I've lived through a lot of prime ministers – there's no trust in politics anymore

John Palmer, 70, feels the current government has neglected 'pretty much everything', and plans to vote for whoever will oust the Conservatives.

As part of its election coverage, Yahoo News is speaking to voters around the country on the issues that will sway their vote. Read more from our election 'Your Voice' series here as we get closer to polling day on 4 July.

John Palmer says he feels the trust has gone out of politics. (image supplied)
John Palmer says he feels the trust has gone out of politics. (image supplied)

John Palmer, 70, lives in Shropshire and is a retired IT consultant. He is a pensioner and volunteers as secretary to the Mid-Shropshire Senior Citizens Bowls League.

“Who do I plan to vote for? That’s a very good question. The best one to get rid of the incumbent.

One of the big problems in trying to get the Tories out is splitting the non-Tory vote. In the past, the only candidate to ever beat the Tories was a Liberal Democrat in 1997. It’s a very rural constituency with a lot of farmers, and a lot of people who vote Tory just for the sake of it, because they always have.

“They’d vote for a dog if you put a blue rosette on him here, but our constituency boundaries have changed so I will have to see. We were in Ludlow, but now we’ll be voting in South Shropshire. I would probably vote Labour, but if I thought the Liberal Democrat candidate had a better chance I’d vote for them.

“I’m working on the principle that Labour has got to be better than this lot. Keir Starmer has got to prove himself. I know a lot of people don’t like him, but you’ve got to give him a chance. Labour haven’t been in power for 14 years and Rishi Sunak is talking about ‘going back to square one’. If the square one we’re talking about is 2010 then I’d happily go for that.

“I’ve never been a Tory-leaning person, my father was always one for the cause when they formed the NHS and I suppose that influenced me somewhat. My mother always used to say ‘get them out’. But the more I read about the Conservatives the worse they seem to get. Like that video they put out with the mass panic in the New York subway purporting to be the [London] Underground. It’s really bad but I don’t know what you do about it; it’s so easy to put out misinformation.

“A lot of the trust in politics seems to have gone. I’ve lived through a lot of prime ministers. Years ago even the Conservatives, apart from Thatcher, had something about them you could probably trust but I’m not sure about this lot. They’re not Tory, they’re almost Ukip. I would give Starmer the benefit of the doubt to start with. We don’t know, but he seems a lot more trustworthy to me. You can’t get much less trustworthy.

“I think pretty much everything has been neglected by the current government. I’m fortunate that I’m not badly off, I’m retired now and I’ve got a decent pension. I think I’m reasonably insulated from it, but one of the biggest things around here is the state of the roads; Shropshire is the second worst [county] for road problems.

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“I think Brexit was a total disaster and it was always going to be. I said so at the time. I worked it out on the ‘a***hole principle’: the biggest a***holes were the ones who wanted to come out [of Europe] – Farage, Johnson, Gove. I think the country was totally mis-sold. What good has come out of it? Nothing that I know of. Everything is bad. The way things are going with Russia and Israel, we’re better off being mates with the people close to us.

“Starmer can’t say we’re going to rejoin the EU because people won’t vote for him if he does. And anyway we don’t know whether they would have us back. They certainly wouldn’t have us back on the terms we had before, which were good.

“My wife works for the local doctor’s surgery. They were short of doctors, now they’re short of healthcare assistants and nurses and they can’t get any. They work their socks off. The NHS is in a dire state. I don’t know whether the government is still trying to privatise it by stealth? I wonder if it would help to make people aware of what they have done would cost if there wasn’t an NHS?

“I had a quadruple heart bypass in 2019 and I’m forever grateful for that. I’ve been reasonably well since. I’m lucky. My wife’s father died last July and they were brilliant with him too, but they’re snowed under and they haven’t got the staff. Brexit is part of that. The chap who operated on me is from Eastern Europe; it’s a good job he was over here.

“I’ve got no problem with immigration: we need it, we always have. But it is red meat [to voters] unfortunately. Who is going to pick all the carrots over in Lincolnshire if they haven’t got people from Eastern Europe coming in? The Rwanda policy is a total joke. It seems like somebody dreamt that up as a bit of a ‘dead cat’ but now they’re just carrying on with it.

“With the cost of living, I’m fortunate that it’s not a worry, but the worst thing as far as we were concerned was the price of electricity. It worried our bowling club, because we were losing money hand over fist, but we managed to get through that. But some local businesses haven’t survived it. I feel very sorry for people in the entertainment business and the arts. Lockdown just stopped people going out.

“Right now I think the country is headed in the wrong direction, and it’s been headed in the wrong direction since the Brexit vote. That certainly stirred up a lot of animosity that wasn’t there before.”

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