Bullied and berated on every side. Trapped in a tiny box surrounded by vermin. Constantly facing the public vote. It hasn't been an easy week for the contestants in the Westminster jungle.
The tasks they are faced with look so simple to outsiders. All they have to do is, say, pass child benefit records to one another using only their chins, to win stars for themselves and their team. But if they drop the records into the ravine, all their credits are lost and 25 million people back in camp are angry. Then they must record those stars. But last week, one trouble-making contestant ruined a whole meal for his team-mates when he pretended his stars had been won by someone else. Cruelly, someone may get voted out as a result.
For Gordon, Jacqui, Alistair and Jack and their fellow contestants on I'm a Politician... Get Me Out of Here! life on the hit show is not as easy as it looked from the comfort of their own opposition bench. Sure, it looked glamorous: flirting and arguing long into the night about the things that really matter. But when they got in there they found that the pressure is enormous, the food is rubbish and there are snakes.
The politicians are struggling, but if they're smart they will watch how the experts do it. Jacqui Smith, for example, has got completely the wrong end of the stick. She should have observed that totty never prospers. Take I'm a Politician's spin-off series, I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here! Remember Kimberley Davies, Catalina Guirado and Nell McAndrew? No? Exactly.
In emulating the plunging cleavage and come-hither shoes of her rival, Theresa May, Smith is making a fatal error. The role she needs to cultivate is that of the outspoken older woman. In the latest series, Janice Dickinson's policies may have been unpalatable, but she made the final two. Janet Street-Porter was certainly never seen with a plunging dcolletage. Could Smith not mirror the behaviour of her memorable opponent, Ms Widdecombe?
If Gordon and his team-mates really want to cultivate the public vote, it's about time they started watching the form. In every similar show, there are roles that need to be filled. On his team, Gordon must ensure he has the Weirdo, the Athlete, the Grumpy One and the Comedian (Ruth Kelly, Douglas Alexander, Harriet Harman and Ed "Cannon and" Balls will do).
It's difficult to know where in politics he would find the Token Hottie, but his government of all the talents surely has room for a Trinny or a Nigella. Sadly the Camp One and the Casanova left after the last series, but he could always make a virtue of Alistair "Ooh" Darling's name.
Most importantly, Gordon has to realise that in I'm a Celebrity, unlike in life, the nice guy always wins. Look at those laid-back heroes Tony Blackburn, Phil Tufnell, Joe Pasquale and Christopher Biggins. A few jokes, a bit of flirting and a taste for rice and beans is all he needs to overcome the Northern Rock crisis. And if he can grit his teeth and swallow a few maggots, he's all set to be king of the jungle.
Brown as Biggins
Trials? Laugh them off. Cock-ups? Gulp 'em down. Only a jolly clown can win the jungle crown
Jacqui as Gemma
Both have great assets. But Smith and her jungle twin have found being nice is not enough
Alistair as John
Two poker faces. Race is a chef, Darling is stewing in his own mess at the Treasury
Jack as Rodney
Once a star player, he's all washed up and out of touch. But that's enough about Mr Straw...
Ruth Kelly as Lynne
Drifts around trying to boss different parts of the camp without achieving much
Harriet as Cerys
Harman fell for the charms of a rough-and-ready suitor. But it couldn't stay secret for long
Douglas as 'J'
Fight off the rats? Get covered in muck? Whatever the leader needs, Alexander will do
Ed Balls as Mark
Who is he? What does he do? Forms half of a couple in camp, otherwise he's a nobodyReuse content