I'm a small c conservative with a penchant for centre-right politics, but have no solid affinity to the Conservative Party. Like many of the British public, I have been left feeling disappointed and disheartened by the present coalition and desperately yearn for a government that promises both passion and proactivity.
Thus, when Nadine Dorries' decision to abandon her parliamentary duties in favour of frolicking in the jungle was revealed, it touched on the feeling of apathy and inactivity that I feel surrounds our present government.
I understand the appeal that I'm a Celebrity has for public figures. It can give those widely perceived as 'out of touch' a more likeable, genuine and down-to-earth façade. Lembit Opik's appearance revealed a charming, mildly amusing man rather than a slightly odd Lib Dem politician more famous for his relationship with one of the Cheeky Girls than his contribution to politics.
Indeed, Opik has defended Nadine Dorries' decision to appear on the show he graced in 2010, telling BBC News that it is a move she is "entitled" to make and that for the Conservatives to suggest otherwise represented a view "out of touch with the zeitgeist of the nation". In his interview, Opik failed to properly acknowledge that Dorries would be missing a months' constituency work, and when asked what would be done if constituents wanted to talk to her, rather unhelpfully replied "hopefully Ant and Dec will take care of that". Recalling his own experience, he spoke positively of his jungle experience being a "fantastic detox" in a land of "no emails or phone calls", thus contradicting any suggestion previously made that Dorries time in the jungle could be remotely productive.
What is crucial to note is that Opik was an ex-MP during his time on I'm a Celebrity. Although he rightfully points out that if an MP took their allocated four weeks of holiday in one go nobody would bat an eyelid, what he fails to touch on is Dorries' reluctance to tell chief whip Sir George Young, nor anyone in her association, that she was going take time out of her parliamentary duties in favour of going to Australia for a month. Opik reassured the BBC that Nadine's capable staff take care of much of the work that goes on in her constituency, offering yet another weak defence by implying that she doesn't do that much anyway.
The public have conveyed their disgust at the suspended MP's actions by voting her in twice in a row to face the infamous bushtucker trials. So far she has been covered in bugs and subject to a dinner of all sorts of disgusting animal parts - from lambs balls to ostriches anuses. Even fellow jungle-mate and wimp Hugo Taylor had an opinion on Dorries' neglect of duty, remarking "if she was my Member of Parliament, I would expect her to be at work".
Apparently we are supposed to believe that Dorries' decision was in good faith, and nothing to do with the £40,000 she will receive for appearing on the show (alongside being paid her tax-payer funded salary). She told the Sun that "if people are watching I'm a Celebrity, that is where MPs should be going", implying that it will help her connect with the home audience.
As a citizen of a country that has been ridden with MP money scandals for the past few years, the last thing voters want to see is a politician making an income through doing something other than their day job. When Nadine Dorries was rightly suspended from the Conservative Party last week, I was cheering as loud as when I found out Obama was re-elected for presidency that following morning.
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