An old parlour game in Westminster has been guessing the political motives (if there are any) behind Mervyn King’s various interventions in public life.
What has become all too clear today is the serious concerns they have generated in the Bank of England.
At an extraordinary hearing of the Treasury select committee today, an external member of the monetary policy committee spoke out over Mervyn’s “excessively political” statements on the pace of deficit reduction. In genteel Bank terms, this is an uprising.
Howard Flight is the latest politician to make a bid for the “most inappropriate remark of the year” award. He’s up against some tough competition but this quote is quite something.
We’re going to have a system where the middle classes are discouraged from breeding because it’s jolly expensive. But for those on benefits, there is every incentive. Well, that’s not very sensible.
Here the FT’s South Asia bureau chief discusses the UK’s aid policy in India. What do you think David Cameron’s government should do? Join the debate in the comments section.
Bankers can breathe easy. This year’s bonus season will roll on unhindered by any new disclosure rules.
George Osborne will take credit in the City for the U-turn. But the bankers also have to thank Sir David Walker, the City grandee who originally proposed the measures, for concluding it would be “mistaken” for Britain to go it alone.
Walker’s revised view is largely consistent with his report, which did acknowledge the dangers of unilateral action. But Walker also made one conflicting point. This is the key passage:
The priority of persistence with efforts to achieve such [international] convergence needs no further underlining, but a situation may develop in which the adoption of an exemplary leadership stance by the UK in this respect is the most effective way of achieving progress.
Exemplary leadership? The virtues of going it alone? This bold manoeuvre is not something Walker cared to mention in his recent op-ed for the Financial Times.
It is probably not an idea that will capture Osborne’s imagination.