An interesting idea, taking these Westminster fish out of their Thames water and putting them somewhere where they are small fry in a much bigger pool.
So far, I've been distinctly unimpressed by our own Austin Mitchell - or more precisely, his wife, who are finding out about how the other half really live, but aren't getting into the spirit of the life swap as much as the others and seem to confuse empathy with condescension. I have a sneaking suspicion that I could have started to warm to Iain Duncan Smith and I'm feeling rather sorry for Mark Oaten, despite the embarrassment of his history as a Liberal Democrat, who appears to have a thin skin for a politician. I couldn't help grinning when his first response to the poor housing conditions of his tower-block hostess was to start a petition.
Tim Loughton, who is apparently the Conservative shadow spokesman on children (no, me neither) looked crestfallen when sent to Birmingham, as apparently, there are no Conservative MPs in Birmingham. Mr Loughton, can I introduce you to the shadow secretary of state for international development, Andrew Mitchell, who is the MP for Sutton Coldfield? Last time I checked, that was within the boundaries of the fine City of Birmingham, no matter how much the residents wish it otherwise.
Like all reality programming, this is staged and carefully edited to meet a particular agenda, but is this just a social safari? These MPs may want to live like common people and do whatever common people do, but at the end of the programme, they will return to their own realities, to their comfortable, safe houses with their swimming pools and wring their hands over the dinner table about how some people live. Austin Mitchell was at least honest enough to admit that he didn't know about how readily available drugs are, but I hope that this proves an eyeopener for four MPs who are clearly out of touch with some of the realities of life at this forgotten end of society. Perhaps it may even allow them to reconnect with their original reasons for going into politics.