The Tories in the north-east: the new ‘workers party’ goes into battle | Anywhere but Westminster

The Tories in the north-east: the new ‘workers party’ goes into battle | Anywhere but Westminster

Posted by

Er, my name’s Jacob, I’m standing for parliament
in this area for the Conservatives. Conservative? Yeah. See ya. The northeast is barren territory for the
Tories. They hold only two of the 28 seats here. I’m going to be voting Labour. Alright, ok. Thank you. But a determined group of campaigners are
trying to start a Conservative revival. Among other things they’re trying to sell
David Cameron’s claim that the Tories are now the party of working people. I’d like to think that I convert some people
on the doorstep but you never know. I think he’s slightly beyond your reach. Ha ha ha ha What is your conservatism all about? Well, I think, you know… I boil it down
to, you know, the Conservative party. We’re a party of a hand up rather than a handout.
We want to give people the opportunity, we want to raise aspirations and, erm, rather
than just letting them live the way they live. Why do you vote Conservative? Because I work. As opposed to? As opposed to not working. Right. Why do you think so many people in the north
east are still voting Labour? Possibly because a lot of them aren’t in work. There’s an irony there, in’t there? Yeah. So they’re voting for the party of labour
because they’re not working? Yeah. Ha ha ha ha. Are you sure this isn’t a fix? I haven’t. I promise, I haven’t. Cheers mate, thank you. Right. Five minutes down the road, in the same constituency
is South Bank: once a thriving industrial area. How’s South Bank doing would you say? Dying, innit? Dying? Dying a death. I worked down the shipyard. Served me time
down the shipyard, you know what I mean? It’s all gone. British Steel’s all gone, so… Ghost town. It’s a ghost town? Yeah. It’s a shit hole. Aye. There’s nowhere to go, nowt to do. Everyone’s
always drinking on the corners. That’s about it really. As you can see, people do nowt. And work-wise? Pffft. When did you last have a job? About six years ago. Have you been sanctioned yourselves? Yeah, three years! Three years sanctioned. A lot of people round here get sanctioned? A lot of people have to go out and make their
own living. Ha ha ha. Look at… why’s this shut down? Because no one’s got any money. Ha ha exactly! With deindustrialisation, long-term unemployment
and, nowadays, benefits sanctions, South Bank feels like the embodiment of over 30 years
of neglect and the malign aspects of Tory rule both past and present. But there’s another reason I’ve come here. Believe it or not, my granddad was from here. Yeah, there used to be a chip shop up there. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. The old grimy one. Yeah, that was our family’s chip shop after
the war. Got knocked down. I’m standing, as I understand it, on the site
of a fish and chip shop that was run by my great grandfather and my grandfather and his
siblings when this place was a thriving industrial area. Have you ever thought about moving away? Yeah, plenty of times but I don’t have the
money to get away somewhere decent and start off properly. If I had the funding to go I’d move. If I had the money I’d be gone. I’d be gone. Both of us would be gone. Gone out of shitty South Bank. I’ve been other places where you see scenes
like this and it’s because the buildings have been compulsory purchased pending something
else. This says for sale, right? So this has just been emptied out, razed to the ground
and depopulated. It’s one of the bleakest places I’ve ever been in Britain, definitely. What do you think’s been the effect of the
Conservative party down the years on this part of England? Zero. They’ve done nothing for us. The Conservatives
are for the rich. From South Bank we go to Southfield, another
political desert for the Tories in the centre of Middlesborough. We’ve come to meet Simon Clarke, the Conservative
candidate here, who’s out campaigning alone on a street with lots of housing association
properties. Well, I vote for the Labour to be honest. You know, we’re very, very keen to ensure
that, you know, we break the cliche that it’s Labour for one group and the Conservatives
for another. He’s trying to sell the Tory’s new right to
buy policy. You’d be interested in buying your own home
and you think that’s a positive thing, yeah. Still wouldn’t buy this house. You wouldn’t buy particularly buy this, this
particular home? Full of mice. – Is it? Full of mice. All of them. Yeah. You know, it’s all about meeting new people
and it does show, I mean, one of the central themes I’ve raised is Labour’s neglect of
their heartland areas and of this town in particular. People here are very disconnected, aren’t
they? They are and it’s borne… and it is borne
out in very low turnouts as well. People locally don’t seem to be getting anything
from their local politicians. Hello sir, my name’s Simon, I’m your Conservative
parliamentary candidate for the general election. Do you rent this property? Yeah, I rent it. I don’t know whether you heard yesterday that
the Prime Minister explained the Conservatives’ new policy on right to buy – whether that
interests you, whether you’d be interested in saving to actually own a home. If you can get a… because the jobs… it’s
not permanent. You work, you pay your rent. Yep. There’s nothing left. Now it’s just like pay
as you go. That’s all it is. It’s just pay your rent on time and you don’t get evicted.
That’s it. You think life’s pay as you go now? Just like
a phone’s pay as you go and you just think about the next two or three weeks. Well, where you gonna be in two weeks time,
three weeks time? That’s all it is. What can you offer him in the context of that
insecurity? Well, our offer to him… In the context of
that insecurity, I’d say that 80% of all the new jobs that we’ve created during the five
years of this government have actually been full time. The policies that we’re delivering on: increasing
employment, hopefully increasing skills, apprenticeships, you know, actually we do offer a path to a
better life. There’s no question that Labour are going
to win this seat but, as with so many supposed Labour heartlands that we go to, there’s not
much political heart here. Most people we spoke to don’t really know the difference
between the two main parties, they don’t really have much of a sense of what Labour stands
for. I mean, to be polite they say they’ll give
Simon here a go but I haven’t met anybody who’s said: “We’re Labour here!” and shut
the door. I guess in my naivety that’s what I was half
expecting but it hasn’t happened. It’s not that sort of place anymore, maybe. We catch up again with Simon in South Middlesborough,
where he’s been helping with the canvassing in a seat the Tories think they can win. We’re in a much more comfortably off part
of Middlesborough now, we’re near Marton and the Tories think they might snatch this seat
from Labour. This is where my granddad retired. He left
the chip shop on South Bank, took a degree as a mature student and he became an industrial
chemist as part of the great economic uplift that happened around the Second World War. Thinking back to South Bank now, which is
only four or five miles from here, it’s hard to imagine many lives following a similar path. Places like South Bank need help, don’t they? They do need help. They need help. But they… but some of that is practical
self-help. That’s why the welfare reform that we’ve delivered is so important. It’s about
making sure that it’s not either an acceptable life choice or, indeed, an inevitable destination
to be trapped in that sort of community. But that just drives people towards food banks,
doesn’t it? It doesn’t drive social mobility. I, I, I… I don’t think it’s… Social mobility
is about…, well… In that sense, almost any movement has got to be in the right
direction. To go to… What do you mean “almost any movement” is
in the right direction? Well, if you’re trapped in South Bank then,
you know, this is a government which is opening doors rather than slamming them in your face.
It’s about not saying that welfare is somewhere you just accept. This is where our northeastern journey ends.
This is the constituency of Stockton South, won by the Tories from Labour in 2010, they
might lose it this time and that could conceivably mean the Conservatives go down to only one
seat out of 28 in the northeast. So James Wharton, the candidate here is, playing
for high stakes. One of the other things that we need to do
is to get people off employment… unemployment support by getting them into work. That is already happening. Unemployment has
been falling across Teesside for some time now, is now lower in Stockton South now than
it was at the last election… (Groans from the audience) Utter rubbish! I’m a GP in Middlesborough. Every day I see
people who are on benefits and I am really saddened by the way the Conservatives demonise
these people. I see people who are desperate and who are looking for work and there isn’t
work. The Conservatives are trying to revive their
politics in the northeast against huge odds but a lot of what they’ve done has reinforced
a resentful image of the Tories that goes back to the 1980s. Oh, Mrs Thatcher, dear me! She worked wonders,
didn’t she? And yet, they push on, talking about rising
economic success, property ownership and self-help. The problem is it all rings hollow in too
many places. You don’t know what the Conservative party
stands for? Something to do with working and electioning,
innit… whatever. It’s government, innit? It’s government trying to put (unclear) they
don’t do nothing for you. If their party fails to get a second term
in government, that tension in Tory politics might finally reach breaking point.


  1. Is this some sort of sick joke? The Thatcher government trashed the working class in the North and Thatcher's children just gave it another good kick. You'd have to be mad to vote Tory after all the crap they just pulled.

    How many disabled people did they kick out of their homes? How many are no longer breathing after being found fit for work? How many unemployed people are being exploited as free forced labour? How many are now having to visit food banks despite having a job?

    They inflicted all this pain in the name of getting the countries finances in order, then ended up accumulating more debt than Labour and giving themselves a pat on the back for it…

    Stay the hell out of the North, you've done enough damage already.

  2. As in the USA with the Republicans and Democrats, both Labour and the Conservatives have signed off on the same Neoconservative economic policies….free trade, de-industrialization and the marginalization of unions. Most high paying jobs are in financial and hi tech in Greater London. The rest of the UK gets the scraps. Yes, being on benefits is not good for a person but if there are no decent jobs, what's a person to do?

  3. Conservatives destroyed social housing during the Thatcher era by encouraging people to buy their council houses, a larger portion of which are now in private landlords pockets. Now instead of public money going to constructing new homes, it's going to pay for hiked private sector rentals.

    What the hell is the Tories defect that they feel the need to make the same mistake again? Of course they wouldn't regard it as a mistake, they're ideologically biased towards the private sector. They'd rather have a rip off private sector sucking the blood out the public's finances than have state owned housing. Not because it's proven to be better but because politicians care more about on paper ideology than what actually works…

    These idiots want to privatise everything, everything, regardless of its suitability. They even humoured privatising child protection services at one point, it's ludicrous.

  4. Wow! Your underserved neighborhoods are so clean and well kept compared to California's 'hoods! No politician would dare go door to door ! That's awesome because it means your citizens care about the neighborhood even though they are renting.

  5. Conservatives are seriously deluding themselves if they truly believe they haven't done anything wrong. They can't expect to trash the most vulnerable and then flounce back into office with any ease, who are they kidding?

  6. When are the Tories gonna get it into their heads having a job means nothing these days as that gentleman stated you work to pay bills and taxes and that is it, enjoy your life of slavery and deal with it.

  7. I live in Newcastle and of course it would be great if more people lived in this region but all things considered this is in places a bleak corner of England, I did some work experience a long while ago in Middlesbrough council and my supervisor took me on a drive around Redcar I cant say I have been round a more depressing place in this country, they either need to restore it or move people on and do something else with the land other than that it is truly 3rd world era living, there are some actual nice areas of Middlesbrough lovely in fact. Get a growing sense that London has become this floating spaceship hovering above the rest of England a city state a separate space from the rest of us metaphorically speaking, you could fully see in 100 years that it would have ceded from the UK.

  8. The only reason to vote Con is to teach Labour a lesson for abandoning the working people (the poor).

    I can't see any situation where I would vote Con though. Unless you are a multi millionair you would be a moron to vote for that party.

    Plenty have switched to UKIP though, myself included. Labour turned it's back on us, UKIP welcomes us. Simple.

  9. Cut the number of nurses, triple tuition fees, slash benefits, campaigned IN FAVOUR of banker bonuses, proudly boast about lower corporate tax…….. Then say they're fit the people? They should turn to stand up comedy.

  10. After watching these videos I can safely say our country is completely dysfunctional and we're doomed

  11. Why at 8:23 do the subtitles say "Oh Mrs Thatcher, dear me she worked wonders, didn't she?  – when the actual comment was "…she RUINED us, didn't she."


    Right to buy doesn't matter in places like this anyone one with permanent employment could buy a house.  But be honest who would want to??  Maybe Money grabbing landlords getting rich on housing benefit!!!!

  13. Live in the Whitby and Scarborough constituency and our seat's been Conservative for a while now, feels like it too, ask the people of Whitby what their council does for them, compared to what it takes, but we keep putting Robert Goodwill back in, a thief and liar that consistently votes against our interests.

  14. Just shows you nothing to do with just Scotland being fed up with Westminster some parts of England are as well,nothing will change unless we make the changes,if that means indy…or Westminster starts to look at all UK as equal,no time just around the London area, and stop over ruling puplic opinion. …..Iraq war and the rest and more to come no doubt,it's time the English started to stand up to Westminster ruler's 😕theses rich and privladge people are taking the cunt out of us all.

  15. The Torys want to get people in to work so what did they do in the last Budget. The man that goes to work for a wage would get his wages topped up by tax credits but Osboure took that away.What a joke they will never change. Make the poor poorer and the rich richer. And Osbourne get your £10.000000 out of that Off shore account. You Liar

  16. 2:05 "A lot of people around here have to go out and make their own living".  

    Surely not! Thats just terrible!

  17. any fucking tory scum knocks my door is in danger of getting fucking knifed! when I get their horseshit leaflets in, I take that shite to the toilet & after I take a dump, I wipe my arse on it, stick it in an envelope & mail it back to their local HQ with a note saying "your shite gets mine!". save the people of Britain. kill a tory a day!

  18. I'd chew my own right hand off with my own teeth, straight through the flesh & bone of my wrist, before I'd EVER vote a tory bastard. I'd vote for fucking Satan himself before I'd vote tory

  19. If we cut off all the middle class parasites that sponge off the state, then we would be able to cut taxes more on small businesses, the self employed, and cut payroll taxes for low wage employees.

    Funding for universities (that pay for overwhelmingly middle class kids), funding for 'the arts' (which are located in affluent neighbourhoods, and many poorer people aren't interested in anyway), and the way NI and state pension are set up (poor people start work earlier and die earlier, so the rich who start working later and live longer sponge off the fact that poor people contribute for longer and cost less).

  20. You Work Pay your Rent: ..Their is nothing Left……. NOTHING LEFT. SAVVY………NOTHING LEFT… vote for Austerity.

  21. How? The Tories cut and cut. No money for education, investment in infrastructure, and the NHS, while somehow they have money for tax cuts for the rich and corporate interests.

  22. The two of them would not have been laughing if they had knocked on my door I can tell you. Nothing against the young man except his youth, "A hand up opposed to a hand out!?", the people of these parts ALL worked, Thatcher killed this area flat decades ago. Now they have had a futher7 years to give this area a "hand up" but they have not.

    It is a ghost town like many others that the Tories have shut down decades ago and not bothered to help people retrain . Simon is very much like Simon, they dont know what they are talking about

  23. The Tories will never be the workers' party. The Populist Party is the alternative to Labour in the North East. This year our candidate Tony Morrow beat the Greens and the Lib Dems in Shiney Row ward.

    The Populist Party stands for:



    Tough law and order

    Economic Protectionism

    Ecology and conservation

    Training and apprenticeships

    Reform of the banking system

    Standing up to the multinationals

    Defending jobs and public services

    A Brexit that works for the workers

    Turning off the big business immigration tap

    Breaking down of big business monopolies

    Traditional values – not political correctness

    A mixed economy of both public and private ownership

    Leaving NATO and no more involvement in the Middle East

  24. The gap between rich and poor is getting wider and wider now . For centuries the rich have ruled the peasants and it still goes on now in 21st Century Britain .
    What did one Tory minister say , he said that all Working class men should be sterilised , that is your Tories for and what they really think of the Working Class .

  25. He'd have become an industrial chemist at ICI. That and all its high skilled high pay jobs have gone – as have the steel jobs – as have the manufacturing jobs – governments of all hue's have devastated this area

  26. Tories have a perverse lust to punish people they perceive as beneath them. Just like the guy "that works". Easier to moan about someone on benefits rather than look at the corporate benefits handed out via tax dodges and grants.

  27. As a North Easterner, this picture is all too familiar. The Tories do nothing for the region because its not in their interests. Labour does nowt because they don't need to – they'll always be elected.

  28. I think its quite interesting that even in the heartlands Labour are not that strong it says much to tee damage new Labour hand on the party

  29. Labour were in Government for 13 years in a post-Thatcher era. What did they change in North East? Nothing.

  30. What the destructive selfservative creeps have inflicted on the UK
    populous for no fault of their own has been a moral and social crime
    that needs ''paying back''.. BRING ON THE NEXT G.E ..

  31. The guardian should be ashamed of itself. Just going along with the idea that if you work you automatically should vote tory. You realise this is the party of boom and bust, of zero hours contracts, of borrow and spend policies and dodgy business involvements? Of course you do, you lot sold out to them a while back now, eh?!

  32. The Tories are not for the people. They are for the few.
    “I work so I vote Tory”!!!
    The Tories gave done this to our people. Not Labour. Not the EU. The EU fund the worst areas of poverty in Europe. 9/10 in the UK. Thats the Tories.

  33. thatcher crucified these towns. the coal mines were clowsed and the dominoes fell. coal mine, steel works, shipbuilding, smelting factories, then the people had less money, so followed the shopping centers and entertainment industries. for decades it was left and this is the result. these towns look like theyve been bombed. for many in the north youre born to pay as you go, and the south just call them whingers.

  34. Vote Labour, get EU
    Vote Tory, get EU
    Vote to leave the EU, get EU
    Vote Chuka Umuna and his mates who want to challenge the status quo, get EU
    It's not been about Labour/Tory for a long time.

  35. Definition of madness!….Continually doing the same thing and expecting a different result. ( like voting Labour!) It doesn't matter what party you vote for. You'll always get the same result. As that young man in the car's quote below says.

  36. 6:52 What about people having to go to food banks? The Tory stopped dead and did not know what to say. NEVER VOTE TORY!

  37. BREXIT PARTY – the only way forward, Tories and Champagne Socialists (Labour) have done nothing for the neglected areas of the country.

  38. All those interviewed in this video talk about their inability to get work in the post-industrial north and how they’d like to move out. Yet the only policy offered by the Conservative canvasser is ‘right to buy’, as someone pointed out no one would buy the dilapidated properties they live in. It’s like Tories don’t know anything else but property speculation and are desperate to turn everyone into homeowners/landlords. No suggestion about training, upskilling, literacy and numeracy, or helping people move to where the jobs are.

  39. support for leave means making an alliance in these areas conservative is not a word used so the bet is leave or labour

  40. As someone from Chicago – I have never seen so many overweight and straight up obscenely obese people in mobility scooters as I have in these video tours around rural British towns. It’s sad. You hardly ever see that here in the states nowadays.

  41. All the power is concentrated in the south. If this video is shown around the world, immigrants would think twice before paying thousands of pounds to smugglers risking their lives suffocated in refrigerator lorry.

  42. Seriously,anyone up there that votes Tory should be thrown head first down one of the many pits they closed when in government.

  43. Quite stupid to go there as a tory. I did same for father in law a staunch tory. Soon found out i was on a losing path. Labour all the way

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *