BoE bikes: Quick, to the BOEmobile!
Lord Myners – formerly the financial services secretary in Gordon Brown’s government and before that a member of the court of directors of the Bank of England – informed Parliament this month of a particularly cunning ploy that one member of the BoE’s financial stability committee devised in 2006 or 2007 in response to the looming crisis.
The committee member suggested that the BoE obtain "half a dozen or a dozen bicycles in order that members of the Bank could move swiftly and anonymously around the City".
There are perfectly legitimate reasons why the BoE might need the speed and anonymity that bicycles offer: fear of public reprisals during the crisis; as an exercise plan for deputy governor Paul Tucker; or just wanting to pretend they were spies.
In the light of recent events, possibly the BoE was just afraid that riding around on Barclays-branded Boris bikes would be seen as a conflict of interest. At the end of the day, we can all take comfort that if there had been a total collapse of the world’s financial system in 2008, the central bank truly had the most important issues at the top of its agenda.