Opinion

Is Mark Carney the most dangerous man in Britain?

5 min read

12 July 2016

Mark Carney needs no introduction – it seems wherever there is a podium, camera, or journalist there he is. So it comes as no surprise that the lure of the referendum and its result has proven irresistible to his natural tendency to speak out.

Central bankers know very well they are easy hostages to fortune so the wiser amongst their number adopt as lower public profile as possible. You would have thought Carney learnt this lesson when early on in his tenure he declared interest rates would rise if unemployment fell to seven per cent. As Sir John Scarlett was to Tony Blair in the run up to the Iraq war, Mark Carney supplied his prime minister with what he wanted to hear during the referendum campaign. 

Accordingly he wasted no opportunity to issue dire warnings of what would become of the UK should we vote leave. He must have known this was a dangerously high profile, as in many quarters what the governor of the Bank of England says still carries real weight.

When Mervyn King occupied that seat of power he would have confined himself to suitably delphic comments. Carney on the other hand is happy to set hares running in all kinds of direction. But it is in the post Brexit world that Carney is now well on the way to becoming the most dangerous man in Britain. First up was his half page interview with what sadly appears to have become a sort of rest home for bewildered “Remainers”, the Financial Times. The interview highlighted on specific quote: “We are not going from a Rolls Royce to a Trabant overnight”. 

Read more about the Brexit debate:

Well it’s good to know we are okay for a day or two but not, according to Mr Carney, much further along than that. He might as well have added “eat drink and be merry for tomorrow we die”. This kind of approach from our central banker is ludicrously irresponsible and downright dangerous. Not that he had finished there. Up he pops again in response to various property funds, post Brexit, closing their doors to redeemers of units. 

Old faithful FT reported on Tuesday 5 July that “Britain’s challenger banks have relatively high exposure to riskier lending, rendering them more exposed to an economic downturn than their larger established rivals. They also have a relatively high proportion of riskier commercial property loans on their books according to the BoE, which said that the commercial property market could be one of the key areas affected if overseas investors withdraw their money”. The FT went onto note that shares in the challengers had dropped between ten and 15 per cent by early afternoon on Tuesday.

Luckily because very few depositors read the FT he did not cause a run on these new banks. He may have had a point, we don’t know, but what I do know is that to go public on his doubts as to these banks’ viability is again highly irresponsible and dangerous.
Quite apart from his foolish public utterances I also believe he is dangerously mismanaging interest rates. 

In part Sterling remains weak because his Pavlovian response to hysterical wrong-footed Remain economists, together with possibility of falling property prices, is to drive interest rates to near zero. Yet again this may protect the British obsession with property but even a first year business student knows by now this does nothing for the productive economy, keeps Sterling in the sin bin, and encourages the taking on of evermore unproductive debt. Brilliant!

We can only hope that one of the first actions taken by Theresa May is to sack this most dangerous of men in Britain today.

Meanwhile, a significant proportion of the UK’s employment law comes from Europe – including discrimination rights, holiday pay and maternity and paternity leave – so could our “out” vote bring drastic changes to the country?