SHEFFIELD HALLAM: Residents reveal the issues that will determine who gets their vote
As thick fog settles over Crosspool, customers are warming up with coffee in Nest cafe.
This is the heart of Sheffield Hallam constituency, a target seat in the general election, yet there is little enthusiasm for politics and no one has the energy for yet another vote.
“The fog and general colour lingering over us is a really good metaphor for the state of the nation,” says Lucy Ashton, owner of the florist shop The Dandelion Clock at Fulwood.
“For me personally it’s a further extension of the uncertainty in the political, economical and social climate that we have had for such a long time.
“When I get customers coming in everybody is so weary, so many have said everyone is so sick of everything.”
Like many businesses, Lucy is struggling with the unpredictability of Brexit and buying blooms from abroad has been made more complicated. The last thing she wants is more political upheaval.
“It feels like we are going into 2020 in very precarious uncertain times and people just want to know what we are doing as a country as it’s all so unstable.
“The stagnation we are in is affecting the economy and people don’t want to make financial investments like buying a house or car.
“It’s unsustainable trying to keep up with the amount of information. No one believes a single word any more and people are so disillusioned with the options we are presented with.
“People are weighed down with the tedium and stagnation and utter joylessness.”
She also unimpressed with the timing of the election, having already geared herself twice for leaving Brexit only to find they were false starts.
“This election is right before Christmas when retailers are busting a gut and it makes people concerned about their finances and spending. It’s a brutal thing to do to retailers.”
Customers frothed as much as their cappuccinos during Brexit with heated debates in Nest but the mood is more flat white now.
Cafe owner Glyn Dyer says: “When it was Brexit, it was all people were talking about but no one is talking about this election. Now people are just fed up.”
Call for a People’s Vote
Glen’s colleague Toni Cook feels Brexit is dominating the election. “I would have preferred another referendum, I would like a People’s Vote, because I don’t think the general election will make a huge amount of difference to the situation we are in. We damned if we do and damned if we don’t.
“Brexit is important but climate change is too. I think everything is getting swallowed up with Brexit and we need to move on and draw a line and look at some other issues as well.”
She is clearer than some on how she will vote. “Being in this constituency I don’t want the government to continue as they are. I vote with my gut instinct and have always voted liberal. It feels worthwhile to vote liberal here as it’s not a wasted vote.”
From floating voter to Labour supporter
Outside on the street, a man says the personalities of the party leaders do influence him. He didn’t want to give his name because, as a businessman, he needs to stay impartial.
“I was a lifelong Labour voter until about ten years ago when I voted Conservative because I liked their policies. I voted for them for about six years then went back to Labour.
“At the start of this campaign I was a floating voter, completely. I do have a lot of Conservative views but I don’t like Boris Johnson as a person.
“As the campaign has gone on I’ve become more and more Labour and Jeremy Corbyn is a person who appears to want to put people first.
“I like Labour’s policies and if he does a few of them it will be great. The Conservatives haven’t done an awful lot in the nine years they have been in power.”
People in Crosspool will vote but it’s with weariness at the system and wariness that they can trust any of the parties.
The candidates in Sheffield Hallam are:
- Liz Aspden (Ind)
- Olivia Blake (Lab)
- Laura Gordon (Lib Dem)
- Terence McHale (Brexit Party)
- Natalie Thomas (Green)
- Michael Virgo (UKIP)
- Ian Walker (Con)