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Carole Malone Column: Beware of beauty and of the beast..

Byline: Carole Malone

ON the face of it, you can see why Cherie Blair needs Carole Caplin. The self-styled exercise guru is everything she's not. She's willowy, she's beautiful, she has poise, perfect hair, perfect nails and a perfect white flat.

Beside her Mrs Blair looks like a heffalump, a plain lolloping, big- hipped heffalump, who no matter how much she spends on designer clothes and anti-toxin scrubs, no matter how many times she has her face peeled or her colon irrigated, will always look like a frumpy hausfrau.

But, like the ugly teenager whose best mate is a breathtaking beauty, she keeps the beauty close by, desperately hoping some of the magic dust MIGHT just rub off on her.

We've been told that Carole Caplin is Cherie's Svengali, although having watched the BBC documentary The Conman, His Lover And The Prime Minister's Wife, my only question is, if she's so damn smart what the hell possessed her to do that show?

If the plan was to vindicate her and Foster - it failed miserably . Because far from making them look good, she came out of it looking like an ice-cold control freak who's anal at best and at worst a pathetically poor judge of character with a leaning towards bunny boilerism.

Foster, naturally enough, came across as the slug he is - a man with a face like a kangaroo's bum and a good line in patter. But what really finished him for me was when he refused to fork out a quid for parking, and instead pulled out an orange disabled sticker so he could leave his car outside his favourite cafe and go stuff his face with a cheese toastie (Ms Perfect Health Carole would never have permitted a filthy, fat-packed toastie to pass HER perfect lips). It was then I realised what a two-bob crook he really is.

Was this really the man Caplin said was so rich he didn't need the pounds 150,000 he was offered by a newspaper for his story? No, this was a squat, podgy trickster who's worked out that if you tell women how beautiful and special they are and if you listen to THEM instead of rabbiting on about yourself, then they're putty in your hands. But enough of Foster. It was Caplin who fascinated me, not least because she isn't terribly bright and if Cherie can't see that it means she isn't as bright as she's supposed to be either.

Caplin, desperate to protect her job, seemed increasingly embarrassed by Foster and spent the entire programme rolling her eyes and looking hacked off with the man she'd said just a few days earlier had provided her with the "best sex I've ever had". So just where was this passion then? Where were the kisses, the cuddles, the sexy, knowing looks?

But it was Caplin's desperation to protect the cash cow that is Cherie that was cringe-making. Every time the phone rang and it was Tony or Cherie she would scream an elongated "Hiiiiii......." and rush off into the bedroom to talk to her bessy mates.

But this wasn't about friendship. If it was, she'd have dumped Foster the minute the scandal of those Bristol flats hit the papers. No, this was about a girl with dreams of fame and fortune who'd clawed her way to the top (posing for Men Only on the way) and who saw her well-ordered, well-positioned, upwardly-mobile life about to go down the toilet because of a conman who (she says) is good in the sack.

But what became clear was that the foundation upon which Carole Caplin's position within the Blair household has been built, is desperately flawed.

This woman wouldn't know a piece of good advice if she fell over it. If she is so switched on, she'd never have done that documentary in the first place. At one point she bollocked Foster for mentioning his autobiography in his Press statement

"I have a thing about self-promotion," she said snottily. But wasn't this the girl who has promoted herself by posing in sado-masochistic gear and who last week went into graphic detail about her sex life with Foster to help launch her new column in a newspaper?

More worrying is the fact that it was blatantly obvious that no matter what fantasies Caplin had about being in love with Foster, the fact is he DID target her because of her connection with the Blairs. And she didn't see it.

What he originally wanted out of that connection we can never be sure. What he got was a few new explosive chapters for his autobiography, which ordinarily would have hit WHSmith's bargain bins within a fortnight but which will now command a seven-figure sum.

It's Caplin's gullibility, her stupendous lack of judgement, her inability to see what's under her turned-up nose that the Blairs must be questioning now.

That documentary showed her to be a cold, calculating but not very clever woman who got lucky but who may very soon find her luck has run out.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Sunday Mirror (London, England)
Date:Feb 23, 2003
Words:841
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