The election has to be about more than Brexit

The election has to be about more than Brexit

Theresa May shocked us all when she called a General Election on the steps of Downing Street for June 8th. What was more shocking however, was her ‘reasoning’ behind her decision. She explained that she had decided to do so on the basis that Westminster wasn’t united behind her EU renegotiation position that drags Britain out of the single market, but isn’t that called democracy?

Article 50 has been triggered. Brexit is happening. There is no turning back. We are leaving the European Union. Even the Liberal Democrats have shifted the language that they now use. For them, it is no longer about stopping Brexit, but about stopping a ‘hard Brexit’. This election however, shouldn’t be and can’t be, just about our decision to leave the EU. Brexit will have an enormous impact on the future of our country. It is an important issue, and one that we need to debate and discuss. This though, cannot be at the detriment of other important issues that we need to talk about in the weeks and months ahead.

It is a disgrace that in 2017, according to Shelter, 150 families in Britain become homeless in Britain every single day. It is a disgrace that wages are lower today than they were 10 years ago. It is a disgrace that it has become harder and harder for students and young people to own their own home. These are important issues and ones that we can’t ignore. June 8th can’t be about June 23rd, it has to be about the future of our country.

Theresa May wants this election to be about Brexit because she doesn’t have the answers to the issues that we face. She doesn’t have the answers to rising inequality, She doesn’t have the answers to overcrowded A&E units. She doesn’t have the answers to squeezed living standards either. Theresa May wants a mandate. We have seen however, over the past seven years, that the Government hasn’t been on the side of students or ordinary working people. We can’t let this continue. We shouldn’t vote for parties either that backed the bedroom tax or tripled tuition fees too.

In this election, there will be those that seek to denigrate and divide. There will be those that want to blame our neighbours for all of today’s problems instead of focussing on our Government’s failed track record. In this election we will decide whether to tackle the important issues that our country faces or whether to walk by on the other side. Silence is not an option in this election. We have to decide. The most powerful word in our democracy is ‘we’. We should no longer be labelled by which way we voted on June 23rd. We need to come together and join together. We have to stand together and work together so that together we can fix the problems that we face. We need to fight together for the future of our country. We need to use our voice. We need to have our say on these issues and the many more that affect our community and our country. We all need to vote on June 8th. The power of the vote is in our hands.

In concluding, let’s make this election about how the Government is failing the social care system and our NHS. Let’s make this election about the rise in food banks and the cuts to disability benefits. Let’s make this election about zero hour contracts and the mental health crisis that is taking place in our country. Let’s make this election a referendum on this Conservative Governments past seven years in office. On June 8th, let’s vote together, and together, we will build a better Britain and a fairer future for all.

Steven Atkins

(Image courtesy of Financial Times)

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