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Essex Chronicle asks: With BREXIT dominating the political agenda, what other issues need to be addressed urgently in 2019?

February 4, 2019 8:31 PM
By Marie Goldman, Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Chelmsford in Essex Chronicle Series
Marie GoldmanPlease, please, please - can we talk about something other than Brexit?
Switch on the TV, turn on the radio, flick through a paper and it's the only news there seems to be. If you were an alien landing in the UK on your first visit to Earth, you might be forgiven for thinking there's nothing else to worry about. But of course, you'd be wrong.
Brexit has a habit of burying other important issues, but that doesn't mean they've gone away - we just don't seem to be paying them enough attention.
in September 2018, a new study found that 4.5 million children in the UK are living in poverty. That should have hit the headlines and got the whole country talking. Just think about it - that's roughly a third of all UK children living in hardship and more likely to have poor health than those above the poverty line. Surely, we should be doing something about that?
Instead, Brexit is distracting our time, energy and resources away from dealing with lots of issues, yet it won't fix any of them.
Brexit won't fix the NHS - with fewer EU doctors and nurses, Brexit will hit the NHS hard.
Brexit won't allow us to build more affordable houses - more costly materials, but fewer plumbers and plasterers will make houses more expensive to build.
Brexit won't tackle climate change - we need to work with other countries to do that. Pollution doesn't respect borders.
Brexit isn't the magic answer to solving our problems - far from it. Instead, it will only add to our woes and we will be talking about it for generations. It's time that we recognised Brexit as the white elephant that it is, cancelled it, consigned it to history and got on with fixing the country.
This article appeared in the Talking Point section of the Essex Chronicle Series on 31 January 2019 in Brentwood, Harlow and Chelmsford.