[C]HRIS MANN: A People United bus is touring the country at present, a conglomeration of five unions, to listen to people’s stories. It’s been in Cambridge today. Sue Marchant went along to find why people were attracted to climb aboard. (TAPE)
VOX ONE: We were at the People’s Assembly yesterday in London, where the buses were actually launched from, so we’ve come along to see what’s on offer.
SUE MARCHANT: Why would you want to be here?
VOX ONE: We’re concerned with the situation, the economic situation in the country, and the way it’s being tackled at the moment, which we think is quite wrong. The poorest people being forced to bear the brunt of things, we think that’s quite immoral, and people are beginning to more effectively protest against that.
SUE MARCHANT: And what about you madam?
VOX TWO: Well we’ve just been talking about when we were young. The spirit of 1945, when we thought that this is the way that the country was going to be for the next, well, the rest of our lives, and the way it’s fallen behind its early intentions. And we have never had as many good years as ’45 to ’50 again. This is the opportunity to bring all the different organisations like the Occupy movement, and Uncut, people from all the political parties, to come and say stop it.
SUE MARCHANT: What would you like to see happen, if you were in charge?
VOX TWO: Oh. If I was in charge I would bring back the spirit of 1945. I would start to regain our services, our public services, our sense of community. It’s been destroyed.
SUE MARCHANT: Excuse me. Why are you here at this bus?
VOX THREE: It’s a pivotal year. I’ve just turned eighteen. I’m leaving to university in September. I think the country needs change, and I want to know why. And I want to know what I need to do in the future that is going to make me economically supported, and, well, happier in the rest of my life. i think, for me, I’m already being started off at my adult life in debt. I’m going to have a £9,000 a year debt going to university. So I think, for me, it’s mainly what I can do to prepare myself. I haven’t voted yet, and I think that I’d like to find out as much as I can about who is going to be the best choice for me in 2015.
SUE MARCHANT: What are you hoping to do for a job in the future?
VOX THREE: I’m studying law hopefully in September. So a lawyer is maybe one way. But I really don’t know. I think I want to keep all my options open, and see where it takes me, really.
VOX FOUR: Well yes, I’m in the same sort of position, that I literally .. i don’t want to come out of university and have nothing. And that’s my worry, that I’m going to come out, have a degree, and it’s going to lead to nothing. It annoys me that we’ve moved to the right in economic ? when i think we should have moved to the left. And I’m kind of supporting the idea that this has come along, being something that’s actually supportive of the left wing. But I don’t think there’s enough there at the moment. I’m doing history, or I will be doing history hopefully.
SUE MARCHANT: What would you like to see happen, when you finish university? How would you like the world to be then?
VOX FOUR: Hopefully I’d like to return to some sort of post-war socialism. I think we need to be supporting the people at this time, because there’s too much unemployment. There’s a gap now, and it’s only going to get bigger, with what we’re implementing. I think we need to try and get back to full employment, and get the country back on its feet, and then see where we go from there.
VOX FIVE: I’m just going on my gap year now, and I do need to fund it, and find a way to be able to do what I want. I want to do photography, and there’s no real funding or support or bursaries, but you can get some Arts Council (NOISE)
SUE MARCHANT: What happened to you?
VOX SIX: A couple of years ago, despite the fact I was providing more than adequate evidence of quote unquote actively seeking work, I was actually sanctioned. Basically for a lot of that period, it ended up being seven months in total, I was effectively on zero income . Luckily I could still receive housing benefit to cover the rent, but there were many weeks when I had no income at all. How did I survive? With great difficulty and a lot of ingenuity.(LIVE)
CHRIS MANN: Sue Marchant, talking to people there aboard the People’s Bus. It’s in Peterborough tomorrow.
(note: 7pm at the Museum in Priestgate)