Anyone seen the new saviour?

And lo the wise ones came from a City in the east (that's EC1 to EC4), and we were sore afraid

Being a wise man was a glamorous job in biblical times. You could arrive mysteriously at a stable in Bethlehem - claiming to be following no more than a star - dispense exotic gifts, drop some hints about the future leader of Israel, and disappear off into the east on the back of your camel without having to explain the macroeconomic implications of introducing more gold, frankincense and myrrh into the Judean market.

Nowadays the wise men - and wise women - have to do a lot more explaining, and a lot less mysterious gift-giving. For a start there are more of them: six versus three. Also, as members of the Treasury's panel of advisers, they have to deal with Chancellor Kenneth Clarke on a regular basis who - with the best will in the world - does not hold up to any comparison with Jesus, who even from an early age was billed as the saviour of mankind. After all, the jury remains out merely on whether Clarke will be the saviour of the Conservative party or the destroyer of it.

Worse still, the modern wise people's advice must now dwell on mundane topics like inflation, money supply and public sector borrowing, perhaps more appropriate topics for the Christmas period in this age of consumerism, but hardly the stuff of a nativity play.

So what would happen if the Chancellor's wise men got to choose a saviour, and give them the gift of their choice? The results are surprisingly catholic.

Professor Patrick Minford, one of the Chancellor's original panellists, has no doubts. "Margaret Thatcher would be my saviour of mankind," he says. "She is obviously responsible for Britain's renaissance and, in a broader sense, she is partially responsible for the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of communism."

And what would Professor Minford's gift be? "A better way of setting monetary policy. Using inflation as a target is the only way to do it at the moment, but it is a bad rule. We need a control mechanism that bears more relationship to economic cycles."

His wise colleagues have steered clear of politicians. Kate Barker, chief economist at the CBI, was disinclined to choose anyone but Jesus as her saviour of the world, but if he was excluded she would plump for the 19th century (female) novelist George Eliot. Ms Barker's gift would be for Eliot "to be born at a different time" so that she could have used her own name (Mary Ann Evans) and put her early feminist views to better use.

Martin Weale, director of the National Institute for Economic and Social Research, would have Dr Karl Frederich Gauss (1788-1855), mathematical genius, as his saviour of mankind.

"My gift to him would simply be a pen and some paper so he could continue his work in mathematics, which I believe is the most important of all disciplines because it is from mathematics that all scientific advances flow."

And finally, Gavyn Davies, chief economist at Goldman Sachs, who believes that Southampton Football Club is in pressing need of saving, and the only man to do it is its manager Graeme Souness.

Mr Davies's gift to the Southampton manager? "I would give him Alan Shearer back. The club has not been the same since he left."

News
peopleHowards' Way actress, and former mistress of Jeffrey Archer, was 60
Sport
Romelu Lukaku puts pen to paper
sport
News
Robyn Lawley
people
Arts and Entertainment
Unhappy days: Resistance spy turned Nobel prize winner Samuel Beckett
books
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
people
Life and Style
Troy Baker and Ashley Johnson voice the show’s heroes
gamingOnce stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover
News
i100
Life and Style
Phones will be able to monitor your health, from blood pressure to heart rate, and even book a doctor’s appointment for you
techCould our smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases via Health Kit and Google Fit?
News
people
Extras
indybest
Travel
Ryan taming: the Celtic Tiger carrier has been trying to improve its image
travelRyanair has turned on the 'charm offensive' but can we learn to love the cut-price carrier again?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Sport
Usain Bolt confirms he will run in both the heats and the finals of the men's relay at the Commonwealth Games
commonwealth games
Life and Style
Slim pickings: Spanx premium denim collection
fashionBillionaire founder of Spanx launches range of jeans that offers 'thigh-trimming construction'
News
Sabina Altynbekova has said she wants to be famous for playing volleyball, not her looks
people
News
i100
Life and Style
tech'World's first man-made leaves' could use photosynthesis to help astronauts breathe
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Senior Investment Accounting Change Manager

£600 - £700 per day + competitive: Orgtel: Senior Investment Accounting Change...

BA/PM,EMIR/Dodd-Frank,London,£450-650P/D

£450 - £650 per day + competitive: Orgtel: My client, a leading bank, is curre...

Senior Analyst - ALM Data - Banking - Halifax

£350 - £400 per day + competitive: Orgtel: Senior Analyst, ALM Data, Halifax, ...

Java developer - Banking - London - Up to £600/day

£500 - £600 per day: Orgtel: Java developer - Banking - London - Up to £600/d...

Day In a Page

Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices
Could our smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases via Health Kit and Google Fit?

Could smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases?

Health Kit and Google Fit have been described as "the beginning of a health revolution"
Ryanair has turned on the 'charm offensive' but can we learn to love the cut-price carrier again?

Can we learn to love Ryanair again?

Four recent travellers give their verdicts on the carrier's improved customer service
Billionaire founder of Spanx launches range of jeans that offers

Spanx launches range of jeans

The jeans come in two styles, multiple cuts and three washes and will go on sale in the UK in October
10 best over-ear headphones

Aural pleasure: 10 best over-ear headphones

Listen to your favourite tracks with this selection, offering everything from lambskin earmuffs to stainless steel
Commonwealth Games 2014: David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end

Commonwealth Games

David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end
UCI Mountain Bike World Cup 2014: Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings

UCI Mountain Bike World Cup

Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings
Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star