State of the Nation

elbow10:10 Thursday 5th February 2015
BBC Radio Cambridgeshire

PAUL STAINTON: Albert in *****. Morning.
ALBERT: Morning.
PAUL STAINTON: How are you?
ALBERT: All right thank you.
PAUL STAINTON: A bit of background here. Albert is 90, aren’t you? An ex-soldier Albert.
ALBERT: That’s right.
PAUL STAINTON: But very angry this morning.
ALBERT: I’m always angry.
PAUL STAINTON: What are you angry about now?
ALBERT: What am I angry about? People voting.
ALBERT: People don’t vote because it’s their act of rebelling against things that go on in our world. It’s an awful world we live in mate really. You can’t go out onto the streets today without worrying about whether you’re going to get bombed or if your head is going to be cut off. Traffic is awful. Everything around it is awful. There’s a lot of nice people in this country, but unfortunately they don’t run it. Everybody has a right to moan and groan and whatnot. Voting is optional, and it should be always optional.
PAUL STAINTON: People died for this right. People died for it Albert.
ALBERT: Yes I know they died for it. They died for peace on their streets. They died for not rents going up. There’s youngsters coming onto the market today that cannot and never will be able to afford houses.
PAUL STAINTON: But you can’t change it if you don’t vote.
ALBERT: If you vote it doesn’t change. Be honest with us. I look around and as I say I’m 90, and sometimes I think to myself Albert, ain’t you lucky. You come out of the war and what have you done. What’s happened. What have they done for us?
PAUL STAINTON: Are you proud of the country you fought for?
ALBERT: I’m proud of this country, and I’d fight for this country. But if I was asked to fight again, I would say who am I fighting for, and what object am I fighting for? If we go through wars, the First World War was unnecessary. The Second World War was necessary. All the other wars were debatable. If you go into the army, you expect to fight for your country, but you don’t expect to fight for other countries that don’t even fight for themselves.
PAUL STAINTON: If you’d known how things were going to end up would you have gone to war?
ALBERT: No. No I would not. I would not. And the poor families that have to suffer at the end of it and say to themselves, what did I sacrifice my son for? What did I sacrifice my husband for? What did I sacrifice my daughter for? To come home and see the streets in some countries in the world absolutely obliterated. I’m so angry I can’t even speak. The bombers that come over and bomb everything.
PAUL STAINTON: But we’re still here Albert. It’s not all bad Albert. There are some great people out there. There are some great days that we’re having surely.
ALBERT: There are a lot of great people out there, but they don’t run the world, and they don’t run the country.
PAUL STAINTON: The wrong people are in charge Albert.
ALBERT: Exactly.
PAUL STAINTON: Say hello to Sally from ***** Albert.
SALLY: Hello Albert.
ALBERT: Hello Sally. How are you love?
SALLY: Fine thank you very much. Yes.
PAUL STAINTON: I think between you you’ve got about 170 years of experience here.
SALLY: Well that’s wonderful. We could use it, couldn’t we?
SALLY: It needs to be used.
ALBERT: Oh yes. We’ve been to eighty different countries. Lucky enough to go. And we’ve seen people, Thailanders, Siam and that, where people smile. Got nothing, but smile. That’s the world I’d like to live in.
PAUL STAINTON: Sally, you don’t vote anymore do you?
SALLY: No I don’t vote any more.

SALLY: Not for a long time, because there’s nobody out there that I can see that’s worth voting for.
ALBERT: Hear hear.
PAUL STAINTON: Yes but guys, guys. it’s like going to McDonalds and letting somebody else order for you.
SALLY: Not really. No, no, no. If you’ve lived as long as I have and seen all the things I’ve seen, and I was saying about the suffragettes, how wonderful it was for those people to get women the vote, which was wonderful. And when I was 21 there was voting then in those days, I was thrilled to vote. But since I’ve got older and wiser and seen what’s happening around .. And the politicians, if you look in, was it the House of Commons they’re in, or whatever it is, they’re like spoiled children. Cameron spoke yesterday, put his elbow on the thing like this. If I’d done that anywhere I would never get a job, I tell you. And on that, all the guys were laughing behind him.
ALBERT: Yes yes.
SALLY: All his people behind him, ah hah ah hah. And I thought to myself, what have they got to laugh about? The NHS is in a terrible state. The schools are in a terrible state.
ALBERT: Hear hear.
SALLY: The nurses are overworked.
ALBERT: Hear hear.
SALLY: And I see it with my own eyes. What else has gone wrong? The trains are all privatised. Buses are so expensive. The thing they made in Cambridge about the Park and Ride. That’s the worst thing they ever done. They didn’t do it. That was to do with local council. I know that. But there’s so many things wrong out there love. There’s so many. And tell me one thing, even from Mrs Thatcher, through to Major, and Brown, and Blair.
SALLY: Blair said education education. What did he do?
ALBERT: We want discipline, discipline, discipline.
SALLY: Yes. We’re all going to do these things, and it’s all empty words. Fancy putting £9,000 to poor young kids going to university. I’ve got two grandchildren. One’s at ***** and the other’s up at *****, right? It’s hard to get into these universities. They work very hard to do it. But they’re in debt up to their eyeballs.
PAUL STAINTON: Are you honestly saying that politicians have not done one good thing in the last thirty or forty years?
SALLY: Yes go on you tell me Paul. Go on. Tell me Paul.
ALBERT: Yes. You tell me Paul. Go on. Tell me.
SALLY: I’d like to know, because I’ve looked on the road. Down in ***** where I live the pavements are in such bad condition, the roads are falling apart. And when you go around Cambridge, you can see the roads are falling apart. Everything’s in an absolute muddle, I tell you.
PAUL STAINTON: If there’s any politicians listening to this this morning, the phone lines are open now.
SALLY: Well let them come on and tell me what one good thing they’ve done. They’re shutting the old dears’ place. They want to shut libraries. And do you know who suffers when they shut libraries? The old people. They can’t afford books.
PAUL STAINTON: We talked about this last week, didn’t we?
SALLY: I know you did dear. I heard that conversation. The man said you’re hitting the old people. I see old people going to the library in *******. They sit there to keep warm.
ALBERT: Don’t let us, because we’re old, defend ourselves. There’s a lot of young people out there who need our help. Let us get our heads together. One point I would like to make.
PAUL STAINTON: Very quickly Albert. Yes. Go on.
ALBERT: When I was a young man, you got jobs for life.
SALLY: That’s right.
ALBERT: You got jobs for 15, 20 years.
PAUL STAINTON: They don’t exist anymore.
ALBERT: Because you had jobs for life you could plan on that job for life.
SALLY: Right.
ALBERT: You could buy your house, educate your kids.
PAUL STAINTON: but not any more.
ALBERT: But not any more. If our politicians talk about that sort of thing and say look, it’s not going to happen again, we’re going to look after people who look after themselves, not the scroungers and layabouts and all the rest of it. We’ve got plenty of them in this country. Self-inflicted wounds. We’ve got plenty of them in this country. We’ve got people coming into this country right left and centre. They don’t put their hands in their pockets when they get in. And when they get in, they want to take out of our pockets. It’s not a good world to live in.