Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Nadine Dorries AWOL for PBR (but don't worry, she has a security guard)

The observant among you will have noticed that Nadine Dorries revealed last week that she was going to take this week off to take part in a Channel 4 reality show. No expense spared she is being shipped off to a high rise in London - apparently being issued with her clothes when she gets there. To quote Nadine "Security will be with us the whole time, even when sleeping." Wow, I know MPs are a pretty unpopular bunch, but I had no idea they were quite that unpopular!

Apparently "One of the objectives is for me to experience the problems that the residents have to face on a daily basis and for residents to challenge and get to know an MP." That is odd. I would have thought the most important MP for residents to get to know would have been their own? And I am sure if she ends up in a Lib Dem constituency she will find that the residents probably do know their MP!

"The programme is being screened at prime time in February in four one hour programmes, one night after the other." Ah.......that explains why she has taken 6 days off from her parliamentary duties. I have to say I mentioned this to one of our London MPs, Lynne Featherstone this evening. Lynne demonstrated why she is in the running for "best MP" and Nadine is not. Lynne had also been asked to take part in this programme but had flatly refused - how could she possibly take 6 days out, particularly when the house was sitting? So my question, on behalf of the constituents of Mid Beds has to be - why was this more important than doing what she is paid to do - represent them? Now, had she wanted to take time out during the seemingly endless recesses - fair enough. But now? In the week of the PBR? In the week when parliament is debating the Energy Bill, Child Poverty, Disability Benefits for the Elderly, Local Government Financial Settlement and Council Tax...........?

"If I said I wasn't scared, I would be lying." Yes, very scary mixing with poor people.

"I will be swapping my ivory tower in Westminster for a tower block in London – the kind of accommodation that houses many thousands of people across the UK. These are people who may be in a constant state of being overwhelmed with the sheer scale of problems they face on a day-to-day basis." Yes Nadine, and even in leafy Mid Beds, there are people with the same problems. The problems of the inner city are well known and well documented. Less so the very real problems of rural deprivation and what can be even more stark social and physical exclusion. Having taught and been a youth worker in the constituency, I am well aware of what that can mean for communities. Wouldn't it have been more appropriate for you to have carried out the same exercise in your constituency?

"My objective for the week is to survive. To learn as much as I can. To leave something behind, even if it's only friendship." Surviving - SURVIVING?!!!! Heavens dear, what on earth do you think you are going into? People who live in high rises in London are not an alien race. They are people just like you and me, with hopes, aspirations, fears. Some are nice and some are nasty. Some are loving and some are not so loving. Much like the rest of us. This is not "I'm a Celebrity get me out of Here" - now that would be scary and I for one would certainly not survive!

"I must not slip into the C4 trap of creating good TV. I'm only too aware that they will attempt to exhaust and challenge me in an attempt to provoke an adverse reaction which would look good on the telly." Hmmmmmm

"I've told my girls not to worry. The only violence likely to occur is if C4 try to prise my mascara wand out of my hand. Security will be necessary then! Big time." If ever someone betrayed their prejudices this was it.

Well, I do genuinely hope some good comes out of this "I'm a Celebrity get me in There" stunt. Maybe it will change Nadine, maybe, just maybe, she will see the consequences of decades of Tory indifference and Labour ineffectiveness. Maybe, just maybe, she will realise that the only hope for our country lies with the Liberal Democrats. Maybe, just maybe, she will decide to become a full-time campaigner for change. But, I'm not holding my breath.

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