January 11th, 2009

Growing Unease About Old Lady’s Secrecy

Remember Something Odd in the Banking Bill from early December? Guido was suspicious about the removal of the requirement of the Bank of England to tell us how much money it is printing:
The 1844 Banking Bill ensured transparency in the operations of the Bank of England. It has been good enough for over 164 years.


Surely it can’t be that they don’t want us to know how fast the Bank of England’s printing presses are going to be running?

The Telegraph’s economics editor has just cottoned on to the dodge:

The Government is set to throw out the 165-year old law that obliges the Bank to publish a weekly account of its balance sheet – a move that will allow it theoretically to embark covertly on so-called quantitative easing. The Banking Bill, which is currently passing through Parliament, abolishes a key section of the law laid down by Robert Peel’s Government in 1844 which originally granted the Bank the sole right to print UK money.

… Debating the issue in the House of Lords recently, Lord James of Blackheath, a Conservative peer, said: “Remove [this] control and there is nothing to stop an unreported and unmonitored flooding of the money market by the undisciplined use of the printing presses. If we went down that path we would be following a road which starts in Weimar, goes on through Harare and must not end in Westminster and London. That is the great fear that the abolition of that section will bring about – but the Bill abolishes it.”

You read it here first…

UPDATE 12 Jan : The FT is calling it Quantitative Easing Confidential. Guido is quite chuffed to have beaten the FT to the story.


Media Reader

London Live to Cut 20 Staff to Buy in More Content | Press Gazette
Telegraph Revealed Auschwitz 3 Years Before Liberation | Telegraph
Mirror Hacking: 50 Legal Action Claims | Press Gazette
45 Mirror Group Stories Linked to Phone-Hacking | Press Gazette
We Must Not Call Charlie Hebdo Killers ‘terrorists’ | Telegraph
Page 3 and the Art of the Self-Pity Statement | Guardian
Here is What a 7 Way Debate Sounds Like | BBC
Poll: Sun Readers Want Page 3 to Stay | Business Insider
The Sun: An Apology | Press Gazette
More Women Prosecuted For Telly Tax | Mail
Je Suis Page 3 | Toby Young


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Alan Milburn says Labour’s scaremongering campaign for an unreformed NHS will not win election…

“It would be a fatal mistake, in my view, for Labour to go into this election looking as though it is the party that would better resource the National Health Service but not necessarily put its foot to the floor when it comes to reforming. Look, reforms are not easy, but the Labour Party is not a conservative party. It should be about moving things forward not preserving them in aspic. You have got a pale imitation actually of the 1992 general election campaign, and maybe it will have the same outcome. I don’t know.”


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