Carney upgrades UK economy from World Cup contender to marathon hopeful

Peter Spence
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Ian Thompson's 1974 Commonwealth Games marathon record remains unbeaten (Source: Getty)

Bank of England governor Mark Carney has yet again updated his sporting metaphors.

Choosing to ditch England's World Cup chances as an analogy for the UK economy, today the central bank chief has decided to deploy an ancient event - the marathon - to capture the performance of UK plc.

Speaking in Glasgow on the opening day of the 20th Commonwealth Games, Carney said that the UK should now be taking its lead from Scotland's Liz McColgan, who won the 10,000 metres the last time the Games was held in Scotland.

Now Carney wants to see the UK, the Commonwealth and the world "win the economic marathon". A detour from this May, when Mark Carney used the Fifa World Cup to describe the state of the UK's recovery.

The UK's recovery at that point had been "like making it through the qualifying rounds of the World Cup", we were told. The "real tournament", then about to begin, and the Bank had its sights on winning the prize of a strong, sustained and balanced expansion in the UK.

So far, the UK's economy seem to have been performing better than the England squad, so it's fitting that Carney has chosen to move to a more appropriate metaphor. The World Cup being over and the Commonwealth Games just starting might have something to do with it too.

Both the men's Commonwealth Games marathon and Fifa World Cup began in 1930. But England's success in one - no prizes for guessing which - has been far more frequent. And an Englishman still holds the record in the Commonwealth event: Ian Thompson's 1974 time of two hours, nine minutes and 12 seconds remains the fastest completion time of the 26.2 mile event.

Perhaps a sign that our Canadian governor is now more convinced of our economic chances than just two months ago, in May. Central bank watchers will surely be waiting for Carney to suggest that England's economic performance is similar to a sport we more regularly perform in. We'll be hoping to hear a Sir Bradley Wiggins metaphor from the governor soon.

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