Notts retired heating element engineer says “NHS, education, homeless people – we can’t let things keep going as they have been.”
At the end of last month, Labour supporter Samantha Wathen tweeted about a remarkable change of heart on the part of her uncle.
Driven by his growing awareness of what the Tories have done and continue to do to our NHS, the lifelong Tory voter had not only decided to vote Labour – but was out on the doorstep trying to persuade more people to join him:
And not just on the doorstep, as the SKWAWKBOX found out in an interview with the new Labour activist in Nottinghamshire – nor just because of the NHS:
SKWAWKBOX: Hi J___, great to hear you’ve come on board. Would you like to tell me a bit about yourself?
J: I’ve been a working-class person all me life, I’m retired now but worked fifty years making heating elements.
S: You’ve always been a Tory voter until now?
J: Yes, but I’m fed up of them. There are so many things I didn’t know about – the privatisation of the NHS and the cuts to education particularly. The Conservatives make promises but they never keep them – and they’re always blaming everybody else for their own cock-ups.
We need a new start, it can’t keep going as it has been under them.
S: What would you say has been the key deciding factor in your change of heart?
J: Realising what’s happening to the NHS. Even when they say they’re opening something it turns out to be an excuse to privatise more and help their mate. And when they do build anything, they always set up a deal that means private companies make a fortune out it and the NHS ends up paying through the nose for it. The money that goes into the NHS should go on patients, not into private bank accounts.
Then they say they’re going to build hospitals and they don’t, or it turns out they’re talking about something that was already planned or really just merging two together so we end up with one less.
And all the while, the waiting lists just keep going up – but they keep lying about them.
“Things like that shouldn’t happen.”
S: Anything else?
J: Yes, the state of our schools now. I’m sick of hearing about schools having to ask parents to buy books or donate money because the school has no money from all the cuts. Then even when they’ve got books half the kids are too hungry to learn unless the teachers feed them, often out of their own pockets.
The school my niece’s kids go to – it’s not that old a building, but the roof’s leaking and the company that got the contract to run it has gone bust, so it’s not getting repaired.
Things like that shouldn’t happen.
Then there’s the homeless people. The amount of people I see in doorways round Nottingham and people just seem to forget about them, ignore them as they walk past. I always talk to them, whatever situation they’ve fell into.
There was one guy I spoke to, he was married but his marriage fell through, he couldn’t pay the mortgage and now he’s living on the streets. Cos he’s living on the streets, he’s got no adress, he can’t find another job, you know.
In this day and age, that shouldn’t be happening either.
“They’ve messed things up over the past ten years, they never sort anything out.”
It’s like food banks. People should be earning a reasonable wage so they don’t need to go to food banks, but the government praises food banks like they show how well things are working. They’re losing touch with everything.
A few years back I thought, well the Conservatives are ok, but they’ve messed things up over the past ten years, they never sort anything out – they waste billions and then Boris Johnson spends a hundred million pounds telling us how great it’s going to be.
Then when you hear them on television, they’re all parroting the same lines, sounding false.
S: So what have you been doing to campaign for Labour now?
J: I’ve been out on the doors, but some people don’t like being disturbed so there I just put leaflets through.
“We can’t let things keep going as they have been. We need a new start and it can’t be the same bunch we’ve had messing things up for years.”
But I do tend to, if I’m standing at the bus stop going into town for instance, I’ll have conversations about politics – that way you can try to change people’s opinions. Some people are like “Oh leave it as it is, it’s ok” – but then I mention the NHS and they didn’t realise it was happening. It makes them think then and some might change their mind. Hopefully they do.
It’s not just for me, I’m getting on. But I’m thinking of me nieces and their kids, the younger generation.
Prices are going up and wages aren’t keeping up. My first house cost me £18,500 but to buy it now would cost hundreds of thousands. I had a decent wage in them days and could pay my mortgage but nowadays it’s frightening.
We can’t let things keep going as they have been. We need a new start and it can’t be the same bunch we’ve had messing things up for years.
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