Greg Clark MP: Mark Carney is the best central banker in the world and we've got him for Britain
Greg Clark is Financial Secretary to the Treasury and MP for Tunbridge Wells. Most Tuesdays he will be writing this new 'Letter from a Treasury Minister' for ConservativeHome readers. He starts with this celebration of the recruitment of Mark Carney as Governor of the Bank of England. Follow Greg on Twitter.
The ‘Great Man’ theory of history is the idea that world-changing events are shaped by exceptionally heroic (or villainous) individuals. It was very popular in the Victorian era, but came under challenge from the opposing view that history is shaped by impersonal forces, especially those of technological and economic change.
But whatever the academics might think, the more that I see of the process of decision-making, whether in Whitehall, the City or elsewhere, the more that I’m convinced that which people we have in which positions can have an important influence.
As with so much else, when it comes to decision-making, people really do matter.
That’s why it’s important that for a position as important as Governor of the Bank of England, the very best person for the job is found. Right now, and even with the depth of talent within this country and within the Bank of England, that person is Mark Carney. To get “the best for Britain”, to use George Osborne’s phrase, we got the best in the world.
At a time of global crisis, the Canadian economy has successfully weathered the storm, despite the influence of the more turbulent US economy next door. Mark Carney experienced and contributed to this success as Governor of the Bank of Canada.
For a man of such international high standing to now take the helm at the Bank of England can only enhance confidence in the British economy. When no nation, no matter how powerful, can take its economic credibility for granted, Mark Carney’s appointment adds further strength to Britain’s position.
Long-term reform of the financial system depends, above all, on the vision of the elected government of the day. Past experience reminds us what happens when such vision fails. However, government alone is not enough. The institutions of the financial sector must also play their part – and there is no more important an institution than the Bank of England.
That is why we have restored the Bank to a position of unambiguous oversight and leadership – to be exercised not just through a reformed system of formal regulation, but also through the institutional culture of the financial sector.
In doing so, I believe we have created the best possible framework for this leadership role and in appointing Mark Carney we have chosen the best possible candidate to lead the Bank of England.