June 13, 2024

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The Trials Down Under of Hatt Mancock

In principle, there’s nothing wrong with politicians appearing on reality TV shows. Yet whenever they do it they get a shed load of abuse, especially if the show is taking place when parliament is in session. Politicians only seem to get away with it when the show is prerecorded. Johnny Mercer did Celebrity Hunted alongside Kay Burley and no one batted an eyelid.

Matt Hancock has got a complete shellacking for going to Australia while parliament is in session and it’s easy to see why. Nadine Dorries got the same when she did it. The argument that it will help him campaign on dyslexia is frankly, hogwash. It may be that he talks about it a lot to campmates but if he really thinks ITV will show any of it, he’s clearly never watched the show before.

Sometimes self-knowledge is a wonderful thing, and in some ways Matt Hancock possesses it but in other ways he does not. He’s finally realised that he’s never going to be promoted back into the cabinet. That arse-clutching photo, I’m afraid, sealed his political fate.

Hancock is only 44, so he’s now at a point in his life where he will be thinking of embarking on a new career. He has seen other politicians make it so he sees no reason why he can’t. And this is where the self-knowledge bit rears its ugly head again. I’m not sure how he thinks he’s viewed by the general public, but may I venture to suggest that it’s not entirely positive. Now it’s entirely possible that over the next few weeks, that will change. On a one to basis, Matt is a very likeable and funny individual. He can also be quite emotional. But will he be given the chance to show that side of his personality in the jungle? Maybe, but it’s all in the editing. If ITV decide that ratings are going to be better if all they do is show any negative scenes where he’s ganged up on or criticized for decisions he made in the pandemic. I suspect we may see some Hancock tears.

According to The Sun Matt is being paid £400,000 to go into the jungle. Nice money if you can get it. He’s said he will make a donation to a charity in his constituency, but he clearly intends to pocket the rest. Divorce is expensive, no doubt, but it’s going to go down very badly with taxpayers who will still be paying his MP salary all kthe time he is away.

And when he comes out of the jungle, his book is coming out. He’s said he is donating all the royalties to NHS charities, but does that include the money he will no doubt be getting from a newspaper serialization? All of his income from TV and the book will be published in the Register of Members Interests, but the amount he donates to charity won’t be.

I’ll be watching, but whether I’ll be watching from behind the sofa remains to be seen!