Shelagh Simmons and Carolyne Jacobs, Joint Coordinators for Solent WASPI Supporters’ Group, share this latest news from the campaign. Ed
The General Election result leaves Women Against State Pension Inequality (WASPI) in a very strong position. It is clear that the electorate was generally unhappy with the Conservative position on social care/pensions and many traditional Conservative voters changed their stance due to these concerns.
The Conservative Party has refused to listen to the call for compensation payments for women born in the 1950s, despite the significant amount of media attention this subject received during the campaign.
Labour Party sympathetic
The Labour Party, on the other hand, was sympathetic to the case of WASPI women. There is obviously a range of reasons why there was a large swing to Labour and WASPI may, or may not, have had an influence.
However, what is clear is that the WASPI campaign has increased its profile, gained the support of many candidates who have now been elected and has caught the attention of the media.
Campaign supported by younger generation
Solent WASPI Supporters’ Group Joint Coordinators, Shelagh Simmons and Carolyne Jacobs, said:
“We are very pleased that so many young people went out and voted this time. Older people do traditionally vote in greater numbers. But 3.5 million of us nationally – 116,000 here in Hampshire – have been hit by these state pension age changes and we all have votes.
“The impact of that shouldn’t be underestimated. Our families have votes too. Everyone has a mother, daughter, sister, aunt, niece or friend who is affected by this injustice. Many younger people support our campaign because they have seen how unfairly we’ve been treated.
“They know what happens to us could have an effect on everyone else’s pension tomorrow. We don’t accept that different generations always vote on different issues. There can be cross-generational consensus.”
A WASPI thank you
WASPI’s profile significantly increased during the campaign, attracting widespread coverage in national, local and social media. Locally, the Solent group featured in newspapers, on local radio and on BBC South.
The group would like to thank BBC South, Awaaz FM community radio, Express FM, Portsmouth News, Southampton Daily Echo, Petersfield Post, OnTheWight and Star & Crescent. But we couldn’t have raised the profile to its current level on our own.
Support from candidates
We were delighted with the response from candidates across the region and would like thank all of them in our area that supported WASPI during the General Election.
In addition to Labour Party candidates and its manifesto commitment, individual Liberal Democrat, Green, UKIP and Independent candidates rallied around our campaign.
Shelagh and Carolyne stated,
“Around 470 candidates signed the WASPI Pledge nationwide, 35 of them in our Solent area** They then shared their pledges on social media. While we were disappointed with the response from Conservative candidates, we hope those who were elected will now realise there is a broad coalition of support for WASPI.
“We will be writing to all newly elected and re-elected MPs asking them to work for a fair solution. And we will be making sure those in Parliament who pledged to do that deliver on their promise.”
We would, of course, also like to thank members of the Solent WASPI Supporters’ Group – one of a network of 140 around the country – who worked so hard to get our message out during the election campaign.
Solent WASPI activities in the next few months
WASPI nationally, and the Solent Group, will continue to fight for compensation payments for women born in the 1950s. The Solent Group will be raising awareness in our area via a leafleting campaign, press releases, spreading the word via radio and TV, a day of action on the IOW and meetings for local members.