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I’m a Politician…. Get me out of here! - The Matt Hancock dilemma

Editor's note: In this article, Ellie shares her opinion on whether politicians should be viewed as celebrities and the consequences it may have.

Viewers across Britain were baffled as it was announced that former health secretary Matt Hancock would be appearing on this year’s season of I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here!

The MP, who served as Secretary of State for Health and Social care from 2018 until 2021, sparked outrage as Britons recall his controversial involvement with the Covid-19 pandemic.

Particularly when it was exposed that Hancock broke his own government’s social distancing rules to pursue an affair with aide Gina Coladangelo.

Hancock stirred up mixed opinions before placing third overall in the Jungle, and seemed to win over some viewers with his wit and sense of comradery.

Hancock’s justification for appearing on I’m a Celeb? He argues that politicians “must wake up and embrace popular culture.”

The idea of politicians being celebrities seems completely foreign in concept, but we may not be all that far away from accepting it in our society.

Think about all the YouTube compilations of Boris Johnson’s funniest moments, or the constant memes made about US President Joe Biden.

Are political parties still defined by their ideologies, or by how well the person preaching them comes off to the public?

Do you really think every American who voted for Trump is Republican? In all likelihood, probably not! Some of them likely thought it would be amusing to have a celebrity at the head of the country.

The truth is, politics do not matter to people who they do not affect.

For the women facing losing their rights to safe abortion or to the floods of immigrants desperately seeking asylum, politics and policies are everything.

But to freshly 18, white, heterosexual males, voting could simply be a process of choosing the ‘soundest’ character out of the lineup.

Matt Hancock’s celebrity escapades insult the very country he works for, and the line between politician and celebrity becoming increasingly blurred is good news for nobody.

Hancock’s attempts to be relatable, by eating testicles on live TV, perpetuate the concept of valuing ‘person over party’.

How often nowadays do you hear “I like Labour, but I’m not a fan of Keir Starmer so I won’t vote for them” or “I’m not a tory but I voted for Boris because he seemed funny”.

The public display of political parties has become people, and it’s arguably damaging when you’re valuing personalities over politics.

What do you think about Hancock’s I’m a Celeb stint? Should politicians be figures in pop culture?

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