Bank of England Governor picks Marxists for fantasy dinner guests

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Who would the Governor of the Bank of England pick for the perfect dinner party guests? John Maynard Keynes, the great British economist, perhaps, or J P Morgan, the iconic American banker?

Not a bit of it - given the choice and access to any person living or dead, Mervyn King would pick two Marxists and a French actress. In an interview given to BBC Radio's Test Match Special, Mr King shattered the rather staid image of financiers.

The Governor, seen by many as the figurehead of British capitalism, opted for Zhou Enlai, the Chinese premier for almost 30 years; Che Guevara, the Cuban freedom fighter, and Catherine Deneuve, the French film star.

"I tell you the people I would love to meet in a dinner party. As an economist thinking of public policy, [there are] two of the great figures who have dealt with major problems and who are people who you would not normally think I would want to meet," he said.

"Zhou Enlai - he led China and China is now turning into a market economy. What does he think of it? Che Guevara - did you know he was a central bank governor? I would to know what he thought about his time as a central bank governor.

"Then probably to lighten it and to get onto more artistic and intellectual topics, Catherine Deneuve is someone I have always wanted to meet. She would be splendid."

Mr King's choices are another sign of the more modern feel he wants to bring to the Bank of England since his predecessor, Sir Edward George, retired last month.