But there was nothign remotely English or quaint about why we were there. I say "RAF" Croughton.... in fact, this base is run and used by the US military for communications and intelligence. Whilst precise details of what information passes through there are understandably hard to come by, it is understood to be actively involved in current military campaigns and wars as well as space based and nuclear missile programmes. It is also, along with Menwith Hill which is now officially designated as part of such activities, representative of the continued, unwanted presence of the US war and nuclear machine in this country.
Details of the history and purpose of the base were shared by a CND rep (I'm really sorry, I forget her name...), backed with evidence of the shady ways in which decisions and permissions had passed through parliament to allow such a place to exist and operate without any real scrutiny or accountability, and how, rather than providing us with any kind of "security", the usual laughable arguement behind such weapons systems, the presence makes us a target. Peter Tatchell talked about how 200 years ago, America fought a war of independence against england and now, it appears the situation has been reversed. More than that, here we were accusing others of having weapons of mass destruction, whilst allowing American and British prolifferation in breech of international agreement. He encouraged us to see the nuclear , weapons and military presence issues as part of a wider picture, including issues such as the environment, civil liberties etc, and to continue to protest these issues in the face of our rights being whittled away. finally, a representative of Christian CND reminded us of the need for inclusivity in continuing to spread the message and encouraging other to join this movement. We were left certain both that this is not a one-off, isolated issue, and that this cannot be a one-off event.
For me, the issues were not so much about American military presence, but about military and "inteligence" presence at all, and the outrage of nuclear or other weaponry wherever it may be. As long as it remains at Croughton, a cu of tea on the lawn will be the only civilised thing there.