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Statement on the UK Vote to Leave the EU

"I think that the Leave vote was above all a rebellion against elitist politics, neo-liberal economic policies and the austerity and hardship visited on ordinary people across Britain. Regrettably, the dominant campaigns on both sides of the debate - and especially the Leave campaign - gave no expression to that mood but deflected it into reactionary and anti-immigration sentiment. It's now urgently necessary that the Leave vote develops in a progressive direction that leaves this reactionary froth behind and begins to properly reflect the circumstances that created it. Without an internationalist and anti-racist outlook, Britain has no viable future, let alone a decent one. This will be even more forcibly the case if Britain is outside the EU than if it is in it.

In Scotland, the Leave vote in the rest of the UK will create demands for a fresh independence referendum. SACC has no collective position on either EU membership or on Scottish independence. In my view, the previous referendum campaign had many positive effects on Scottish political life, and I expect that a renewed independence campaign would have equally positive effects. But, whether independent or not, and whether in the EU or not, Scottish political life will be crucially affected by the political response to the Leave vote in the rest of the UK and across the EU. Progressive people in Scotland must engage with people elsewhere to promote an outlook that is actively anti-racist, actively supportive of immigration and immigrants, and actively internationalist. That means engaging positively with Leave voters and with the politics of a Leave decision.

Richard Haley, SACC Chair, 10am 24 June 2016