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‘Sorry, I’m not political’

How chat with our bus team changed a life
Colin Stuart, Monday, March 9th, 2015


Crossing the border to Wales late on Friday night with an air of excitement for what we all knew was going to be a big day, the bus crew were laying out voter registration forms, with pens on clipboards, so we’d be ready bright and early the next day.

 

 

Reflecting now, we’re glad we prepared as Cardiff was even busier than we thought it would be!

 

 

We started off the day in Cardiff city centre, taking our message of voter registration straight to the early Saturday shoppers.

 

 

Across all the stops on our tour so far, one line keeps getting repeated and repeated — ‘Sorry, I’m not political’, a line often used and always incorrect!

 

 

Incredibly political

 

 

Today 34-year-old Keith told me he wasn’t going to vote and didn’t want to register as he wasn’t political. Luckily Keith stopped so we could speak for a moment, and he spoke passionately about how the changes to welfare had made his life harder, the distress Work Capability Assessments had caused him and how getting sanctioned meant he lost his home and is now living in a hostel.

 

 

It didn’t take long to realise Keith was incredibly political — it was just that no one had asked him to use his voice. Keith did register to vote with us and told me the general election would have came and gone without any interest to him if we hadn’t been in Cardiff today.

 

 

At lunchtime we packed up the bus and went to Cathays, a student-heavy area in Cardiff, where Individual Voter Registration has knocked thousands off the electoral role. #NoVoteNoVoice brought together local groups, trade unionists and religious organisations to take to the doorstep.

 

 

A team of over 70 volunteers amassed and passers by wondered what was going on! A team that large had a massive affect — thousands of conversations and hundreds more are now registered to vote.

 

 

We now roll back into England and specifically the West Midlands.

 

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