Sean O'Grady: Yes, it was embarrassing, but it was scarcely controversial
Friday 30 April 2010
Has Mervyn King had his very own Gillian Duffy moment? No. For one thing, the Governor, I assume, made the usual careful preparations to make clear that his comments were strictly off the record. Unlike Mr Brown, his trust was betrayed, rather than compromised by misadventure, and that is a shame.
Like other senior Bank officials, Mr King is not a Trappist. He does speak, occasionally, on a background basis to professional economists and, yes, journalists too. It helps us understand what the Bank is trying to do, and maybe they learn a little about whether their polices are understood or working, or both.
In this case, Mr King's comments, though colourful, are hardly controversial, and make the point he has been banging on about for months now; we need a credible plan to fix the deficit. He ought to be allowed a little poetic exaggeration.
The next government will indeed have to impose painful spending cuts and tax rises. Four or five years hard slog under any party (or parties) will be unpopular with voters who have enjoyed living beyond their means. By-elections will be lost, there'll be rebellions in the Commons, strikes, protests, unrest and a big job of explanation at the election after this one. Britain will endure a few years of agony. Deep down, we all know that.
Still, it is embarrassing for the Bank to be caught in this way, even talking about politics in the abstract. All public speeches and interviews are banned during the election campaign, for obvious reasons, and the next meeting of the Monetary Policy Committee to set interest rates has been moved to after polling day. Obviously that degree of purdah is not quite enough.
Maybe the Bank should just pull the phones out of the sockets, shut those big imposing doors, and go on holiday for a few weeks.
- 1 Unseen Charlie and the Chocolate Factory chapter deemed 'too subversive' released
- 2 Ebola virus: It's ripped through towns – now the deadliest ever outbreak of the virus is heading for Africa's teeming cities
- 3 Joan Rivers: 'Palestinians deserve to be dead'
- 4 A teacher speaks out: 'I'm effectively being forced out of a career that I wanted to love'
- 5 Mexican woman becomes world’s 'oldest person' at 127
Israel-Gaza crisis: YouTube footage shows scale of destruction after 50 days of shelling
iPhone 6 'hidden code' could indicate sharper screens or bigger phones
Keira Knightley topless: Conservative actress does own take on #Freethenipple campaign for Interview Magazine
Joan Rivers: 'Palestinians deserve to be dead'
Ebola virus: It's ripped through towns – now the deadliest ever outbreak of the virus is heading for Africa's teeming cities
Robin Williams Emmys tribute led by Billy Crystal criticised for including 'racist' joke about Muslim woman
Rotherham child sex abuse scandal: Labour Home Office to be probed over what Tony Blair's government knew - and when
The Rotherham child abuse scandal is a tale of apologists, misogyny and double standards
What do immigrants really think of Britain? Polish immigrant's Reddit post goes viral
Do you realise just how foolish the UK looks?
With Douglas Carswell joining Ukip, my party has taken another giant step forward
iJobs Money & Business
£40000 - £45000 per annum: Ashdown Group: An established professional services...
£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Real Staffing are currently lo...
£28 - 32k + Uncapped Commission: Guru Careers: A Business Development Manager ...
£40000 - £70000 per annum + Bonus+Benefits+Package: Harrington Starr: C# .NET ...