HENRY DEEDES watches Bank of England chief's appearance before MPs

I’m not happy, said the Governor casually… 好像他的煮鸡蛋还需要一分钟: HENRY DEEDES watches Bank of England chief Andrew Bailey’s appearance before MPs

英格兰银行’s spin doctors will probably claim that their governor, Andrew Bailey, came out swinging yesterday. But that would be wishful thinking.

Bailey is no barroom brawler. He prefers to tackle opponents in a more donnish way: A cocked eyebrow here, a delicately disguised put-down there.

Anyone who thinks this is a polite way of saying he’s a slightly dull old duck would be right.

If predecessor Mark Carney was central banking’s rock star, Bailey is more its owlish book-keeper, prone to meandering explanations and the dense terminology of international finance.

The Bank of England’s spin doctors will probably claim that their governor, Andrew Bailey, came out swinging yesterday. But that would be wishful thinking

The Bank of England’s spin doctors will probably claim that their governor, Andrew Bailey, came out swinging yesterday. But that would be wishful thinking

换句话说, not one of life’s cartwheelers. Mr Bailey – whose lack of a knighthood may soon begin to look conspicuous – had been summoned to appear in front of the Treasury select committee to be quizzed about ‘Bank of England Monetary Policy’.

Top of the agenda was surging inflation, which is set to hit 10 百分. Some in Government are laying the blame squarely at Bailey’s doorstep.

There are reports that ministers are not altogether enamoured by his tenure of Threadneedle Street. ‘The Governor’ (as he was repeatedly referred to as though a character from a Guy Ritchie film) admitted he was ‘not at all happy’ about the inflation situation himself.

He uttered this in a slightly casual fashion – the way that a diner might complain to a breakfast waiter that his boiled egg could have done with a minute or two longer. Committee chairman Mel Stride (Con, C Devon) put it to Bailey that he’d been asleep at the wheel. Bailey lowered his head and suggested that his critics were a bunch of opportunistic snakes.

If predecessor Mark Carney was central banking’s rock star, Bailey is more its owlish book-keeper, prone to meandering explanations and the dense terminology of international finance

If predecessor Mark Carney was central banking’s rock star, Bailey is more its owlish book-keeper, prone to meandering explanations and the dense terminology of international finance

Not that he put it quite so bluntly. 没有, 没有, 没有. Every decision he had made as Governor had been based on ‘facts and evidence at the time’, 他说.

Criticism of him was simply ‘based on hindsight’.

The problem was a ‘sequence’ of external factors, the most significant being the war in Ukraine.

The Bank has now raised interest rates to 1 per cent and is predicting headline CPI inflation will top 10 今年的百分比

The Bank has now raised interest rates to 1 per cent and is predicting headline CPI inflation will top 10 今年的百分比

‘We can’t predict things like war, that’s not really in our power,’ he remarked a tad archly.

Accompanying the Governor were Deputy Governor Sir Dave Ramsden plus Jonathan Haskel and Michael Saunders of the Monetary Policy Committee. Mr Saunders is your archetypal Wall Street yuppie in appearance. Bouffant hair.

Impressive suntan. I notice he once worked at megabucks Noo York investment bank, Salomon Brothers (now defunct). No doubt he was one of those ‘Masters of the Universe’ that writer Tom Wolfe warned us about.

Sir Dave, a former Treasury wonk, sat respectfully nodding along whenever Bailey spoke. If the boss seemed to be flagging, he would helpfully chip in with supportive comments. A shining example of the mandarin class.

Things turned pretty gloomy when Gareth Davies (Con, Grantham) began asking about the Bank’s projections. Bailey predicted we were in for ‘very real income shock’. He warned of further energy shocks.

再次, the main problem was Ukraine. He recounted a recent meeting with Ukraine’s finance minister, who relayed to him how they were currently unable to export any of their wheat supplies

再次, the main problem was Ukraine. He recounted a recent meeting with Ukraine’s finance minister, who relayed to him how they were currently unable to export any of their wheat supplies

Food prices were also likely to go north rapidly. 哦,兄弟. The Governor admitted he ‘felt a bit helpless’. He claimed around 80 per cent of the factors driving inflation were beyond his control.

再次, the main problem was Ukraine. He recounted a recent meeting with Ukraine’s finance minister, who relayed to him how they were currently unable to export any of their wheat supplies.

Bailey described this as a ‘major worry’ for the developing world. ‘Sorry to be all apocalyptic,’ he shrugged. This was becoming rather more depressing than even a Ken Loach movie.

Rushanara Ali (实验室, Bethnal Green and Bow) probed Bailey about rising pay levels in the City.

Mr Bailey told MPs he felt 'helpless'. 图为: the Prime Minister today joined by Middlesex Cricket Club and students from Bourne Primary School in the garden of Number 10 for a cricket workshop

Mr Bailey told MPs he felt ‘helpless’. 图为: the Prime Minister today joined by Middlesex Cricket Club and students from Bourne Primary School in the garden of Number 10 for a cricket workshop

The Governor took this as an opportunity to remind the committee he’d declined a raise this year.

You may recall he got himself in terrible shtuck last time he appeared here when he couldn’t remember exactly what he earned (currently £575,538).

Ali then raised those claims about ministers being unhappy with his performance. Bailey suggested such chit-chat was beneath him. ‘I don’t live in a world of anyone’s politics,’ he spluttered.

I think this was his roundabout way of saying: ‘I really don’t care what you ruddy politicians think of me.’ But he must be aware of the reports? '是, I do read newspapers,’ came the tart response.

Bailey might be a hard-faced central banker but I detect a little fragility there.