Nobody plods the line between politics and celebrity more clumsily than D-list serial nepotist Nadine Dorries, who began her 2014 with a fresh earnings controversy. The Mid Bedfordshire MP took another brave step towards celebrity desolation after making an ill-fated appearance on a special charity-raising edition of ITV’s The Chase.
Ms Dorries consistently flaunted an astonishing lack of general knowledge; repeatedly failing to answer basic questions and subsequently failing to raise any money for charity. She would have left the show completely penniless if not for receiving a £3800 appearance fee which was made out to her private company Averbrook Ltd.
The immediate reaction has been typically hostile. But perhaps Ms Dorries was entitled to claim the appearance fee she had (sort of) earned? After all, she was never under any obligation to forgo her relatively measly fee to redeem herself. But perhaps the real fault lies with ITV, whose willingness to so readily hand a pseudo-celebrity £3800 suggests the concept of charity may not rank among their primary concerns when it comes to running a charity quiz show.
But the pitchforks are aimed squarely at Ms Dorries, whom I might have given her the benefit of the doubt if not for the fact she had recently signed up to a talent agency. Oh, and her previous form. A sensible politician may have looked into dodging the spotlight after a relatively tragic I’m a Celebrity appearance, subsequent earnings scandal, and political suspension. But Ms Dorries, it seems, has fully embraced the politicocelebrity lifestyle – lapping up the publicity like an attention-starved miniature poodle.
These days there seems to be no end to politicians subjecting us to their embarrassing attempts to appear ‘with it’. Former Prime Minister Tony Blair infamously cartooned himself onto a disappointing episode of The Simpsons, while current Prime Minister David Cameron almost derailed a fraud trial by declaring himself ‘Team Nigella’.
I suppose bad publicity is better than no publicity. Unless, of course, you’re the leader of a political party desperate to cling on to falling levels public support ahead of a general election. In which case, an MP sleepwalking her way towards a crack-fuelled sex scandal on the front page of the Sun might not be the most ideal vote-spinner.