Mr Osborne gets his man for the Bank
00:20 GMT, 27 November 2012
George Osborne has clearly got his man. He was effusive in his praise of Mark Carney yesterday and, by appointing him the first non-British governor of the Bank of England, he has also made history.
It is not difficult to see why the Chancellor was so determined to secure the impressively-qualified Mr Carney.
During his time as governor of the Canadian central bank, the country has weathered the financial crash better than any other major Western economy.
Truly impressive: Mr Carney has proved himself as a regulator, a central banker and in the private sector – an achievement none of his rivals could match
Mr Carney – who initially said he wasn’t interested in the London job, only to be doggedly pursued by Mr Osborne – also spent 13 years as an investment banker with Goldman Sachs, and has been strong and adept as chairman of the global Financial Stability Board.
In other words, he has proved himself as a regulator, a central banker and in the private sector – an achievement none of his rivals could match.
Mr Carney is no stranger to Britain. He attended Oxford University, has a British wife and his four children have dual UK/Canadian nationality.
Got ya! It is not difficult to see why the Chancellor was so determined to secure the impressively-qualified Mr Carney
But, for a country which is one of the world’s two great financial centres, it is deeply worrying that the British candidates proved to be so lacklustre or lacking in scope and ambition.
Two of the leading contenders – deputy governor Paul Tucker and the ex-head of the Financial Services Authority, Lord Turner – had strong support but ultimately were tainted by their proximity to the banking scandals of recent years.
Mr Carney is a bold and imaginative choice who faces vast challenges when he begins his five-year term next summer.
He must fight inflation, devise an exit strategy from the Bank’s programme of quantitative easing and take crucial decisions on when to raise interest rates.
But perhaps the biggest struggle of all will be restoring integrity to a British banking and regulatory regime which, for the first time in 318 years, was unable to produce its own Governor.
Return to Tory values
Yesterday, Tory Party vice-chairman Michael Fabricant posed the question: How do you solve a problem like UKIP
His solution – an electoral pact, in which UKIP leader Nigel Farage was offered a ministerial job and a referendum on EU membership, in return for not contesting Tory-held seats – was always doomed.
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Mr Farage considers himself at ‘war’ with the Prime Minister. Mr Cameron, in turn, has dismissed UKIP (which has no MPs, or knowledge of exercising power) as ‘a bunch of fruitcakes and loonies’.
But, by even raising the idea of a deal, Mr Fabricant has laid bare just how concerned some Tories have become about the need to ‘buy off’ UKIP, if they are to win the next election.
Surely, a more valuable question is: why did so many natural Conservatives become disillusioned in the first place, and how does the party get them back
Of course, the breaking of Mr Cameron’s ‘cast-iron’ promise of a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty was unforgivable to many.
Yet, for others, Europe is only one reason for discontent.
They long for decisive action on immigration and an end to the meddling of the Strasbourg human rights court.
They ask: Where are the real reductions in taxes and deeper cuts to State spending required to reinvigorate the economy
Why, they wonder, do the Tories refuse to support grammar schools, yet strain every sinew to put gay weddings into law
Yes, the shackles of Coalition make life enormously difficult.
But, if the disillusioned among the Tory Party’s traditional followers are to return to the fold, Mr Cameron must demonstrate to them that he shares their values and understands their aspirations and fears. The clock is ticking.