David Prosser: Silence can be golden

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The Independent Online

Outlook The former Monetary Policy Committee member David Blanchflower is a gift to critics of the Bank of England and its Governor, Mervyn King. Having been a lone voice warning of recession during his term on the MPC, barely a week has gone by since Mr Blanchflower stepped down without him attacking his old colleagues.

His latest complaint is that Mr King never told him about the secret loans the Bank of England made to Royal Bank of Scotland and HBOS last year, and kept him in the dark about the scale of the problems at Northern Rock. It is strange that other ex-MPC members do not see things the same way. The economist Kate Barker, for example, is on record as saying she was kept sufficiently well informed to perform her MPC duties. Mr King, too, insists he regularly briefed MPC members.

Mr Blanchflower's carping is becoming tedious – his undoubted expertise is devalued both by the regularity of his complaints and the fact he is now paid to write a magazine column that reads better for a little controversy.

If Mr Blanchflower really felt he was being kept out of the loop during his time at the MPC, why did he not stand down? That he did not know about the secret loans did not stop him pressing for interest rate cuts. His campaign was, of course, eventually vindicated – all credit to him – but he has been trading on that victory ever since.

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