"But how can you live and have no story to tell?" Fyodor Dostoevsky
Daily Mail headline: “Matt Hancock tucks into camel penis, sheep vagina, and cow's anus during tonight's gruesome eating trial on I'm A Celeb while vegetarian Boy George chows down on vomit fruit”
For the uninitiated, Matt Hancock is a former British health secretary and currently suspended Conservative MP. Hancock is another product of the PPE course at Oxford — the factory that churns out political drones of no fixed ability but colossal self-entitlement. Other notable specimens are Boris Johnson, Liz Truss and most of the clowns in the British parliament.
With parliament in session and the country facing many serious challenges, you'd expect Hancock to be hard at work in Westminster representing his West Suffolk constituents.
Instead, he is some 10,000 miles away undergoing degrading and bizarre "I'm a Celeb, Get me out of here" challenges in an Australian jungle.
So while the U.K. teeters on the edge of an economic meltdown, as waves of migrants arrive unchecked, with food banks springing up everywhere and power blackouts coming, Hancock is munching on Kangaroos testicles and bits of possum. But why, you may ask?
Mimicking Queen Cersei's naked walk of shame through King's Landing in Games of Thrones, Hancock is playing the atonement game. Maybe he feels finished as a significant political hitter; thus, reinvention is his only option.
Still, social media comments suggest that the British public hasn't forgotten that Hancock was responsible for many of the draconian covid rules the country faced. For example, as the elderly died in old folk's homes, Hancock banned relatives from having a final word or holding a frail hand. Yet, he and his party didn't comply; they partied.
Meanwhile, Hancock's hands were busy grabbing the rear end of his assistant as the pair went full snog mode in his office. But, then again, he has a lengthy track record of indiscretions and rule-breaking.
But this incident was the final straw; he resigned. Next, he abandoned his wife and three kids, including an adopted child, to run off with the assistant, a married lady. What a lovely man!
At the time, elements in the British media sought to blame the Chinese for the leak of Hancock's bum-grabbing. In a convulsion of conspiracy theories, the Daily Mail suggested a planted or tampered Chinese camera caught Hancock out. So twisted is the Daily Mail's thinking they claimed Beijing wished to bring down the British government. Instead, reality proved mundane - as disgruntled staff members likely leaked the footage.
Anyway, Beijing needn't bother attacking the British government. They've proven more than capable of self-harm.
Is it a staggering display of conceit by Hancock that believes he can rehabilitate his image and career by further public humiliation? One wag suggested he had about much chance as Prince Andrew.
But is Hancock on to something? Does he assess that the British public is so naive and gullible they will fall for his antics, taking pity as he's drenched in bat poo and chased by snakes? Although, in truth, Hancock is in no real danger because the choreographed show removes any genuine threats.
The Guardian and other supposed level-headed papers are giving him column inches. And, of course, Hancock has a book out; thus, any publicity is welcome. He's even got me giving him the oxygen of publicity to my three readers.
Nonetheless, what does it say about the politicians and British society that Hancock believes he can win back public support in such a manner? There is something dark about the allure of power and the insidious way people will degrade themselves before its tainted aura.
Unlike ordinary people, who suffer what they must, pride and hubris drive those seeking adulation and entry into elitist circles. Even if Satan offers you a choice, you engage with him using your free will. This means that when your humiliation and defilement are underway, you brought it on yourself; you chose this freely.
Likewise, those who warm to Hancock's vainglory debase themselves as fickle. They've already pushed aside his infidelities, lies and deceitfulness.
So, if it works for Hancock, we may see Prince Andrew in the jungle next. But, unfortunately, he may have to leave his 72 teddy bears at home.
Walter De Havilland was one of the last of the colonial coppers. He served 35 years in the Royal Hong Kong Police and Hong Kong Police Force. He's long retired.