We’re smitten, Mark. But how far can we go?

We have to get back in the game of wooing mass industrial investment

Related Topics

Dear Mark Carney –

I have to say it: you’re the real deal. There are your well-moisturised tanned skin, dark eyebrows, pleading round eyes, Action Man hair with a fleck of steel grey, perfectly knotted tie, sober, tasteful suit and honed body. And that’s before you’ve opened your mouth. That voice! Those mellifluous Canadian tones are just so beguiling.

If I was a woman or gay, I would be lost. I’d forge a press card; do anything, just to get into one of your conferences. Then, I’d beetle for the front row, shoving Stephanie Flanders aside. I’d sit, gazing at you, drooling over your every word. “Unwavering” commitment to the inflation target. Yes, yes! “Escape velocity.” Oh my! “A faster withdrawal of monetary stimulus…” Please no, I mean, yes. “Forward guidance.” Your favourite and now mine. Say it again, but faster.

The thing is, Mark, is that we’re just not used to our Bank of England governors being like you. The last guy was owlish and donnish, inscrutable, inaccessible, and he barely muttered a word in public. You were on Radio 4’s Today and I swear you had Evan Davis drooling. You were brilliant. Calm and authoritative, persuasive, more Mad Men than Economics Prof like your predecessor Mervyn.

I can’t wait to hear you on Desert Island Discs. They must have invited you already. And you should have had your Who’s Who form by now. In fact, your in-tray must be piled high with requests for appearances and speeches. No one is going to be in more demand. There is one pity, however – your declared allegiance to Everton Football Club. You’ve got cousins in Liverpool, you said before leaving your native Canada to come here.

The selection of Everton brings me on, neatly, to the bit where I have to get serious. As you must know, if you’ve got relatives there, Liverpool is a city that has seen better days. The problem for anyone in your position is that it’s not alone: there are an awful lot of places in Britain like Liverpool.

By common consent, Mark, you’ve instantly breathed fresh air into the management of our economy with your doctrine of “forward guidance”. It’s terrific that you’ve laid down such clear markers: the Bank’s Monetary Policy Committee will keep benchmark interest rates at 0.5 per cent until unemployment falls from its present 7.8 per cent to 7 per cent.

Your estimate is this will not occur until 2016, by which time 750,000 jobs will have been created. It’s a smart move, fixing rates to unemployment. Jobs are very real, and the jobless figure is easily understood by everyone. However, what worries me is that the impetus for the creation of genuine, new, long-term jobs lies, not with you, but with the Government.

It’s about investment, Mark, and that means skills, infrastructure and competitiveness. To reach the total you seek, in the time-frame you want, ministers have got to get a move on. Somehow they’ve got to encourage foreign investors to put their cash here, to build units that employ thousands not tens, to pick the UK over everywhere else. So, they’ve got to convince them that we will continue to enjoy the fruits of membership of the EU, that our unions are open to cooperation and flexibility, our schools and universities are producing the right employees, and our transport links are sleek and fast. Red tape and planning laws that so often hold back our business development must be swept aside.

It means employers wanting to go to Liverpool and its ilk. Our recent track record here has not been great. Governments put all their weight behind attracting financial service companies to the UK, to the City. Then, as you know, that sector imploded. We have to get back in the game of wooing mass industrial investment again.

The omens aren’t good. It was hoped that last year’s Olympics would provide an economic boost. The Government has just published a list of financial gains from London 2012 – one was a shopping centre in Croydon. Mark, you’re a bright guy – please don’t allow your political masters to indulge in such sleights of hand. Tell them you want tangible, meaningful progress, not trickery and spin.

This leads me on to the banks. Incredible as it may seem, our SMEs (don’t be fooled by glitzy corporations, the engine room of our economy is the little fellas), the sort of outfits you want to grow, still complain they’re starved of funds, that the banks just do not want to know.

You’ve got to rein them in. You can do it wearing two hats: one as a key architect of recovery; the other as chief banks regulator. They’ve got to come into our world. Not only have they lost us, as a nation, a million jobs with their casual, greedy antics, they remain impervious to entreaties to alter their attitudes, to stop chasing profits and bonuses at all costs.

Be careful. They’ve become very good at nodding and agreeing, and saying they get it and they’re truly sorry. You need to make the Bank’s market-watchers get down and dirty; to look under the management bonnet and see what is actually being said and what is being done in the bank’s name with someone else’s hard-earned cash. Find out what the new money-making scams are and attack them before it is too late. Mervyn wasn’t especially good at this – on his watch, the Bank sensed something was wrong but too late: sub-prime collapsed, wholesale credit froze and Northern Rock was paralysed.

I read that you’re expected to stay for five years before returning to Canada. The year 2018 looks an awful long way off but you’ve hit the ground running. Don’t let up. Go Mark, go!

Yours optimistically – Chris

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Warehouse Operations & Logistics Manager

£38000 - £42000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the UK's best performing...

Recruitment Genius: GeoDatabase Specialist - Hazard Modelling

£35000 - £43000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Our award-winning client is one...

Recruitment Genius: Compressed Air Pipework Installation Engineer

£15000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This leading provider of Atlas ...

Recruitment Genius: Operations Coordinator - Pallet Network

£18000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Opportunity to join established...

Day In a Page

Read Next

Letter from the Political Editor: With 100 days still to go how will Cameron, Miliband and Co. keep us all engaged?

Andrew Grice
A solar energy farm in France  

Nature Studies: For all the attractions of solar power, it shouldn’t blight the countryside

Michael McCarthy
Woman who was sent to three Nazi death camps describes how she escaped the gas chamber

Auschwitz liberation 70th anniversary

Woman sent to three Nazi death camps describes surviving gas chamber
DSK, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel

The inside track on France's trial of the year

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel:
As provocative now as they ever were

Sarah Kane season

Why her plays are as provocative now as when they were written
Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of a killing in Iraq 11 years ago

Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of another killing

Japanese mood was against what was seen as irresponsible trips to a vicious war zone
Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea