Brexit Lawmaker Gove Adds Voice to Criticism of Carney and BOE

Michael Gove, one of the leaders of the U.K.’s campaign to leave the European Union, has added his voice to criticism of Bank of England Governor Mark Carney.

In an article in The Times newspaper, Gove laid the blame for multiple economic disasters at the door of technocrats like Carney. The Conservative Party lawmaker also included in this group European Central Bank President Mario Draghi, and linked both via their former careers at Goldman Sachs Group Inc. Draghi himself was asked about monetary policy independence on Thursday and dismissed any threat from politicians.

“The trouble with technocrats is because they believe they’re smart, expert indeed, they don’t do what all humans should -- and all politicians must -- acknowledge when they’ve made mistakes, learn from errors and adjust their assumptions,” Gove said. “Because to do so would be to challenge their conception of themselves as bearers of superior insights who are not as susceptible to error as the rest of us.”

Gove’s move comes as the U.K. awaits a decision from Carney on whether to serve a full eight-year term at the BOE, or leave as planned after five years in 2018. The governor, who spent a large portion of the year fending off criticism for perceived political bias over the Brexit vote, is now seeing new attacks on his judgment almost daily. William Hague, the former Foreign Secretary and Conservative leader, published an opinion piece this week saying that central banks’ failure to reverse ultra-loose policy could cost them their independence.

May’s Complaint

The issue was kicked into life at the start of the month, when Prime Minister Theresa May said some monetary policy measures had bad side effects, prompting a response from Carney that he wouldn’t take “instruction” from politicians.

Gove, who lost his job as Justice Secretary when May took over this summer, said she was entitled to offer an opinion on the economy and monetary policy. The prime minister has since given her backing to Carney, as has Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond.

“Mark Carney may be many things but -- like the rest of us -- he is neither always infallible nor truly independent,” Gove said. “Just like the president of the European Central Bank, Mario Draghi, his attitudes and prejudices reflect a career in Goldman Sachs and the biases current among central bankers.”

Gove’s article echoes comments he made during the referendum campaign, when he shunned discussion of the economic impact of Brexit by saying that “people in this country have had enough of experts.”

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