Security high on voters’ minds ahead of UK election

On the streets of London, voters talk about who they’ll be voting for and why.

Aftermath Of The London Bridge Terror Attacks
Campaigning before the general election was suspended twice in the wake of two recent deadly attacks in Manchester and London [Leon Neal/Getty Images]

London, UK – The UK is going to the polls on June 8. Opinion polls have Prime Minister Theresa May‘s Conservative Party leading Jeremy Corbyn‘s Labour Party, although that lead has narrowed significantly over the course of the campaign. 

Before they take to the ballot box, Al Jazeera took to the streets of London to ask Londoners for whom they will be voting for, why, and whether issues like healthcare, Brexit negotiations and wage disparities have been sidelined after the Manchester bomb, which killed 22 people on May 22 and last Saturday’s attacks on London Bridge and Borough Market, which killed seven people and injured 48.

Sara Karim, 52, salesperson: Voting Labour
[Barbara McCarthy/Al Jazeera]
[Barbara McCarthy/Al Jazeera]

Sara Karim lives in Essex and is voting for Labour.

“I think Jeremy Corbyn cares more about the elderly and there are lots of older people in my family.

I moved here from Iraq in 1996 after the Gulf war. I’m a proud Muslim, but I am horrified at the attacks. ISIS [the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, also known as ISIL] are devils … I think the next prime minister needs to do something about radical teachings, which are happening in the UK.”

Lisa Amin, 42, stay-at-home mother: Voting Labour
[Barbara McCarthy/Al Jazeera]
[Barbara McCarthy/Al Jazeera]

Lisa Amin is a stay-at-home mother from London who will be voting for Labour.

“I don’t like Theresa May or the Conservatives. We’re paying the price for her cuts to armed police and security.

What happened in London and Manchester is horrific, but we are defiant and life will go on as normal … They won’t win. When you walk around the streets, you wouldn’t know anything happened.

I think Corbyn is a man of the people, more than Theresa May. He could provide an upset.”

Toby Orford, 56, lawyer: Voting Conservative
[Barbara McCarthy/Al Jazeera]
[Barbara McCarthy/Al Jazeera]

Toby Orford is a lawyer in the City of London who divides his time between Cape Town in South Africa and the UK. He will be voting Conservative.

“I wouldn’t touch Labour with a barge poll. I don’t like their leader Jeremy Corbyn. That’s why I won’t vote for them.

Theresa May is the candidate most capable of dealing with the Brexit scenario which is coming up. In this part of the world, where I am now – the City of London people will overwhelmingly vote for Theresa May.

It takes a certain type of person to vote Labour and you won’t find them here in the banking quarter.”

Josef Adegwu, 46, PhD student: Voting Labour
[Barbara McCarthy/Al Jazeera]
[Barbara McCarthy/Al Jazeera]

Josef Adegwu is a PhD student who was born in Nigeria but has been living in London for most of his life.

“I’m voting for Jeremy Corbyn because he’s principled. He has also been consistent. Unfortunately for Theresa May, she has done a lot of U-turns. I don’t know what will happen if she wins. Maybe she will change her policies.

In terms of Brexit, a decision has been made, and we need to address it in a way that will be measured. We need to look at immigration. We are a small country and the population needs to be controlled and that wasn’t looked into properly.

The consequences of too much immigration will be felt down the line.”

Carl Upsall, 54, composer: Voting Labour
[Barbara McCarthy/Al Jazeera]
[Barbara McCarthy/Al Jazeera]

Carl Upsall is a composer who lives in Marylebone. He will be voting for Labour.

“I’m voting for Labour. I’m voting for a party, not a personality. I think Labour are more likely to take a considered approach to negotiations with the EU on issues like Brexit.

I live in Marylebone, which is now the enclave of the super rich. When I moved here it was Bohemian. It’s sad to see that the generation that came after mine will have a much poorer quality of life than we did.

In terms of the attacks on London Bridge, I think by letting go of 20,000 police and security officers, Theresa May made a mistake. They would have had contacts with communities, so situations like what happened could be avoided. I am worried about the dark web, where ISIS [ISIL] and other organisations live.

I flirted with the Green Party but they aren’t a realistic choice when it comes to making hard decisions. Thank God, I’m 20 years older now.”

Emma Jesse, 28, theatre and film worker: Voting Labour
[Barbara McCarthy/Al Jazeera]
[Barbara McCarthy/Al Jazeera]

Emma Jesse is from Brighton in southern England and will be voting for Labour.

“I’m voting for Jeremy Corbyn. He stands for all the things I believe in. I like his stance on reforms in healthcare, tuition fees and zero-hour contracts. I have struggled to survive on zero-hour contracts, so that’s an issue for me.

I also like him as a person. I live on a boat. I spent eight months without lighting and four months without water while I was doing it up, but the living standards in most places with normal salaries are sub-human.

Security is an issue here as much as it is anywhere else in Europe unfortunately.”

Matthew Stuart Robinson, 28, beauty worker: Voting Conservative
[Barbara McCarthy/Al Jazeera]
[Barbara McCarthy/Al Jazeera]

Matthew Stuart Robinson is from London and will be voting Conservative.

“I believe Theresa May will be better for the country in the long run. I think she can get a good Brexit deal.

I’m gay and I believe that the Conservatives have the right views on members of the LGBT community. I’ve looked at their manifesto and I like how they want to keep things equal.

My family are Conservatives, while my friends are mostly voting Labour, even though some of them have swayed because they don’t like Jeremy Corbyn.”

Jeanine Fletcher, 52, salesperson: Not voting
Jeanine Fletcher [Barbara McCarthy/Al Jazeera]
Jeanine Fletcher [Barbara McCarthy/Al Jazeera]

Jeanine Fletcher is from Islington, London, and works in a bespoke specialist mastectomy clothing store. She says she won’t be voting in the elections this year.

“I don’t trust either of them, to be honest. Jeremy Corbyn forgets everything. He couldn’t add up the cost of free childcare. You should know these kinds of things. That said, I don’t like Theresa May either.

She’s not really concerned with people like me. I used to think that she might be able to deliver, but she hasn’t. We’re paying for the cuts she implemented on security forces and our intelligence has suffered.

She keeps changing her manifesto. I’m from Islington and I still live there. Lots of Londoners can’t live where they were born, so I’m one of the lucky ones.”

Keith Murray, 72, hospital consultant: Voting Conservative

[Barbara McCarthy/Al Jazeera]
[Barbara McCarthy/Al Jazeera]

Keith Murray is a freelance hospital consultant from Surrey and is voting for the Conservatives.

“In terms of attacks, we are vulnerable to more, in London and elsewhere. We’re here for the grace of God.

I think the Conservatives will be good for the stock market and shares. Labour want to fleece the rich and pay for services, but it won’t be enough for all their spending requirements.

I think immigration is a big issue, but I think people who are here already should be allowed to stay. The health service would be a shambles without them.

The city is very multicultural, which is good, but it’s gone a bit too far. I want to protect my culture and not apologise for being white. It winds me up that everything has to be so PC [politically correct]. If you say anything, you’re a racist.”

Source: Al Jazeera