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Redemption or Ridicule

Is Matt Hancock our Next King of the Jungle?

It was only two weeks ago that our fallen health minister Matt Hancock landed in hell: a surveilled jungle governed by sadistic duo Ant and Dec, where he would soon be subject to critters, bushtucker trials and the dreaded combination of rice and beans. This alternate reality is also better known as the British TV show: ‘I’m a Celebrity… Get me out of Here’.

For those who are unfamiliar with the ins and outs of UK COVID-19 politics, Matt Hancock resigned as health secretary last year after pictures were published of him breaching his own social distancing guidance by kissing his colleague – or as fellow campmate Babatunde Aleshe insists: “grabbing the bunda on front page”. However it is not only this for this reason that Hancock is a source of controversy. Hancock was also criticised for his handling of the pandemic as a whole, in particular, discharging people from hospitals into care homes without adequate testing.

Subsequently, Hancock’s arrival on one of ITV’s biggest shows has been met with a combination of laughter, confusion and fury – by both campmates and constituents. Boy George, who is also on the show, was almost brought to tears by Hancock’s arrival as he described how: “At the beginning of the pandemic, my mum was in hospital. I wasn't allowed to see her. I thought she was going to die”. Whilst Coronation Street actor, Sue Cleaver, criticised Hancock for holidaying in the jungle whilst parliament was still in recess.

Hancock insists that his appearance on the reality TV show is in the name of peeling off the political mask and showing the public that he too is human (as if we hadn’t already seen that from the photos published by The Sun…).But this cheap PR stunt aimed to earn him a couple extra bucks – namely £400,000 – and persuade the public into falling in love with him has been proven useless. He has had his Conservative party whip removed, Rishi Sunak has expressed his “disappointment” in him, and not once has he even mentioned his dyslexia campaign that prior to the show he claimed he was so eager to raise awareness about.

Instead, Hancock has emerged as a walking meme and an easy target of Twitter humiliation, leaving the chances of him ever being taken seriously again reduced to zero – it seems more likely we will see him in the Strictly ballroom than waltzing back to his former roles and responsibilities.

The sad part is, that all of this embarrassment doesn’t even seem to be in the name of any scintillating TV. Aside from trivialising the pain of those who sacrificed seeing their loved ones to follow his guidance and who died because of his mistakes, Hancock — an Ed Sheeran loving, Tory narcissist — provides for boring television. Shocking — I know. And although witnessing him being voted by the public for every single trial, grilled by Charlene White, and hysterically laughed at by Seann Walsh, at first seemed to provide some sort of amusement the routine has now officially been overdone. We have now all collectively reached the point where we can count our blessings and take pride in the fact that we have witnessed the former health secretary eat a camel’s penis and cow’s anus on national TV and move on by voting him out. Though it might be tempting to give in to a good redemption arc, we must not be gaslit into liking Matt Hancock. A king of the jungle is meant to be charming, hilarious, and above all, a team player — none of which Hanock embodies.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

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