I really like I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! As an annual indulgence, it’s impossible to resist. I don’t put up much of a fight, in truth.
But I bet my delight at its return is nothing compared to Conservative Party HQ’s. Matt Hancock’s involvement is an answer to so many of their prayers. The announcement that he was to join the show made him the immediate lightning rod for all fury, distrust and complete disenchantment with our party of government.
Still reeling that Liz Truss tanked the economy? MATT HANCOCK WILL EAT KANGAROO PENIS! Can’t quite believe Suella Braverman is home secretary again, days after being fired? LOOK, LOOK HANCOCK IS MAKING A MOCKERY OF POLITICS BY PLANNING TO GET IN A BOX COVERED IN FROGS AND SNAKES!
For a full day this week Hancock’s decision was the lead story on the BBC website. We’ve been so used to the frenetic pace of political upheaval in recent times, that just one political story lasting more than an hour before being out of date felt like a relic of a more sedate, antediluvian period. That it should vaporise all other issues was an incredible boon for those in charge.
But it shouldn’t be. It stopped the questioning of Braverman’s “invasion” rhetoric. When she stood up in the House of Commons and declared that those people seeking refuge in small books were an invasion she knew what she was doing.
Her supporters have said we shouldn’t focus on the word, but rather the scale of the problem. But words matter. Words matter a lot. The seed, previously planted that those seeking asylum are ‘other’, is being tended and fertilised. The implication is clear – these invaders are here to take something from us, that they’re below how we over here are, that they should be resisted.