South Tyneside voters say election is too close to call

Prime Minister David Cameron (right) and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg when they held their first joint press conference in the Downing Street garden in central London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday May 12, 2010.
Prime Minister David Cameron (right) and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg when they held their first joint press conference in the Downing Street garden in central London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday May 12, 2010.

VOTERS in South Tyneside believe the result of next week’s general election is balanced on a razor’s edge.

Political punters are predicting a hung Parliament after next Thursday’s poll.

What’s certain is that unless we see a last-minute surge in support for the Conservatives or Labour, the chances of another coalition government taking over remain high.

But despite the political tension, the voters the Gazette approached in King Street, South Shields, are unimpressed by the election campaign so far.

Retired South Shields driving instructor Bill Grieves, 74, of Westoe, South Shields, admitted being “totally confused”.

He said: “It looks like a hung Parliament if what all the political commentators predict comes true.

“I was involved with the independent group in South Tyneside a little time back, and I suggested that the independents, the Progressives and Labour could work together for the good of the people on some issues.

“I was basically told that the idea was stupid, but I still don’t think consensus politics is a bad thing.

“I’ll be voting, but I don’t mind admitting that the current campaign has left me totally confused.

“They’re all making pledges that contradict each other. It’s baffling.”

South Tyneside College lecturer James Asker, 33, of Stanhope Road, South Shields, said: “I think it is going to be quite close, but hopefully the Green Party will have a bit more of a foot in the door.

“I think the way that Labour, the Conservatives and UKIP hand out flyers is a bit more aggressive than the Green Party’s approach.

“All the politicians are just puppets, but I can see Labour getting in with a minority government.”

Retired industrial chemist Selby Armstrong, 75, of South Shields, believes the election is “too close to call”.

He said: “It looks like it’s 50-50. Who knows who will win? I’ve not been impressed by the campaign because I don’t feel any of the parties are telling the public the whole truth.

“I don’t trust Labour on the economy, and I don’t trust the Conservatives with the NHS.

“I do like Emma Lewell-Buck. I went to see her with an issue, and she was very helpful to me.”

South Shields-based stonemason Kris Tebble, 33, said: “I will be voting, but I think it will be very tight between Labour and the Conservatives.

“I haven’t really been following the campaign, to be honest, but I’ve watched a bit on the telly. I watched a couple of the debates.

“I don’t think UKIP are going to get the votes they think they are going to get.”

Jim Scaife, 65, formerly a health promotion driver for the old South Tyneside Primary Care Trust, said: “There has been a scare campaign over immigration from UKIP to get people to vote for them, and overall I have just found the campaign to be a bit of a bore, a bit of a turn-off to the public.

“I’ll always vote Labour, but I’m not that convinced by Ed Miliband, to be honest. He doesn’t come across as sincere. Labour would have been much better off with his brother as leader.”

Retired Merchant Navy seafarer Jack Metcalfe, 77, of Lawe Road, South Shields, added: “I’ve already sent off my postal vote. I’d prefer a Labour and Liberal Democrat coalition rather than one with the Conservatives, but it’s too close to call.”

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