2024 Election Statement

Dear Members and Supporters

The result of the 2024 general election has profoundly changed the UK’s political landscape. For supporters of European integration in all four nations it must be a relief to see the Conservative party – the key instrument in Brexit – so roundly defeated.

Labour has won an enormous victory. We congratulate the party and wish it well in government. It is in all our interests that Labour succeeds. The party inherits historically weak public finances, a limping economy, hollowed out public services and dangerously threatening geopolitical clouds. At home, Labour faces a Commons with Nigel Farage constantly sniping on every front, sowing division and discontent at every opportunity. A successful Labour government is in the interests of our cause.

We believe that Labour can be persuaded that its current hard-line position on Europe can be softened. This is something to which we can all contribute — indeed it’s our number one task. For if we all continue to make the case for a closer links with our EU neighbours, we can change the political discourse and environment that presently constrains what Keir Starmer and his colleagues feel they can achieve on the European front.

Thus, we believe we can persuade Labour that the fastest way towards sustained economic success is to first align with EU standards, then reach progressive accords with the EU in the key areas of trade, defence and climate change, followed by seeking avenues to end bottlenecks in areas like Erasmus, travelling artists and performers, tourist travel and opportunities for young people to live and work across the continent. These are all areas that can benefit the UK’s economic resilience, enhance its political stability and weaken the hard right by delivering tangible benefits to people in every part of the UK.

Our movement has its roots in seeking ways to keep Europe at peace. For 70 years that aim produced a Europe of greater economic success, greater stability, greater individual freedom and greater cooperation between the peoples and states of Europe than at any time in history. It would be the most immense failure of political will if the forces for good in the UK and Europe allowed that success to be corrupted and perhaps destroyed by political extremists. We in the European Movement in Scotland can position our movement as a friend of consensus and an enemy of extremism.

We have a hard road ahead, but we must not falter. We must build our movement. We must build the case for Europe. We must cement our friendships with politicians in all parties where the European dream lives. Labour’s heart is in Europe, as it is in the SNP, Liberal Democrats and Greens. We are friends of all whose instincts are for peace, cooperation, open trade, human rights and progressive democracy.

The loss of so many staunchly pro-Europe SNP MPs is a disappointment for the European Movement in Scotland (EMiS )and in the other parts of the UK. SNP MPs, like our vice-president Alyn Smith, who lost his Stirling seat, were a consistently powerful voice for Europe at Westminster. EMiS greatly values the pro-European voice that the SNP has provided. We look forward to continuing to work with the party, and indeed our friends across all political parties, to promote the European ideal and all the good things that ideal encompasses.

At EMiS we have been working on a post-general election campaign plan. We will share that with members shortly.

In the meantime, may I wish you a peaceful and happy summer.

David Clarke, Chair

5th July 2024