Of all the animals of prey, man is the only sociable one.
Every one of us preys upon his neighbour, and yet we herd together.
The Beggar's Opera: John Gay

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Pass the witchetty grubs, Mr Cameron

Why, we ask ourselves, would Nadine Dorries want to take part in a televised spectacle which combines the primitive savagery of the jungle with the attention-seeking narcissism of modern celebrity?

Of course, we might ask the same question of the other 649 more-or-less honourable souls who merrily trotted off to Westminster after the last election to take part in what is surely the apotheosis of reality TV - brief interludes of raucous partisan conflict and occasional vicious back-biting interrupting hours of soporific tedium for months on end.

Someone at the BBC - raised on the 1960s orthodoxy that 'drama requires conflict' - clearly thinks we must all enjoy the unedifying spectacle of Prime Minister's Questions, so much so, indeed, that, in addition to the coverage on BBC Parliament, it is broadcast live on News 24; watch the baying mobs on two channels at once for twice the fun!

Nadine Dorries is likely to feel right at home in the jungle when she gets there, though exactly how she expects her absence to benefit her constituents is not clear. She is, of course, quick to point out that it will let her raise important subjects in a public forum (if not exactly the one to which they elected her), but then, outrageous justification is nothing new to her.

It is, after all, only a few years since she compared the Telegraph's revelation of MPs expenses to a witch-hunt and insisted, with almost Prescottian fluency, that the £24,222 Additional Costs allowance had always been counted as 'part of an MP's salary':
"Actually what it was spent on is possibly even regardless, because the principle is that lump sum of money, particularly for the old guard of MPs, we were told 'that's your due'."
However, her self-proclaimed motivation this time, although casting some doubt on her grasp of her day-to-day responsibility to her constituents (and, for that matter, the taxpayers who pay her salary), might just solve the problem of what to do with all the MPs when the Palace of Westminster undergoes its much-needed planned refurbishment in the near future:
"I'm doing the show because 16 million people watch it. 
If people are watching 'I'm A Celebrity', that is where MPs should be going"

Bad news for Ms Dorries: Lembit 'with friends like these...' Opik has publicly expressed his support. Oh dear!


  1. Perhaps the lot could be turned into a Titanic Re-enactment Society and sent out to sea on a redundant oil tanker set to sink in mid Atlantic without lifeboats or communications. It would make great TV.

  2. My sympathies are with the invertebrates....

  3. Now, now, Julia; that's no way to talk about the leadership of the Conservative party!

    Demetrius, I'd start pitching the idea as soon as possible, before Peter Bazalgette beats you to it...

  4. I think popularity beats dignity these days and Nadine Dorries knows it.

  5. I suppose you're right, but it's a road that ends in the Mother of Parliaments bombed out of her brain on Bacardi Breezers and dancing on the table.