One comedian and writer has recounted that he worked as a political adviser in Stoke-on-Trent during the Mark Meredith Mayoral years of the late 2000s.
Matt Forde now voices Boris Johnson, Donald Trump and Keir Starmer during the reboot of the ’80s satirical puppet show “ Spitting Image,’ ‘currently streaming on BritBox.
The writer has also released a new book, titled ‘Politically Homeless,’ which includes stories from his days battling the rise of the British National Party (BNP) in Stoke-on-Trent as Mark’s political adviser.
The book takes a hilarious and insightful journey through his time in politics working for the Labor Party and in public affairs.
The former Labor member left the party when Jeremy Corbyn took over as leader and describes himself as a moderate, fed up with the extremes of the current political landscape, hence the title of the book.
During his two years at Stoke-on-Trent, Matt said, “The pub I always wanted to go to near the council building was The White Star. Oh man, I walked past that everyday and i was thinking ‘i’m gonna go go someday and do your bladder! and i never did so i got unfinished business [in Stoke]. “
Since his time in the city, the political makeup at council and parliament level in the region has witnessed a dramatic shift from a heart of a red wall to being the driving force behind the Conservative Party’s new blue blood.
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“You could tell the undercurrents were there,” said Matt, who also wrote for Channel 4’s ‘8 Out of 10 Cats’.
“It’s similar to what happened to Labor in Scotland as I still think of Stoke-on-Trent as that heart of work. And when the Labor Party fell apart, it was happening in the city before it happened in Scotland.
“You had a period before I was where Labor had all the seats on the board, and that’s really not healthy.
“You need some form of opposition because it will emerge. I think when a party is too successful in one area then the collapse is much deeper.
“It’s much healthier to have a half-decent majority and to be on guard because in Stoke-on-Trent you could just feel the people acting against the Labor Party for a number of reasons that went on for years. .
“When I was there BNP was doing pretty well and it was really scary. You could just tell that people were really unhappy with the Labor Party at the time.
“I think it was a mixture of things, in defense of the last Labor government, I think the Labor Party invested a lot in places like Stoke-on-Trent. In its public services and provided things like a minimum wage and protection for workers and all that stuff that the people of Stoke-on-Trent have enjoyed.
“But I think the problem with Labor for a long time was that it was seen to be quite London-centric. I think places like Stoke-on-Trent, they just think ‘these aren’t our kind of people.’ , you know?
“I think the main problem was in the city, Labor had gotten so used to winning, they thought they would never lose. I think complacency at the end was what made it. it was similar in Scotland, it was, ‘they will always vote for us’.
“You still have to be out there campaigning all the time. And I think long before Mark got there the Labor Party had stopped campaigning properly. And the local party just thought it was still going to be there. win and turned out to be wrong. “
Matt has no plans to join a political party despite his previous tenure as a Labor member since he was 15.
“Problem is, I join in, then I get mad and go back,” joked the author of Spitting Image. “I want Labor to be sane and win again because overall these policies are mine.”
Even with his television career reaching new heights, Matt admits he still has an affinity for the city, he said: “I loved working in Stoke-on-Trent.
“I have real warm memories of the place. Even if the policy was fierce and sometimes insane. The place itself is awesome and I loved and loved working there. I loved the people of Stoke-on-Trent, they’re really cool.
“It’s a really cool place. Obviously in the book it focuses on the politics that was crazy. There’s quite a bit of Stoke-on-Trent in there, I’m talking about working for Mark and the experience of fighting the BNP. It was a really scary thing. “
Upon hearing about Tunstall’s recent issues with antisocial behavior, Matt was kind enough to voice a fictional Boris Johnson trip to town which you can hear in the clip below:
Matt’s book is now available in all good bookstores around the physical world and online. Spitting Image is streaming now on BritBox.