Updated: Saturday, 19th October 2019 @ 6:23am

My Big Mouth: Nadine 'Mad Nad’ Dorries' I'm a Celebrity... jungle antics are sure to send us bananas

My Big Mouth: Nadine 'Mad Nad’ Dorries' I'm a Celebrity... jungle antics are sure to send us bananas

Comment by Tui Benjamin

A house full of bizarre, attention-seeking and egotistical characters who are far less important than they think they are – I could be referring to the Big Brother house as easily as I could be the House of Commons.

Contrary to their staid reputations, I often find politicians to be unwittingly hilarious.

And it seems I’m not the only one, with many sharing the view that the men and women we entrust with the running of our country could quite possibly be sophisticated robots manufactured specifically for our own entertainment purposes.

Well, not exactly, but their actions are frequently ridiculous.

Each gaffe provides hours of cynical eye-rolling opportunities, each blunder leaves the Twitterati vying for creator of puniest hangtag: #thegreattrainsnobbery following George Osborne’s recent rail service run-in is a particular personal favourite.

Jeremy Hunt’s Olympic bell-ringing clanger, Boris Johnson left hanging after a zip wire malfunction: sometimes it seems like following the news will garner more giggles than any reality TV show.

So surely when an MP feels the need to enter the reality TV arena through choice, nothing but farce and hilarity will ensue.

At least that’s what half of Westminster were no doubt hoping for when it was revealed last week that outspoken Tory MP Nadine Dorries would be taking to the Australian outback for the new series of I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here.

The brash Liverpudlian, who made her jungle debut on Sunday night, has never been known for mincing her words.

She of the infamous ‘two arrogant posh boys’ comment would provide antics more than matching up to the level of George Galloway’s milk-lapping mime in the CBB house, surely? 

But in actuality, this news filled me with little more than rage.

True, she has made the perfunctory move to give four weeks’ salary to charity (no mention of the reported £40,000 appearance fee though), but albeit only after disapproval from constituents, Westminster and the press alike.

But come on, the fact she even contemplated leaving the House of Commons for four weeks whilst a serving MP is completely ridiculous.

With her and Cameron barely friends, it was no surprise when she had the Conservative whip removed.

Infuriated Westminster sources have insisted she failed to inform the whip’s office, the prime minister or even her constituency party she would be making the trip.

And it was with a deep and mocking sigh that I received her justification of her jungle jaunt, defending it as a way of bringing politics to the ITV-watching masses.

Dorries’ ConservativeHome column, which went live for her first episode on Sunday night, cited the fact that more people watched the last X-Factor final than voted in the last general election as her reason for taking this ‘golden opportunity to communicate with sixteen million people’.

In theory, she should be on to something.

The voter apathy issue is a major one, and it is true that efforts should be made to reengage meaningfully with the public.

But in practice, there is no way this will work.

While we might claim we like our politicians to seem more like us mere mortals, in reality we want them to retain a modicum of dignity and gravitas.

Not exactly a given during I’m A Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here’s infamous Bushtucker Trials, which inevitably involve all manner of creepy crawlies.

Moreover, does Ms Dorries really plan to lecture the assembled motley crew of celebrities around the camp fire?

“I may have to eat a kangaroo’s testicle, but I may also get to talk about a twenty week limit for abortion. I may have to sleep with rats, but I may also get the chance to big up Boris whilst I am at it. It is a publicity gift,” her blog claims. 

I’m sceptical as to whether she’ll even get a proper chance to air her views: most jungle chat is predictably mundane, and something tells me that if required to sleep with rats she’ll be too busy indulging in the normal human reaction of screaming to state her views on a Johnson Tory leadership.

It’s rather more likely that her chance to use the entertainment show as a mouthpiece will reveal something which most of the public probably already know – how much politicians love the sound of their own voices.

Image courtesy of ITV, with thanks.

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