How not to choose a Bank Governor

The decision to hold an “open” competition for Governor of the Bank of England at first sight is a wise and modern move. No more magic circle, no more mysterious process and seceret short list. Anyone can apply, and the press can go to town on the merits and more likely the shortcomings of the various candidates as they leak out.

I normally favour open and transparent approaches to problems. As a democrat I normally favour the intense light of scrutiny. However, when making important appointments in the private sector in past jobs I have been grateful not to have to do it in the way the government is now searching for a new Governor. It often does make sense, when seeking a senior and able person, to use specialists to contact suitable people privately, and to conduct first round interviews in secret. If you want someone good they are very likely to hold a current role that is important to them. They will not automatically reach for an application form for your job, especially if their application becomes public.

The problem with the Bank job has been compounded by the clear “hands off” message in the advert to anyone other than a member of the charmed inner circle, and by the rough handling so far of anyone who hinted at their interest in the role in the press. Of course the winner has to expect an avalanche of appraisal, criticism and probing once appointed. Anyone who does not expect that and is not ready for it should not be applying. Serious candidates will naturally be reluctant to go through that before winning, if it damages their current role and reputation.

The government would be wise to choose their Governor in a different way. The country needs a unique individual. The person has to be able to give fearless and good advice in private to the government, and to be loyal to them, whoever is in office, in public. The winner has to use the independent powers that he or she does hold to good effect, in a way which helps government policy achieve legitimate goals of low inflation and faster growth. The person would be wise to know this is a very powerful position, and even wiser to understand that the holder of the office cannot hope to wield that power against the wishes of the elected government and Parliament for any length of time.

There have been major upheavals in the role and responsibility of the Bank on each change of government in 1997 and 2010. There has been constant public and Parliamentary dissatisfaction with the way monetary policy has been conducted and the way banks have been regulated since 2007, and for some of us from much longer ago than that. A new Governor needs supreme powers to heal the settlement, make the new system work, give due space to the Chancellor to shape economic policy, whilst keeping good hold of banks and money.

Unfortunately these superhumans have not so far been in charge of the Bank, and are unlikely to emerge from the current very flawed process. Maybe the government has got the job brief wrong, as well as choosing a bad way of finding the person. Maybe the job is too big. Maybe seeking both a great independent judge of the economy and a good courtier is expecting too much in the same person. This is a situation where a good search executive could help, and when greater clarity over how much to expect from the role would also be reassuring.

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59 Comments

  1. Simon Jones
    Posted October 16, 2012 at 6:08 am | Permalink

    Someone told me the other day that we have the highest paid public sector workers in the world. It wouldn’t surprise me as I know of no other country who pays a Town Clerk between £300,000-£450,000. The point being that the more we pay the bigger buffoons and gravy train riders we seem to get who enjoy the cocktail circuit and lining their own pockets but do not have the interests of those they are supposed to serve at heart. I would put money on someone of that ilk arriving at the BOE as we seem incapable of getting truly talented individuals into such positions.

    • Disaffected
      Posted October 16, 2012 at 10:43 am | Permalink

      The Government process is like asking Ronnie Biggs to look after our Post Office savings accounts. Absolute travesty. None of the front contenders are suitable in the remotest of conclusions.

      Was it not one of these contenders who was reported to have told savers to stop whinging and spend to help the economy!! Idiot. Healthy outside competition to get fresh blood into the system, certainly no cronies of the former governor. Anyone associated with the economic mess from the public sector should not be considered.

    • lifelogic
      Posted October 16, 2012 at 6:00 pm | Permalink

      Indeed – Mark Thompson was reported as earning about £620K (plus a massive pension at the BBC) when far better people would have done it for nothing or something nominal. They could even have found someone who could have stopped all the global warming indoctrination and the huge bias towards the EU and an every state and ever bigger taxes.

  2. Pete the Bike
    Posted October 16, 2012 at 6:41 am | Permalink

    An “open” competition for governor is like a vote amongst gangsters for a new godfather. First it’s never going to be an honest or fair competition and second any central bank is a crime organization devoted to robbing honest people of their savings, gangsters using guns and banksters using inflation and debt.

  3. Nina Andreeva
    Posted October 16, 2012 at 7:12 am | Permalink

    The ad should just have said “must be a money printer” So I think Mr Gideon Gono of Zimbabwe should get the job. This is because no matter what they say otherwise Dave, Nick and Ed are committed to “financial repression” as the way of trying to dig the UK out of this hole. What they forget is that although it may have worked in the 40’s and 50’s, the UK is not now as socially cohesive as it was then, plus as a direct result of their actions, there are 10,000 less coppers around to help stop the place coming apart at the seams as the “rigour” becomes more apparent in everyone’s lives .

  4. Vimeiro
    Posted October 16, 2012 at 7:33 am | Permalink

    I saw the advertisment in ‘The Economist’. As I read the detail between the lines, it was saying a pleb like me need not bother to apply.

    • Acorn
      Posted October 16, 2012 at 8:17 am | Permalink

      Apply for the job anyway. When they turn you down, put in a discrimination punt to a Tribunal. Being a certified pleb should not bar you from the job. It does not bar you from being a policeman in Downing Street. Go for it Vim’, got to be a nice little earner. 😉 .

      • StevenL
        Posted October 16, 2012 at 9:22 pm | Permalink

        Just make sure you go to the interview wearing a dress and some lipstick, then you’ll have a better claim.

  5. lifelogic
    Posted October 16, 2012 at 7:39 am | Permalink

    Recruiting the right people and then motivating them to do the right things (even if they have good people) is not a strength of Governments in general. After it is not their money they are wasting, indeed much of it is being spent on them.

    • Bazman
      Posted October 16, 2012 at 5:55 pm | Permalink

      Maybe you could at least tell us what you believe motivates people lifelogic? Money/conditions, sense of doing good, fun and interest? The threat of the sack… What do you motivate employees with when they are immune to your threats? Ah! You don’t employ such people as they are bad for business. Troublemakers? Fair enough.

      • lifelogic
        Posted October 17, 2012 at 7:16 am | Permalink

        Who knows? So many are totally irrational, they take pay day loans, buy lottery tickets, believe in quack energy, quack medicine, vote socialist,trust the BBC and the rest. I leave the motivation to my managers. It is not my strong area and I do not have time or inclination.

        • Bazman
          Posted October 17, 2012 at 5:22 pm | Permalink

          Right wing religious fatalism and fantasy with beliefs in any source of information that backs this up would also be included in the rest?

  6. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted October 16, 2012 at 7:56 am | Permalink

    I note you use the adjective “modern” to describe the selection process. Most things in my experience which are “modernised” result in worse service at a higher price. No doubt this appointment will be no exception.

  7. Single Acts
    Posted October 16, 2012 at 8:01 am | Permalink

    P J O’Rourke makes the amusing point that he likes the public sector to mop up all the clowns and otherwise unemployable drones. He prefers competent people in the wealth creating sector thus offsetting some of the damage the nincompoops in the state.

    Think about it, if you were a competent and top-of-the-class type, would you g to a corporate bank to get really rich or become a regulator? The ‘barely-made-it’ unimaginative types become regulators and this may partly explain why they are always so hopeless.

  8. Steve Cox
    Posted October 16, 2012 at 8:06 am | Permalink

    I really think there should be some serious questions asked about why there is so little accountability in the Bank of England? After his long list of errors, mistakes and misjudgements over the years, with very few noteworthy policy successes, why on earth is Mervyn King retiring with full honours instead of having been shown the door a long time ago? Surely, rather than simply writing a trite little letter to the Chancellor whenever the Bank fails to meet its inflation target, there should be a much bigger stick to encourage a high level of performance? If that also means bigger carrots as well to attract the right candidates, then so be it, but as a country we are going to be ruined if the next incumbent demonstrates the same level of ineptitude and buck-passing as the odious Mervyn King has done – and has got away with. When I worked in the oil industry, we dreaded the so-called Team Leader promotion. You were put in charge of a team of professionals working on a specific project and became responsible for performance, quality, budget and delivery. The snag was that you didn’t get any more authority to enable you to pursue your targets effectively. This was an example of the famous problem of having “responsibility without authority”, and it was supposed to be a test of your natural leadership skills, but sometimes I felt it was simply a cheap way of completing a project as well as could be done with the resources available while having the ability to blame any problems on the hapless Team Leader. Dilbert has had numerous cartoon strips on this topic. The Bank of England appears at present to be the wonderful world of the exact opposite setup, it has vast authority while evidently showing very little responsibility for its actions, and certainly no contrition for its errors. This ridiculous state of affairs must change if we are ever going to get out of the current mess.

    • uanime5
      Posted October 16, 2012 at 5:37 pm | Permalink

      The Government doesn’t punish the Governor of the bank of England for failing to meet their targets when this failure benefits the Government. For example if the Governor fails to lower interest rates but this allows the Government to inflate away their debts the Governor won’t be punished.

  9. NickW
    Posted October 16, 2012 at 8:31 am | Permalink

    No one is infallible and errors are inevitable in any human endeavour. Two important points stem from this;

    John Harvey Jones, a former Chairman of ICI said that on average, he reckoned to get two thirds of his decisions wrong, and that the art of management was the ability to quickly recognise mistakes, acknowledge them, and remedy them as soon as possible. That culture needs to be introduced into politics and is essential for a new Governor with wide ranging powers.

    Secondly, given that mistakes will be made and that errors will occur whoever is appointed, there is something to be said for limiting the areas of responsibility so that errors do not become catastrophic. When Europe was an amalgam of separate nation states with independent policy making, it did not matter too much if a Chancellor made an error in policy making. One country in recession surrounded by others with healthy economies can rescue itself given time and the right policies.

    The problem with Europe is that the politicians refuse point blank to acknowledge any mistakes or address them, and are in charge of a whole continent, which once in recession is too big to be rescued by any neighbours.

    • zorro
      Posted October 16, 2012 at 8:48 pm | Permalink

      You make some good points here in that the role is very big and important as are the consequences of decision making. The most precious ability in management is to make a decision and act upon it but also know when to acknowledge mistakes. Modern politicians seem incapable of accepting blame or responsibility, hence the lack of any willing resignations. Like John Major, they pursue a policy no matter how silly or damaging it is to the economy as in the early 90s, only to be humiliated, and still be unable to accept responsibility….Either that, or you get the politically calculated apology as exercised by the Clegglet….

      zorro

  10. David Jarman
    Posted October 16, 2012 at 9:00 am | Permalink

    There’s a reason the Bank of England is in the City of London. It’s a closed shop and jobs for the boys. It is to in all intents purposes a different country with it’s own laws and the outsiders aren’t welcome in! There is so much secrecy no body really knows what goes on at the BoE and whilst it now claims to be a public body I have never seen any proof of that. After all if “we” own the Bank of England and can print our own money why do we pay £45M per day in interest charges. (etc)

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted October 16, 2012 at 3:30 pm | Permalink
      • zorro
        Posted October 16, 2012 at 8:51 pm | Permalink

        There is no argument about the bank being nationalised in 1946 under the Atlee government but I think that David is asking why we pay interest charges…..

        zorro

        • zorro
          Posted October 17, 2012 at 7:39 am | Permalink

          Attlee even!

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted October 17, 2012 at 9:56 am | Permalink

          He wrote:

          “whilst it now claims to be a public body I have never seen any proof of that”

          so I offered him proof in the form of the law that nationalised it in 1946.

          Just one of the nationalisation laws passed under the post-war Labour government; but unlike the railways and the coal and iron and steel industries the Bank hasn’t since been privatised, even though some have suggested that it should be.

          Which denationalisation would of course have required another Act of Parliament, in part to repeal the 1946 Act, and unless and until somebody can produce that law which privatised the Bank then I will continue to agree with the Bank and the government and the Commons Treasury Committee and believe that the Bank is publicly owned and under public control, albeit not very good public control.

          The Treasury is paying the Bank, or more precisely its wholly owned subsidiary the APF, the interest on the gilts it owns because under the terms of the gilts the APF is legally entitled to the promised coupon payments for those gilts, and to repayment of the principal sums for any gilts that mature, just as much as any other owner of those gilts would have those same entitlements; and while it might be possible for the APF to waive those payments through some legal instrument it seems pointless to do that when the money paid will in any case be recycled to the Treasury as the owner of the Bank.

  11. waramess
    Posted October 16, 2012 at 9:07 am | Permalink

    Which ever route they take you can be sure the winner will not be a free marketeer, unless of course he is also a Monetarist and then we can expect even more fiddling by the government with the money supply

    • outsider
      Posted October 16, 2012 at 5:25 pm | Permalink

      You have a point there waramess. The Treasury, the Chancellor and the PM are not going to appoint anyone who disagrees with the current orthodoxy which they share, even though it is busted.

      There do not even seem to be many UK academic economists who challenge what is going on. Quite different in America, where there is a lively debate , with the Bernanke theory being challenged by a school seemingly led by John B Taylor of Taylor Rule fame.

      He has a splendid (easily Googled) blog which explains clearly how QE and emergency measures are slowing down the US recovery by creating uncertainty and damaging expectations.

  12. Denis Cooper
    Posted October 16, 2012 at 9:21 am | Permalink

    Obviously the Governor is very powerful, but he’s not all-powerful when there are two committees and their decisions are made by majority votes.

    Public advertisement of the post seems the right way to go, but isn’t it a serious concern that apparently even initial expressions of interest made in private are being leaked?

    “Anyone can apply, and the press can go to town on the merits and more likely the shortcomings of the various candidates as they leak out.”

    Who’s doing the leaking out, and haven’t all those involved been told not to do it?

  13. oldtimer
    Posted October 16, 2012 at 9:24 am | Permalink

    I agree with your analysis. The issues you identify is the reason so much senior private sector recruitment is conducted by headhunters. They may advertise. More likely they will build a list of likely candidates and contact them directly and discreetly. Often the best candidates are headhunted because they themselves will never apply – they have no need to.

  14. Electro-Kevin
    Posted October 16, 2012 at 9:48 am | Permalink

    Superhuman

    Indeed. Qualities beyond my comprehension.

    I may show ingratitude or lack of deference on this site, all of it is unintended and down to my failure to express my frustrations delicately. The fact is that I feel truly blessed to live in this era and my concerns are solely with keeping it that way.

    For one to know one’s place one must have a place to know. Unfortunately much is changing beyond recognition at this time.

    We really ought to be picking very special people right now.

  15. a-tracy
    Posted October 16, 2012 at 9:48 am | Permalink

    I nominate Ruth Lea, I hope that she has applied. Come on Ruth if you haven’t thrown your hat in, your Country needs you ;-).

    • Richard1
      Posted October 16, 2012 at 4:15 pm | Permalink

      I vote for Allister Heath, editor of City am and a very sound commentator on economic issues

    • lifelogic
      Posted October 16, 2012 at 6:06 pm | Permalink

      Indeed Ruth Lea is one of very few women that the BBC ever has on, who actually says something sensible (on Question Time or Any Questions). Even once daring (on the BBc) to say that woman make different choices in their career choices or something similar. A very brave woman indeed.

  16. Martin Ryder
    Posted October 16, 2012 at 10:15 am | Permalink

    Whoever is chosen to be the next governor must already have a very high profile in the financial world. If he or she doesn’t then they will never get anything done.

    Much more important than the next governor is the next government and would like to go wildly of topic, if I may. The following are some radical ideas about the boundary change problem.

    In the 2010 General Election about 7,246,000 people voted for the Conservative candidates who succeeded in becoming MPs; 5,026,000 voted for the successful Labour candidates; 1,232,000 voted for the successful Liberal Democrat candidates and 470,000 voted for the other successful candidates. These figures are taken from the Daily Telegraph of 8 May 2010.

    About 518,000 more people voted for the Conservative MPs now sitting in the House than for all of the other parties combined; yet the Conservatives have only 46.77% of the voting power in the House instead of the 51.85% that their support in the country warrants. This strikes me as being somewhat unfair.

    Why should each MP have the same voting power in the House as every other MP, when the support for MPs in the country varies widely? The system should change to one where MPs take the votes that they received from their constituents with them to Parliament and use them when they vote in the House. For example: 28,754 people voted for you, Mr Redwood; 33,973 voted for Mr Cameron; 27,324 for Mr Clegg; 19,637 for Mr Ed Miliband; and 18,365 for Mr Balls. When you vote for or against a motion you should be able to put 28,754 votes into the voting system, whilst Mr Balls should only be able to put in 18,365. Figures from BBC web-site.

    The electorate voted to keep the FPTP system and so only the votes cast for the winner in each constituency should count. To continue with the horse racing analogy, those voting for the losers lose their stake and their votes do not go forward to Parliament. The Government should be formed by the party whose MPs command the most support from the electorate, rather than the one that commands the most MPs.

    The change will make life a bit more difficult for the tellers but modern technology – swipe cards holding the MP’s name and voting power, for example – will allow for a quick calculation of the votes cast for or against a motion. Okay, x million for the motion and y million against sounds like a Trade Union congress but it will be fairer than at present.

    The Liberal Democrats might be able to support the change, as it is a form of PR in that an MP’s voting strength is based on votes received. Mr Cable received 32,483 votes at the last GE and Mr Davey received 28,428.

    This would put the boundaries commission out of a job, as constituency representation would be self-adjusting with increases and decreases of population being reflected by the increase or decrease of the successful candidate’s voting power. Boundaries could stay as they are now; though perhaps some of the smaller constituencies could merge.

    Whether this change would enable a conservative government to be formed in 2015 I do not know but it would have allowed a conservative government to be formed in 2010.

    • uanime5
      Posted October 16, 2012 at 5:47 pm | Permalink

      It’s clear from your post that you’ve just made up the election results. 10,703,654 people voted for the Conservatives, 8,606,517 voted for Labour, and 6,836,248 voted for the Lib Dems. So if you want a voting system based on the number of votes the Conservatives should have 36.1% of the votes, Labour should have 29.0%, and the Lib Dems should have 23.0%.

      Just because the MP you voted for doesn’t win is no reason to have your vote discounted. The high number of wasted voted is a national scandal.

      • Richard1
        Posted October 16, 2012 at 9:38 pm | Permalink

        But look at how extraordinarily unrepresentative of their electorates are European governments elected by PR on issues such as bailouts, the euro etc. here we have a coalition comprising parties who got 60% between them yet we keep hearing from the left that the govt is unrepresentative, out of touch etc.

        • uanime5
          Posted October 17, 2012 at 4:04 pm | Permalink

          What are you talking about? By definition a Government elected using PR is representative of the electorate’s wishes. Just because you hate the euro doesn’t mean that everyone else in Europe hates it. Even in Greece the vast majority of the people want to remain in the euro.

          Regarding the UK the coalition is considered out of touch because it’s leadership is mostly composed of millionaires who seem to have no idea how ordinary people live.

          Also the Conservatives have 6 times the number of MPs the Lib Dems got yet only got 1.6 times the votes. So either the Conservatives are overrepresented or the Lib Dems are underrepresented.

      • Martin Ryder
        Posted October 17, 2012 at 9:49 am | Permalink

        I didn’t make them up. If you read my post you will see that I was talking about the number of votes given to the successful candidates. I would prefer a PR system but the British public voted to keep the FPTP and so my idea is based on that decision.

        • uanime5
          Posted October 17, 2012 at 4:08 pm | Permalink

          I did read your post and you decided to simply discard the votes of anyone who didn’t vote for a winning candidate. A fair system would deduct the number of votes against a winning candidate from the total number of votes they got, not ignore them. So MPs who were elected with 20% of the votes cast wouldn’t be disproportionately represented.

          Also the UK voted against AV, not PR.

          • Martin Ryder
            Posted October 20, 2012 at 4:11 pm | Permalink

            But this would mean that any successful candidate who was elected on less than 50% of the vote in his or her constituency would have no vote at all. The present system gives every successful candidate exactly the same vote in the house regardless of the percentage of the vote they received in their constituency. I consider this to be wrong.

            I am aware that the choice was between AV and FPTP. I prefer PR but that was not an option and the electorate decided on FPTP.

  17. A different Simon
    Posted October 16, 2012 at 10:34 am | Permalink

    Before appointing a new governer , perhaps it should be established beyond dispute whether a central bank is necessary or desirable ?

    If not then the BOE could be disolved .

  18. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted October 16, 2012 at 10:42 am | Permalink

    Being a cynical person, I believe that it is possible to conduct your quasi headhunter approach in parallel with the official, open recruitment process. If the quasi headhunter approach reveals somebody who is potentially very good for the job, tip off him/her that he/she is a shoe in and get him/her to apply via the open process. Why not tell Liam Halligan right now?

  19. GJ Wyatt
    Posted October 16, 2012 at 10:42 am | Permalink

    The new open application process struck me at the time as a questionable approach for this job. Though the magic circle and buggins’s turn are unacceptable nowadays, there is still sense in first taking soundings and inviting applications in addition to publicly advertising for applicants. Also, before the final decision a select committee hearing for shortlisted candidates would impart transparency and parliamentary accountability to the process for the public.

  20. forthurst
    Posted October 16, 2012 at 11:04 am | Permalink

    “It often does make sense, when seeking a senior and able person, to use specialists to contact suitable people privately, and to conduct first round interviews in secret.”

    Is the use of headhunters the reason why so many businesses are run badly by clerks with spreadsheet skills instead of those who actually make businesses successful with hands on management skills, often by spending much time abroad, whilst the clerks shuffle around HO in their carpet slippers muttering about the quality of the coffee and listening out for that next telephone call summoning them to even greater glory where the carpets are even thicker ?

    My experience of recruitment organisations is that they may be useful for advertising and collating applicants, but most know so little about the qualities required for a job or how to identify them, they should not be involved in primary selection or assessment other than removing those who haven’t bothered to read the advertisement properly.

    Either we accept this country is now populated by nothing but duffers or the wrong people are contually turning up like bad pennies through flawed selection, based on the ignorance and prejudices of recruitment consultants, buggin’s turn, magic circles etc to the exclusion of those of far greater merit. This is particularly evident in the public sector where management skills are conspicuous by their absence.

  21. Demetrius
    Posted October 16, 2012 at 11:42 am | Permalink

    Haven’t we discovered recently that the fabled Montague Norman was prone to adjusting and manipulating the figures, notably when dealing with politicians who were not really up to speed in finance and economics. But will any former RBS man apply?

  22. RDM
    Posted October 16, 2012 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

    “SuperHuman”

    I would apply, but I’m busy with my new contract in Loughborough!

    Us Workers are busy, but if they can wait I’ll sort it out over the weekend.

    Regards,

    RDM.

  23. Peter Geany
    Posted October 16, 2012 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

    I believe the whole banking issue is political in origin; central banks are but an arm of Government despite the vestiges of being independent. Banks have happily taken the heat for their master’s mistakes, and those individuals that have tried to blow the whistle have been quietly blown away with chunks of Wonga that would silence even Mother Teresa.

    Those at the top running Banks know that a load more regulation is coming their way and they will go through the charade of complaining about regulation. Our civil service will gold plate the regulation and we will see the last vestiges of small independent banking disappear to be replaced by HSBC/Barclays and Lloyds/RBS who will have picked up abbey from Santander as they fall back to Spain.

    Cronyism is alive and well and this recruitment process is just a charade so they can ensure there is no serious challenge to the Crony Choice. I bet that Fred Astaire (sorry Adair Turner) gets the job. Here is a person that was not so much asleep at the wheel of the FSA but comatose in the back seat. He for one should be barred from participation.

  24. zorro
    Posted October 16, 2012 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

    John, you seem to be quite clear in indicating that this job is too big, and maybe too powerful. Do you have any ideas on how the function would be better split to attract the right type of candidate?

    zorro

    Reply: I think the notion of independence has to redefined, so it is clear that the Governor is working within government economic policy. Success comes from Treasury and Bank working together, with both informing the Chancellor who has the prime duty to co-ordinate and make the big calls on their advice.

    • outsider
      Posted October 16, 2012 at 5:13 pm | Permalink

      Reply to reply: That is a very interesting reponse Mr Redwood.

      Correct me if I am mistaken but that seems to mean that you still take the Conservative Party position of 1997 which opposed interest rates being set independently by the Monetary Policy Committee and preferred what was known as the “Ken and Eddie Show”.

      That is a fair point of view, not least because the Ken and Eddie dialogue from 1993? to 1997 was pretty successful at getting inflation under control without too much drama. But the MPC had more credibility, as shown by the surge in gilt-edged prices in the year after it was announced.

      OK, it has little credibility now but sadly, in the two decades leading up to the ERM fiasco, the formula of the Governor giving advice to the Chancellor was a recipe for failure, not success. It is really a matter of the prevailing economic theory and priorities.To be honest, I cannot really see a case for abolishing the MPC and going backwards. It would certainly dent confidence initially.

      Oddly, however, you also seem to agree with Ed Balls and his former boss that running monetary policy and regulating both banks and the financial markets was too big a job for one organisation/man and therefore that the current Government’s move to put the two back together is a mistake.

      I do agree that it is too big a job for one man/woman. But my inclination is that the Governor needs to be more of a chairman figure with a vision and a plan, in the mould of Robin Leigh-Pemberton (Lord Kingsdown), who chooses, backs and holds to account top executives in charge of each of the central Bank’s functions.

  25. Bert Young
    Posted October 16, 2012 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

    You are quite right to point out the advantages of using a discreet method recruitment for the Governor appointment ; the sort of individual required would never think of applying as the result of an advertisement . The fact that the general public have been made aware is all that the advertisement could achieve . I hope that the individual responsible for the search has been properly vetted and has all the wisdom and trust to approach and negotiate on behalf of the Government . I suggest that Tucker and Turner are swept into this process and are regarded as purely measuring sticks ; they would certainly not be on my short-list .

  26. Atlas
    Posted October 16, 2012 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

    Go on John; what with your background, you know you can do it…

    • alan jutson
      Posted October 16, 2012 at 6:00 pm | Permalink

      Atlas

      I cannot think of anyone better !

      JR seems to have got all the big calls right over the years.

      Unfortunately I doubt he will be given a chance, because he would end up telling the Chancellor to run the economy with sound money, and to live within their means, and Mr Cameron would not like that.

    • a-tracy
      Posted October 17, 2012 at 9:07 am | Permalink

      Of course, John Redwood for Governor. The blog would disappear though and it’s become daily reading.

      Who is on the selection panel?

  27. sm
    Posted October 16, 2012 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

    Maybe the job is too big?

    Maybe the BOE governor and board should be given more constitutional law & guidelines to follow.

    Firstly requiring parliamentary approval of state and (preferably no prviate) creation of fiat money.

    Then on parliamentary approval of the specific use that the funds are allocated to.

    Just think..all wars would then require parliamentary consent at least to continue. .amongst one benefit.

  28. Vanessa
    Posted October 16, 2012 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

    The trouble with this advertisement is that it clearly wants someone who is already in the “club” able to ‘grease his own hands’ with our money, able to keep it quiet for years and is so close to government that no decision will be in the best interest of the country but only in the best interest of the government’s borrowing mountain i.e. exacerbating inflation for its own sake and bugger the savers and pensioners. AND SO THE GRAVY TRAIN ROLLS ON !!!

  29. Jon
    Posted October 16, 2012 at 6:11 pm | Permalink

    Good critique of the process there.

    What is ironic is that London is the number one international financial centre of the world yet the job advert clearly steers away from that talent pool and points at a very small number of already pre vetted people. That said I,m not so sure about that talent pool.

    Perhaps what is more important are the eurozone’s proposals for regulation.

  30. MickC
    Posted October 16, 2012 at 7:18 pm | Permalink

    In a previous post you described “Lord” Turner as “clever and hard working”.

    He is not-he is stupid and hard working. That is exactly the sort of officer Bismark (I think) warned against promoting.

    • zorro
      Posted October 16, 2012 at 9:18 pm | Permalink

      I remember the quote from bygone days….

      “I divide officers into four classes — the clever, the lazy, the stupid and the industrious. Each officer possesses at least two of these qualities. Those who are clever and industrious are fitted for the high staff appointments. Use can be made of those who are stupid and lazy. The man who is clever and lazy is fit for the very highest commands. He has the temperament and the requisite nerves to deal with all situations. But whoever is stupid and industrious must be removed immediately.” – Attributed, circa 1933; General Baron Kurt von Hammerstein-Equord (1878-1943); German Chief of Army Command (1930-33)

      zorro

      • lifelogic
        Posted October 17, 2012 at 7:23 am | Permalink

        Much truth in that. John Major should have been the first to be removed on those criteria.

    • MickC
      Posted October 16, 2012 at 9:50 pm | Permalink

      Sorry-it was in fact von Hammerstein-Equord. The full quote is worth reading.

    • Alte Fritz
      Posted October 17, 2012 at 11:57 am | Permalink

      What today’s system tries successfully to stamp out is the very independence of mind which a good candidate ought to have. Establishments always favour their own, but we live in a conformist age and there is so much to conform to. Can anyone imagine a known Eurosceptic being appointed?

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    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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