Queen’s birthday honours: Does Mervyn King deserve a knighthood?

13th June 2011

The BBC News website reports that King was 'a key figure steering the UK through its economic woes'.

Sir Mervyn joins Stagecoach founder Brian Souter, BG Group chief Frank Chapman and Standard Chartered Bank chairman John Peace.

Sainsbury's chief executive Justin King and the chairman of the London Stock Exchange, Chris Gibson-Smith, get CBEs.

The 63 year-old governor is also chairman of the Monetary Policy Committee which sets interest rates.

As reported on the BBC, King is a graduate of Cambridge and Harvard universities and became Professor of Economics at the London School of Economics in 1984.

He then joined the Bank as a non-executive director in 1990, and was its deputy governor from 1998 to 2003.

Trade website Money Marketing comments that the knighthood is not the only status change Sir Mervyn can expect in the next 12 months.

It notes: "The upcoming restructure of financial services regulation, with responsibility for prudential regulation switching from the FSA to the Bank, will give significant new powers to King."

CityAM reports: "This year's honours list is weighted heavily towards recognising the contribution of the City. This is partly due to it being seen as politically unpalatable for the honours to be handed to City figures during the financial crisis, creating a backlog of worthwhile candidates.

Sir Mervyn's Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the British Empire title may allow him to wear a mantle (cloak), a hat and a gold collar but he'll probably have to wear sturdier clothing if he is to shake off some of the criticism being levelled at him following the honour.

The Telegraph's head of business Damian Reece,  agrees that King is deserving of the honour but that it would have been best made after he had finished his tenure at the Bank.

He writes: "But being deserving of a knighthood does not justify accepting one, especially while in office. The tradition for Governors is to be ennobled after they finish their time in Threadneedle Street.

"Receiving honours while still setting interest rates and, in the case of Sir Mervyn, embarking on a regulatory shake-up that will see the Bank of England acquire powers other central bankers only dream of, is a mistake."

The Telegrapgh many readers agree.

evanowen writes: "More rewards for failure? Doesn't give the Man on the Clapham Omnibus much confidence in the system, back slapping old boys one and all. "What value is there in a knighthood nowadays? Even the Welsh Nationalists get one! And more shockingly they accept the 'honour'"

cliffcliff also comments :"The knighthood is for being the front man and doing the dirty work. Not bad work if you can get it, send a useless letter to the chancellor saying  that because of  influences beyond your control inflation targets have not been meet; wink! wink!  Put your name to it because you're in the job anyway and Bob's your uncle a knighthood. Life is so simple really."

On the Daily Mail website King's knighthood is reported as evidence that 'bankers are back in favour'.

Mark R from Coventry echoes many other commentators:  "This has just made a complete mockery of the honours system. This inept, backward looking, fool has done nothing to warrant this award. Far better to honour those who give selflessly and freely to the benefit of our society.

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