What's turned nice Carol Vorderman into an embittered Twitter troll?:

Here’s a Countdown Conundrum – What’s turned nice Carol Vorderman into a ranting, embittered Twitter troll?: AMANDA PLATELL on how one of the nation’s favourite broadcasters has become a nasty social media warrior

Turn to page 191 of the current issue of the fashionistas’ bible Vogue and you will find a picture of Carol Vorderman, the TV presenter who made her name as one of Countdown’s ‘vital statisticians’.

Vorderman’s vital statistics have been the subject of intense speculation of late as her embonpoint and award-winning rear have both appeared to swell before our very eyes.

But it’s not Vorderman’s figure that earned her a place in The Vogue 25 – ‘our annual list of the women reshaping the nation’ — but her increasingly deranged rantings against the Tories.

The magazine’s citation reads: ‘Using her Twitter [now known as X] account to hold those in power to account for their “blatant corruption” and sharing Companies House information about dubious businesses linked to MPs, her fearless approach to taking on what she believes to be a “despicable government” has been one of the more unexpected, but nonetheless inspiring, turns of 2023.’

Vorderman certainly knows how to dish it out. Take this assault on the Conservative MP for Wokingham, for example: ‘Tory John Redwood caught out lying tonight #bbcqt… God they’re lying about lying… is there a special lying school they go to?’

It’s not Vorderman’s figure that earned her a place in The Vogue 25 – ‘our annual list of the women reshaping the nation’ — but her increasingly deranged rantings against the Tories

Vorderman devoted 22 posts to criticising Tory chairman Greg Hands in what he described a ‘six-month campaign of defamation and vilification’

When the journalist Petronella Wyatt, who once had an affair with Boris Johnson, had the temerity to criticise Vorderman’s friend, the This Morning presenter Alison Hammond, ‘Vorders’ went in all guns blazing. ‘Keep your pathetic bigoted views to yourself @petronellawyatt. People who shag prime ministers should keep quiet. They are an embarrassment to themselves and to womankind.’

Quite how a presenter with BBC Radio Wales, who is supposedly bound by the Corporation’s rules on impartiality, is allowed to get away with such foul invective is beyond me, but there are other more serious issues to address.

Because it turns out that Vorderman, 62, is not only malicious but misguided.

One of her main targets of late has been the Tory chairman Greg Hands, whom she has subjected to what he describes as a ‘six-month campaign of defamation and vilification’.

It all began when the Good Law Project, a Left-leaning body which uses crowdfunded legal actions to achieve its aims, accused Hands in February of helping a company called Luxe Lifestyle Ltd, a firm closely associated with the then chairman of his local constituency party, Mark Higton, to land a £25million ‘VIP’ PPE [Personal Protective Equipment] deal. Vorderman soon jumped on the bandwagon. Hands, she told her 860,000 online followers, was guilty of ‘illegal corruption’ and had ‘his hands in the cookie jar’.

READ MORE: Carol Vorderman is forced into humiliating climbdown as she deletes tweets claiming Tory MP Greg Hands was involved in granting £25m PPE contract to lifestyle firm

In all, she devoted 22 posts to the subject, with one video being viewed eight million times. But on Thursday she was forced into a humiliating climbdown after it emerged that Hands had simply referred an email from Higton to the JACT (Joint Action Co-ordination Team), the body responsible for awarding PPE contracts.

In a statement, Vorderman accepted ‘there was no impropriety on his part’ and removed all 22 of the defamatory tweets and videos but — in a typically ungracious manner — stopped short of offering an apology.

Can this be the same Carol Vorderman who was once so keen to cosy up to David Cameron’s government that she joined him in making a snowman outside the Houses of Parliament one Christmas and accepted a post as chairman of the Conservative Party’s taskforce charged with developing policies to improve maths teaching?

It certainly can. And her transformation from mousey Home Counties lass to exhibitionist sexbomb has been as dramatic as her conversion from blue-blooded Conservative to rabid Labourite.

Despite her apparent desire to be taken seriously as a heavyweight political commentator, the pictures of herself on Instagram in skin-tight Lycra or low-cut tops appear to be less about promoting her policy agenda than showcasing her magnificent cleavage.

So how did a sassy but sincere woman, who is intelligent and works tirelessly for the Pride Of Britain Awards to honour the nation’s unsung heroes, turn into a Tory-bashing Twitter troll?

The answer, I fear, is that the woman who boasts of having been the recipient of free school meals as a child in her Twitter biography has discovered her inner class warrior.

Vorderman was once keen to cosy up to David Cameron’s government, even joining him to make a snowman outside the Houses of Parliament and chairing a taskforce to develop policies to improve maths teaching

But as someone who served as former Tory leader William Hague’s Press Secretary up until the 2001 election, I find Vorderman’s opinions on politics about as sophisticated as those you’d hear spouted in the back room of the Dog And Duck on a Friday night after closing time.

She engages in what we call in Westminster ‘dog whistle’ politics — adopting crude, uninformed positions which appeal to the lowest common denominator in her audience but do nothing to advance the interests of the majority of hard-working British people.

Which is all the more bewildering for me since we’ve crossed paths in the past and I always found Carol to be warm and funny. There was so much to admire about the Vorders of old.

She was witty, self-assured, always drop-dead gorgeous, even as her body mysteriously transformed from Mini Mouse to Jessica Rabbit.

I particularly recall how a make-up artist and hair stylist gushed about her gutsy honesty and humour after she’d done a shoot in the Mail studio a few years ago before she took on her current Twitter persona.

The photographer added that she had them all in stitches: ‘The thing we all love about Carol is she’s ballsy, she’s beautiful, she’s so down to Earth and most importantly she’s a real woman’s woman.’

But that was then and this is now. Carol’s tweets have become increasingly mad, nasty or just plain wrong and, reluctant as I am to say this of a fellow female, verging on bullying. It’s almost as though she’s been brainwashed.

And her targets are often women at the opposite end of the political spectrum. Nadine Dorries, Suella Braverman and Penny Mordaunt have all been on the wrong end of one of her online rants.

Take the time Mordaunt proposed the creation of a non-compulsory Great British National Service scheme for teenagers.

Vorderman took to Twitter to say: ‘What a pile of utter nonsense. She also spouts that Tories alone believe in personal responsibility and looking after others. WOW! Current Tories care only about themselves and their snouts in the troughs of power and money. FACT.’

It’s almost as if she resents women who are more successful than her in the political arena. Women who actually put in the hard yards: turning up day after day to take their places in Parliament and in the Cabinet.

The sort of people who understand the nuances of policy- making, confront the difficulties that are thrown up on a daily basis and know when to make compromises rather than plough on regardless — unlike Carol, the armchair general.

You do wonder what female members of the Shadow Cabinet, such as Angela Rayner, Rachel Reeves and Yvette Cooper, think of Vorderman’s politically ignorant outpourings. Who does she think she is? Britain’s Left-wing answer to Donald Trump?

Vorderman has even, unforgivably, turned her nastiness on the wives of politicians, notably, Felicity Mercer, the wife of Tory Minister Johnny, in response to predictions of which MPs would lose their seat

Vorderman has even, unforgivably, turned her nastiness on the wives of politicians, notably, Felicity Mercer, the wife of Tory Minister Johnny. Responding to predictions he would lose his seat, Vorderman posted: ‘Gosh what are arrogant Johnny Mercer and his wife going to do for a joint income of £160,000+ enormous expenses? Not a degree in sight in spite of expensive private education! So who’d employ them?’

‘Not a degree in sight’ — what unutterable elitism and snobbery from Vorderman, who scraped a third-class degree in engineering from Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge. I’m sorry, darling, but doing sums on telly doesn’t make you Einstein.

Unfortunately for Vorders, in sneering at the Mercers, she picked on the wrong woman. ‘An intellectual snob as the chosen mouthpiece for the people?’, Felicity replied, followed by a ‘rolling on the floor laughing’ emoji.

READ MORE: Carol Vorderman is accused of ‘flagrantly breaching’ BBC impartiality rules with anti-Tory rants that ‘make Gary Lineker’s comments seem mild’

Naturally, Mrs Mercer also took the opportunity to crow when Vorderman withdrew her allegations against Greg Hands.

Sadly for Vorders, she is the sort of person who is eager to diss other people but is less comfortable with incoming fire. She has accused Mercer’s wife of ‘harassing me for months’, when the feisty Felicity was merely responding to the bile she directed at her husband, who is highly respected and widely liked in Tory circles.

Vorderman’s grudging retreat over the Greg Hands allegations has got more than two million views, partly, I fear, because she has become a heroine to many laptop warriors I suspect are members of Jeremy Corbyn’s vicious Momentum mob.

I know of what I speak because I have been on the receiving end of their vitriol in the past.

Indeed, they once started a campaign under the hashtag #KillPlatell which, after thousands piled in, decided I should be gang-raped, dragged naked into Trafalgar Square and beheaded with a rusty guillotine.

Vorderman calls her Tory-hating followers her Twitter ‘gang’ and goads them with tweets such as: ‘Where’s Little @RishiSunak tonight? Can someone get his little Gucci slippers and get him to shuffle down Whitehall to cast his vote? It’s not far… only take 5 minutes, a bit like nipping to Spar #PrivilegesCommitteeReport.’

There was so much to admire about the Vorders of old. She was witty, self-assured, always drop-dead gorgeous, even as her body mysteriously transformed from Mini Mouse to Jessica Rabbit

Vorderman mocking people for being wealthy is a bit, well, rich. According to Spear’s, a magazine for high net-worth individuals, Vorderman has amassed an £18million fortune. Which rather makes me wonder how the likeable lass from Countdown, who became a high-octane celebrity via a slew of reality TV shows, came to be the source of such viciousness. Well, as a woman of a similar age, I have a theory.

Suddenly Carol Vorderman realises that, in her 60s, divorced with two grown-up children, life didn’t quite work out the way she’d planned. Yes, her annual gig as presenter of the Pride Of Britain Awards is lucrative. And she could always return to the Australian bush for a third series of I’m A Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here.

Or apply to be on Davina McCall’s new TV series The Romance Retreat for older men and women trying to find happiness.

But what, she must be asking herself, is her legacy? Sitting at home, spewing out hatred against the Tories from dawn to midnight, is hardly a fulfilling existence.

If Carol Vorderman really had any guts and faith in her convictions, she’d stand for office.

Then, at least, she would have to debate face-to-face and accept the verdict of the court of public opinion.

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