The only place in the world where Mark Carney’s departure to the Bank of England was bigger news than in Canada was, of course, Britain, where pundits and commentators lined up Monday to offer up their two cents on the unprecedented move to appoint a Canadian to run the U.K.’s central bank.
The conversation on the other side of the pond has been nothing if not colourful.
Our own sister publication, The Huffington Post UK, offered up some interesting background on Carney’s time as a banker at Goldman Sachs. In a blog entry titled “The Vampire Squid’s Tentacles Now Embrace The Bank Of England,” Ann Pettifor of Prime Economics paints Carney as a symbol of established big bank power.
“Mark Carney — the new Bank governor — is steeped in the culture of Goldman Sachs, the world's most notorious bank. He worked for thirteen years in its London, Tokyo, New York and Toronto offices — and held a range of senior positions.”
That aspect of Carney’s past — often ignored in the Canadian media — wasn’t the only take at HuffPost UK. Another article painted him as an independent thinker with a populist streak, noting Carney’s comments last year that the Occupy Wall Street protests were “constructive.”
Yet another article focused on Diana Carney, the British wife of the central banker, a vice president at the left-leaning Canada2020 think tank who penned an article for iPolitics.ca last week declaring growing inequality to be “the defining issue of our time.”
The takes on Carney in the rest of the U.K.’s press were just as varied and colourful. Here are some highlights:
TEXT VERSION BELOW SLIDESHOW
Daily Express: He looks like George Clooney!
Mark Carney may have been born in a tiny Canadian town but the man, who bears a distinct likeness to movie star George Clooney, is unlikely to fail the Britishness test when he makes his application for UK citizenship.
BBC: Carney faces many problems at BoE
When you look in the round at what Mr Carney has taken on, it is easy to see why he fled when originally wooed by Mr Osborne - because it is reasonable to ask whether any mortal can do this job.
The Guardian: Carney means no change
Today the chancellor confirmed that there will be no real change at theBank of England. There will be no change to the Treasury and Bank of England's obsession with inflation targeting and "price stability". Above all, he confirmed that there will be no reining-in of the banks; that banks will not be re-structured - to separate the retail and investment arms, and ensure that banks are no longer too big to fail.
He confirmed this by appointing an ex-Goldman Sachs banker, Mark Carney, as governor of the Bank of England.
Daily Mail: A big job ahead
The scale of the job facing Mr Carney is enormous. The independent Bank of England as established by Gordon Brown in 1997, was to be a narrow, monetary and interest-rate-setting body. The financial crisis of 2007-08 and recession that followed changed all of that....
The borrowings on the balance sheets of London-based banks are four times the size of the country's total output - giving an indication of the size of the task that lies ahead. Indeed, it was the sheer scale of the challenge that finally persuaded Mr Carney that it was worth doing.
Daily Telegraph: Carney-mania takes hold
Is there any stopping Carney-mania? Those of us who 24 hours ago couldn't have identified Mark Carney, even if he was wearing a T-shirt emblazoned with "I'm the Governor of the Canadian Central Bank" in 110pt type, now stroke our chins and swap our best Carney insights. He was voted the most trustworthy Canadian in a poll conducted by Readers Digest (Canada). He has four children. He paid $800,000 for his house in Ottawa, apparently, although he undertook $95,000 of improvements. Did they extend out the back or convert the attic? I don't know, yet. And Canada didn't have a banking crisis, you know. Only it did, in the 1990s, and the recovery and reorganisation put it in place afterwards left it in good shape ahead of the much bigger financial crisis which hit the US and the UK particularly hard. And Canada knows how to regulate its banks, only that wasn't actually Carney's job. This is most of what we know so far.
Financial Times: Carney bound to disappoint
The new governor's problem now is that he is bound to disappoint. Unless by some miracle the British economy soon heads towards the sunlit uplands, those now so keen to lavish praise on Mr Carney will start asking whether Britain has got what it paid for. The media will ask awkward questions about his pay and perks; MPs will criticise him at once for not being tough enough on the banks and for choking off credit to small businesses.
The Independent: An outsider wins
So who are the City getting in Mr Carney? On paper he's an outsider, although he will seek British citizenship, but a look on his CV shows that the Square Mile is getting one of their own. A 47-year-old former Goldman Sachs veteran of 13 years, doing stints in New York, London, Tokyo and Toronto, he will have no trouble speaking to the bankers in a language they understand. After 10 years of Sir Mervyn and "the MA way", in reference to the monetary analysis unit which held sway as the central bank took on a decidedly academic bent, Chancellor George Osborne is drawing a stark line in the sand and setting a new course for the Bank of England.
Daily Telegraph: A rift at the BoE?
Mark Carney, the incoming Governor of the Bank of England, has attacked Andy Haldane, one of its most senior regulators and a rising star, for failing to have a "proper understanding of the facts" on bank regulation...
Mr Carney, who is chairman of the global regulator the Financial Stability Board (FSB), criticised Mr Haldane, the Bank's executive director for financial stability, for proposals he made to simplify bank regulation and encourage banks to break up.
[Haldane's] proposals ran counter to Mr Carney's work at both the Bank of Canada and the FSB. In an interview last month with Euromoney, Mr Carney said: "I thought Andrew Haldane's speech was uneven... Basle I was simple and it drove us off a cliff. Andrew Haldane's conclusion is not supported by the proper understanding of the facts."
The Independent: A British failure
If this appointment is a celebration of Britain's willingness to scour the worldfor people to run our great institutions - from football clubs to car companies - it is also an acknowedgement of our failures. In central banking this is in theory the third most important job in the world, for the US Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank naturally rank higher. But in practice it is arguably more interesting, partly because it is more wide-ranging, combining bank supervision with monetary responsibility, and artly because London's central role in international finance gives it global significance.
The Times of London: A political coup
The appointment of Mark Carney is a political coup. The decision is imaginative while also being safe. It is unusual but not unprecedented to appoint a foreign national to be head of a central bank. Stanley Fischer, Governor of the Bank of Israel, took Israeli nationality and renounced his American citizenship on his appointment. Mr Carney will similarly take British citizenship.