YOUR VIEWS ON THE ELECTION
FRUSTRATION WITH POLITICIANS A COMMON THEME ON THE STREETS
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