So Mark Carney, BoE Governor, thinks it wrong for the EU to demand a ‘crude’ bankers’bonus cap of 200% of base salary, and also thinks it wrong to break up large banks in order to produce a more competitive industry. What a surprise! Carney is not an independent governor of the Bank of England, he’s a partisan choice of Osborne who can be relied upon to echo his master’s voice. Osborne is adamantly against a cap on bankers’ bonuses and even deliberately went to Brussels to try to block it when he knew that almost the whole of the EU supported a cap. Osborne is also utterly opposed to any break up of the Big Five banks or indeed any diminution of their power even though they’re an oligopoly controlling 85% of accounts in the retail market, which may have something to do with the fact that the Tory party gets half its funding each year from the finance sector. So Carney was not offering a serious independent judgement on Miliband’s views on Britain’s broken banking system, he was merely following the ideological line that gained him his appointment.
When Osborne chose Carney as the next BoE governor rather than Paul Tucker, the obvious choice, he lionised Carney as in a class of his own among central bank governors and as a man who had shown his metier in his highly successful handling of Canada’s financial system. What he didn’t say was that Canada had undergone an even bigger financial crash than the EU States and that as Carney was leaving his job there the Canadian financial markets were getting seriously out of hand, particularly in the form of an incipient housing bubble (shades of Britain). Carney was in fact chosen not because of any exceptional abilities, not because his record was unblemished, but because like Osborne he is a devotee of finance-dominated neoliberal capitalism whose motto is ‘let money and the markets rule, and government get out of the way’.
Carney spent 16 years working with Goldman Sachs and is imbued through and through with the values and attitudes of the Great Sucking Vampire Squid. Osborne went out of his way secretly to recruit him. When Labour put forward a bill to require that the appointment of the governor of the Bank of England should in principle be subject to ratification by Parliament (without then knowing that Osborne had already done a deal with Carney), Tory MPs filibustered the bill so that it was talked out. Carney is there now in order to protect Osborne, whose position remains a lot more fragile than he pretends, from the kind of independent accountability shown by his predecessor, Mervyn King. He is also there to snipe at Labour, which is a wholly improper stance for a genuinely independent governor, but it satisfies Osborne’s aspiration to fill all senior financial posts so far as he can with anti-interventionist marketeers.