Margareta Pagano: Meet the Carneys, the 'ordinary' hockey couple whose ultimate goal may be in politics

Mr Carney is said to prefer walking to taking a car, drinks beer from the bottle and wears loafers
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The Independent Online

The other half of Mark Carney is a Fox; and she's as smart as her name suggests. When Diana Fox Carney was asked in a Canadian TV interview after her husband, Mark, was appointed the new Governor, how they would cope with the brutality of the British tabloids, she laughed and said: "I am not sure you can ever be ready for the British press."

Then, without even taking air, she added: "But we are both confident in who we are." It's just as well because even post-Leveson hacks will be zooming in on this power couple from the moment they arrive.

Yet they seem ready for us; the British born and raised Ms Fox Carney hopes to continue her work on social inequality – what she calls the defining issue of our times. She has been vice-president of research at Canada 2020, a liberal think-tank, where she works on issues such as income inequality.

In the Global News interview she remarked that it's similar work to that being done by the Commission on Social Mobility, run by Nick Clegg, the Deputy Prime Minister. Sounds like she has a job lined up.

She's open with her scorn for the world's financial institutions, has praised the anti-banking Occupy movement, and is quoted as saying: "The politics of division are coming home to roost."

The Carneys make a big play about being "ordinary", she by wearing recycled vegan shoes, recommending "gardening with cow poo", spending her time cycling, cross-country skiing and modern dancing; not quite the style of west London's bankers' wives.

Mr Carney is said to prefer walking to taking a car, drinks beer from the bottle, wears loafers, has porridge for breakfast in the winter and coaches one of his daughter's football teams. They have four daughters under the age of 10.

The Carneys met on the hockey playing fields of Oxford; she scored a hat-trick, catching the eye of Mr Carney, himself a hockey jock, and it was supposedly love at first sight. They married in Bullingdon, Oxfordshire, in 1994.

She is the daughter of a pig farmer, was brought up in Cheltenham, and got a First in PPE from Oxford and a Masters in international relations from the University of Pennsylvania.

Mr Carney was raised in a Roman Catholic family in Fort Smith, Edmonton. His mother was a teacher and his father was principal of the high school. He financed his way through Harvard, working part-time as a gardener, and studied for a Masters in economics at Oxford.

He is an alumnus of Goldman Sachs and worked in the bank's London, Tokyo and Toronto offices for 13 years. He has played down his role in steering Canada through the crash.

Even so, the reception here to the choice of Mr Carney was almost hysterical, treating him as though he were the second coming. But Mr Carney nearly didn't come. In Ottawa the word is he turned down the Governor's job the first time around because of hopes he might have been chosen as the leader of Canada's Liberal Party. Indeed, the cynical say he has taken the job for five years – instead of the usual eight – so they'll be back in Canada in time for the next shake-up.

While Mr Carney has always denied political ambitions, Ms Fox Carney has not. At the end of the Global News interview, she was asked whether she had the Liberal Party in her sights. She did not say no.

It's no wonder Mr Carney is bringing his press officer to London.