And to be honest, until 365, I don't any of the three were wasting their time on the timewasters that were occupying, what was formerly a peace camp.

But hey, some people think that drinking cider and petty vandalism is a threat to the Establishment.

Big up Faslane 365! Shame the topic attracts liabilities like Hubris.

One question: Are you a TP pledger? I can't see it somehow. TP seem to be generally level-headed and sane types. You strike me as being too immature for anyone wanting to be in a TP affinity group with you.


to the lost boy

19.11.2006 11:57

Okay, you have some personal problems with Faslane peace camp. Le's just say you have some personal problems and leave it at that. Since I already said I don't drink cider would you like to try and focus on the issue of tactics, which was my point if you care'd to notice rather than fly off the handle. Try and focus young man. Yes, I'm a T.P. pledger, and before you ask I've been inside both Faslane and Coulport and it sounds like you haven't and don't intend trying to


Hubris: Pants on fire!

19.11.2006 13:19

I see. You are TP pledger slagging off 365 as being ineffectual! Okay, what's your affinity group called? What's the main topic of TP's upcoming meeting?

D'you even know who is steering 365?

I have a problem with counterproductive flakes occupying Faslane Peace Camp just because they have nowhere else to go. They are doing more harm than good to the peace movement and I KNOW several TPers who have mooted booting them out and taking the place over... but of course you already knew that being an active Pledger.

Everyone has personal problems, mine don't extend to running down activists doing what they feel comfortable with- and you accuse ME of being a plant huh? Like I said, I personally see no value in getting banged up on remand- at the moment- for the pleasure of Testing SOCPA Scotland-, as I have better things I can be getting arreste/fined/jailed for.

Note the use of the word "personally", it isn't often taken as a marker for universal absolutes. Bear that in mind and you may avoid sounding like Kevin the Teenager and pissing yourself every time has a contrary opinion. But of course you'd have learned consenus building in your Pledger Training...

Again, big up the 265ers and I'll be getting a cold wet arse when my slots come up.

We can al however look forward to Hubris posting his infiltration and disarmament action here soon.


The opposite of counterproductive

21.11.2006 19:04

You may be mistaking my posts for blah. I am not blah and am running nobody down for blocking rather than breaching, I am just mourning the lack of breaches. I was hoping for a proper costs analysis and assumed you had one. Though I feel the costs are unimportant to the government. I'd be happier to breach rather than block if the threatened fines weren't so high myself, or if there was a better support for pledgers who did. When disabling a submarine isn't the main aim then it becomes relatively trivial - care to argue that ? The smallest breach shuts the various bases for various periods of times and that causes more delays to the base, and the chance of disarmanent, which I feel is more important. Why do you disagree ?

I've never heard any pledger threatening to 'boot' anyone anywhere for any reason. Has the TP training progressed recently ? I take it you are new but I would recommend reading the literature and past histories. Having read or even received the Trident Ploughshares newsletter doesn't mean you are TP but I'd be happy to identify myself if you do, perhaps we will be locked on together as some point. Like any community peace camps go through problems between residents but I've heard Faslane is doing well just now. If you truly are TP then regardless of your personal opinion you should not publicly rebuke any other peace group as being 'counterproductive flakes', that in itself is both disresprectful and counterproductive. Which affinity group are you in ?


blah blah blah

22.11.2006 18:11

"Faslane 365 is a one year continuous peaceful blockade of the Trident base at Faslane from 1st October 2006 to 30th September 2007.
Faslane 365 is asking a wide range of local, national and even international groups from all sections of civil society to come to Faslane with at least 100 people committed to stay and make their visions for a just and peaceful future visible for at least two days.
Read about how you can get involved."

Wow lexical pedantry, the lowest form of argument. I think you'll find that "boot" has a metaphorical meaning too.

Just because you got caught trying to climb a fence doesn't make you a pledger- let alone one that doesn't know what Speed the Plough is.

Like I said you're full of it. Run along now and go troll some other activists.



22.11.2006 19:43

I've been arrested for a few things but never for climbing a fence. I have the latest Speed The Plough in front of me. I've even contributed to it. Please ask me any question about it if you first say which affinity group you represent, and if it doesn't invade your privacy too much, I am curious what is your name ?


Death by a million cuts.

26.11.2006 13:26

I am a TP pledger, with the Tamarians affinity group. I'd just like to say how dreadfully tedious this argument between blockaders and breachers is. Are we not all in this together?
Both blockades and breaches have their value, silly arguments about which is more "right on" are not what TP is about. Well done to all F365 blockaders. Well done to anyone up for a spot of breaching.
Death by a million cuts!

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Well said John!

08.12.2006 12:42

According to the Helensburgh advertiser F365 has already cost £1.2M in policing.

I seriously doubt that Hubris has any connection to TP whatsoever. More likely just some troll.


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