Analysis Exclusive

Interview: lifelong Conservative voter on why he’s now campaigning for Labour

Notts retired heating element engineer says “NHS, education, homeless people – we can’t let things keep going as they have been.”

Labour campaigners out ‘on the doorstep’

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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    1. well if that’s the case then its because people never listened to labours position on brexit in 2017 as Labour have not betrayed anyone, labours position has never changed from 2017 as well it has always been accept the referendum result but will never ever accept a conservative Brexit unless they pass 6 tests/caveats and as the conservatives never even passed 1 of those tests/caveats Labour would not vote for a conservative deal also Labour also stipulated that if they were returned to power they would negotiate a brexit deal and let the people decide in another referendum or remain again that was decided as Labours position in 2017 but all of that is news to you and many others simly because you believe the msm media and that position is still the same now

    2. Danny I respect veiwpoints but yours are becoming pointless and demotivating for what reason?…I know you want a Labour government so again whats the point in a election campaign that we have to win.

    3. ” Respecting the referendum” = Humpty Dumpty bollocks – unless in means respecting the fact that the majority didn’t vote for Brexit, and that it failed to reverse the resounding decision previously made.

      Sorry – but you lost the argument.

      1. I’m afraid Danny is one of those voters who hasn’t got the vision to ask themselves one simple question…..

        Will leaving the EU be an advantage or a disadvantage to the UK?

        The leave crowd spend their energies making criticisms of the EU, some of which may have validity but are out of all proportion to the benefits which being in the EU give us.Their influence is detrimental to a Labour victory in the GE but stubbornness on their part prevents them from admitting it.

      2. Tory logic………better let the Captains of Industry control the economy because they know best. Our economy will be better if we let EU politicians & business leaders; employers & market speculators run the country.There are so few Socialist politicians in the EU & if you dare vote for one your economy will be filleted like a ‘Greek’ kipper (or Spanish; or Italian sardine).
        There is a ‘Green’ logic that states that economies should not & cannot always continue to grow & the debate should be about ‘local’ supply chains; local markets & local manufacturing. The EU has helped in this process by destroying manufacturing & replacing it with low paid service industries & the gig economy.. We produced more during the miner’s strike during the 3 day week; just prior to entry into EEC. than we do now

  1. The probable reason why any lifelong Tory would vote Labour is because it has moved so far to the right as to become indistinguishable from the Lib Dems. Welcome back Alistair Campbell & farewell Chris Williamson. Chukka & Luciana jumped too soon, ‘New Labour’ will soon be back & you will get what you deserve……….Blairite Remainers.

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