Analysis Politics

In Conversation with Jordan Jacobs

Ed Halford caught up with Jordan Jacobs, a third year politics student, and spoke to him about his candidacy for Rayleigh's Town Council

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Image Credit: Ellena Nagle

Ed: When did you first realise you wanted to pursue a career in politics?

Jordan: Ever since I was fourteen… I was sitting in my geography class and I was engaging in a debate with my teacher. They were imposing their left-wing opinions on the students and were speaking negatively about the implications of Brexit. At the time, I remember thinking “hold on, I don’t agree with these views”. I wanted to be given time to formulate my own views on political issues and this experience has served as the foundation for my political enthusiasm.

Ed: Is there a family figure in your life who has inspired your political activism and involvement in local politics?

Jordan: My grandfather was a staunch working class socialist dating back from the 1940s and 1950s.  He was a supporter of the Labour Party when you could confidently say that Labour was the party of the working classes. My great-uncle was a Conservative supporter and I recall him regularly debating with my grandfather. I reminisce about these two relatives, as in one of the debates there was a comment uttered by my great-uncle, which to this day still stays with me. He said “I want everything good in life. I want everything to be good and that is why I vote Conservative”.

Ed: Why did you choose to study Politics with International Relations at the University of York?

Jordan: I’ve always had a burning passion for politics, and it is something I love. Politics has always played a big part in my life. Although, it does have massive social implications for a young person at university, and even in the context of society as a whole.

Ed: What has been the key motivation behind all of your political work?

Jordan: I’ve always had a desire to help people and those who are struggling. The best way for me to help other people is through politics and by entering the political world. Young minds can be instrumental in bringing much needed enthusiasm and energy to the political arena. By running for a position on the Rayleigh Town Council, I want to prove that young people can empower their voices and make a difference.

Ed: At university, it is rare to find many young students who will openly admit their support for the Conservative Party or thinking which is characteristically right-wing. Is there a stigma attached to espousing conservative beliefs and views at university? Have you found this to be the case at the University of York?

Jordan: There is a certain degree of isolationism as a right-wing thinker at university. There have been times I have struggled and been on the receiving end of sharp and negative comments. Though, I have used these instances to fuel my determination to put across conservative perspectives at university and they aren’t going to get in the way of my ambition to change people’s lives for the better.

Ed: Can you recall a time during your three years at the university when you have felt like a political outsider?

Jordan: In my second year, I was in a seminar in which the tutor spoke out against my views. On this particular occasion, as tends to be the case, there were a large proportion of students who were left leaning in their political orientation. We were debating how Margaret Thatcher’s premiership should be judged and my opinion was quickly dismissed after I spoke out in favour of Thatcher’s 1984 Trade Union Act. The seminar leader wasted no time in stating that my opinion was wrong and in calling Thatcher a horrid Prime Minister for what she did to a variety of communities. University seminars need a neutral arbiter that can mediate between different opinions and, in this case unfortunately, the academic allowed their views to take the seminar ‘hostage’. I saw respect get thrown out of the window and personal views prevail.

Ed: Having served as a Parliamentary Assistant for Mark Francois, MP for Rayleigh and Wickford, and interacted with a large number of Conservative Party politicians, is there any truth in the accusation that the party is simply an old boys’ club?

Jordan: As a working class individual from the East End of London, I really do disagree with the portrayal of the Conservative Party as an old boys’ club. Margaret Thatcher is a prime example of a politician who rose from a humble background to high office. I do understand that there are a lot of politicians in the Conservative Party that have been educated at public schools, although I don’t think I’m an anomaly in the party. Hard work, determination and resilience will get you far in life.

Ed: How was working with York Outer MP Julian Sturdy in 2019 different to your past experiences of shadowing the MPs Mark Francois and Robin Millar?

Jordan: Working with Julian opened up a new world of politics for me. A world where one misstep could result in losing the seat. My time with Julian really made me realise that not everywhere is as conservative as my local constituency. The Rayleigh and Wickford constituency is very different to Robin Millar and Julian Sturdy’s constituencies and my political experiences have taught me that we are a nation of different cultures and opinions.

Ed: Students have felt neglected and forgotten about in the Covid-19 crisis. How can the Conservative Party appeal to young voters and what changes does it need to make?

Jordan: The Conservative Party needs to address certain commonly spouted criticisms, such as a failure to tackle climate change. I was delighted to see the PM appoint a spokesperson for mental health and the government needs to take a proper look at the effects of the pandemic on students. The government needs to stop the cycle of passing ‘the buck’ to future governments in its tracks. We can’t allow a generation to be left behind by this pandemic.

Ed: Your campaign poster for the Rayleigh Town Council elections promotes you as “A Fresh Face in Local Politics”. Do you not think that there will be some that will find your lack of experience in politics disconcerting?

Jordan: I can understand why the jury may be out on my political experience but the best way for me to prove myself is for me to be elected. I already have a variety of issues which I want to address. One of my main aims is to connect the community. We have had so many people suffer from loneliness and mental health during this pandemic. I want to be a champion in connecting the community of Rayleigh. I also want to pioneer a sustainable approach to the environment.

Ed: Finally, with the Covid-19 pandemic limiting social interaction how will this campaign be different to previous election campaigns which you have served in?

Jordan: From 8 March, candidates will be able to door-knock and canvass their vote. Social media will be the main battleground where the campaign will be fought. It plays to a young person’s strengths to run an election campaign which has to make regular use of social media. Social media is the new way forward for politics. Yes, it will be a different election, although it is an exciting opportunity for a young person like myself to demonstrate my skill set.

Ed: What would you say to other students at the University of York who are contemplating entering politics in some capacity in the future?

Jordan: I would ultimately say go and find your voice, no matter your political affiliation. Ignorance leads to nowhere. Embrace politics. Pioneer your thoughts and pioneer your views.

If you want to find out more about Jordan’s campaign click here: https://www.facebook.com/jacobsforrayleigh

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