Carney’s risky “known unknown”
Daily Mail Mark Carney is nicknamed the “unreliable boyfriend” – and he lived up to it when he appeared before a Lords select committee, says Alex Brummer. Asked whether he planned to extend his fiveyear term at the Bank of England, which ends in 2018, he wouldn’t commit. He may have good personal reasons for that, but the financial markets would have liked a bit more certainty. Carney was careful not to take on his political critics – Michael Gove and William Hague are among those who have rubbished the Bank’s policies; he merely defended his policy of quantitative easing, and warned that undermining the Bank’s political independence could increase risks. But the identity of the governor is tied up with that. During the 2008 crunch, there were some in Downing Street who would have loved to expel Mervyn King as governor – but it would have been too much of a market risk. By allowing speculation about the timing of his departure – might he go in only two years? – Carney is creating a “known unknown” that may be as bad for the pound and Government bonds as speculation on political interference would be.