The shoes of a warlock are hard to fill

Back in May when Mark Carney was leaving his post of Governor of the Bank of Canada, I warned him that the British press would probably make up all sorts of rumors about him. The most believable one pertained to his status as a warlock. As evidence of Carney’s warlockishness, I quoted a prominent political scientist, who had this to say about Carney: “No one gets to where that man is just by working hard and being good at their job. That’s just not how our world works.”

Now that Carney has settled into his post as Governor of England’s central bank, I am inclined to agree. The proof is in the Yorkshire pudding. What did England’s pre-Carney economy look like? Pretty crappy I’d say, even for Europe. Its highly integrated finance industry meant it was hit pretty hard by the 2008 sub-prime mortgage crisis–British banks lost around 12 billion pounds in 2007 alone, and was also victim of a weak European export market in the wake of the sovereign debt crisis.

About a year before Carney started at the Bank of England, the UK slipped back into recession and people were beginning to wonder if the unemployment rate would ever decline after hovering around 8% since 2009.

Now, a mere five months after Carney’s arrival, the BoE’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) is proclaiming that “in the United Kingdom, recovery has finally taken hold.” Growth projections are being revised up and stat-watchers have been surprised at the job creation numbers of the past few months. Which leads me to ask: What is this guy’s secret?!

image: Chris Wattie/Reuters

He didn’t technically do much. After his first meeting in August with the MPC, he issued an unclear, waffly statement saying that he would not raise interest rates until the unemployment rate dropped below 7%, unless inflation became a problem or financial stability were threatened. No one quite knew what to do with that, but soon everything started getting better. In fact, things started improving the second Carney took over at the BoE, leading the Financial Post to assert that he had quite possibly made the best-timed job switch ever. And now, says Carney, the UK economy is sailing along at escape velocity. (Though most economists would beg to differ, according to a survey by Bloomberg Businessweek.)

Sorry, Carney, I’m onto you. I’m not fooled by your adorable ploy to win Britons over by taking the Tube to work on your first day and getting lost. An entire economy serendipitously healed itself the moment it became your responsibility. It’s more than luck.

Wikipedia defines warlocks as beings who invoke “magic through their darkened soul,” while warning that “warlocks are often evil or chaotic in alignment.” More incriminating is the fact that “almost all of the warlock’s attack powers depend on charisma or constitution for accuracy and damage, with some powers gaining bonuses from intelligence.” Now we know why Carney is so powerful: his excessive charisma and intelligence have made him unstoppable.

Also suspect is the way the Carneys have miraculously avoided the usually intense scrutiny of the British press. The Canadian media made much of the attention the popular couple would garner from the famously obnoxious British papers, but, apart from a brief uproar over Diana Carney’s dislike of tea bags, this has not come to pass. An innocuous occurrence, or another instance of magic invoked through a darkened soul? Who am I to say?

As long as Warlock Underlord Carney continues to use his powers for good, there is really no harm in his being a warlock. Is he evil or chaotic in alignment? I don’t really know what that means, but I don’t think so. His terse and dynamic public statements sure are missed here though. Our new Governor seems content to do what most bankers do best: his job, discreetly. And I actually prefer it that way after Poloz issued a weird statement thanking Canadians for taking on crippling amounts of debt during the recession. I don’t blame him though–the shoes of a warlock are hard to fill.


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