I salute your courage, but the wolves are gathering

How thrilling to see you strip everyone from Nadhim Zahawi to Michelle Mone. Your tweets about corruption and the lucky ones, embezzlers, spivs and swindlers who have been accused of making millions on government contracts – and the ministers who have enabled them – have been rare sources of joy in these dark winter days.

It was your morning TV appearances, though, that got me clapping. Twitter is one thing, but it rarely has the couch on This morning been put to good use. Speaking truth to power from ITV’s soft furnishings, with Holly Willoughby looking on, qualifies as a near-breakthrough act in Britain in 2023.

Largely because no one else is doing it. Not effectively, not talking like you did, with fury and passion. Then the Herald of Glasgowthe decision to call yourself the “true leader of the opposition”. Even the Daily mail came on the scene, calling you a “surprise Leftie poster girl” and an “anti-corruption firebrand.”

It prompted a colleague to suggest that I write to you – from one state-educated Welsh Carol(e) to another – with some bons mots on what to look out for if you’re going to stick with the anti-corruption beat. All lolz to that: like I have any advice to give the former queen of Countdown. One of the bravest things I’ve ever seen was another exit This morning‘s study, when you told Middle Britain you could no longer tolerate monogamy and now enjoy the company of a number of “special friends” while Gyles Brandreth dropped his jaw.

It wasn’t just your refusal to conform to conventional norms that seemed so innovative. It was the way you spoke so frankly and freely, without a hint of apology. You spoke as if women had the right to live their lives without having to worry about society’s expectations – imagine! Either way, it presumably makes your recent forays into anti-corruption a walk in the park by comparison.

“Carol Vorderman helping bring down the government wasn’t on my 2023 bingo card but I’m here for it,” the Charlatans singer said on Twitter. While rapper Darren McGarvey said, “Welcome to Britain, where the only thing standing between us and the jaws of corporate tyranny is Carol Vorderman.”

The thing is, I think he may be right. Perhaps you are the only thing standing between us and the jaws of corporate tyranny. Because what is happening in Britain right now is not normal. It’s not politics as usual. And that is what, by choosing to speak as someone who said he is not really political, you have so brilliantly underlined. It’s corruption. And it has insidiously worked its way into the sick heart of not just our government, but our country.

This isn’t politics as usual: it’s oligarchy – business, politics and power inseparably tied together.

You said you were moved to action by the sheer scale of what you saw happening. In a cost-of-living crisis where our country’s poorest cannot eat or heat their homes, taxpayers’ money has been spat not only against the wall, but also into the bank accounts of ministers’ friends.

There is nothing “political” about calling it corruption. It is not and should not be about the right or the left. It’s about right and wrong. But that’s not how it works in this country. And I can see how it has already started because some of my enemies have switched to you. They even tagged us together. “Anyone else fed up with the attention Vorderman and his 24-hour leftist rhetoric seek?” he said @patricia344130. “He is a classic socialist from Champagne. I wonder if he’s menopausal?” asked @TomCovenant.

Thing is, trolls are nasty, but you’re a middle-aged woman on TV so I don’t have to tell you. But you called the prime minister, Rishi Sunak. You’ve asked questions about whether he profited from a multi-million pound contract he awarded to Moderna, and this is where it gets dangerous. Sunak is less of a mafia boss than the boss of all bosses, Boris Johnson, but he will still have friends and guardians. There is an entire media ecosystem that feeds on favors and attacking you will be one way to get them.

Vorderman and Michelle Mone in 2010.

Vorderman and Michelle Mone in 2010. Photography: Jon Furniss/WireImage

Be careful, too, of your colleagues. The most damaging attacks I’ve had weren’t from anonymous Internet trolls. The leftist techy brothers were – still are – some of my biggest haters, not to mention late night tweets from senior BBC presenters. Misogyny is the ultimate acceptable hate crime, and saying disturbing things about my perceived lack of sexual attractiveness has gone completely unchecked. I’m looking at you, Andrew Neil.

You’re a total vixen, Carol, so I doubt you’ll get it, but even now there will be ambitious young men combing your Instagram feed to find your special friends (particularly the astronaut you mentioned (although, in all fairness, we’d all like to meet him), while right-wing bloggers will be preparing their satirical Photoshop skills.

Here’s the thing, Carol. Everything that is happening in British politics now is the result of a series of failures to account for power. And it began with the unprecedented fraud at the heart of the Brexit vote and its systematic cover-up by the British authorities and their runners and runners in the British press.

I’ve been trying to tell that story for the past six years and couldn’t resist the witch-burning that followed. But there’s a new Carol in town and you’ve given us hope. Stay put. Fuck the haters. You are a role model to every 50+ woman in Britain and to everyone else too.

Yours, with admiration, Carole x

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