Outlook: Monetary soap

Outlook: Monetary soap

THE MONETARY Policy Committee's capacity for entertainment value is definitely on the increase, although it still falls short of the high comedy of the Ken and Eddie show it replaced. Like any good sit-com sequel it has retained, in the commanding figure of the Governor, one of the principal characters. Now further dramatic potential is emerging in the shape of the increasingly forceful characters of the other eight members of the committee.

The latest episode, following on from the big row over research facilities earlier this month, was a corker. On the face of it yesterday's minutes showed an eight-one split. Only DeAnne Julius voted against the quarter- point increase in interest rates.

Those other eight votes, however, disguised a mass of seething disagreement. One member, presumably Willem Buiter, suggested the increase should be less than a quarter point. At least one, probably including Mervyn King, wanted a half-point rise instead of a quarter. Confused? You will be after this latest episode of "Trouble on the MPC". More importantly, what on earth does this difference of opinion imply for forthcoming interest rate decisions? It's a real cliffhanger.

Frivolity aside, it is obviously a huge improvement to have a more transparent debate which sheds light on genuine and inevitable differences of opinion. It was the lack of transparency that really made the Ken and Eddie show a farce, because it was an open secret that the published minutes were a fig-leaf for a decision made by the Chancellor before the meeting even started.

However, there is a sense in which yesterday's minutes almost let too much hang out. Seemingly everyone gets a paragraph to set out his or her view. While airing the broad debate in public is certainly valuable, it also gives the impression that the MPC's members are succumbing to the temptation to try and fine-tune the economy, as if a 0.125 per cent variation in interest rates will make any significant difference to the economy two years hence.

The squabbling cast of the MPC must keep the broader picture in mind - that theirs is an imprecise science in which the aim must be to avoid big mistakes rather than get small details right. So far, luckily, they've achieved it, but the lack of coherent consensus suggests it may not always be thus.

Outlook@independent.co.uk

PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Reach Volunteering: Trustee – PR& Marketing, Social Care, Commercial skills

Voluntary Only - Expenses Reimbursed: Reach Volunteering: Age Concern Slough a...

Reach Volunteering: Charity Treasurer

Voluntary Only - Expenses Reimbursed: Reach Volunteering: Crossroads Care is s...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Soho

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £35,000: SThree: We consistently strive to be ...

Ampersand Consulting LLP: Markit EDM (CADIS) Developer

£50000 - £90000 per annum + benefits: Ampersand Consulting LLP: Markit EDM (CA...

Day In a Page

Mau Mau uprising: Kenyans still waiting for justice join class action over Britain's role in the emergency

Kenyans still waiting for justice over Mau Mau uprising

Thousands join class action over Britain's role in the emergency
Isis in Iraq: The trauma of the last six months has overwhelmed the remaining Christians in the country

The last Christians in Iraq

After 2,000 years, a community will try anything – including pretending to convert to Islam – to avoid losing everything, says Patrick Cockburn
Black Friday: Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Britain braced for Black Friday
Bill Cosby's persona goes from America's dad to date-rape drugs

From America's dad to date-rape drugs

Stories of Bill Cosby's alleged sexual assaults may have circulated widely in Hollywood, but they came as a shock to fans, says Rupert Cornwell
Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

As fans flock to see England women's Wembley debut against Germany, the TV presenter on an exciting 'sea change'
Oh come, all ye multi-faithful: The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?

Oh come, all ye multi-faithful

The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?
Dr Charles Heatley: The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

Dr Charles Heatley on joining the NHS volunteers' team bound for Sierra Leone
Flogging vlogging: First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books

Flogging vlogging

First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books
Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show: US channels wage comedy star wars

Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show

US channels wage comedy star wars
When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine? When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible

When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine?

When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible
Look what's mushrooming now! Meat-free recipes and food scandals help one growing sector

Look what's mushrooming now!

Meat-free recipes and food scandals help one growing sector
Neil Findlay is more a pink shrimp than a red firebrand

More a pink shrimp than a red firebrand

The vilification of the potential Scottish Labour leader Neil Findlay shows how one-note politics is today, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Tenderstem broccoli omelette; Fried eggs with Mexican-style tomato and chilli sauce; Pan-fried cavolo nero with soft-boiled egg

Oeuf quake

Bill Granger's cracking egg recipes
Terry Venables: Wayne Rooney is roaring again and the world knows that England are back

Terry Venables column

Wayne Rooney is roaring again and the world knows that England are back
Michael Calvin: Abject leadership is allowing football’s age-old sores to fester

Abject leadership is allowing football’s age-old sores to fester

Those at the top are allowing the same issues to go unchallenged, says Michael Calvin