We all need a break from the ‘real’ news. As Brexit chaos looms, Syrian Kurds flee Turkish tanks and typhoons bring home the reality of the global climate emergency, it is oh-so-tempting to retreat in to trivia, gossip and endless inconsequential rows.

And so, last week, we had two classics of the genre. And both were heavily gendered. First, there was a female politician’s expenses row which sparked some time-served ‘oh those ladies and their expensive haircuts’ patter. And then was a good ole stairheid rammy between the wives of footballers.

But are these kinds of stories really as harmless and insipid as they seem? Some columnists are not so sure.

READ MORE: Who is Rebekah Vardy and why is #Wagatha Christie trending?

Scottish Mail on Sunday

The former leader of the Scottish Conservatives, Ruth Davidson, was loving the ‘Wagatha Christie” row between Coleen Rooney and her nemesis Rebekah Vardy (the partners of former and current England strikers).

For Ms Davidson it was just light relief. “We Brits love nothing more than a bit of tittle-tattle.

“I have no idea if Coleen has made a successful collar or if Vardy has been maligned - and like the rest of us, I don’t much care. But for once, the topic on everyone’s lips wasn’t Brexit or Indyref or environmental Armageddon.

“For one sunlit day, the entire country enjoyed a good gossip.”

Sunday Times

Camilla Long did not enjoy the saga. For her, the row exposed an empty and nasty world of waggery. “I found the Mean-Girling cruel and unpalatable, the way Rooney appeared to set her mates on her more exciting but less rich, less famous rival over a petty series of fake news nothingness,” wrote Ms Long.

“For most Wags, including Rooney, it’s a constant struggle to stay relevant. It is a constant battle to pretend they inhabit a glossy and enviable universe in which all the men are Above It and all the women are demure ladies. Why is Vardy getting sucked in to this vapid black hole?”

Sunday Post

Unlike Ms Davidson, Judy Murray does not think the Rooney-Vardy row is trivial. She describes how - just as her tennis player son Andy began to succeed - a friend asked her if she could sell a story about the family to a newspaper.

“It opened my eyes as to how tempting it can be for people supposedly close to you to share information - sometimes out of naivety, sometimes out of greed,” Ms Murray wrote. Real people get hurt. Those who tell tales, she said, “shatter the previous relationship. What they saw as a harmless leak turns them in to people who cannot be trusted.”

HeraldScotland: GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - DECEMBER 07: Glasgow Lord Provost Eva Bolander hosts the annual Glasgow City Council Lord Provost Christmas lunch for senior citizens on December 07, 2017 in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Jamie Simpson/Herald & Times) - JS.

Eva Bolander

But Ms Murray also had sympathy for another victim of Brexit distraction this week, Glasgow’s Lord Provost Eva Bolander. The Swedish civic head of Scotland’s biggest city found herself rebranded as Diva Bollinger on social media after the Daily Record detailed her expense claims for shoes, haircuts and underwear (slips, in fact, but knickers for social media partisans).

Ms Murray has had to do stints as a public figure. She wrote: “Unlike men, women can’t just show up to black-tie functions in the same standard suit.

“If they wear the same dress over and over again, people pick up on it - as they would if they arrived with chipped nail varnish and untamed tresses.”

READ MORE: Sack Glasgow's Lord Provost? Eva Bolander did no wrong

Ms Murray has met the LP - she is, she wrote, a “nice and open person who its gutsy too”- and reckons the whole expenses saga should be “put down to a learning experience”.

Scotland on Sunday

Columnist Dani Garavelli was taken aback by what she saw as OTT Bolander outrage. She sniffed misogyny. But also double standards.

She wrote: “Male mockery of female spending sprees is such a old trope, and a double standard because - while I am sure lots of women do dress for themselves - there is also a social pressure for them to look good, which doesn’t exist for men.

“Mostly, however, my inability to whip myself up into a frenzy about this story was down to the fact there were so many more heinous offences being committed - well, absolutely everywhere.

“My atypical indifference to Bolander’s misjudgment did make me wonder, though. What if the depravity of Johnson, Trump, Putin et al is messing with our (my) moral compass?

“What if this climate of amorality becomes normalised until you have to - what? - commit genocide before anyone finally says: ‘Enough is enough’?

“Because, of course, how Glasgow’s Lord Provost behaved OUGHT to matter. “ But Bolander did not, “brazen it out” like Trump.