'He’s leading the country into oblivion': Workers in London’s commuting hotspot have little political faith

Workers and passers-by in Canary Wharf described the main political party leaders for the General Election as “uninspiring” and – at best – “reassuringly… boring”. They were also wary of the leaders’ priorities and had little trust in their policies and how they will be carried out.

When asked to describe Conservative Prime Minister Rishi Sunak in three words, one young man said: “Not very good. He had his heights, but right now he’s leading the country into oblivion.” Another young man had to choose his words carefully when responding to the same question: “Do they have to be PG? I can’t think of any that aren’t terrible.”

He called Sunak “aloof” and “aristocratic” in attitude. Sir Keir Starmer, the Labour leader, was described as “similarly uninspiring” and “robotic, out of touch” said Kat, 30. A young man said: “It’s a good option, although I think he will be the same as Rishi Sunak… he says that he will change something but, in all, they believe in the same things.”

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A young commuter said: “I don’t know what he stands for… I think he’s a bit of a flip-flopper, was originally quite left-wing, now quite capitalist… I’m not really sure where his true opinions lie.” Graham Pointer, 57, a commuter from Surrey, described both Sunak and Starmer as “hardworking, trustworthy, honest”.

Soon after, he instead called the leaders “credible” and “reassuringly… boring”. He said: “I’m contrasting them with the clowns that we’ve had up until now.”

Mr Pointer said: “I think both of them are scared to tell the truth about what needs to be done in terms of taxation, and rather than admit that the country is basically broke and needs some pretty dramatic measures to get it back on an equal footing, they’re coming up with… ‘unfundable’ promises.”

His biggest concern ahead of election day is “public spending and how to fund it”. He said: “I’m not sure that either of the main parties have really come up with anything that’s credible.”

A young man bemoaned the priorities of the election campaign. He said: “Immigration has become the central issue, the deciding issue in this election, when it really isn’t. Sustainability, green issues, should definitely be top of the roster for people to talk about.”

Kat, 38, would like to see “some formal addressing of the conflict in Palestine and Israel”. A young commuter said the next government should prioritise “improving the general self-respect of the country, in terms of respect for international law and those kinds of things”.

Other points of concern were the cost-of-living crisis, funding the NHS, and housing prices. One young woman said that attention given in the campaigns to first time buyers was an “interesting sway” towards a focus on young people.

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