Manchester Evening News - - FRONT PAGE - By RAMAZANI MWAMBA and ADAM MAIDMENT [email protected]­i­tymir­ @RAMIMWAMBA

IN the lead-up to the Gen­eral Elec­tion on De­cem­ber 12, the M.E.N. took to the streets of Moss Side and Sal­ford to gauge public opin­ion.

We headed first to the Re­main-vot­ing area of Moss Side where there are clear frus­tra­tions with the govern­ment and then vis­ited Leave-vot­ing Sal­ford to see what peo­ple made of Boris Johnson, Jeremy Cor­byn and the NHS.

In Moss Side, res­i­dents were fed up and said they felt ig­nored by councillor­s.

“We don’t vote round here,” one passer-by shouted from his car win­dow.

Here, peo­ple say they are con­fused about what ex­actly par­ties are promising or how vot­ing would have an im­pact on things in their com­mu­nity.

“Peo­ple aren’t vot­ing, there’s a rea­son for it,” says Ak­mal Khan, 36, who has run Qual­ity Ha­lal Meats on Clare­mont Road in Moss Side for 20 years.

“They are try­ing to grab peo­ple with free WiFi to pro­mote their own agenda. For­get the WiFi, what about the peo­ple?

“Peo­ple don’t know who they’re vot­ing for, what they’re vot­ing for and what they’re get­ting out of it.

“We’re get­ting noth­ing back in re­turn and that’s why peo­ple aren’t vot­ing. They’re not in­ter­ested.”

Elaine Nettz, who works at Mur­rays Opticians on Princess Road, says she will be vot­ing for Labour on De­cem­ber 12 but still shares the same frus­tra­tions as Ak­mal.

“I’ve al­ways voted from the age of 18,” Elaine says.

“In years gone by, they would al­ways come down and talk to us at our front door to re­as­sure us that things will get done.

“Now they just want our vote, they want your cross.

“But noth­ing gets done, I don’t care who it is, whether it’s the Con­ser­va­tives, Labour, or the Lib Dems, they do noth­ing.”

Elaine said she is frus­trated with the un­cer­tainty sur­round­ing pol­i­tics, de­spite there be­ing less than 10 days be­fore polling booths open. “Ev­ery­thing’s chang­ing and it’s all guess­work,” she added. “It’s quite dis­heart­en­ing be­cause we vote so that we have these peo­ple to rep­re­sent us and help us to get the things that we need done. “If the pow­ers that be don’t know, we’re never go­ing to know and I don’t think we have enough time be­tween now and then to know what it’s about.” Head­ing to Sal­ford, an area which heav­ily voted Leave, frus­tra­tion can also be felt among res­i­dents. Some just want to get out of the Euro­pean Union, with or with­out a deal, while oth­ers have ma­jor con­cerns with the Labour govern­ment – par­tic­u­larly with one per­son.

“I could never vote for Labour while that guy is in charge,” Sal­ford res­i­dent Peter O’Brien, 60, said. “No­body trusts Cor­byn and the things he’s done over the years. He never sort of de­fends his coun­try, I find,” added Carl Ainsworth, 56. “He says he sup­ports free­dom but when you’ve been vic­tims of what he calls free­dom, you have a dif­fer­ent out­look on it.”

Many peo­ple we spoke to ex­pressed how much of a ‘sham­bles’ things were at the mo­ment.

When asked what mat­ters to Sal­ford, hous­ing and em­ploy­ment were just two of the im­por­tant is­sues raised.

“There’s a hous­ing short­age here,” said Carl. “This Labour coun­cil has pulled more houses down – good houses. And that’s hap­pened all over Sal­ford in the last 15 years.”

Mean­while, Peter said that peo­ple want a bet­ter stan­dard of liv­ing, such as ‘bet­ter jobs and bet­ter pay.’

The NHS was also a big talk­ing point with peo­ple. Chris Ran­son, who works at the Greater Manch­ester Men­tal Health NHS Foun­da­tion Trust, said it was a ‘wel­come change’ that the Labour man­i­festo had in­cluded an in­crease in public fi­nances and public spend­ing.

“NHS ser­vices have been cut and cut, par­tic­u­larly around men­tal health.

“It has com­pletely de­mor­alised the work­force so I think any­thing that is a cred­i­ble prom­ise to move in the right direc­tion, such as re­fi­nanc­ing, is a pos­i­tive thing.”

Res­i­dents in Sal­ford were de­ter­mined to head to the polling station in De­cem­ber in or­der to make sure their vote was counted.

“I think it’s a moral duty to vote. Peo­ple died for that right,” added Chris.

Carl Ainsworth and Peter O’Brien

Elaine Nettz

Ak­mal Khan

Chris Ran­son

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