Five months since the last issue affords NewsJack no end of material ripe for satire. The Brokeback Mountain-esque homoerotic aura of the Cameron-Clegg adminstration is almost too easy, as is the cringe-fest that is Blair’s biography (such is the ropeyness of the Cherie-Tony sex scenes, a second career as a Mills & Boon novelist beckons). The latest stage in Ann Widdecombe’s post-political career, though, is too good an opportunity to pass up.
Aside from Harriet Harman presenting Blind Date or David Blunkett having a go on Takeshi’s Castle, no politician is more ill-suited to a gameshow than the hard-right former Prisons Minister is to appearing on Strictly Come Dancing. Predictably, her debut on Saturday night was first rate car-crash television. Wearing a floor length gown with more material than all the other women put together, she looked like one of those novelty toilet roll covers made to look like Spanish Flamenco dancers. She is brilliantly mismatched with that gurning idiot, Anton du Beke, and the two look like a ‘special’ son and his mother going to a one of those tea dances that I’ve always imagined they have quite alot of down in Toryland.
Perhaps one of those colossal boobs his heavier than the other, or maybe because she’s been leaning so far to the right for so many years, Widders tilts so curiously to one side when she’s talking to the hosts that she had me checking for subsidence in the floor underneath my TV.
There was also a strange bit towards the end where, as a giant planet sucks a passing minor moon into its orbit, Widdecome grabbed hold of the tiny Paul Daniels, the two melding into one smothering, sequined embrace.
All that said, there is something quite wonderful about Ann Widdecombe. She could almost be the subject of that famous Jenny Joseph poem about growing old disgracefully; When I am old, I shall wear purple. She’s one of that ever-dwindling group of old school politicians who stick to their guns; set in their ways and secure in their beliefs, unwilling to kowtow to the media or the party line. Waltz on, Widders, waltz on.