If you’re a young Tory and/or Eurosceptic, beware – you might be about to receive a message from the producers of Big Brother.
According to correspondence shared with ConservativeHome by one reluctant invitee, the makers of the Channel 5 ‘reality’ show are out to find “a more political voice, someone who has a knowledge and passion for politics” as part of what they’re billing as a return to “an old school social experiment Big Brother”.
To our knowledge they’ve so far approached a number of potential candidates, including Tom Harwood, the Leave-voting Durham student who ran Students for Britain and was recently elected an NUS delegate on an anti-NUS platform, and Sarah-Jane Sewell, the former Deputy Chairman of Conservative Future who ran social media for Women for Britain in the referendum.
So far it doesn’t seem that they’ve had any success signing anyone up as their “political voice” – understandably given the history of what happens when politics and the Big Brother House collide. Derek Laud, the former Parliamentary candidate and one-time Monday Club member, went on the show in 2005, and by 2015 was denouncing the Conservative Party as “the ultimate racists”. George Galloway famously still hasn’t lived down dancing the robot while dressed in a tight leotard or impersonating a cat in a weird encounter with Rula Lenska.
It’s not all sad declines and sick-making cat acts, though. Young Welsh Tory Joel Williams came second in the 2015 series of the show. He was subsequently defeated in last year’s Welsh Assembly elections but is reportedly hopeful of winning a seat on Cardiff City Council in the forthcoming local elections. Good luck to him – though I suspect it won’t be enough to tempt many of his contemporaries to submit to life in front of the cameras.