Thursday 8 November 2012

Mis-Communicator of the Week: Nadine Dorries

Politicians are having to find new ways to connect with voters, to show that they are accessible and accountable in a way they never have before. Despite British politicians, and our political system more generally, being among the least corrupt or corruptible in the world there is a relentless pressure for our MPs in particular to go further in demonstrating they are “just like you or I” and not “on the take”. Many have taken to Twitter to engage with voters, their opponents and third party groups or Facebook to share photos of the endless fetes and charity events they attend during their frequently seven-day working week. This pursuit of total transparency has reached a new high/low now that Nadine Dorries has decided to go further and – one presumes based on previous editions of the programme – allow millions of voters to see her in a bikini while eating the genitals of a kangaroo.    

Her reason to appear of ITV’s ‘I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here’ is, she says because she is looking forward to “lively, heated debates” about the abortion time limit around the campfire.

I don’t think voters will particularly care that she hadn’t informed her Whips before jetting off to the Australian sunshine – loyal Conservatives will however. What is more important at a time when public distrust with our political class is at an all-time high is that she will not be seen to be working hard for her constituents. By this I don’t mean that any politician needs to be cemented to either Westminster or their constituency every day of the year but a consistent visibility in both arenas is important. As is being available to fight for your constituents if and when they need you. Dorries may be an extremely hard-working MP, she certainly comes over as someone caring and diligent, but this has been destroyed by her decision to go on the programme.   

Ms Dorries has a brilliant gift for grabbing publicity which far too few in the Conservative Party are able. She has an eye for a sound bite, is good – if sometimes a touch over-bearing – on TV, and isn’t afraid to speak her mind. When she wants to she can grip an issue and give it wings in the media and Westminster. There are real issues this country faces which need a great deal of thought, effort, time and energy applied to them. This cannot be done while sat around a campfire talking about abortion.
From an MP who delighted in referring to the Prime Minister and Chancellor as “two posh boys” while alleging that they were “out of touch” the irony is too much and is why Nadine Dorries is my Mis-Communicator of the Week.  

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