For many, old age is an opportunity to sit down and put their feet up. But 73-year-old Sheila Field sees her senior years as an opportunity to campaign for human rights.
The grandmother spent Wednesday outside Highbury & Islington station collecting signatures, and is petitioning the government to give prisoners the vote. So far, she has collected over 2,000 signatures.
“Our male politicians are the ones that are stopping this, otherwise prisoners would have got the vote already. It’s this male dominance syndrome,” she suggests.
“Our males, in parliament and outside, are being called out on the testosterone, because it doesn’t really make the world a better place. I’m going to wear them down like water over rock,” she exclaims.
Ms Field started campaigning for prisoners’ right to vote after the Brexit vote. “I’m a human rights campaigner, but when we had the EU referendum, the campaign I was doing came to the end. There is no point trying to save the human rights act, because that’s on hold for Brexit,” she said. “If we have a Tory government in the next parliament, you can assume they’ll start salami slicing our human rights away.”
Ms Field, from South East London, campaigns across the country so that she can say her petitions represent a broad section of society. She says Islington residents are more willing to listen than people in many other parts of the country.
“As a generalisation, Labour towns are better because there is more diversity. Where you’ve got a diverse population, there is more sense of equality and appreciation of human rights,” she said.
“Jeremy Corbyn has always loved human rights – it’s not just love, it’s an instinct. He knows what they are about.”
She denies she is missing out on normal retirement: “I’m prejudiced against elderly people. They really get on my nerves, because they’ve got such a shrunken view of life. If I ever get that bad, I’d rather jump off Beachy Head!”
“They’re small minded, they’ve got small minds, everything has to be shrunk down small to suit them.”