Now is time to heal divisions

Having campaigned very strongly for a vote to remain in the EU, Hastings and Rye Green Party is of course extremely disappointed at the outcome of the referendum.

The referendum has been an incredibly bitter process, which has divided not only communities but even families. Lies and myth have taken the place of truth: many people voted out of fear whipped up by the media, where immigration became the scapegoat for very legitimate concerns about our austerity-hit public services. It is clear that many people in Britain are angry, and they’ve expressed that anger by voting to leave the EU.

We will not understand the full implications of the vote to leave for many years, but already we are hearing about racial attacks, in which the attackers appear to feel legitimised by the vote.

This is tragic, and we must all do everything we can to stand in solidarity with people of any nationality who are being targeted.

Our task now is twofold. Firstly, to try to bring people together, to heal some of those divisions and address the reasons for that anger: the inequalities of our society, the cuts which have impacted on the most vulnerable, the failure to have a proper discussion on immigration but to allow the debate to be conducted in a way which has simply inflamed tensions.

Secondly, we need to unite to protect workers’ rights and environmental protections which are now at risk. We must fight to ensure that EU regulations relating to climate change are upheld and taken further. We need to ensure that the government does not scrap the Human Rights Act, and that EU rights enshrined in British law are retained.

While the anger and fear that caused people to vote for Brexit are legitimate, leaving the EU is unlikely to address those issues. Instead, most of us are likely to find ourselves worse off - in a country where rights are at risk, where we may be facing massive job losses, where racism may have been given a new legitimacy, and where we are facing even further cuts to public services as a result of the impact on the economy.

Caroline Lucas, Green MP for Brighton Pavilion, says: “We are calling on progressive parties to unite in this fight.

“Over the last six years we’ve seen how the Tories have passed a financial crisis onto those who can least shoulder to blame – we must resist any such attempt as we leave the EU. This result presents a profound challenge for progressive politics, and we must not shy away from building new alliances to best serve the people we represent.”

Andrea Needham

Hastings and Rye Green Party

Milward Road

Hastings

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