It was interesting going canvassing around Mid-Beds (I was in Cranfield) the other week - obviously no one there was as pissed off as me about HS2, but there were several local pressures which speak to national issues. One of the big ones, which affects my constituency as well, is that they're building shitloads of houses, but all of the associated infrastructure which was promised - health centres, schools, bus routes - has been removed from the plans. And whilst that's made through local decisions, it's because of national funding. It was one of the five pledges on Strathern's leaflets.
Another one of his pledges (let's not pretend he has any ability to actually do anything about them, but writing them down and then getting voted in suggests at least some alignment with what constituents are concerned about) was about more GPs and better access to health care. Again, round here, and where you are as well, people are finding it near impossible to get a GP's appointment. When they do, and they get referred, they wait ages for that appointment. I had a GP appointment in July, and am now waiting until next July to get it seen to. We had an interesting chat with a lady who works as a receptionist in a GP surgery. Her daughter is training to be a nurse, and has just agreed to move to Tasmania once her training is complete. So whilst she was rightly concerned about the state of the NHS in the wake of that, she was also rightly challenging about how stupidly hard it will be to turn all that around. But she was still minded to vote Labour.
Lastly, the Tories' claims that "very few people changed their votes" isn't true. The "comfortable middle", if you like, the ones who don't pay much attention and just want good schools for their kids and an easy drive to the station and so on, they're pissed off. They want to vote against the Tories. Plenty can't be arsed in a by-election, even one where they were getting bombarded for weeks on end, but if the Tories tell themselves that their 2019 voters are just staying at home rather than voting against, they're f.cked. I spoke to enough people on the doorstep who would have fallen in the Boris camp four years ago but who just want them out now.
If truth is many-sided, mendacity is many-tongued