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‘Millionaires who don’t know how much a loaf of bread costs. They would get slaughtered in a general election’

© Andrew CawleyBainfield Bowling Club barmaid, Jan Craigie
Bainfield Bowling Club barmaid, Jan Craigie

“That’ll be her away her holidays, no gas or electricity to pay for.”

George Prentice, 66, had little sympathy for Liz Truss and, as the other bowlers at Bainfield Bowling and Social Club listened to her announcing her resignation, he was not alone.

And, as Truss spoke in Downing Street at Thursday lunchtime, many of them said it was time for voters to have their say on the rolling chaos engulfing Westminster.

Chatting to George and his brother Jim was Roy Campbell, 66, a former worker in a lawyer’s office: “These last two weeks, anybody with any eyes can see the government are guided by the money. The government seems to be falling apart and anyone who thinks governments run anything are daft. It’s the markets, they decide what happens and when.”

Jim, 64, nursed his pint while considering how he will manage through the winter. The retired Royal Mail worker said: “This government is clueless about how the ordinary person pays their bills.”

Jim Prentice: “The government is clueless” (Pic: Andrew Cawley)

Jan Craigie works behind the bar at the club, in Slateford, Edinburgh. The 53-year-old has her dad staying with her after a heart operation and has seen him wear a blanket instead of asking her to put on the heating.

She said: “He’s 79 and had a heart valve replacement, I’ve got to have my heating on and he’s in all day. I wouldn’t risk his health for the sake of not having the heating on. He’s scared because he’ll just sit with his blanket round him as he’s worried because I pay the bill.”

She is left exhausted after her working week and knows that more could be done to help people get by, adding: “I do two jobs. I do 40 hours a week here and I’m a carer. I do it because I have to, I’m absolutely exhausted. I’m not left with much time for anything else apart from work.”

Jan fears that the club itself may struggle to pay rising bills, and fears for her job. “This place gives people a life, we had a man join not long again who had lost his wife, he came so he wasn’t alone. If you take a place like this away you take the pensioners’ life away from them.”

No one at the club expected the Conservatives to do well in a General Election.

John Bryce, 83, Edinburgh, said he had been watching as the Tory party turned on itself. The former teacher trainer said: “I get The Times and the comments are incredible, dyed-in-the-wool Tories are calling for the Liberal Democrats to take over.”

He believes an election and change of government are necessary in order to tackle the cost of living crisis.

“Gas and electricity has been horrendous and according to the forecast it’s going to be worse for people who aren’t as well off. It’s concerning for people who are on benefits.

“Being retired, it’s horrendous if you’re on the basic pension. Prices have shot up and then the shelves are often quite empty. The only solution is a change of government which would give us a chance to get this mess sorted out. The current government has got themselves tied in knots performing so many U-turns. They surely must call a general election.”

Roy Campbell (Pic: Andrew Cawley)

John McDonald, 66, from Gorgie, who worked as a supervisor cook for Edinburgh Council, also believes an election is needed.

He said: “They’ll just get millionaire Rishi in. They are just posh boys who don’t know how much a loaf of bread or a pint of milk costs. If they call a general election they will get slaughtered.”

McDonald has only recently retired but now reflects on how he and his wife have already been left to take extreme measures to combat the rising costs.

“My wife and I have taken measures at the moment. We’ve bought an air fryer and we use the microwave. We go into rooms and don’t switch on the lights – we just try to cut back on things.

“They must put a cap on the energy companies’ profits. Prices are scary. Some things are 100% more than they used to be six months ago.”

McDonald also hoped that action could be taken so pensioners would not be left with worsening mental health so soon after Covid kept thousands locked indoors as they shielded.

He said: “For me, we’re quite lucky that we aren’t feeling the pinch as badly just yet.

“We have a wee bit of money because I’ve just retired. The government is pledging not to touch the triple lock but people have worked their whole lives and are worried about how they will survive.

“People sit in one room with only heating in that room because they’re scared of not having enough money in their pension. It’s important for mental health. Mental health can be missed and overlooked in people our age.”