Today it seems to have gone public that the Bank of England are to start a blog, calling it ‘Bank Underground’. Toby Nangle tweeted that he hoped the blog would be less confusing than its namesake.
If this is happening, it’s another sign of a consistent pattern of very positive reforms under Carney’s reign as Governor on matters of communication and transparency. Keeping and publishing transcripts of minutes. Dropping the old pretence that the MPC face ‘one ball at a time’ and talking explicitly about future interest rates. [Ok, so we don’t have their forecast yet, but, it is surely only a matter of time before we do]. Youtube videos on QB articles. The stated intent of loosening managerial censorship of research and research outputs [not yet detected by me, but it’s early days]. Indicators in the Inflation Report that are to alert us as to whether the MPC forecast is panning out for them or not.
And now a blog!
Frankly, for those of us ex-central bankers ground down by the scepticism of the old regime on these matters, this is all astounding. (Next someone will be telling me that staff are going to start tweeting openly, instead of skulking around the Twitternet with anonymous handles.) And we are not even two years into the new regime yet.
I hope that the blog lives up to the subtext of its title. ‘Underground’ promises something unrestricted, radical. It conjures up enticing images of a window into uncompromising, challenging staff discourse, where the unthinkable gets thought. We are encouraged to believe that there we will find something we do actually want to read. And not the dead hand of more text produced by an editorial committee, weighed down by 1000s of words of Orwellian Blog Procedure Policy posted on the Bank’s intranet, itself the culmination of dozens of scoping, monitoring, consultative, business process, continuity, sense-check and commissioning meetings.
If it were to turn out like this, just a new way to push out the old Bank of England lines, then ‘The Governor’s eyebrows’ might be a better name for it.
You might (or might not, it was pretty seriously hushed up) remember that “The Governor’s Eyebrow” was the title which Howard Davies wanted to give the Financial Stability Review (now changed to Report).
Presumably the significance of “Bank Underground” is that there’s a hidden passage from it into the vaults?
I didn’t know that. Quite extraordinary. Don’t know about passages. Such things were above my pay grade.