REVIEW OF THIS WEEK'S PAPERS
by DOUGLAS SHEPHERD
Carola Godman Irvine... now there's a name to conjure with - although staff at Not Just Sheep & Rugby are hoping she'll perform her own bit of magic and disappear in a puff of smoke.
We were all dying to find out who the mystery woman was and where she came from after picking up this week's Southern Reporter to find her picture looking out at us from page 65 under the strap line COUNTRYFILE.
She'd taken up editorial residence right next door to Halidon, that kenspeckle inhabitant of the farming pages who keeps us up to date with all things agricultural via his contributions in Landlines. For some reason his knowledgeable articles don't merit a mug shot.
Ms Godman Irvine's rambling first effort for the biggest selling weekly paper in the Scottish Borders shifted painfully from an infestation of moles under the lawn of her stately sounding home to the EU referendum (she wants out of Europe). After a brief pause in the realms of European politics she shot off into the world of tumbling grocery prices and the stressful impact they were having on poor farmers, some of whom she informed us were ready to throw in the towel. It was ever thus.
So, we wondered, was this yet another incomer who had discovered the Borders by chance before falling in love with the place and moving the family to a rural idyll like Lilliesleaf or Morebattle before being signed up as a trendy new addition to Team Tweeddale Press. Well, not exactly.
The wondrous world of Google revealed that Carola was firmly ensconced in Great Ote Hall, an impressive historic pile with royal connections not far from Wivelsfield in deepest Sussex. The big house is the setting for grand weddings and all forms of corporate entertainment while the lady herself is one of those poor farmers struggling under the yoke of depressed food prices. Why then, we mused, was she sounding off in a Borders publication? Still can't fathom it.
Turns out Carola already writes her own blog with the sidebar describing her as Farmer, Campaigner, Columnist. It's full of stuff which might be relevant for those who live the high life in the English shires with the occasional quirky sprinkling of anti Scottish Nationalist vitriol.
Apparently, during a recent foray north to Aberdeenshire for what seems to have been a society wedding, there had been "much talk about the rise of the SNP".
Carola declared in a blog post in early June: "There is genuine concern that the angry minority of Scots who feel they were robbed of independence they so crave, will do almost anything to have the result reversed."
Excuse me? Was it an angry minority of Scottish voters who elected all but three SNP candidates and sent them to Westminster at the General Election? Get a grip woman.
Then, in true Daily Mail style Ms Godman Irvine warns: "The rise of the Scottish National Party could in the long run end in tears". Like the Mail she doesn't seem to accept that the SNP actually won the election in Scotland hands down
Why tears? Because one of the Mail's favourite icons - Ultimo bra queen Michelle Mone - "raised in Glasgow and from a working class background no longer feels safe in Scotland and has moved south to London. If feisty successful entrepreneurs like her are driven out, one has to feel deep concern for the people of this once great nation."
What utter unfounded tripe. Come on Southern Reporter, you can surely do better than that. Try recruiting your columnists closer to home for a start and leave Carola to her farming, campaigning, and the desperate battle against the moles of Great Ote Hall.