Sunday, September 18, 2005

Oooh Ken: You Are A Rascal!

On this morning's Sunday AM, Andrew Marr interviewed Ken:

Andy: "Your critics say about that you were wrong on the euro, that you were wrong on independence for the Bank of England, and that a lot of your criticisms of New Labour in the early days weren't borne out."

Ken: "The trouble with the press, with great respect to your trade Andrew, is they do tend to report each other and they do go for clich├ęs. I will repeat that I was always in favour of an independent Bank of England - chase one of those reminiscences."

What?!

Has Ken completely forgotten what he himself wrote for the FT on 7 May 1997, the day after Gordon B made the Bank independent:

"My approach was well-known. I always listened carefully to the advice of the Bank of England. But, at the end of the day, I took my own decisions on interest rates. More often than not I was proved right.

If markets are to have confidence in a chancellor, the first condition is that the chancellor must have confidence in himself. By giving away control of one of the key levers of economic policy only days after taking office, Mr Brown has made it clear he is not ready to take on the full range of responsibilities that his predecessors have exercised.

Yesterday's unnecessary and over-hasty decision puts Britain's economic prospects at serious risk. It abandons a tried and tested approach that has delivered the best inflation performance for decades. It is a hasty decision that Mr Brown may come to regret."

Just as Ken himself may come to regret his statement to Andy M.


PS Of course, it could all just be a faulty memory circuit in the Clarke cranium. But now we've got the internet, you can't afford to forget stuff- it's always dredgeable with a few minutes on Google. For example, in trying to establish whether John Major agreed with Ken's opposition to BoE independence, I've just dredged up Ken's student dalliance with Sir Oswald Mosley, whom apparently he twice invited to speak at Cambridge. I mean...what was that all about? Other than the fact that Mosley was a fanatical Euro-federalist. And also, it turns out, the father of Max Mosley, the man who steers Formula 1, that Ken's so keen on. What's that telling us?

And I wouldn't have discovered any of that if Ken had just fessed up on Bank independence.
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