November 7, 2019 4.04 pm This story is over 31 months old

Caroline Kenyon: This election SHOULD be about more than Brexit

She ALMOST agrees with Karl

I agree with Karl. That made you sit up! Well, I ALMOST agree with him – he says this election is about more than Brexit. Let me tweak that a little – this election SHOULD be about more than Brexit.

You will not be surprised to learn that we diverge completely after that. His assertion that Parliament has blocked Brexit is 100% untrue. Boris Johnson’s Withdrawal Agreement was passed on the second reading by a majority of 40! It was his own choice to pull it and go for an election.

So here we all are again, poor old Brenda from Bristol must be in despair. And in the absence of a People’s Vote, this general election is turning into a proxy referendum, however much politicians from Labour and Conservative talk about the NHS or housing or education.

Because the massive elephant in the room in this debate has to be Brexit. All the lavish spending commitments made by both parties might as well be written with bonfire night sparklers.

The government’s own analysis shows that Johnson’s ‘deal’ which is actually just a divorce will take a huge 6.9% off our GDP (that’s the nation’s ‘turnover’).

If you think austerity has been bad, indeed, it’s been agonising for many – and I fully acknowledge that mistakes were made in this regard by the Liberal Democrats in the coalition – it will seem like a walk in the park by comparison with what could be coming our way.

And we could still, after all this wrangling and toing and froing, end up with the horrific prospect of No Deal next year when the so-called transition period runs out.

So let’s make it really simple. Let’s press the stop button, remove ourselves from the black hole of Brexit which has sucked so much energy and joyfulness from our great country and take stock of what needs fixing, nationally and in Lincoln. Then let’s roll up our sleeves and get on with it.

When I stood in the 2017 election, I think many thought I’d disappear off afterwards. But I didn’t. I’ve got stuck in, founded the Lincoln Food Summit to help tackle practical issues relating to food poverty, helped a number of local campaigns from Stop Veolia and the proposed animal rendering plant in Skellingthorpe, got involved with the Business School at the University and also working on a very exciting new tourism project for the city.

As an entrepreneur, I’m a doer, otherwise I’m not in business. I will bring my energy and commitment to this wonderful city. Thee are so many things I want to do. I want to focus on the economy, bringing investment to Lincoln, generating great quality jobs where people are properly remunerated and feel valued.

I want to make Lincoln a place that doctors and nurses want to come to – we have some of the hardest to fill vacancies in the NHS nationally – so that people can access the help they need, so that, for example, children with anorexia don’t need to go hundreds of miles from home for treatment.

I want to inspire locals and business to come together to help make Lincoln a greener, more environmentally friendly place to live and work.

If we leave on the 31st of January, it’s only the end of the beginning. Switzerland has been negotiating with the EU since 1971. What a legacy for our grandchildren.

So let’s come together and exercise our democratic choice to start to do all these things we want to do to make the country a better place – for everyone.

Caroline is the parliamentary spokesperson for the Liberal Democrats in Lincoln. She stood as they party's candidate in the 2017 general election in the city.