The rise and fall of the red wall
It seems Stoke on Trent North is in at least the Twitter spotlight tonight thanks to the antics of Jonathan Gullis MP. Mr Gullis it seems has a certain penchant for winding anyone that doesn’t follow his very right wing brand of conservatism.
In fairness laughing manically like a hyena during PM questions was a look designed to get noticed and boy does Mr Gullis like to get noticed. Perhaps in hindsight doing it as a fellow member of parliament is raising issues of poverty was a tad silly but there you go. At least one thing for Mr Gullis is at least he won’t have to read the ire of others against his behaviour as he no longer has a presence on Twitter labelling it as ‘Twatter’. ( that unfortunately is the level of wit you get, for a man who was previously a teacher he seems to have picked up a fair bit of playground humour).
Being one of the new intake of Tory MP’s from constituencies that were previous Labour headlands it was obvious early on that Mr Gullis would be a marmite figure in Stoke, he is certainly no shrinking violet sounding off against wokeness, immigrants and lefties. Today it seems his gaslighting has spilled over into the he greater Twitter consciousness.
I try to never tweet ( or post on any social media platform ) in anger and tot he most part have been fairly successful, however today it got the better of me ( I deleted it straight after, don’t tweet angry kids) however surprisingly the object of my anger was not Mr Gullis or his supporters but one of those woke lefties he derides at every turn, before you attack me I know he was a woke lefty because he helpfully described himself as such in his bio. So the question is what was the tweet that caused me to see red, it was simply a attack on Mr Gullis.
However it was more than that, as you can probably guess I am not Johnathon’s greatest fan, however the tweet in question stated “ he only got voted in by the thicko’s in Stoke due to his gaslighting” and here your honour is the problem. It probably didn’t help the last Labour MP for this area that she was attacked by both the right (as you would expect) but also the left as corbynistas attacked her for daring to speak out about a rise Italian in the Labour Party. The student Union socialist policies of Corbyn’s Labour Party did not lay well in working class areas like Stoke on Trent.
It’s far easier for this smug idiot ( my anger hasn’t subdued by the way) to label people from Stoke thick than to explore and more importantly understand why someone like Gullis could get a foothold in Stoke on Trent and beyond and to be honest comments like the one above tell you a lot.
Brexit of course plays a large part in it, but it goes deeper than that. Stoke on Trent is a place of great pride but also great need. It has large areas of poverty. It has seen a large part of what gave it its identity fall away, the demise of the pottery industry. It is also the land of the broken promise, countless politicians have dangled the golden carrot of regeneration only to see it snatched away and worse given to bigger cities. The cuts run deep.
Talking of cuts we see how not only has levelling up yet to happen, but very visible cuts being made not only in vital services but also sweeping away cultural and importantly part of the region’s heritage.
Yet there still remains sizeable support for Mr Gullis because he was able to cut into the heart of the discontent, with the demise of industry and onset of poverty people in Stoke felt powerless, ignored , left behind, brexit was able to cut through that, to remove the old red-blue divides, it gave them a chance to be heard to say this is not OK and they took it , both in voting for brexit, the effects of which harm areas like Stoke on Trent more than more affluent areas, and voting in people like Mr Gullis.
While the troubles effecting number 10 has certainly Demi I shed the allure of Mr Gullis in Stoke ultimately it will be his and the conservative parties ability to convince the people of Stoke on Trent that Levelling up is more than tokenism, more than just a slogan. Stoke would be a fabulous place if all the aspirations of the last 20 years had became bricks and mortar. Instead we have seen one of the jewels of the potteries , the famous Leopard Public house where History was made burn tot he ground with other just as famous sites left to rot as the funding for the existing museums are cut tot he bone. This has not played well for the Conservative led council.
So we are left with Mr Gullis not only embarrassing himself but bringing down the name of Stoke on Trent by his over zealous behaviour, Stoke on Trent and it’s people deserve better than that.