View all newsletters
Sign up to our newsletters

Support 110 years of independent journalism.

  1. Politics
31 October 2016

What Jacob Rees-Mogg and President Erdoğan have in common

They're no fans of central bankers. 

By Julia Rampen

One is the prickly President of Turkey, who recently saw off a coup and is now purging government employees he suspects of following his deadly rival.

The other is a traditionalist Conservative backbencher who once went campaigning with his nanny

But Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Jacob Rees-Mogg have at least one thing in common – they both are deeply suspicious of central bankers.

Erdogan’s hatred of “the interest rate lobby” stems back to his party’s economic record. As Prime Minister, he oversaw the country’s recovery from recession, and by the mid noughties he was the pin up for a moderate, business-friendly, democratic Islamist regime. Investors  in Turkey’s booming economy were buoyed up by  reports that the country might even be on the verge of joining the EU. 

Select and enter your email address Your weekly guide to the best writing on ideas, politics, books and culture every Saturday. The best way to sign up for The Saturday Read is via saturdayread.substack.com The New Statesman's quick and essential guide to the news and politics of the day. The best way to sign up for Morning Call is via morningcall.substack.com Our Thursday ideas newsletter, delving into philosophy, criticism, and intellectual history. The best way to sign up for The Salvo is via thesalvo.substack.com Stay up to date with NS events, subscription offers & updates. Weekly analysis of the shift to a new economy from the New Statesman's Spotlight on Policy team.
  • Administration / Office
  • Arts and Culture
  • Board Member
  • Business / Corporate Services
  • Client / Customer Services
  • Communications
  • Construction, Works, Engineering
  • Education, Curriculum and Teaching
  • Environment, Conservation and NRM
  • Facility / Grounds Management and Maintenance
  • Finance Management
  • Health - Medical and Nursing Management
  • HR, Training and Organisational Development
  • Information and Communications Technology
  • Information Services, Statistics, Records, Archives
  • Infrastructure Management - Transport, Utilities
  • Legal Officers and Practitioners
  • Librarians and Library Management
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • OH&S, Risk Management
  • Operations Management
  • Planning, Policy, Strategy
  • Printing, Design, Publishing, Web
  • Projects, Programs and Advisors
  • Property, Assets and Fleet Management
  • Public Relations and Media
  • Purchasing and Procurement
  • Quality Management
  • Science and Technical Research and Development
  • Security and Law Enforcement
  • Service Delivery
  • Sport and Recreation
  • Travel, Accommodation, Tourism
  • Wellbeing, Community / Social Services
Visit our privacy Policy for more information about our services, how New Statesman Media Group may use, process and share your personal data, including information on your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications.
THANK YOU

But then the party ended. Turkey’s economy stumbled, the Arab Spring metamorphosed into a war on its doorstep, and Erdogan began acting increasingly autocratically. 

In 2014, after the Turkish lira plummeted, the central bank decided to raise interest rates. Since this could have a knock-on effect on growth, Erdogan was furious. Anyone who defended high rates “at the beck and call of the interest-rate lobby” was committing “treason against this nation”, he railed

Rees-Mogg, too, thinks central bankers could be more patriotic. His first major clash with Mark Carney, the Bank of England chief, came in the fraught days before the EU referendum, when Carney warned of the economic impact of quitting the EU. Such warnings were “beneath the dignity of the Bank of England”, the Tory backbencher and Leave campaigner complained. 

Since Brexit, Rees-Mogg , along with former Chancellor Lord Lawson, has stepped up his complaints. In October, after Carney warned of price rises and job losses, he called him a “sore loser” who “wants to talk down the economy”. 

But in Britain’s case, the policy clash isn’t over an interest rate hike but a cut. After the Bank decided to cut its base rate to 0.25 per cent, William Hague, a Tory who backed Remain, argued such loose monetary policies were hurting savers and inflating the price of assets like property.

“Unless they change course soon,” he warned of central bankers in The Telegraph, “They will find their independence increasingly under attack.”

So what of the fates of central bankers? In Turkey, a new central bank governor was appointed this year. He cut interest rates in September, to praise from Erdogan.

In the UK, the Canadian-born Carney is expected to confirm whether he will serve the full eight year term, or step down in 2018. He has a good incentive to stick to the helm – some of the more fantastical reports suggested Rees-Mogg could replace him. 

Content from our partners
Data science can help developers design future-proof infrastructure
How to tackle the UK's plastic pollution problem – with Coca-Cola
The hard truth about soft skills

Select and enter your email address Your weekly guide to the best writing on ideas, politics, books and culture every Saturday. The best way to sign up for The Saturday Read is via saturdayread.substack.com The New Statesman's quick and essential guide to the news and politics of the day. The best way to sign up for Morning Call is via morningcall.substack.com Our Thursday ideas newsletter, delving into philosophy, criticism, and intellectual history. The best way to sign up for The Salvo is via thesalvo.substack.com Stay up to date with NS events, subscription offers & updates. Weekly analysis of the shift to a new economy from the New Statesman's Spotlight on Policy team.
  • Administration / Office
  • Arts and Culture
  • Board Member
  • Business / Corporate Services
  • Client / Customer Services
  • Communications
  • Construction, Works, Engineering
  • Education, Curriculum and Teaching
  • Environment, Conservation and NRM
  • Facility / Grounds Management and Maintenance
  • Finance Management
  • Health - Medical and Nursing Management
  • HR, Training and Organisational Development
  • Information and Communications Technology
  • Information Services, Statistics, Records, Archives
  • Infrastructure Management - Transport, Utilities
  • Legal Officers and Practitioners
  • Librarians and Library Management
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • OH&S, Risk Management
  • Operations Management
  • Planning, Policy, Strategy
  • Printing, Design, Publishing, Web
  • Projects, Programs and Advisors
  • Property, Assets and Fleet Management
  • Public Relations and Media
  • Purchasing and Procurement
  • Quality Management
  • Science and Technical Research and Development
  • Security and Law Enforcement
  • Service Delivery
  • Sport and Recreation
  • Travel, Accommodation, Tourism
  • Wellbeing, Community / Social Services
Visit our privacy Policy for more information about our services, how New Statesman Media Group may use, process and share your personal data, including information on your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications.
THANK YOU