The ghastliness of Carol Vorderman

National icon turns into poor man's Sarah Palin.

I have an embarrassing confession to make: I used to have a crush on the former Countdown co-presenter Carol Vorderman. Not any more.

Her performance last night on BBC1's Question Time was one of the worst by any panel member I have ever seen. It wasn't just that she outed herself nakedly as a partisan Conservative, having gone down the "they're all as bad as each other" route. It wasn't just the ghastliness of her clichéd, shrill, pub-boring, parochial approach.

It was, I'm afraid, her sheer stupidity. I thought this woman was hailed as our great national genius! Instead, she trotted out sluggish conventional wisdom at every turn.

The key example was with the Jon Venables affair, on which she was the only panel member to insist not only that Jamie Bulger's parents have a "right" to know what Venables has done to go back into prison, but that the public does, too. She could not answer why, and it became clear that her desire was based on: a) ignorance, b) crude populism and c) nosiness.

It was left to our own excellent Will Self to argue bravely that the child killers may not have been evil. (I don't necessarily agree with that, but boy, was it a courageous view to articulate in that Middle England arena.)

Carol, you were so lovely on Countdown. Please stay out of politics, though. I know Sarah Palin, and you're no Sarah Palin.

 

Read Will Self's columns for the New Statesman

James Macintyre is political correspondent for the New Statesman.
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The New Statesman article that got Hillary Clinton up to speed on world affairs

It turns out the next Leader of the Free World (maybe) reads the New Statesman.

Hillary Clinton's released emails have shaken the political world. And one in particular has had a big impact – on the New Statesman office, at least. It turns out the next Leader of the Free World (maybe) learns about world news by reading the New Statesman.

While she was still serving as Secretary of State, in August 2010, her long-time adviser Sidney Blumenthal emailed her our article, "The military and the mullahs", written by William Dalrymple.

The New Statesman, "worth reading" since 25 August 2010.


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