The 2019 Tory voter from the “red wall” constituency said Rishi Sunak should pour money and staff into the “crippled” NHS and reward striking nurses with higher salaries.
Stoke-on-Trent residents in a focus group organized by More in Common for the Guardian described the health service as “struggling”, in “absolute disarray” and “behind the curve”, with all members able to describe how difficult it was To make an appointment. Above all, locals expressed great sympathy for the striking health workers, who “worked to the bone”.
Noticing how difficult this has become, Janet, a 59-year-old hairdresser, said: “I have friends who are nurses and doctors and they just work to the bone. That’s why they all leave. They don’t have breaks, they’re working overtime , they are not appreciated. More money should be poured into the system.”
But instead of accusing the Conservatives of failing to invest over the past 12 years, members of the group criticized the prime minister for leaving the public alone to deal with rising inflation, strikes and failing public services.
“He did an act of disappearing,” Jannette added, with other members agreeing. “Before, he was on the news every night saying ‘we’re going to do this, we’re going to do this’. All of a sudden he’s gone and it’s like we’re left with this doom and gloom just to keep paying our high bills and high food bills with seemingly no end in sight.”
Andy, 37, echoed Keir Starmer’s New Year’s phrase “sticking plaster politics” because he believed Sunak created laws to prevent immediate action that would do little to address the root of the problem. “He just doesn’t care,” Andy said. “He’s just passing the buck. On the strike issue, like he said, ‘I’ve got people on strike. I’m going to pass a law to stop anyone from striking. Well, I’m going to disappear now. He’s not strong at all.'”
Voters were less sympathetic to the train drivers’ strike action, suggesting their strike wave has undercut the impact of the nurses who made history and braved the picket line late last year.
Joe, 42, a staff relations partner, worries that nurses are getting the least money from the government and the least sympathy from the public because they have been slow to join the strike wave. “I’m fed up with strikes. I’m not saying I won’t, people shouldn’t, they have the right to do what they’re doing. But when I hear about the nurses striking, I think if you can get better wages for you That’s fine. But that’s after the country has been battered, strike after strike, long queues, and their sympathy will dwindle.”
While the constituency has noted the PM’s lack of action, they believe it is too soon to tell whether their current exhaustion will be enough to warrant a vote for Labor at the next election. Janet, the oldest in the group, insisted she would not vote for Starmer’s Labor because any other leader or party would find itself in the same predicament as Sunak. “The situation in the world is not helping, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. These are things that are out of their control.”
Other panelists acknowledged the urgent need for a change in leadership, as showing “enthusiasm” was not enough to address current problems.
“I’ll go somewhere else,” Andy said at the next election. “I cannot tolerate a party that changes from one leader to another without allowing the public to have a say in who leads our country. people [who want immediate solutions] Be satisfied with the correct word choice. But now, the Tories make me think, why do I actually have to vote red or blue? If Labor isn’t the answer, maybe it’s time for someone else to give it a go. How much worse does it get when you’re at the bottom of the pit? “
Starmer’s influence with these voters has not been enough to convince them, but he has made huge strides to keep the party from being so closely associated with his predecessor, Jeremy Corbyn. Asked what they thought of the former attorney general, the group said they were “indifferent” and not sure about him at all.
The shift from hatred towards Labour to indifference will go a long way toward relieving pressure on Labor officials who are trying to ensure the party “takes back” its right-wing slogans and the center-right of politics to win the next election.
In the 2019 election, the constituency turned blue for the first time in its history since 1950, as voters found hope in Boris Johnson’s focus on reviving working-class dreams. It is the dreams that these voters themselves have given up because of the crisis will define the next election. Escalation, arguably a word that supported the last election, has nothing to do with these target voters.
Asked what the phrase meant, the group fell silent until Andy said it: “I guess it’s the government saying we’re going to try to bring the north of the country into line with the south. “It puts everyone on the same page,” added Stephanie. [wage] The package…isn’t it?
Their uncertainty will deal a huge blow to the Conservative Party, because these red wall voters are the very people they are trying to woo with increased funding. But worst of all, half reluctantly admitted they would dissuade an ambitious young man from settling in Stoke, claiming the city had gotten worse since Johnson won the election.
Luke Tryl, UK director at More in Common, said: “Struggling with high energy and food bills, convinced the NHS has caved in and unable to point to any signs of ‘escalation’, the government’s worst fears are the This group in Tork felt how much they had to show in order to vote Tory. While they agreed that the Prime Minister seemed to be doing a better job than his predecessors, they still felt they didn’t know enough about him to get to know him up to the task of addressing the country’s many challenges.”