Keir Starmer addressing a hustings event against a red background. He wears a suit without a tie and is speaking at a lectern.

Humanist Society calls for bold action on secular and progressive causes from new government

July 5, 2024

With the Labour Party winning a large mandate to govern the UK, now is the time to take bold action on secular and progressive causes, from removing bishops from the Lords to fighting the climate emergency.

Humanist Society Scotland notes the election of the Labour Party as the new governing party of the United Kingdom and of Sir Keir Starmer as the new UK prime minister. We campaign for a more ethical, rational, and socially just Scotland. Much of our work focuses on pressing for change at Holyrood. But decisions taken by the UK government have a huge impact on Scottish society as well.

The scale of Labour’s majority gives them a clear mandate to push for bolder change on secular and progressive causes than was proposed during the election campaign. In particular, we want this new government to finally remove unelected bishops from the House of Lords. This is a fragment of religious privilege that can no longer be justified.

Humanists also care deeply about the climate and nature crises. We want to see urgent, science-led solutions to these great ethical and political crises of our age. This will require collaborative working across national borders. And we want to see this new government lead the international dialogue on promoting freedom of speech, too, as well as repealing blasphemy laws which continue to impact disproportionately on humanists and atheists.

Where we have seen caution on the campaign trail, we need to see urgency and endeavour in office

Fraser Sutherland, CEO, Humanist Society Scotland

Humanist Society Scotland is a human rights-charity grounded in principles of secularism. We believe in the equal rights of all members of UK society and of those who come here seeking freedom from war or persecution. We therefore call on this new government to end the dehumanising language used to describe refugees and migrants in recent political discourse. 

We also call on the UK government to stop the scapegoating of the LGBT+ community in order to gain political capital. In particular, it is time to lift the block on Holyrood’s democratic vote to make the gender recognition process easier and more dignified for trans and non-binary people in Scotland.

Our CEO Fraser Sutherland said: 

“This victory gives our new UK government a clear mandate to be bolder on the causes that any modern, secular, democratic state should prioritise in 2024. We need a fully secularised state, urgent action to tackle the climate crisis, an end to the scapegoating of refugees and migrants as well as the LGBT+ community, and we need to see the UK take a leading role in promoting human rights around the world. Where we have seen caution on the campaign trail, we need to see urgency and endeavour in office.”

Support our campaign work, make a donation today

Our campaign work is funded by the generous support of our members and supporters. Support our campaign work and help to create a fairer Scotland and world.

Cartoon showing a person dropping a coin into a collection box.

Join us!

Your membership will help to fund our campaign work to make Scotland a more secular, rational, and socially just country, and to ensure everyone in Scotland has access to humanist ceremonies to mark important life events.

Cartoon showing a group of protestors outside Holyrood holding up placards and carrying loudspeakers

Image: Wikimedia Commons/CC

Latest Related Stories

Artist Kathryn Welch making flower posies.

World Humanist Day 2024 round-up

World Humanist Day 2024 round-up
Cartoon showing a family group looking at a sunset over the sea.

Use our guide for responding to the assisted dying consultation

Use our guide for responding to the assisted dying consultation
Graphic showing people putting slips in a voting box showing the Humanist Society Scotland logo, and LGBT+ flag, and a science symbol. Text reads "I'm voting humanist."

We launch our general election 2024 resources

We launch our general election 2024 resources
Ross holds a mic whilst talking to a crowd at rally (not pictured) outside. He wears a green kilt.

10 years of equal marriage in Scotland: interview with celebrant Ross Wright

10 years of equal marriage in Scotland: interview with celebrant Ross Wright