Before venturing intrepidly, a few days ago, into the Australian outback to face untold privations and the 24-hour attentions of multiple cameras broadcasting nightly to ITV1, Nadine Dorries left one final missive, to be issued after her departure, explaining her reasons for taking part in the reality TV programme I'm a Celebrity … Get Me Out of Here!
Sure, she might be the first sitting MP to abandon their constituents for up to a month to feast on marsupial testicles (and just so we're clear, "contrary to rumour, I am the only sitting MP to have been offered"). OK, so she might end up provoking a spot of "outrage" at home among those small-minded colleagues who are not, like her, "anti-politics politicians". But what you had to understand, offered Dorries in the blog entry published on Sunday, was that she loves it "when we MPs can make a difference".
Nobody cares about boring Westminster but lots of people love IACGMOOH. ("In the world of messaging, it's huge.") And when not foraging for dung beetles or fending off irate cassowaries, she vowed to engage her fellow contestants in debate about iniquities of the 24-week abortion limit. She added: "It's a publicity gift."
She may well be right about that, but as the opening episode of the programme's 12th series was aired on Sunday night, the hoary adage about no publicity being bad publicity found itself, for the MP at least, being tested as never before.
Billed by the programme's no-doubt delighted producers as "the woman everyone's talking about" following the Conservative party's exasperated decision to withdraw the whip, Dorries announced: "How hard can it be?"
We were scarcely past the first ad break before her team had lost the inaugural orienteering-style challenge and been forced to spend the night on the forest floor in a rubber sleeping bag.
"It was possibly one of the worst nights of my life," said Dorries, as memories of midnight sittings to vote on obscure subclauses of the budget took on a rosy glow.
Moments later, she had appointed herself in charge of the team's effort to row a leaky boat across a lake, which saw the MP paddling while facing in a different direction from her teammates, and entirely predictably concluded with all five swimming for shore.
She even acquired an early nemesis in the form of posh boy Hugo, whom she deemed "possibly the most unusual character" in the team (he, in turn, noted tartly to camera: "If she was my member of parliament, I would expect her to be at work.")
And so, with a certain inevitability, the show concluded with Dorries being voted to face a bushtucker challenge called Bug Burial. "That's OK," she said, shrugging gamely. "I kind of expected it."
Can Dorries survive – or even thrive – in the jungle? Well if "making a difference" depends on the number of opportunities she is given to discuss late-term abortions in prime time with boxer David Haye and former Doctor Who Colin Baker, it may take a few episodes yet.
But that may not, in the event, be the final objective for the Conservative MP for Mid Bedfordshire. It emerged at the weekend that Dorries has been signed up by a talent agency, whose roster also includes Chesney Hawkes, one of S Club 7 and "2007's sexiest Aussie babe Emily Scott". Oh, and Sally Bercow, wife of Speaker John Bercow – the same Sally Bercow who had, according to Dorries, "degraded the Speaker's office" by taking part in Celebrity Big Brother last year.
Never mind all that. Minor television celebrity has presented itself and, just as if it were a crocodile eyeball won as reward for a night in a rat-filled pit, Dorries intends to feast deeply.
guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010