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The Bank of England is out of control Behind closed doors, a revolution is taking place

Andrew Bailey (Leon Neal/Getty Images)

Andrew Bailey (Leon Neal/Getty Images)


November 28, 2023   5 mins

Quietly, quietly, a revolution is taking place in Britain. Its forum is neither the streets nor the barricades, but committee meetings chaired by economists and overseen by politicians. The Bank of England, now in its 25th year of independence from the Government, is at risk of going broke — and it wants both a bailout from the taxpayer and the ability to raise taxes all of its own.

This is despite the fact that the Bank is at risk of going broke because of the very Quantitative Easing (QE) programme it pursued over the past decade. In other words, we are about to enable, with no public debate, the largest self-licking ice cream cone the country has ever seen.

In the event of the Bank going broke, a bailout would be underwritten by a letter sent by the then-Chancellor Alistair Darling to then-Bank of England governor Mervyn King in the heady days of 2009. This document enabled a so-called Asset Purchase Facility to help the Bank clean up the mess left over from the 2008 financial crisis. Yet since the letter can be read as open-ended, the current governor Andrew Bailey has said that it can be used again if the Bank goes broke.

Indeed, to some extent this technique is already being used: public borrowing figures suggest that ÂŁ9.7 billion have been sent from the Treasury to the Bank. And the Bank is already short on funds to shore up its internal operations. While its current stance is that it will not ask the Treasury to backstop these losses, given recent history of mission creep in a crisis situation, this could change in a pinch.

This follows on from changes made by the Financial Services and Markets Act this year, which allow the Bank of England to raise a levy on private banks in Britain to fund its operations. In the cold light of day, however, the levy looks suspiciously like a tax and raises the question of whether the Bank of England is taking on quasi-governmental powers.

To better understand these developments, we must return to the chaos of March 2009. The global economy was reeling from the effects of the financial crisis and the recession that followed. Economists were terrified that we might be headed for a replay of the Great Depression, and so took on an attitude of “whatever it takes”. The Bank of England, like other central banks in the developed world, committed to a policy of Quantitative Easing (QE). This entailed creating enormous amounts of (electronic) money and flooding the banking system with it. Technically speaking, it meant buying eye-watering amounts of government debt from the private banks. Since the size of government debt and its interest rate are inversely related, interest rates went to the floor. The hope was that this would spur private-sector lending.

Did it work? Well, the old joke — that if you ask a roomful of economists a question, you’ll end up with a roomful of different answers — certainly applies here. There are still some defenders of QE who claim that it saved the economy. A more cynical reading would be that it simply juiced asset markets and generated enormous financial bubbles in everything from stocks to bonds to classic cars and Rolex watches. It is the unwinding of these bubbles that is making the Bank of England’s own financial situation precarious.

After all, having bought this debt, the Bank was saddled with it. So, when we saw an outburst of inflation in the past few months and the Bank moved to raise interest rates, it had to start flooding the market with this debt. The price of the debt duly fell, and the Bank realised that it was haemorrhaging losses on its debt portfolio.

The obvious question is: did the Bank not factor in this possibility when it engaged in the QE programme in the first place? My guess is that they did not. The rush to enact it was driven by fear and more than a touch of hysteria. Economists at the time really had convinced themselves that the developed economies would never see inflation again.

Of course, those in charge at the Bank would no doubt prefer that this is not discussed. They will claim that they did their best in bad circumstances. And this is no doubt true. But it does raise questions about the growing closeness between central banks and financial markets. When I worked in private asset management, a friend at one of the big investment banks joked with me that we were simply overpaid civil servants. He was alluding to the fact that capital allocation by private markets, which should be seeking out the most profitable ventures in the real economy, was increasingly becoming a Punch and Judy show — with investment managers playing the role of puppets and the central bankers pulling the strings.

The result of this dubious use of monetary policy is now bearing fruit: paradoxically handing the Bank of England more, not less power, further entwining the Bank with the markets. None of this will stuff the pockets of those in charge of the Bank, of course — but it will certainly be ploughed into hiring more economists and financial experts to come up with more “innovative ideas”, such as the QE programme that got us here in the first place.

All of which raises an obvious question: what is the Bank getting out of this? Now that it has quasi-taxation powers and the Government is filling the gap in its funding, what exactly is the money being spent on?

Back in 1998, when the Bank of England was made independent, there was broad consensus among economists on what central banks should do. By the Nineties, the basics of monetary policy management had been gleaned. This, the politicians and the public were assured, was a matter of science. The central bankers were simply carrying out objective exercises in economic modelling and using its interest rate setting policy to align the economy with its findings.

It makes for a nice story, but is it true? Probably not. The effects of monetary policy changes are far less predictable than central bankers make out, and the margin for error in economic forecasts is nothing short of legendary.

Even taking the story at face value is no longer plausible. This is because the Bank’s agenda has begun to creep. Consider its commitment to “net zero” in its corporate bond purchasing scheme, which includes updating the Bank’s “remit to confirm
 the economic strategy of the Government”. What does this have to do with the monetary policy debates that led to the Bank’s independence in 1998? Absolutely nothing. It’s just economists playing politics.

Or take the Bank’s research into a Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) — the so-called “Britcoin”. Some view its proposal as a totalitarian imposition. Others see it as the future of finance. It doesn’t matter which side is correct; the very fact that people disagree is the key point. Britcoin does not even carry the pretence of being based on “scientific” or “objective” macroeconomic models. Rather, it is a case of a bunch of economists, hired by a central bank which is independent of the government yet receiving bailouts, getting enthusiastic about investigating an idea and funding themselves to do so.

Here we can see the perverse nature of its incentives. The Bank of England has spent years engaged in experimental monetary policies that have blown a hole in its finances — and now the Bank is asking the Government for a blank cheque to help it find a way to move beyond the monetary policy objectives that were the excuse for its independence in the first place. You need not be a hardcore libertarian to see these developments as dubious.

What is the solution? A debate, perhaps. Let’s have the leaders of the Bank drop the often-haughty pretence of gnostic knowledge and have a real discussion. Let them justify — in clear constitutional English, not the financial jargon they so enjoy — the policies that have led to their own bankruptcies. And let them also justify both the powers they are requesting and what they intend to do with them.

The men and women who are working at the Bank are no doubt well-meaning, diligent civil servants. But perhaps, being economists, it might be time to calculate whether the incentive structure at the Bank itself has become corrupted.


Philip Pilkington is a macroeconomist and investment professional, and the author of The Reformation in Economics

philippilk

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Walter Marvell
Walter Marvell
7 months ago

When the history of the 30 Year Blair/EU constitutional Progressive Revolution and its catastrophic unwinding in the late 2020s, the ineptitude and folly of the Bank of England will surely sit alongside the State’s equality & net zero cults as core reasons for the impending Super Crash.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
7 months ago
Reply to  Walter Marvell

Seconded.

Walter Marvell
Walter Marvell
7 months ago

It was a good article. QE has not been ever been grappled with in the media so public remain utterly ignorant. I am surprised their final giant negligent c**k up.. the so called LINKERS….(linking to interest rate) has not been discussed as the real costs are supposedly in many many billions. Dark days as the Zero Interest Regime unravels, exposing and creating a charnel house

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
7 months ago
Reply to  Walter Marvell

I rather reminds me of the dying years of the Bourbon Monarchy.
The Sans-culottes are going to be very angry indeed.

(*1783-89.)

Walter Marvell
Walter Marvell
7 months ago

They surely are. This month feels like a rather ominous tipping point. Rishi and Tories yet again exposed as the weak meek Political Adjunct or Wing of the Ruling Permanent Unelected Progressive Multicultural State. 6m rotting on Benefits. And a scary proportion of the 8m incomers crashing our woefully unplanned growth constrained infrastructure and public sector will join the 50% ALREADY taking from the State not – the big lie – delivering tax income. When AI wipes out the jobs of the vast grad army in the Blob over the next 10 years, the folly of the anti enterprise culture fostered by this Order will be exposed. Heavan help us then.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
7 months ago
Reply to  Walter Marvell

Nothing will help!
I trust Porton Down is beavering away on a SUPER COVID, for the only chance of salvation will be via a cull of epic proportions.

Last edited 7 months ago by Charles Stanhope
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
7 months ago

I thought Bill Gates had that job

Simon Blanchard
Simon Blanchard
7 months ago

I read today that swine flu is hammering at the gates.

Prashant Kotak
Prashant Kotak
7 months ago
Reply to  Walter Marvell

Putting aside the reasons, and putting my neck on the line, from here, the super-crash is either autumn 2024 or, less likely spring 2025, with an outside chance of spring 2024.

And the trigger will not be geopolitics or economics, but technology.

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
7 months ago
Reply to  Prashant Kotak

No the trigger will be like Roadrunner.
We will realise that we have run off the edge of a cliff at at the moment of realization we will hang in the air for a split second, legs swirling furiously, before crashing down thousands of feet to earth

Last edited 7 months ago by Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Paul Curtin
Paul Curtin
7 months ago
Reply to  Prashant Kotak

Smack bang in the beginning of Starmers expected rein.
What could possibly go wrong with Mr Ditherer at the helm?

Paul Devlin
Paul Devlin
7 months ago
Reply to  Prashant Kotak

What will happen then, Prashant?

Prashant Kotak
Prashant Kotak
7 months ago
Reply to  Paul Devlin

Q* LLMs will be released, and the corporate world will start re-evaluating businesses shortly after. Once they realise the potential extent of value destruction possible, all hell will break loose.

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
7 months ago
Reply to  Walter Marvell

I was having this debate last night. The person concerned thought that we could jeep the plate spinning for another decade or more. I think that the collapse will come in the next 2 to 5 years and that it will be sudden nd without warning

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
7 months ago
Reply to  Walter Marvell

Ah yes. Damn lefties and their independent central banks.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
7 months ago
Reply to  Walter Marvell

The Blair government really messed everything up in the 2010s-2020s.

Walter Marvell
Walter Marvell
7 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

I have argued that the Fake Tories are PART of a singular Progressive Political Establishment -1992/7 to present day. They are merely a low hanging and weak adjunct to the ruling State, the front of house show ponies, there to give the impression that democracy works and there is an accountable powerful Executive sitting astride a neutral State. The Big Lie. But the reptilian May Cameron and Johnson were/are all progressive woke liberals who bent the knee and worshipped the Blairite Settlement and its new partisan armies of judicial warriors and quangocrats. None of them have pursued any Conservative policies. None have challenged the New Order. All have kowtowed to the Revolution, all have let its constitutional chaos deepen, all have even ‘proudly’ embraced its diabolical race & net zero ideologies which are collectively leading us to utter ruin.

Andrew Buckley
Andrew Buckley
7 months ago

And the rich shall inherit the earth!
My problem with a supposedly independent BoE is that there is no democratic control over how this tiny group of people decide what my financial situation will be down the line.
Just wonder if this is another example of our supposedly democratically elected “leaders” passing the buck over difficult decisions to an unelected body who can easily avoid any responsibility for their decisions. Same with pushing difficult decisions to global bodies and the EU bureaucracy in Brussels.

Steven Farrall
Steven Farrall
7 months ago
Reply to  Andrew Buckley

Correct. No financial ‘regulator’ has any democratic, legal or financial accountability and no skin in the game. They are all rackets – the Bank, the Financial Catastrophe Authority, the Patently Ridiculous Authority, the Financial Ombudsman Shambles. The Financial Services Compensation Scam and so on. It is a plague of technocratic managerialism and they’ve all failed.
Shut them all down.

Jeff Carr
Jeff Carr
7 months ago
Reply to  Andrew Buckley

My problem is that the democratic control of many arms of Government is becoming increasingly tenuous.
The OBR, the NHS, OFWAT, OFGEM, OF this and OF that. It seems that these Quango’s increasingly operate to their own agendas and have hides like rhinocerous and slick as oil – nothing sticks.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
7 months ago
Reply to  Andrew Buckley

That is precisely why independent central banks were created. Governments couldn’t be trusted to take the hard decisions that dampen inflation (killing jobs and business). And to say that governments couldn’t be trusted with it is to say that voters can’t.

Colin Haller
Colin Haller
7 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

In a democracy I’ll take my chances with the electorate, thanks. The alternative is naked plutocracy.

Colin Haller
Colin Haller
7 months ago
Reply to  Andrew Buckley

Well, that was the point of their “independence” in the first place, wasn’t it? It suited the politicians who thereby dodged accountability for the outcomes of monetary policy (and even kind of a backdoor way of avoiding accountability even for their own remit, fiscal policy, either via central bank monetisation or the public’s distraction by the great hullabaloo that accompanies every twitch of monetary policy due to their influence on equity markets) while simultaneously elevating unaccountable technocrats to pull the levers on an aristocratic institution inimical to labour.

William Davies
William Davies
7 months ago

With a former BoE economist aiming to be Chancellor of the Exchequer after then next GE, I suspect there will be no scrutiny or justification of the Bank’s actions. The Blob will continue.

Jeff Carr
Jeff Carr
7 months ago
Reply to  William Davies

She was 21 when she worked at the BoE. I think her role may be being bigged up.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
7 months ago
Reply to  Jeff Carr

Need to get BBC verify on the job, I hear their main reporter is a specialist in CV enhancement.

Peter Lucey
Peter Lucey
7 months ago

To bale out Gordon Brown’s insane spending, rather than raise tax or cut that government spending, the BoE introduced QE – buying Government debt. “Kicking the can down the road”, preserving too-low interest rates and crazy house price inflation. This has screwed not just the prudent, but a whole generation.

We are now at that stretch of the road where the kicked can came to rest.

Batten down the hatches, people.

Susan Grabston
Susan Grabston
7 months ago
Reply to  Peter Lucey

I can conceive of better strategies.than batten down the hatches. A sitting duck in the face of financial repression…. no thank you.

Peter Lucey
Peter Lucey
7 months ago
Reply to  Susan Grabston

A good point!

(Could you share your “better strategies”?)

Right-Wing Hippie
Right-Wing Hippie
7 months ago
Reply to  Peter Lucey

Burn the Bank of England down for the insurance money?

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
7 months ago
Reply to  Peter Lucey

To misquote the US Dollar Bill
“In Gold (and some Silver but not as much as I’d like coz of the VAT on it) we Trust!”

Susan Grabston
Susan Grabston
7 months ago
Reply to  Peter Lucey

Proportion of wealth was legally offshored when Corbyn was in the ether. We’ve now sold investment properties (too tempting to tax) and built a diverse portfolio of multiple assets held in a trust. Next year we will offshore ourselves to a 20% regime with no public debt. Moreover it has an “interesting” political system which means slow change by consensus, which looks like a positive in these times. We plan to be self-sufficient and have learned how to grow/tend over the past 3 years. A preparation scheme has become a source of great pleasure. We are childless so no ties and we probably have 20 years left (if stats are borne out). We believe this current crisis has another 10 years to run being no less than a hegemonic shift, 4th industrial revolution, unprecedented demographic shift, and sovereign debt crisis. We don’t feel we have the years to sit it out. I apologise if this feels unpatriotic and am sure it will receive criticism. Underneath all this calculation there is actually.a very deepsorrow. I no longer recognise England. Indeed, England is not allowed to express herself within the context of Britishness and is without representation. It has become too painful to live here and sit in the grandstand of cultural destitution. .

Peter Lucey
Peter Lucey
7 months ago
Reply to  Susan Grabston

(Bit late from me but) thx for your considered reply!

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
7 months ago
Reply to  Peter Lucey

The Blair/Brown government had borrowing of like <50% GDP until they had to bail out the banks.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
7 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

That would most likely be when they were following the Tory policies, before Gordon did away with Prudence (reports are her remains are under the floor at the Treasury) and melted down, then flogged off his Golden Rule. Having first ensured a rock bottom (actually I believe it is called the “Brown Bottom”) price.
So, when Brown stood up in the Commons and claimed he “Saved the World” with QE and 0 interest rates ,he was in fact being quite modest. Because he made no mention of having his name in history over his Gold Sales (Brown Bottom) and the subsequent international agreements between Governments that none would ever do anything so stupid without warning everyone else who had any interest in gold whatsoever.
And now? How I bet HMRC wish they hadn’t flogged off all that Gold.

Mr Sketerzen Bhoto
Mr Sketerzen Bhoto
7 months ago
Reply to  Peter Lucey

Thats a rewriting of history that would make Stalin blush. QE was introduced, worldwide, to bail out banks and the banking classes. Gordon brown did achieve 3 years of budget surpluses – more than the Tories before it or since, but his later borrowing even until 2008 was relatively small relative to GDP, until the banker crash.

In fact it’s the incredibly low growth rate since that has made Britain so much poorer and reduced state spending. You can borrow more if the economy is growing at 3% compared to 1%.

QE probably stopped a major economic disaster at the time. What caused that crash and made it worse for Britain was the financialisation of the economy and the export of real industry, started under thatcher.

We need to remove the triple lock for pensions.

JR Stoker
JR Stoker
7 months ago

If any “independent” bank had got itself into a mess this big, the first response would be to sack the boss. So why is Bailey still there? Carney was bad enough, arrogant though not stupid. But Bailey. Arrogant and stupid, and with a track record that clearly sets out his incompetence.
If Sunak really is bright and strong and wants to get things back to a sensible course, he should sack Governor Bailey immediately, and Hunt also. Then we might see the beginnings of an economic recovery

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
7 months ago
Reply to  JR Stoker

They serve set terms precisely to stop the government threatening them with the sack – it’s to preserve independence. You’re asking for authoritarianism or autocracy. I’m all for vesting all power in the might of one glorious leader but can it please not be Sunak?
Don’t forget that Bailey was selected as the only option who was neutral to positive on the Brexit project. Despite the fact that the only thing of any note he had done to that point was a massive c**k up at the FCA.
Bailey is the result of a political appointment to the BoE and you’re suggestion is further government intervention. And from Sunak of all people who was rejected even by the gerontocracy tory selectorate.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
7 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

Argentina, assuming their new leader lives long enough, may well provide us with some practical experience of scrapping large swathes of Government , Quangos and hangers on, including the abolition of a Central Bank.

JR Stoker
JR Stoker
7 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

The Bank is an instrument of economic management and can not in any real sense be “independent”, nor should it be. It is the Government that is subject to regular votes, both in the Commons and electorally, and the Bank is part of the Treasury function. To have a bank, even or especially a central bank, owned by the government over which it has no significant supervisory powers and where it could not remove persons who become or are incompetent would be absurd.
I’m all in favour of liberty and private enterprise, but not within government.

AC Harper
AC Harper
7 months ago
Reply to  JR Stoker

Never going to happen. All the top jobs are handed out as patronage and a reward to various factions for their support.
Pull one card out of the house of cards and the whole thing collapses.
Although if circumstances get bad enough the house of cards will collapse anyway. The trick is to stop it being rebuilt using the same old methods with the same old cards, just shuffled to suggest a bright new dawn.

Last edited 7 months ago by AC Harper
UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
7 months ago
Reply to  AC Harper

Yes e.g. Bailey was given his job because he was the only candidate who had been anything but negative about the Brexit project.

JR Stoker
JR Stoker
7 months ago
Reply to  AC Harper

Weirdly, when the Bank was not independent, the Governors generally were! And of real talent

AC Harper
AC Harper
7 months ago

If it helps think of the Bank of England as a huge QUANGO.
And the ‘bonfire of the QUANGOs’ went nowhere as the Powers That Be enjoy an incestuous relationship with the Great and Good.
Something altogether more radical is needed – perhaps developments in Argentina will be illuminating?

Steven Farrall
Steven Farrall
7 months ago
Reply to  AC Harper

It does not help at all. It makes me feel ill

Caradog Wiliams
Caradog Wiliams
7 months ago

Douglas Adams would solve our problems today. He would put all economists onto a huge spaceship and send them to an empty planet. And what would they use for money?

Steven Farrall
Steven Farrall
7 months ago

And leave us all on the A Ark. Bring it on.

William Cameron
William Cameron
7 months ago

If you think Mr Bailey is none too bright take a look at his deputies and assistants.

Graham Stull
Graham Stull
7 months ago

On one point I am unclear: Why does the need to raise interest rates in the face of inflation demand a sale of the Bank’s government debt?
Why cannot they raise interest rates and hold the debt? After all, the interest rates are exogenously determined and apply to new lending to commercial banks.
What am I missing?

Alex Colchester
Alex Colchester
7 months ago
Reply to  Graham Stull

Mainly because the Central Bank is the tail wagging the dog. Or in other words the economy and more specifically the bond market is far larger than the central bank. Within small parameters the Central bank is in charge, and acts like a command economy with regard to short term rates. But it can’t push this power too far otherwise it risks irritating the dog (the bond market) and the dog will turn and bite it.
To your point, the central bank can change what interest it pays on overnight deposits at the central bank (made by commercial banks) but this will not have a large enough effect because ultimately the market is in charge. Remember, commercial banks will always prefer to lend into the market as they get a higher rate than if they simply leave it at the central bank- the small amount they do deposit with the central bank is part of their mandated reserve requirement.
So the modern innovation is for the Central bank to enter the market as a player. It’s ‘big lever’ is to affect money supply through open market operations. When a central bank sells government debt into the economy (the commercial banks are the buyers) it simultaneously sucks money out of the economy (the cash used by the commercial banks to buy the bonds). This is a supply and demand exercise. Less money in circulation equals less lending and as a result less economic activity. Inflation then is meant to come down. Sadly it doesn’t always pan out like that. Sometimes the dog grows way too big to notice. In extreme circumstances the dog may even bite off it’s irritating little tail.

Last edited 7 months ago by Alex Colchester
Andrew Wise
Andrew Wise
7 months ago

Thanks for that explanation

Colin Haller
Colin Haller
7 months ago

Erm, the evidence of the capacity of a central bank to determine the interest rate further out the curve than the overnight rate is already in — viz Japan.

Peter O
Peter O
7 months ago
Reply to  Graham Stull

Central banks typically have control over short-term rates, e.g. via the overnight rates on bank deposits. Flooding the market with long-term debt will decrease bond prices, i.e. raise long-term rates.

In addition, as Alex points out below, when a central bank sells a security, the money that the buyer pays is essentially destroyed, i.e. no longer in circulation. Inflation only occurs if the quantity of money in circulation increases without a commensurate increase in goods on which to spend this extra cash.

Last edited 7 months ago by Peter O
UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
7 months ago
Reply to  Graham Stull

Not missing anything. They can hold the debt until maturity and hope no one cares too much that they’re directly financing government.
It’s technical and I don’t really get it (Alex C below could help… to add to his explanation) but to do QE the CB had to issue reserves to the commercial banks in return for the bonds it bought. It pays interests on these reserves.
If the CB is going to continue to hold the debt on its books long term then it needs to ensure it continues to pay an attractive rate of interest on those excess reserves because otherwise the banks will try and use them which would in itself be inflationary (remembering that the whole point of QE was to make it unattractive to hold reserves, make banks deploy them and thereby create growth and inflation).
That’s before we consider that paying high interest rates on huge piles of reserves is inflationary itself and just creates more reserves. 

Colin Haller
Colin Haller
7 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

The reserves themselves cannot be spent into the economy and therefore are not themselves inflationary. Perhaps you are thinking of banks increasing their loans (and therefore deposits) because they have more reserves?

Steven Farrall
Steven Farrall
7 months ago

The core fallacy here is that interest rates are a policy tool. They are not. They are a market price. So the Bank’s use of models and interest rate policy to ‘fine tune the economy’ is doomed to fail. In any event that policy action is de facto Marxist.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
7 months ago
Reply to  Steven Farrall

Must have missed the part of Marx where he talks about an independent central bank setting interest rates at levels intended to limit inflation by keeping the economy cool enough to stop workers getting any funny ideas about asking for better pay.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
7 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

IF interest rates are the price of money, then aren’t they price fixing? Sounds very ‘Soviet Central Planning’ to me.
Which reminds me that I can no longer find the quote I am sure was attributed to Gorbachev on the collapse of the Soviet Union.
“The only thing the West took from the Soviet System was the very thing that brought it down, Central Planning.”

Colin Haller
Colin Haller
7 months ago
Reply to  Steven Farrall

Um, no. The central bank sets the overnight (policy) rate — markets only have influence further out the curve in the secondary market, and even then only if the central bank lets them, unlike the Bank of Japan.

Jeff Carr
Jeff Carr
7 months ago

I remember attending the Quarterly Inflation Report meeting some years ago. The rate was beginning to drift up and there was some talk about the possibility of raising the interest rate. I asked if QE should be reversed first and did not really get a satisfactory answer.
It was my understanding that QE was adopted because the Bank Rate was nudging 0%. Surely it would have been logical to unwind this before cranking up the interest rate and increasing the value of the debt issued.

John Riordan
John Riordan
7 months ago

“When I worked in private asset management, a friend at one of the big investment banks joked with me that we were simply overpaid civil servants. He was alluding to the fact that capital allocation by private markets, which should be seeking out the most profitable ventures in the real economy, was increasingly becoming a Punch and Judy show — with investment managers playing the role of puppets and the central bankers pulling the strings.”

I’ve never worked in finance (well I have but only indirectly, in IT as a contractor) but ages ago I reached a similar conclusion from outside the industry purely by observing the change of tone in the media about finance and economics. Prior to 2008, the finance pages would be full of stories about business news, stock market movements, mergers and acquisitions etc. After 2008, the headlines began increasingly to be concerned with central bank and government policy. It was obvious that the order of importance regarding markets and government had changed considerably.

Glad to see that someone in the know appears to have been agreeing with my perception.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
7 months ago

Even taking the story at face value is no longer plausible. This is because the Bank’s agenda has begun to creep. Consider its commitment to “net zero” in its corporate bond purchasing scheme, which includes updating the Bank’s “remit to confirm
 the economic strategy of the Government”. What does this have to do with the monetary policy debates that led to the Bank’s independence in 1998? Absolutely nothing. It’s just economists playing politics.

Climate change will be very inflationary.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
7 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

To start with, but we’ve arguably already had that with the Gas price explosion of 2021 – down to the failure of Windmills to provide enough power AND the Golden Child of Renwables, Hydro also failing. Prompting the EU and Brazil to ‘dash for gas’ which thanks to Net Zero punitive carbon taxes etc, wasn’t there in sufficient quantities.
That was the first black swan inflationary event that some of the people I have been reading for years said would one day come, Lock-down was the other one of the pair.
The world has already changed drastically. The West is still committing suicide via Net Zero so expect it to get worse.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
7 months ago

One thing this article overlooks is that central banks were only forced to do QE because of an utter absence of fiscal policy and pro-cyclical austerity against the advice of mainstream economists. After 2008 the global economy needed a massive stimulus, governments gave it austerity and we had to rely only on China’s rise to subsidise our lives and generate some growth.
As the natural rate of interest hovered around nothing central banks could only do weird stuff like QE to actually try and get the economy to do something. Don’t forget that the 2% target works both ways! It is supposed to bring inflation down (yes I know what you’re going to say) but also to get inflation up.
In this context it is notable that central banks have been forced into action by fiscal policy again but this time around it was overspending causing inflation rather than overspending causing depression.
Don’t let government failure become an excuse for destroying the independent central bank when you believe the solution to either be (1) more government or (2) less government.
I believe that independent central banks are just one more limb of the post-Thatcher system of financial fascism we all inhabit where all powers that used to rest with democracies have been offhanded to finance and technocrats. But Tory populist dominance of the current CB structure is not the solution and if you are a hands off Thatcherite etc etc. then you should want more CB independence – not less.
QE was a massive error but it was one caused by right-wing free-market motivations. If you want government intervention to fix it then I question your ideology.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
7 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

With luck we’ll get to see what life without a Central Bank looks like, and in a country where it is going to be pretty hard NOT to see an effect I imagine.

Denis Horner
Denis Horner
7 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

THE INFLATION FIGURES THE GOVERNMENT IS TELLING YOU ARE A SUBTERFUGE WILFULLY CALCULATED TO GET THEMSELVES ELECTED AT THE NEXT GENERAL ELECTION.

The value of the pound is now worth 50 pence. Jeremy Hunt is fiddling the figures. How Inflation is calculated is different to the real rising costs of food mortgage and Rents to mentioned just a few make up the real inflation. The Elite control the money supply and the money they have raked in will be released back into the economy before the next election. Which ever party is elected they are the ELITE’s puppets. Once elected they wil tighten the screws to keep the population in perpetual debt and deficit from the cradle to the grave. History keeps repeating and you the voters are the fall guys who keep them in power. Waken up to the pervasive corruption going on.

Sunak, Liz Trust let it out of the bag on National television that the main reason for having to raise interest rate was caused by the war in Ukraine. Jeremy Hunt also confirmed their statements in his published on 30 June 2023.

SUNAK PM, BORIS AND LIZ TRUST ON NATIONAL TELEVISION SAID THE MAIN CAUSE OF THE SUDDEN TUMULTUOUS RISE IN INTEREST RATES. IS THE WAR IN UKRAINE. ALSO, JEREMY HUNT IN HIS CHARTER PUBLISHED 30 JUNE 2023 CONFIRMS THE WAR IS THE CAUSE.

THEIR STATEMENTS ARE DISINGENUOUS. THE REAL CAUSE WAS THEIR DECISION TO EMBROIL THE UK IN THE WAR.

The war in Ukraine is not about spreading democracy or the suffering of the people in Ukraine it is all about MONEY, POWER and CONTROL as it has always been.

Biden and Hunter have multiple billions investments in the North Ukraine. Biden proxy war of attrision is to protect his multi billions investment in Ukraine and LAUNDERING TAXPAYERS MONEY through his shell companies to his family and accomplices on his gravy train.

The extra money you pay on your Mortgage, Rent and Pensions are being used to finance the war in Ukraine in particular the extra monthly mortgage payments over which you have no control. The Government has placed an unlawful unfettered windfall raid on your mortgage to pay for Biden’s proxy war which no body voted for

2015 the UK trained 100 000 Ukraine soldiers long before the war started. These soldiers shell the indigenous Russian speaking Ukrainians in Eastern Ukraine for 8 years. It was ethnic cleansing most foul.

The vast majority of people in the UK voted Brexit, the UK is nolonger part of the EU.

To understand the reasons why the war is unlawful you must start at the Magana Carta. It give total autonomy to “We the people”.. Even the king and Royal Assent was and is subordinate to the law.

“We the people” is the “Ultimate Sovereignty” which belongs to “We the people.” “We the people are THE FEE SIMPLE ABSOLUTE OWNERS of the ULTIMATE SOVEREIGNTY FOR EVER. Ultimate Sovereignty is not a commodity to be traded, it is sacrosanct and foundation upon all democracy is built. Anyone who undermines the Ultimate Sovereignty commits treason.

Parlimentary Sovereignty on the other hand at all times is subordinate to the will of the “Ultimate Sovereignty” of “We the people.

After the financial crisis of the 1920 Senator Glass Steagall had the COMMON SENSE to introduce the Glass Steagall Act of strict banking regulations which placed a firewall between Depositor banking and Investment banking to prevent abuse of the banking system.

Depositor banking is where your savings, mortgages and pensions are kept safe.

Investment banking better known as casino banking gamble on Wall Street

President Bill Clinton repealed the Glass Seagall Act. He took away the firewall which left the banking system unregulated. The Banksters had a field day. They took mortgages used them to raise Collateral to gamble on Wall Street Subprime volitile property market, when it all went belly up it caused the 2007 2008 financial crisis. At the same time Gordon Brown UK deregulated the pre 1997 strict banking regulations in Britain. The whole system unregulated The TAXPAYER was forced to bail out the banks to the tune of hundreds of billions. The Banksters kept the profits and socialised their losses. Not one of them were put in jail.The deficit they created and austerity spilled over to the now 2022 financial crisis.

The Government’s unfettered raid taking money out of your bank account through the back door without your permission is unlawful.There is no legal authority to extract money from your bank account in such a manner.

The solution to highly organised enterprise of rampant abuse is to prosecute the perpetrators under the RICO Act and reinstate strict banking regulations with an enforceable deterrent of zero tolerance and heavy penalties

When their Ponzi scheme went belly up Gordon Brown and Alastair Darling rushed an application through Parliament to shift the blame onto a Global crisis. But Bill Clinton was the architect who instigated the crisis in the first place when he repealed the Glass Steagall Act of strict banking regulations legistlation Essential, Paramount and Mandatory for the protection of homeowners equitable interest in their property.

There is overwhelming unequivocable evidence to show reasones why they tried to cover up their wrong doings. Had they not departed from the well-established Glass Steagall Act and Pre-1997 strict banking regulations Banksters could not have gotten away with their ramp abuse. The Banksters were in possession of a Constructive NOTICE of strict banking regulations still on the statute book.

If Banksters want to gamble on Wall Street use your own money but not with homeowners family homes in volatile markets. It is not your money you are putting at risk it is the homeowners homes you put at risk of repossession and homelessness.

Whilst there are no strict banking regulations why allow your bank to store your Money, Mortgage, Deeds, Pensions, Savings and Assets in its vault with its door left wide open for Banksters to plunder?

All this will soon be properly the subject of legal proceedings in the King’s Bench of the High Court.

HOW THE BANKS BET YOUR MONEY it is a must watch. It takes a few seconds to start.

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1XZBABf_huYmy3Qm0zqk-BBtzghym-CAM/viewing

https://youtube.com/watch?v=gLGPYqHOP_w&si=qS6zzy70OrMaHNKm

https://youtube.com/watch?v=NeFvYtCaykI&si=CmMWccHZ8bI9KmPT

Now that BIden and Zelensky has lost the war, over 500,000 Ukraine soldiers killed, 300, 000 Russian soldiers killed, thousands with horrific injuries, and 3,000,000 refugees fleeing the conflict, the situation is so serious and extremely dangerous it is now ungent to launch a preemptive Nuremberg type trial before these hysterical mad dog Elite embroile us all in a War of Armageddon.

Biden knows he has lost his proxy war in Ukraine. He was laundering Taxpayer’s money through Burisma and his Shell companies back to his cartel complicit in his fraudulent enterprise. Now that he is facing indictment under the RICO ACT for starting an unnecessary war in Ukraine which nobody voted for. He and his accomplices producing computer generated propaganda videos in a desperate frivolous attempt to keep the war going shows they are hysterical and paranoid. It is most likely they will face further charges of espionage and treason for putting National Security at risk.
However, Attorneys are drawing up a long list of indictments. The Elite and their cartel regime of lawyers, politicians, editors and producers of their corporate mainstream media will be placed on remand to face trial under the RICO ACT.

Biden and his accomplices are GENOCIDE CRIMINAL SCOUNDREL THUGS WILL BE BROUGHT TO JUSTICE FOR COMMITTING PROXY WAR

JENS STOLTENBERG IS PLAYING WITH FIRE.

Masquerading as the knight in shinning armour the spreader of democracy, while at the same time using PROVOCATION as the means, motive, and unfettered opportunity, to draw us all into an insane war the purpose of which to protect the Interests of the Elite including their Lawyer and Politicians who keep them in power.

The war is not about spreading democracy, it is all about MONEY, POWER and CONTROL

The ELITE couldn’t care less about the indigenous Russian speaking Ukrainian people of Ukraine. They use the BBC, SKY to cover up their atrocities.

The greatest threat to humanity is the USA, UK, and the EU Criminal Elite Regime and their corporate mainstream propaganda machine.

It dosn’t matter which party you vote for whether Conservative or Labour or in the US Democrat or Republican, or Communist. The Politicians who live in the pockets of the Corporate Elite and their lawyers make the laws to keep them in power.

The BBC interviewed Ben Stiller Hollywood actor who was concern that the victims of the war in Ukraine would be forgotten. What about the over 15,000 victims the Ukrainian Neo NATZIs shelled maimed and killed over eight years? Why is it that Ben Stiller is oblivious to thoes victims? It shows how propaganda is used to justify war.

The majority of Politicians sit on both sides of the isle in the House of Commons are EU Remainers.

Heath PM and a handful of politicians shackled the UK to the EU without a mandate Referendum. Now despite BREXIT a handful want the UK to fight a war in Europe without a mandate Referendum. Why? Biden has multi billions invested in Ukraine, laundering Taxpayers money through Burisma and his Shell Companies to his accomplices all on his gravy train. Many UK Politicians have invested in European Companies. They have sat on their hand determined to frustrate and undermine the UK economy, wilfully calculated to yet again shackle us to the EU Unelected Bureaucratic Totalitarian Fascist Elite Regime.

According to Rashi Sunak PM, and Liz Trust on National Television stated: “the reason for the enormous rise in interes rates and the cost of livimg is NATO’s, EU, and BIDEN’S Proxy war in Ukraine.” The extra money homeowners pay on their mortgage is a windfall raid on their bank account to pay for Biden’s proxy war in Ukraine that nobody voted for. This is also confirmed in Jeremy Hunt’s Charter published 30 June 2023.

Here we had on the one hand, Boris supporting BREXIT while on the other hand, Zelensky and his NATZI UKRAINE REGIME wanting to be shackled to the unelected Bureaucratic EU Elite.

Boris speaks with a fork tungue He proved himself to be a liar. His latest speech about his support for Israel “Israel has the right to defend its self.” In other words Israel you are on your own to defend yourselves we are not getting involved. His speech is late in the day.

But he didn’t say to Zelensky you are on your own in your fight against Russia. Boris supplied Zelensky a NATZI DICTATOR with WEAPONS of TERRORISM and GENOCIDE for ethnic cleansing on the Ukrainian Russian indigenous speaking people in Eastern Ukraine to support Biden and Boris’s proxy war of PROVOCATION against Russia for as long as it takes.

Biden said the US has the right to make a preemptive strike on Russia.The American people are oblivious to what he is carrying out in their name. Biden and his co-conspirators have gotten away with their racketeering for far too long. They are so arrogant they think they’re above the Law. But they have been ambushed and taken hostage by the litany of their own rampant abuse of the law. Biden is to be indicted for waging an unnecessary war in Ukraine. Biden must be impeached immediately.

Now that BIden and Zelensky has lost the war, over 500,000 Ukraine soldiers killed, thousands with horrific injuries and thousands of refugees fleeing the conflict the situation is so serious and extremely dangerous it is now ungent to launch a preemptive Nuremberg type trial before these hysterical mad dog Elite embroile us all in a War of Armageddon. However, Attorneys are drawing up a long list of indictments. The Elite and their cartel regime of lawyers, politicians, editors and producers of their corporate mainstream media will be placed on remand to face trial under the RICO ACT.

Biden and his accomplices are GENOCIDE CRIMINAL SCOUNDREL THUGS WILL BE BROUGHT TO JUSTICE FOR COMMITTING PROXY WAR CRIMES.

TAKE NOTICE Journalists and Politicians, who support NEO NATO’s Corporate mainstream media and Sir Patrick Sanders HAVE NO AUTHORITY MANDATE TO EMBROIL THE UK IN THEIR PROXY WAR IN

WAKEN UP —— YOU THE TAXPAYER ARE PAYING FOR BIDEN’s PROXY

Watch the videos:

https://click.convertkit-mail2.com/wvu770ogkdsgh5mo276b7heredkxx/8ghqhohlgv97v7hk/aHR0cHM6Ly95b3V0dS5iZS9TWUNDSTRhRjVwVT9zaT1pWWljVE5PNFNqc056SG1

Surely! no one believes all who are accessories complicit in these proxy war crimes will walk away Scott free?

A Nuremberg type trial is long overdue.

Christopher Chantrill
Christopher Chantrill
7 months ago

Same thing is happening with the US Federal Reserve System. Hey! Just print some more money!
But I think we should go ask the Dutch what to do. They invented central banking, after all, and brought it to Britland in 1688.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
7 months ago

The obvious question is: did the Bank not factor in this possibility when it engaged in the QE programme in the first place? My guess is that they did not. The rush to enact it was driven by fear and more than a touch of hysteria. Economists at the time really had convinced themselves that the developed economies would never see inflation again.

Surely that’s a terrible guess? The indemnity and the APF SPV used would suggest they did foresee this.