I once committed a minor breach of journalistic etiquette by revealing, in The Spectator, that I had twice lunched à deux with Mervyn King in his private dining room when he was governor of the Bank of England. I did not, of course, go so far as to spill the beans on anything he actually said. My purpose was solely to create a cameo of him as the rather lonely professorial figure he was, immured in the forbidding edifice of the bank; condemned forever, as it seemed then, to deliver lofty tutorials to politicians, bankers and journalists who were either unwilling to see or incapable of understanding his vision of the monetary world.
King’s new book, The End of Alchemy, is an extended echo of those lunchtime teach-ins – and it’s good to hear his didactic tones again following a period of dignified silence since he left the bank in 2013. He has distilled a life spent half in central banking and half