Jim Armitage: Taking on Carney might not be a walk in the park

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The Independent Online

Outlook Mark Carney's PR savvy impresses more with every outing. First his arrival at Threadneedle Street by Tube rather than limo. Then women on banknotes. Now, his love-in with the East Midlands.

With all the dexterity of a Nottingham lacemaker, he tickled the city's audience as they had never been tickled before.

Not only did he reach into his metrosexual manbag for a reference to Nottingham's hippest young thing, Jake Bugg, he opted to shrug off requests from the FT, the Wall Street Journal and the BBC, granting his first major interview to... The Nottingham Post. Clever, populist stuff.

Cynicism aside, the new Governor's first speech in office yesterday was excellent. He used far more empathic terms than Mervyn King ever managed, to acknowledge the pain the Bank's easy-money policy is having on savers. He spoke persuasively of the need to help banks to lend. But, most importantly, he was tough on the financial speculators who have priced in interest rate rises before the three-year horizon he set out with his forward guidance earlier this month.

Traders, of course, felt less inclined to roll with the spin, pushing up the pound and bond yields despite Mr Carney's insistence that they are premature in their bets. Unlike at the Bank of Canada, where he was a dictator, they reason, Mr Carney has the Monetary Policy Committee to convince. Hawks Ben Broadbent, Spencer Dale and Martin Weale are already against him.

But, as his countrymen on the Toronto Globe and Mail point out in an editorial today, this is a Canadian with a Machiavellian instinct. Using skills honed by 13 years at Goldman Sachs, he employed sharp elbows and guile to shape the Bank of Canada's leadership and could do the same over here.

Don't be misled by the PR tricks: the markets should think twice before betting against the Governor.