By Millie Moxey
With I’m a Celebrity…Get me Out of here! and Strictly Come Dancing back on our screens for the near future, the usual debates of whether politicians are celebrities and whether they should be on this kind of programme are circulating again. Seeing politicians in these light hearted, sometimes slap stick shows is like when you’d see a teacher outside of school; a little uncomfortable and unexpected: what do you mean you have a normal life with normal clothes?
But like teachers, politicians are, believe it or not, humans, and should be entitled to a life and if they want to spend it making a fool of themselves on national television then good for them.
This year’s I’m a Celeb sees Kezia Dugdale and Stanley Johnson (father of Boris) take on the jungle. Kezia is former leader of the Scottish Labour Party and a current MSP. She caused tension in the Labour party for taking the leave to appear in the show but aside from that, she has pledged, like many other celebrities do, to donate some of her appearance fee to charity. She is, as she freely admits, using it as a platform to communicate Labour’s values to young people and generally spark an interest in politics among everyone who watches the show.
Jeremy Corbyn recently appeared on Celebrity Gogglebox for Stand Up to Cancer, by being in aid of charity, it can only be seen as a good thing. Just think of all of those Corbynites tuning in for a slice of Jezza and then in turn donating money to the charity. They are simply using their privileged position to accept these amazing opportunities and raise a bit of money for charity, anyone would do the same in their shoes.
Throughout the years, politicians have had great success on these reality TV shows meaning they must be adding to the entertainment value if the public are voting to keep them in. Edwina Currie, former Conservative MP, came fourth on I’m a Celebrity in 2014 much to people’s surprise. And who could forget Ann Widdecombe’s weeks of being dragged, swung and pushed around the dancefloor by Anton Du Beke. She became a kind of national hero for her hilarious routines and she stayed in the competition until week ten. She embraced the fact she was pretty rubbish at dancing and could laugh at herself, challenging what we stereotypically think of when someone says ‘politician’.
Let’s face it, politicians are easy to hate but you have to admire that they would put themselves through possibly weeks of potential humiliation in the name of entertainment. Whether they are doing it for personal gain, to enhance their career, for charity or just for a challenge really doesn’t matter, they as people deserve to be respected in their personal decisions. So whether you hate them all, are in love with Corbyn or count running through fields of wheat as one of your top hobbies, next time you see one of them on TV, cut them some slack, they might surprise you. And if Nigel Farage wants to go and eat ostrich anus on next year’s I’m a Celeb then by all means, let him do it.