Our columnist Ruth Wishart shares her thoughts on Kezia Dugdale's jungle adventure in I'm A Celebrity...Get Me Out Of Here.

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

It’s not that I’m in a position to be snobby about popular TV.

After all you read before you a woman whose early Saturday evenings have been mortgaged to Strictly these last few weeks. (Now that we’ve lost wee Susan, it’s c’moan wee Joe.)

But hitherto I had always resisted the alleged charms of the over-hyped nonsense billed as I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out of Here.

Not least because any time my eye fell on a list of the latest temporary Aussies, I would have to Google them to find out exactly what they were celebrated for.

But then a Scottish politician was signed up. Not just any politician, but the erstwhile leader of Scottish Labour during that delightful period when we could brag that all three major parties were led by women, and that another had a half share in the Greens.

But that was then. And now here was Kezia Dugdale, not many weeks past her sudden resignation, opting to join an ever more motley crew in the jungle to be subjected to serial humiliations. (I mean, Boris Johnson’s faither? Which part of the barrel bottom did they scrape him up from?)

I’ve only met Kezia briefly, though have seen her often enough in her political persona. She’s always seemed a decent enough wumman who stepped up to the plate when many of her colleagues suddenly remembered they were washing their hair the day of nominations for the Labour post.

But to leave parliament in mid-term whilst still an MSP and go off on a reality TV show for an indeterminate period seems to me totally beyond the pale.

Her Holyrood salary will be paid to charity during her absence it was said, though I’m not quite sure how that benefits her constituents.

She was honest enough to say that they made her an offer which she couldn’t refuse, which was generally supposed to be a reference to a very hefty fee. (Though actually, ducks, refusal is always an option.)

She also said her appearance would prove that politicians could “do human”.

So I tuned in. And lasted oh, maybe four minutes. Kezia was in a glass case covered in insects. Stanley Johnson was lying on the ground similarly infested.

She had to get a silver ball to him and he had to throw it into a trough. Watching, giggling, were the ubiquitous Ant and Dec. Watching, in utter disbelief, was this temporary viewer.

It is true that seeing politicians in other roles can transform our opinion of them. Ed Balls has gone from reviled bruiser to cuddly uncle thanks to his Strictly turn and subsequent tour.

Michael Portillo was transformed from the man we loved to loathe to a genial and very watchable TV travel host.

But both these men found new avenues to explore only after the electors had decided they should move on. You can hardly imagine either opting for televised ridicule whilst still in office.

Kezia, of course, is no longer in high office. But she has a high party profile and an important day job.

She also enjoyed a fair bit of cross party respect. I suspect she will live to regret trading that in for a cheque, however large.

“Doing human” doesn’t involve sharing a glass case with creepy crawlies for most of the race. And, in a week where the latest statistics on poverty Britain came out, I’m sure she could have made better use of her undoubted talents.