I've watched I'm a Celebrity since it started. Back in the days of the early series, my kids were small and my wife rehearses with the BBC Elstree Concert Band on a Monday at BBC Maida Vale studios. so I had time on my hands to watch telly. If there was footie on, I'd watch that then turn over. The first time, I watched it, Clare returned and said "how can you watch that rubbish?", watched the last half hour and then was hooked.
I was listening to Tony Blackburn, the first King of The Jungle and what he said pretty much what I think. I don't enjoy watching Bush Tucker Trials where disgusting things are eaten, I find it repulsive. I do enjoy some of the Dingo Dollar challenges, where celebrities have to perform tasks. I mostly enjoy the conversations.
This year I felt a bit different about it. Former Health Secretary Matt Hancock was one of the contestants. I have no problem with sitting MP's taking part, it is actually a good thing to see that they are human beings. I do however have an issue with Mr Hancock. Regular readers will know that my aunt passed away in March 2020 of covid. We couldn't attend her funeral. That hurt. Whilst we grieved, Mr Hancock was banging his secretary in the cupboard, in breach of the rules. Now I don't really blame him, he's human. We work with people and this sort of thing happens. But then I found out he was being paid £400,000 to appear. That is an obscene amount of money for a man who has behaved in a highly dubious manner. Hancock claimed he was seeking forgiveness and to raise awareness of dyslexia. If he'd donated the cash to Dyslexia awareness, I might buy it, but not a dickybird. Mr Hancock has made a huge sum of money on the back of his notoriety. Which brings us to ITV.
They told us that over 12 million people have voted. That means an income of £6 million, as it's 50p a vote. I didn't get involved, but dozens of my friends have been outraged and voted for the first time last night to prevent Hancock from winning. It seems to me that Hancock generated huge profits for ITV, which was what the game was all about. Being a cynic, I can't help but wonder if ITV have been 'managing Hancock's vote'', knowing his continued presence would generate cash?
The question that troubles me around Matt Hancock is how personally responsible he was for the thousands of excess, avoidable deaths that occurred in the pandemic. He was health minister and so presumably had a major say in the decisions. Did he overrule scientific advice or was the whole setup unfit for purpose. If he overruled scientists, then he should be charged with corporate manslaughter. If the whole system was not fit for purpose, then the disaster was an accident waiting to happen and dozens are culpable over many years. If I'd been in the jungle, that was the question I'd have asked Hancock. What we need is a proper independent inquiry to answer this question. The cynicism of ITV in recruiting Hancock is the most distasteful thing for me. Personally I'd have preferred it if people had boycotted the voting. That would have sent a strong message. As it is the executives who recruited Hancock are rubbing their hands at a job well done for the ITV shareholders.