THERE’S NO doubt that Brexit will be a key issue for many people in the general election. But are other issues important to the black community being ignored? Aaliyah Harry and Darell J Philip spoke to voters to find out what they think…
Marc Thompson, 50, self-employed, Brixton
“Yeah, of course Brexit is obscuring other issues. There is healthcare, social care, care, policing, housing – a whole range of things really.
“I think [after the General Election] we will still be pulling ourselves out of the Brexit mess. And I think it will take a long time for politicians to re-focus their energy on the things that affect real people daily.”
Rennée Davis, 21, student
“There’s a lot of issues [other than Brexit] that upset me. For one, there’s Grenfell and the rehousing crisis it’s brought. I hate that the government is now steering it towards the fault of the firefighters. That’s really upsetting – they work hard. They shouldn’t be the ones getting the stick for it.”
Deborah Adefioye, 18, student
“The government don’t understand the stress for us [students]. They haven’t taken it into consideration.
They also haven’t thought about how they are going to sustain all the changes, it’s scary.”
Dami Okusaga, 27
“I do not believe that Brexit has obscured other issues – interestingly, I don’t think even before there was Brexit, any of the issues that are prevalent had been fully addressed.
I feel that [politicians] are selective about what they address and it creates a narrative. When you think about what else is going on, a lot of what they do is gloss over our issues usually, with a bigger issue, so it’s almost like we get forgotten. So no, Brexit [or not] – it has always been the same for me, personally.”
Ahmed, 45, social worker, Stratford
“The elections should not just be about Brexit, because it does not cover all the issues that desperately need to be addressed.
We have public services – hospitals, schools, mental health services, police and social care – that are crumbling.
People are arguing over Brexit like that’s all that matters. I think people need to wake up and vote in the party that will actually best address these other issues.”
“I think there’s a lot of political policy issues in the UK, so addressing the black community I think is a separate thing, because when you look at the Brexit, it’s to do with all the trade wall and all that context, so I feel to be really honest with the black community, we need to create our own.
So that’s my own opinion on Brexit right now.”
Georgina Opoko-Afriyie, 72
“Brexit is obscuring a lot of issues, mainly those affecting the youngsters and their future such as education and jobs. There are a lot of things.”
Darius Akinbodsede, 22
“I think Brexit is directly linked to issues affecting the black community – when you think about economics, for example, all the trade things, it is going to affect the lowest and poorest in society, and a lot of that is filled with black people.
So I believe that [with] Brexit we’re not discussing how it affects the people lower in society.
All we’re talking about is how it affects the corporations, how it affects the NHS – which is eventually going to affect black people in society, how it affects everything – our education, our freedom to move into the EU and out, immigration from other countries.
So, I believe it’s been just another excuse to not directly address how wider government affects black people.”
Shelly Ann, 22, hospitality worker, Elephant and Castle/Vauxhall
“The whole thing is frustrating. These days I really don’t even know what Brexit is. If I’m honest, I’m confused. We just know that we are all going to be broke and that we have to hustle harder. They are ignoring everything else and forcing something that shouldn’t happen. None of us really know all the details of Brexit, only the government do. Do we really know what we are voting for? There is a lack of trust.”
Ellen, 30, performer
“I’ve honestly switched off from politics now, because I can no longer keep up with Brexit. It’s completely taken over, all the news is about Brexit. Sometimes we do want to hear about other things that are happening in the world. But absolutely, everything else like the NHS funding is being ignored. This will have a huge impact on healthcare in our country in the long run.”
Emmanuel Akin, 21, political activist and advocate for young people
“I do not feel that Brexit is turning the focus away from the actual problems that different societies and economies are actually dealing with. However, what I do believe is Brexit – because it is such a national problem – I do believe that it should be put first.”
Brexit aside, what are some of the important issues you want politicians to devote more attention to? Let us know in the comments.