Incompetence at Its Finest
Here’s a major laugh for a long holiday weekend in the US: Secret Bank of England taskforce investigates financial fallout of Brexit
Bank of England officials are secretly researching the financial shocks that could hit Britain if there is a vote to leave the European Union in the forthcoming referendum.
The Bank blew its cover on Friday when it accidentally emailed details of the project – including how the bank intended to fend off any inquiries about its work – direct to the Guardian.
According to the confidential email, the press and most staff in Threadneedle Street must be kept in the dark about the work underway, which has been dubbed Project Bookend.
The revelation is likely to embarrass the bank governor, Mark Carney, who has overhauled the central bank’s operations and promised greater transparency over its decision-making.
MPs are now likely to ask whether the Bank intended to inform parliament that a major review of Britain’s prospects outside the EU was being undertaken by the institution that acts as the UK’s main financial regulator. Carney is also likely to come under pressure within the Bank to reveal whether there are other undercover projects underway.
Officials are likely to have kept the project under wraps to avoid entering the highly charged debate around the EU referendum, which has jumped to the top of the political agenda since the Conservatives secured an overall majority. Many business leaders and pro-EU campaigners have warned that “Brexit” would hit British exports and damage the standing of the City of London.
The email indicates that a small group of senior staff are to examine the effect of a Brexit under the authority of Sir Jon Cunliffe, who as deputy director for financial stability has responsibility for monitoring the risk of another market crash.
The email, from Cunliffe’s private secretary to four senior executives, was written on 21 May and forwarded by mistake to a Guardian editor by the Bank’s head of press, Jeremy Harrison.
Secret Agent Man
I offer the following musical tribute in “honor” of secret projects of the Bank of England.
Link if video does not play: Jonny Rivers – Secret Agent Man 1966
Mike “Mish” Shedlock