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Thursday, November 08, 2012 

The barbecued testicles of a wombat await.

In the pot calling the kettle black stakes, the spectacle of Louise Mensch saying Nadine Dorries has demeaned the role of an MP has to be up there with the Daily Mail declaring the BBC had "woken up to decency", or that other hardy perennial, the Daily Star reporting on the "sick" Brass Eye paedophile special while on the opposite page leering at the 15-year-old Charlotte Church.

Mensch's political career was without doubt a stunt from the very beginning, her place on the Tory a-list of candidates alongside such luminaries as Adam Rickitt designed to attract publicity.  Her resignation after just two years was less about her husband having moved to the US and more, according to err, said husband, to do with how Mensch felt certain she would lose her marginal seat come 2015.  Regardless of who's telling the truth, forcing your party into a unwinnable by-election midway through a parliamentary session doesn't win you many friends: she was duly booed at the Tory conference.

Whether Dorries would get re-elected as MP for mid-Bedfordshire if there was a snap election must similarly be in doubt.  For those of us who have long followed her political trajectory, her decision to flounce off to Australia to take part in I'm a Celebrity hasn't exactly come as a surprise.  It's rather of a piece with her modus operandi of repeatedly doing incredibly stupid things, and then failing to learn the lessons from the disasters that have followed.  Having failed to get the abortion limit reduced from 24 to 20 weeks back in 2008, she blamed Labour and Harriet Harman in particular for having run a shadow whipping operation, something she provided no evidence for whatsoever.

Last year, having changed tact by targeting abortion providers directly over the counselling they also provided, she was humiliated when Frank Field withdrew his support for the amendment while she was still speaking in favour of it.  Undaunted, she blamed Evan Harris for leaning on Nick Clegg to lean on David Cameron, despite it being apparent Downing Street wanted nothing to do with her amendment, as shown by the new health minister Anna Soubry dumping the consultation as soon as she was able to.  Nor is her paranoia limited only to political foes at Westminster, as Tim Ireland discovered: Dorries accused her Liberal Democrat challenger at the last election, Linda Jack, of stalking her, going so far as to report her concerns to the police.  Strangely though, she has seemingly never reported any of the threats made against her to the police, despite having repeatedly made clear how she's persecuted for her views.

Despite all these apparent setbacks, her newly acquired position as scourge of Cameron and Osborne (calling a spade a spade always delights the tabloids) seems to have led to her believing her own hype.  Other than the apparent £40,000 she'll receive for taking part, what else could possibly make her believe going on I'm a Celebrity is a good idea or a wise career move?  With the best will in the world she isn't George Galloway, who was able to recover from his appearance on Celebrity Big Brother through setting himself against the entire political establishment.  Can she really believe she'll be able to gain support for her continuing campaign to lower the abortion limit by living with a bunch of other C-listers in a forest in Australia for a couple of weeks, inevitably made to take part in the bushtucker trials foisted upon the least popular member of the ensemble?  If she does, she's even more disconnected from reality than I thought possible.

All this said, Damian Thompson does have something of a point when he writes the swift suspension of the whip from Dorries is at odds with Cameron's indulgence of Andrew Mitchell.  Also laughable is the amount of nonsense being spouted about Dorries leaving her constituents in the lurch, as though they can't go a month without their representative being in parliament.  Plenty of MPs barely bother to turn up, and there are a number with long-term illnesses who likewise find it difficult to attend regularly.  As long her staff are still working, then the amount of difference the people of mid-Beds are likely to notice is close to nil.

The real issue is, as it has always been, that Dorries has repeatedly lied and misled her own constituents, whether on expenses for her website, or as she herself admitted, how her blog was 70% fiction and 30% fact.  If this latest scheme is part of some bizarre plan to look human and in touch, then it's one based on a fundamental misreading of what the public wants in a politician, which certainly isn't someone so desperate for attention or money that they'll chew on a dingo's bowel while Ant and Dec gurn in the background.  At least she's gotten used to indignity; it's saying something when you can still go lower after being pictured topless on the front page of the Daily Star.

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