What's going on?
Nadine Dorries has landed. She’s in the jungle, and apparently already under strain, having to empty her toilet out by hand.
The day before she flew into camp, Dorries asked on her blog: “Is it outrage back home?”
She better believe it. Chief Whip Sir George Young has already suspended her from the Conservative Party, and former MP Louise Mensch has chipped in to say that absconding to the Australian outback demeans the high-office a politician holds.
Case for: The long game
Let's put aside for a moment the plight of Dorries' poor, neglected constituents, and consider instead the mastery of her political maneuvers. Having memorably labelled Cameron and Osborne two "arrogant posh boys", it's safe to assume the outspoken MP's opportunities for advancement within the Tory party are limited. Will she quietly recede into the background? Will she heck! Whatever you think of Dorries' views, there can be no doubt she holds them sincerely and communicates them passionately. She correctly judges that participating in a prime-time ITV game show will give her more opportunities to get that message across than any number of PMQs
Perhaps, like a British Sarah Palin, this may lead to media gigs which long out-live on her political career. Dorries is no fool. This is a woman with a long-term plan, and she's only just got started.
Case against: So naive
So Dorries is going to be on reality TV? It's not in the interests of her party, it's certainly not in the interests of her constituents, but even in terms of Dorries own self-interest, this is bad judgement. It might have been a novel idea for engaging with the public, were it not for the fact that another MP has already tried and failed. What do we remember most about George Galloway's stint in the Big Brother house? His searing defence of socialism? His scathing attacks on New Labour's war-mongering? Or that cringe-worthy impression of a cat he did in a misguided attempt to flirt with Rula Lenska? The history of reality TV is one long parade of self-deluding egotists, convincing themselves the public would love them, if only they could know their true selves. But in the battle of ego vs. TV editor, there can only ever be one winner.