Clearly in the METRO: Can the jungle revitalise Matt Hancock's reputation?

25 November 2022 | 3 min read | Clearly News
Paul MacKenzie-Cummins
Paul MacKenzie-Cummins

In an article for METRO newspaper today, I was asked to share his views on what may lie ahead for former Health Secretary Matt Hancock after his time on ‘I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here.’

Here’s what I had to say:

“The door to Matt Hancock’s political career was well and truly slammed shut the moment he announced his appearance on I’m a Celebrity.

“But to suggest that the door to a new life as a celeb will be opened is farcical, at best.

“There is more chance of Donald Trump becoming an ambassador for the #MeToo movement than Matt Hancock ever enamouring himself as someone who the public will want to see blazoned across their screens once his time in the jungle is over.

“To be a celebrity means having “something” about you – an appeal that people can resonate with, be in awe of, or desire to emulate. Matt Hancock has none of these things.”

When news broke that he would be part of the show, Hancock stated that this was an opportunity for his to showcase the “human side of the guy behind the podium”. I don’t believe the public care one jot about his ‘human side’.

“There is more chance of Donald Trump becoming an ambassador for the #MeToo movement than Matt Hancock ever enamoring himself as someone who the public will want to see blazoned across their screens once his time in the jungle is over.

Redemption for Hancock?

Few people will ever forgive Matt Hancock for breaking his own lockdown rules. They want to see him suffer, to be humiliated. And the producers of the show are more than happy to give the people what they want.

Hancock has hopes to rebuild his public profile, to redeem himself. This is possible, but now is not the right time.

His antics during the pandemic are still too recent and raw. They still hurt. And while the public may be a forgiving bunch, Hancock has done nothing since he left office to get them on his side.

Because of this, his appearance on the show is considered too self-promotional. There is no authenticity and as such no trust among the public that his intentions of sharing his ‘human side’ or raising awareness of dyslexia screening (which he claims to be another reason for taking part in the programme) are anything but a vehicle to garner attention for himself and use this as a springboard to launch a new career as a celebrity.

I believe he could potentially achieve this – to revitalise his personal brand and reputation. But he will need to cut out the bollocks and give an honest account of what happened during that period.

He will need to acknowledge the mistakes he made, and show greater empathy for how his actions deeply affected and hurt many people. Only then will the public warm to him. They may even give him a chance and the platform he so obviously craves.