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The Globe and Mail

Head banger, power player, outsider: British press greets Carney

Bank of Canada Governor Mark Carney announces will leave the Bank Of Canada to head the Bank of England, during a news conference in Ottawa, Monday, November 26, 2012.


Bank of Canada Governor Mark Carney was splashed across Britain's front pages today with a rock star-style welcome as "head banger to head banker".

The Sun revelled in Mr. Carney's Harvard University days when he used to blast AC/DC's Back in Black before ice hockey games: "Heavy Metal Fan to Run Bank of England."

The Daily Mirror focused more on Mr. Carney's pay package – a cool £480,000 a year ($765,000 Canadian) jumping to £624,000 cash-in-lieu after the Goldman pension. A man could jog along nicely on such a sum in London.

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Middle England's favourite newspaper The Daily Mail put the spotlight on Canada's new power couple who met at Oxford. Diana Fox was dubbed a "jolly hockey sticks English wife," the British way of describing a "can-do" woman who doesn't mind getting her hands dirty – particularly if it involves horses and other "Sloaney Pony" wives of old money.

But The Telegraph was more circumspect about the "First Lady of the Bank of England" who grabbed the top headlines instead of her husband. The Telegraph ran several colour photos of Diana online and described her as a "strident environmental activist who urges people to spend less money on possessions."

"Mrs Carney, who met her husband, Mark, at Oxford, is vice-president of Canada 2020, a Left-wing think tank, and reviews environmentally-friendly products," The Telegraph reported, adding that she lives with her husband and four daughters in an £800,000 Rockliffe Park Ottawa home in one of Canada's richest enclaves where the neighbours include ambassadors and executives Not bad for an "eco-warrier" wife who "says banks are rotten" and likes to attack the excess of top earners, The Telegraph noted.

Not bad either for her husband, the 47-year-old son of a school teacher from Fort Smith, Northwest Territories who will become one of England's most powerful men when he takes over the Bank of England in July.

Aside from being a "safe pair of hands" who steered Canadian banking through the Lehman Bros. meltdown in 2008, the newspapers weren't really sure what to make of Mr. Carney, although they all noted he was well respected, and … well, from "away."

"The new governor of the Bank of England is from, er, Canada!" the tabloid Daily Mirror noted for Brits who couldn't find Fort Smith on a map and those who've never owned a map.

For the most part the broadsheets played it straight, although they too made a point of noting there would soon be an "outsider" sent in to save the faltering British economy. Mr. Carney is indeed the first "foreigner" to lead the Bank of England in the institutions 318 year history.

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The Bank of England had a Scottish governor once, but that was centuries ago and it isn't well known. Apparently, it is still a sore point in some circles.

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