How the 2019 Johnson Coup inflicted a populist cardboard cut-out MP on the people of Redcar
The glorious seven-year reign of hollow man Boris “Spaffer” Johnson ended not with a bang but with a whimper in June 2023. Here in Teesside, a year after the Brexit referendum, Ben Houchen copied the populist Johnson play-book and edged to victory in the 2017 Tees Valley Mayoral election. But it was to get far worse in 2019, a year in which British politics developed at a frenetic pace. Theresa May had been a dead woman walking since her failed snap election in June 2017, but she somehow staggered on until, in May 2019, the men in grey suits paid her a visit,
Taking back control of our laws
Within five months, Boris Johnson became PM, Jacob Rees-Mogg lied to the Queen and illegally closed Parliament, Johnson sacked the last remaining 21 Tory MPs with any connection to reality and, called a General Election for 12 December.
This election, using the same illegal tactics as the Brexit referendum, fronted by a charlatan who had carefully cultivated a likeable “Jack The Lad” image for 20 years, and backed by a classic three-word slogan from Dominic “Specsavers” Cummings – GET BREXIT DONE – provided the Tories with an 80-seat majority including, crucially, 59 leave-voting seats switched from Labour.
This new cohort of Tory MPs were hand-picked by CCHQ and bore similar characteristics:
- Much younger than the usual intake, with little or no previous political experience.
- Little political baggage, apart from a slavish devotion to Boris Johnson and Brexit.
- The ability to parrot daily “lines to take” and talking points provided by CCHQ.
- An obsession with the British exceptionalism and Empire nostalgia of Brexit, tailored to local circumstances, such a longing for the restoration of Britain’s former industrial greatness.
- Blaming the local Labour party for everything that goes wrong in their constituency, but praising Boris Johnson when anything goes right.
- Focusing on local branding to affirm to their supporters that they are local MPs for local people.
The successful 2019 Tory candidates for Bishop Auckland, Stockton South and Redcar ticked all of the above boxes. More on Dehenna Davison and Matt Vickers another time but, for now, let’s focus on Redcar’s Jacob Young.
Exceptionally young candidate
Jacob Young was 26 years old when he was elected, and was still working shifts as a chemical process operator at Wilton.
Two years as a councillor in the Middlesbrough suburb of Coulby Newham provided Jacob with extensive knowledge of bin collection schedules.
Lines to take
Not you, Michael Gove. Jacob will dutifully barge into today’s CCHQ culture-wars talking points, although he may think twice before joking about Tory cuts, or threatening to withdraw his labour during the nurses’ strike.
Jacob, just like Ben Houchen, knows which buttons to press to appeal to his (mainly elderly) voters:
They appeal to Teessider’s inferiority complex by insisting that we can have an airport to rival our perceived competitors Newcastle and Leeds, despite this argument having zero economic merit, resulting in an ongoing money pit which is bleeding taxpayers white, whilst simultaneously appealing to the Teesside superiority complex about it’s history as an industrial powerhouse. When in doubt, Jacob, why not trot out that old chestnut about William Gladstone and the Infant Hercules?
Blame the Labour party
Jacob relentlessly joins in with Ben Houchen and Middlesbrough South MP Simon Clarke to echo the dual lie that (a) Labour are to blame for any perceived past failures in Teesside, and (b) Ben Houchen is to be given credit for perceived current successes in Teesside, regardless of how illusory these are. Jacob even blames former Middlesbrough Labour MP Stuart Bell for turning him into a Tory, but when Jacob claims that he attended political hustings with his NAN when he was 18 years old, I’m calling 100% bull****.
Focus on local branding
Jacob Young’s focus on the Pacitto’s Lemon Top ice-cream cornet illustrates the huge Facebook marketing operation intended to subliminally associate Jacob with a familiar, trusted, popular local brand in the minds of Redcar voters. Matt Vickers over in Stockton South has done something similar with his Teesside Parmo schtick, so you can see where the Tories are going with this, but the Jacob Young Lemon Top PSYOP is far more extensive than Matt’s effort.
Visit from Boris Johnson? – Lemon Top Photo Op!
Are other brands available? – Lemon Top Photo Op!
Updating your dull wardrobe? – Lemon Top Photo Op!
Covid lockdown blues? – Lemon Top Photo Op!
Wedding day? (Surely, nobody would be that cynical?)…Lemon Top Photo Op!
(Even Anthea Turner was appalled by this)
So, did Jacob Young finally call out his hero Boris Johnson’s criminality, lies and intimidatory gangster behaviour over the Partygate Privileges Committee?