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Editor’s comment: It is time to pick our campaigns

PUBLISHED: 08:30 19 December 2019

Prime minister Boris Johnson. Photograph: Adrian Dennis/PA.

Prime minister Boris Johnson. Photograph: Adrian Dennis/PA.

PA Wire/PA Images

It will be a bitter pill to swallow but it may be time for Remain campaigners to accept that Brexit will “git done” and rethink the focus of their energies.

Boris Johnson may not have achieved a majority of the popular vote but this parliamentary landslide for the Conservatives sends a clear message on the issue which has dominated politics for three years. It is time for other topics to take centre stage, not least the climate crisis.

In Mr Johnson's victory speech he said: "You voted to be carbon neutral by 2050 and we will do it."

Whether or not he said it mainly to facilitate sleep-deprived-Tory-activist-pleasing pun ("You also voted to be Corbyn neutral by Christmas..."), we will never know. But is 2050 good enough? That is a fight that needs to be had. The environment has to be top of the agenda. But there are other fights.

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Mr Johnson ended his speech with another piece of excruciating wordplay: "Let's get Brexit done but first, my friends, let's get breakfast done too."

Mr Johnson's victory breakfast is a world away from the daily diet of the families who rely on foodbanks. Thousands of those families contribute to the much-vaunted employment figures.

On the NHS, he said: "50,000 more nurses, and 50 million more GP surgery appointments and how many new hospitals? (Crowd shouts 40) Correct.

"And we will deliver a long-term NHS budget enshrined in law, £650 million extra every week, health secretary."

How will these words sound in a year's time? How about five years? These issues are not unconnected to Brexit, but it is time they were front and centre. Our relationship with Europe will be rebuilt in the coming years - and that should be scrutinised and debated - but it must be a means rather than an end.


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