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Oh Ann, why are you demeaning yourself like this?

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    Posted: 11 Sep 2010 at 11:59

Oh Ann, why ARE you demeaning yourself like this?

By Amanda Platell
Last updated at 12:47 AM on 11th September 2010


New contestant: Ann Widdecombe is set to take part in this year's Strictly Come Dancing

Like millions of other devotees, I'll be glued to my sofa tonight as Strictly Come Dancing returns, but I confess I feel nothing but sadness at the debut of one of the contestants.

Ann Widdecombe claims she will be the John Sergeant of this series: light-humoured if not light-footed; able to poke fun at herself and not mind when others do, too.

Alas, much as I admire her, I fear she may stumble in more ways than one. For humility and good humour are not two of her most notable traits.

There are plenty of jokers in Westminster, and it was to Miss Widdecombe's credit that she never felt the need to stoop to their level in a bid for cheap popularity.

As prisons minister and then Shadow Home Secretary, she was a serious politician doing serious jobs. More than that, she was one of this country's few respected female political figures, who was never afraid to take a moral stand, however unfashionable the issue.

So why now - just a few months after quitting Parliament - is she demeaning herself by taking part in a reality show, even one as harmless as Strictly? Why reduce herself to the level of Christine Hamilton?

Her decision is doubly hard to understand when you consider the roles she could have filled instead.

Had Widdecombe not decided to stand down at the last election, she would almost certainly have been elected Speaker instead of the risible John Bercow. More puzzling still, she turned down the coveted job of British Ambassador to the Vatican - in the year the Pope is honouring Britain with an official visit.

Why? To appear alongside a washed-up magician, a former rap star and a comedian's wife on the Strictly dancefloor.

I have loved Strictly from its first frothy quick step. But it's a show for fame- hungry wannabes, ageing sportsmen parading their pecs and D-list soap stars touting for work. It is not a show for serious people.

Too harsh? Well, I hope I'm proved wrong and that Ann Widdecombe turns out to be as elegant as Grace Kelly. But don't hold your breath.

A few months ago, Widdecombe was telling friends she had been approached many times to appear on Strictly, but had always refused because she thought it would be 'undignified'.

I fear she's about to be proved right.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-1310989/PLATELLS-PEOPLE-Oh-Ann-ARE-demeaning-like-this.html#ixzz0zDXmtJil
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