Jeremy Warner's Outlook: Sir John... a very public defenestration

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The Independent Online

Quite possibly, I was the last to talk to Sir John Gieve, deputy governor of the Bank of England, before news of his early departure was blasted all over the airwaves. This was because I found myself alongside the deputy governor this week as we entered the banqueting hall for the Mansion House dinner, scene of his public defenestration.

Naturally, I asked him how he was. Not bad, he said, as unbeknown to him he went to meet his fate. Neither of us at that stage knew that the news had leaked, though obviously Sir John would already have been only too aware that he had been axed in horse-trading between the Treasury and the Bank of England over the new arrangements for financial stability.

It is hard not to feel sorry for Sir John. The Bank of England didn't want him in the first place and was perfectly happy to see him thrown to the wolves. At the dinner, Sir John found himself sat next to Yvette Cooper, Chief Secretary to the Treasury and wife of the Prime Minister's right-hand man, Ed Balls. It can't have been a comfortable pairing.

Sir John received the premature news of his departure via text, and then as the speeches droned on spent the rest of the dinner editing his resignation statement via his BlackBerry. His expression remained fixed throughout. The cameras would thus be deprived at least of that satisfaction.