Scottish voters contemplate the nuclear option for Faslane’s Trident fleet via The Guardian

Peace camp outside base since 1982 sees yes vote as ending UK’s entire nuclear deterrent but electorate is more ambivalent

One of the biggest targets for Scotland‘s independence campaign sits behind a high, intimidating wall of reinforced security fencing and curling banks of razorwire in the southern Highlands: Faslane naval base, home to Britain’s nuclear missile fleet.

Stretched along the shoreline of a secluded sea loch underneath the gnarled mountains of Argyll, Faslane has been a focus for often large protests for decades. Tens of thousands of peace campaigners have laid siege to its gates, hacked at its fence and blocked nearby roads in protest; some have sneaked in by sea, once clambering inside a Trident submarine.

And in two weeks time, Scotland’s voters may just decide to get rid of it.

Opinion polls suggest the independence movement may be on the brink of an extraordinary victory in the referendum on 18 September: after months of trailing the pro-UK campaign by at least 14 percentage points, two polls, by YouGov and Survation, suggest the yes campaign needs just a 3% swing to win.


“The position of the Scottish government is absolutely clear: following a yes vote, Trident will leave the Clyde as speedily as possible,” he said.

“There is no room for any ambiguity. This is not just because it will be the settled will of the Scottish people in the referendum but also because Whitehall will wish to have 100% control of its nuclear deterrent.”

For Jamie Watson, 32, a former trainee nurse, it would be a remarkable moment. One of a small group of people living at Faslane peace camp, which has continuously occupied a roadside verge near the base since 1982, Watson believes a yes vote could force the UK to abandon nuclear weapons entirely.

“This would be a challenge to the plans to replace Trident and another 50 years of nuclear weapons,” he said. “It’s very high stakes because we’ve now got to the prospect of real pressure being put on Westminster, to challenge what they’re planning.”

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