On June 23rd 2016, with 51.9% votes Leave and 48.1% votes Remain, the UK opted to leave the EU.
Whilst the results in England and Wales were consistent with the overall outcome, in Northern Ireland and Scotland, it was a somewhat different story. 62% of voters opted to Remain. All 32 council areas in Scotland returned majority Remain votes. The capital, Edinburgh, had one of the highest percentages of Remain votes in the entire UK.
The results of the Referendum have caused shockwaves across the UK and EU. As a whole, the UK is now in political, economic, social and constitutional crisis. In Scotland, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon called it ‘democratically unacceptable’ for Scotland to be taken out of the EU ‘against its will’.
In Scotland, support for continued membership of the EU remains strong. There is also strong opposition to the politics and claims of the Leave campaign. On June 29th, in Edinburgh, the Young European Movement hosted a Scotland Stays demo outside the Scottish Parliament, Holyrood. The following pictures document the demo and looks at how some of the pro-EU and anti-Leave rhetoric connects to wider issues of freedom of movement, xenophobia, racism, austerity and Scottish independence.
The results have thrown old divisions over the question of Scottish Independence and the future of the UK into sharp relief. Speaking at the demo, SNP MSP Christina McKelvie evoked an Edinburgh before the 1707 Acts of the Union, when Scotland historically had allied itself with France or Spain.
In the Scottish Parliament, some (including opposition leader, Ruth Davidson MSP) have argued the Leave result strengthens the need for stronger union within the UK. Others (including Scottish Labour leader, Kezia Dugdale MSP) have advocated the federalisation of the UK. Others, including the Scottish Greens and the SNP are seeking to explore options for a second Independence referendum.
Many of the demonstrators responded to the hostile -and frequently xenophobic and racist - immigration rhetoric of the Leave campaign with pro-migration and pro freedom of movement banners.
An 'Immigration crisis'? Part 2
Brexit, whiteness and inequality
Sociologist, Akwugo Ememjulu argues that the racist and xenophobic tone of the Leave campaign should be critiqued in terms of ‘whiteness’ to disguise the effects of austerity. She argues that by racialising the ‘working classes’ as English and white, economic and social hardships could be blamed on those who were not English (British) and/or not white, rather than upon austerity policies and their creators.
Post-Referendum, Brexit rhetoric continues to focus on immigration quotas, access to the single market and freedom of movement.
Although ‘post-Referendum racism’ is receiving media and political attention, discussions about racism and the effects of whiteness, and discussions about the effects of austerity continue to be disconnected.
Amid the political and constitutional fallout of the Brexit vote, the Scottish Government have sought to make unified representations of the Scottish people.
Yet as ever, there are many who have gone unheard throughout the campaign and in the continuing post-Brexit fallout.
Although in Scotland 16 and 17 years are allowed to vote, they were not given the vote for the referendum. EU and other overseas citizens also did not have a vote.
Many at the demo took the opportunity to voice their dissent. Many more remain unrepresented.