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Harrow voters voice concerns on General Election eve

As polling day for the 2024 General Election looms tomorrow (July 4), Harrow residents have highlighted the ‘serious ramifications’ of selecting the next government. In a campaign dominated by discussions on tax, immigration, and voters in Hatch End were more focused on issues impacting small businesses, mental health in young people, and the ‘disgusting’ standards in public life.

According to Electoral Calculus – a ‘poll-of-polls’ used to predict the result of an election if it happened tomorrow – the constituency of Harrow West is likely to once again be won by the incumbent Labour candidate, Gareth Thomas. However, according to the poll, Harrow East, where the seat is currently held by Conservative candidate Bob Blackman, could swing to Labour.

In 2019, Mr Blackman won with a majority of 8,170 – taking 54.4 per cent of the vote. However, the polls give him an 84 per cent chance of losing his seat to the Labour candidate, Primesh Patel. The mood in Harrow is mixed, but voters agree that the country is ‘in crisis’ and needs a serious government for the next five years.

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Talk of immigration has dominated the election, with Prime Minister Rishi Sunak putting ‘Stop The Boats’ as one of his key pledges. The Conservatives plan is to send asylum seekers to Rwanda for pressing, a scheme that doesn’t sit well with Lucy, 44. She said: “The thought that someone would come here in a desperate situation and be sent to Rwanda is heartbreaking.”

She added: “I’m also passionate about education, and really concerned about where gender politics and sex identity is going. […] I work with young people and I see the ramifications and I don’t think it’s healthy, they have mental health issues and are very confused young people.”

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Harrow voters voice concerns on General Election eve Harrow Online
Philomena, 76. Philomena, 76 called the current standards in public life ‘disgusting’. Image Credit: Facundo Arrizabalaga. Permission to use with all LDRS partners

The discourse around gender identity has been toxic, leaving many feeling marginalised. Philomena, 76, is frustrated about what she calls ‘divisive rhetoric’ from politicians and claims standards in public life at the moment are ‘disgusting’.

Philomena told the LDRS: “There are no standards in public life, it’s disgusting. I can not have any good feeling about what is going on. I want a sensible, reasonable, rational conversation about different things. I want them to tell the truth.”

She added: “I have lost faith in every single party. I can not bear the way they’re talking rubbish on the television. In years gone by they would be discussing the philosophy of what they are going to do and why they are going to do it. Now they’re all like [Donald] Trump, just hurling insults at each other. I have stopped and turned off. I don’t know why we’re not all out on the streets jumping up and down.”

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Philomena is passionate that this division isn’t going to help solve the issues facing the country, such as immigration. She said: “Instead of being divisive, we need to look at what we are going to do about the problem. Pushing a few boats back is not going to help and being divisive about it isn’t going to help either.”

Mr Paul, 74, came to live in Harrow in 1963 after coming over from Sri Lanka. He too has lost faith in politicians to speak the truth.

Harrow voters voice concerns on General Election eve Harrow Online
Maulin Patel, 42. Maulin Patel, 42, wants the next government to reduce business rates and lower inflation. Image Credit: Facundo Arrizabalaga. Permission to use with all LDRS partners

After 14 years in government, it is always difficult to galvanise support as the incumbent and this is noticeable in people willing to openly back the Conservatives this time. However, Maulin Patel, 42, who runs a Laundrette in the borough, wants the next government to leave him alone so he can run his business more smoothly.

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He said: “[There are] too many implications in running a business currently, there’s just a lot of paperwork we end up doing. It’s been there for quite some time now but lately with all these reports we have to fill out it’s just a nightmare.” Maulin wants the next government to focus on lowering inflation and business rates.

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