If Matt Hancock was hoping his appearance on I'm A Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here! would catalyze his great redemption, he was wrong.
Yes he came third in the show - beating the likes of Boy George, Mike Tindall AND Eileen Off CoronationStreet. Yes he took criticism from campmates right on the chin, and smashed out all his trials like a bullied teenager desperate to win over the popular kids - stoic to the end, even when it meant chowing down on a three-course meal of penis, vagina and anus. Good on him!
But then he dragged the reason he resigned as health secretary last year right back up the news agenda (he broke his own Covid guidelines by snogging his aide), and subjected his children to Those Photos once again. He lost his whip, angered bereaved families, and we were forced to talk about him for weeks at the expense of actual political issues like the languishing economy.
He was there to raise awareness about his dyslexia campaign, his people said. (He mentioned it three times in 21 episodes and one was to excuse his poor performance in an anagram challenge.) He had good intentions, he insisted (we didn't see one). And then the truth came out. "What I'm really looking for is a bit of forgiveness," he begged Charlene White. "I wanted to show what I'm like as a person," he bleated to Ant and Dec.
"We [politicians] are normal people," he insisted.
Yes, Hancock is just a normal guy. A normal guy who had the power to tell us not to go near any of our mates for the best part of two years then decided to go very near indeed to one of his mates. Just a guy who was reportedly remunerated to the tune of £400,000 for going on the show. Just an Average Bloke with a slick PR team targeting teens on TikTok to keep him trucking along, according to reports. Not someone serving nothing but his own ego. Not at all.
All this is to say, if Hancock thinks he can return to parliament to cheers from MPs and a ministerial position waiting for him once his jet lag has worn off, the guy is naive.
No, the public do not want to be represented by someone they've seen wearing lycra gold shorts and a cape. Someone they've seen grab onto the buttocks of his girlfriend for dear life twice now. No thanks!
He's riled us up so what can we do? Nothing but grabble for light relief in a dark world - and so here it is in the form of unsolicited and suitably unserious career advice for the former minister.
1. More reality TV
Now he has made his TV debut, it is time for Hancock to get on every screen going. The world is his oyster. Could we see him dancing on Strictly? Can we imagine him cracking on on Love Island if he becomes single again?
With his own personal drama so enthralling, is there a gap in the market for a Kardashians-like Keeping Up With the Hancocks? (Call me, E!)
This option is fast becoming reality. He's got another show lined up...
2. Become Ed Sheeran's backing vocalist
Hancock left people with bleeding eardrums in the first episode of the show when he sung Perfect by Ed Sheehan, unprompted. His rendition was by no means perfect, but if Sheeran needs someone to step up to the mic at short notice, Hancock's your guy.
\u201cMatt Hancock: "I love (Ed Sheeran). I'm from Suffolk as well." This is perma-Accidental Partridge\u201d
Politicians used to be held accountable for their mistakes. People used to resign and be condemned to irrelevancy forever more. But then we got Boris Johnson with his laissez-faire approach to rules and now we have politicians who resign one week, then get paid £400k for appearing on primetime TV the next - the public treated as if it has a goldfish memory.
We all got some joy at watching Hancock get his limited comeuppance, then, by seeing him be buried alive with snakes, or submerged in water with a load of frogs.
It is in this twisted way in which Hancock is arguably still serving the people and is therefore a great politician. He is the 2022 equivalent of a court jester, long may he continue in this role.
Hancock won't do any of these things though, will he? He's got his dyslexia bill coming up after all - something we all know loads about thanks to his time on TV. And he will also face the Covid inquiry.
Then he's going on Celebrity SAS: Who Dares Wins...
So there will be more Hancock headlines. Even though eating penis didn't leave us eating out of his hands like he wanted.
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