Matt Hancock in I’m a Celebrity! are you thrilled or riled?

Matt Hancock: In I'm a Celebrity are you thrilled or riled? Image - ITV

Well in the ever-surprising world of politics, I can honestly say last week was a first for me; watching my former employer Matt Hancock eat a camel’s penis on national television (“just the tip!”).

Yes, Matt Hancock is in the I’m a Celebrity jungle and the wider world seems thrilled about it. Err, perhaps not.

Despite being in the camp with an ex-convict pop star and a comedian whose ex-girlfriend has publicly accused of toxic “daily pain”, judging by his seemingly endless stream of publicly-voted trials, Matt still seems to be far and away the least popular member of camp.

A large part of that anger, understandably, comes from the overall UK government’s handling- or at least perceived handling- of the pandemic. Those who were unable to see dying loved ones in hospital or hug grieving relatives at funerals will also doubtless have felt a visceral pain at seeing Hancock locked in embrace with a woman he later left his wife for during Covid restrictions.

The adultery and taking time off while the House is sitting probably haven’t helped either.

So yes, overall there’s a lot, as the politician accepted in the camp, that he wants “forgiveness” for.

But yet even the most hardened member of the Matt Hancock hate club may over the last week have been forced to admit the tiniest respect for the person he is in the camp; quite a distance apart from the public perception of him.

Amid scorpion stings, snake attacks and animal genitalia, Matt seems to maintain a cheerful enthusiasm. Even Boy George seems to be growing a grudging respect for him.

Which sort of begs the question; how close is our perception of politicians to their reality? Is Hancock the person the public saw him as during and after the pandemic, or is the altogether more human person we’re now seeing the real him?

Certainly, the Matt I remember from my stint working for him eight years ago is closer to the one the public are now seeing.

And if it turns out our elected figures really are just average, occasionally even likeable, people, why doesn’t it translate to the electorate more often?

Perhaps the answer is just to send all potential political candidates to the other side of the world surrounded by poisonous beasties and televise the whole thing.

At a minimum it would be compulsive viewing.


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Written by

Sally Underwood

Sally Underwood is a former aide to several former cabinet members and now contributes her views on Parliament’s ever-changing shape in her column for the Euro Weekly News.

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