Bellwether British town wants change at election

STORY: "They're all as bad as one another. Sorry, but I'm just a bit disillusioned to be quite honest with you.'

In Watford, a large commuter town north of London, voters have backed the winning party at every election for 50 years.

Bur this year, though they say they are keen for Britain's July 4 election to bring change, the electorate is unsure who - if anyone - can deliver it.

Conservative Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and opposition Labour Party Leader Keir Starmer kicked off their election campaigns on Thursday (May 23), each arguing that only they can snap the country out of its economic and political malaise.

Watford resident Steve fears the political cycle means words don't always translate into action.

"It's something that needs to be done because the way the country is at the moment is, you know, you can speak about it in different ways, but it's not going really well, is it? After Brexit and everything. What I could say is I just hope the, you know, the party that comes in force will, you know, make some proper changes."

Opinion polls support the view that change is on the way.

After 14 years of Conservative-led governments, Starmer's Labour Party is around 20 percentage points ahead and, as things stand, would win enough seats to form the next government.

Training manager Vicky Aitchison has lived in Watford for 35 years.

"I think for me, Starmer has made some really key statements about what he's going to change, he's going to reduce some of the cost of living things, reduce this, reduce that. I think from my perspective, it does worry (me) around where is that money going to come if he's going to reduce costs, because does that mean people's cost or livelihoods are going to be impacted? Is it the quality of people's lives that are going to change, because that money has to come from somewhere."

Sunak stood in pouring rain on Wednesday (May 22) to announce the election and talk up his handling of the economy.

But he faces an uphill struggle to convince voters that the party that has been in power since 2010 can effectively bring change.