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Carol Vorderman is taking the Tucker Carlson route

Does a career as an online shock jock await Carol Vorderman?

November 9, 2023 - 4:00pm

Does Britain have its own Tucker Carlson? The departure of Carol Vorderman from her BBC Wales radio show on Wednesday, following the corporation’s new social media guidelines, now places her in the same pantheon of X’s political influencers, whose virtuous rage provides the lifeblood of Elon Musk’s forum for “free speech”. 

Forget the message, but focus on the medium and you have Countdown‘s former mathematician blazing the same trail as the ex-Fox host. Here was the woman who once reigned supreme in the prelapsarian Coalition years of minor celebrity bliss: playing along on PR stunts with David Cameron, posing on the red carpet with her now-nemesis Michelle Mone, and flogging diet books by the millions. Now she has come to pack it all in so that she can bravely battle one of the most unpopular governments in British history. 

Embracing the platform’s well-marketed narrative as a rebellious caveat to a failing media, Vorderman has now vowed to “increase calling out this disgusting Tory govt with facts & data which the right wing media fails to publish”. 

Like Carlson, she is not afraid of toying with the far-fetched. And while Vorderman is yet to have her own “Crack addict claiming he had sex with Obama” moment, her X campaign has already been checked by an apology in legalese to Tory Party chair Greg Hands about a PPE contract in 2020. 

Pushing nearly a million followers, however, neither she nor her fans will care about such lapses in editorial judgement. Ironically, despite their contempt for Musk, self-styled victims of the Brexit period are happy to embrace the worst excesses of his platform. Here, finally, is the chance for some of Britain’s most sensible voices, let loose from the rigid confines of broadcast media, to embrace the revelatory anti-establishment zeal that once gave populism its transgressive heft.

Vorderman is not the only one to fall for this allure. Other BBC émigrés, though less dependent on X, have also broken ranks to free up their voice. Andrew Marr has his LBC call-in. Emily Maitlis, Jon Sopel and former Sky politico Lewis Goodall have pivoted towards a clearer ideological bent with their popular podcast The News Agents. In their wake, the sense of transition is clear. With further cuts to Newsnight threatening the programme’s future and other broadcasters attracting dire numbers, the future of current affairs seems to depend on riding the splintered factions created on social media by the age of hyper-politics.

Vorderman’s departure, though an extreme example of this trend, therefore poses a deeper conundrum for those who have fled legacy media to subtly preach a period of healing and a return to the civility of pre-2016. Beyond the next election, the familiar genre of Tory-hating will likely be redundant. Much of the country’s problems, however, will remain.


Fred Skulthorp is a writer living in England. His Substack is Bad Apocalypse 

Skulthorp

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Paddy Taylor
Paddy Taylor
8 months ago

Karen Voldemort once again proving that being adept at mental arithmetic is no predictor of general intelligence.
One would hope for a prolonged period of silence from this infuriating creature but there’s little chance of that. Though given the number of times she’s likened Tory party policy to 1930s Germany, she was notably silent when Jews were suffering in a manner that was actually like 1930s and 40s Germany.
The reason she and St Gary, the Toby-jug of Woke, incite so much loathing is that they are (wildly-over) paid by all of us BBC licence-fee payers. But now that I no longer have to fund her anti-Tory bile she can witter on to her hearts content about whatever ignorant, ahistorical nonsense she wishes to, and good luck to her.

Mike Downing
Mike Downing
8 months ago
Reply to  Paddy Taylor

Dear Paddy, she scraped a 3rd. No Einstein she.

Katharine Eyre
Katharine Eyre
8 months ago

I used to quite like Vorderman on Countdown and thought her original makeover was quite impressive.
Now she just comes across as sad, desperate and plasticky.
Her anti-Tory witterings are of the same calibre as the bloke on X who said he’s going to try and blame the demise of the Cadbury’s Caramac on the Tories. (I think he was joking, but anti-Toryism on social media is so rabid, you can’t be sure).

R M
R M
8 months ago

She should be applauded for recognising that her desire (and right) to comment freely on contentious issues, within the law, is incompatible with working for a publicly funded broadcaster with a duty to impartiality.

Mike Downing
Mike Downing
8 months ago

She brings to mind the Tony Curtis description of Marilyn Monroe; ‘Breasts like granite and a brain like Swiss cheese ‘.

Andrew Thompson
Andrew Thompson
8 months ago

I thought she was quitting so she’d have more time to spend with her plastic surgeon and Botox practitioner..

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
8 months ago

“…self-styled victims of the Brexit period are happy to embrace the worst excesses of his platform.”
“…the chance for some of Britain’s most sensible voices…”
The latter point follows directly after the former.
Something doesn’t add up.

Benedict Waterson
Benedict Waterson
8 months ago

The current left tends to be more tribal, hysterical, and uniform in its opinions than the cente-right. So you can usually expect more balanced, meaningful and piercing criticisms of the Tories from the ”right wing media.”

Judith Shapland
Judith Shapland
8 months ago

Ah Dear …the temptation of Twitter and the concept of Followers !!! Arise St Gary and Saintly Carol …I suppose they really do think they’ve got something to say to all the faithful hanging on their words ….Well to echo Life of Brian “ There’s a mess in here but there’s no Messiah “

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
8 months ago

Is this article about Vorderman? To me it seems the vitriol is about X. Is Fred a Guardian escapee?

Jonathon
Jonathon
8 months ago

I read this entire article with Voldemort in my head.

Dominic A
Dominic A
8 months ago

Carlson was forced out of a job he was in for the power & money. Vorderman resigned from a job so that she could speak freely.

Last edited 8 months ago by Dominic A
Mike Riddell
Mike Riddell
8 months ago

Good for her. Great observation, Fred!