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IT is Mark Carney’s good fortune that he succeeded Sir Mervyn, now Lord King as governor of the Bank of England as Britain’s recovery continues to gather pace.

IT is Mark Carney’s good fortune that he succeeded Sir Mervyn, now Lord King as governor of the Bank of England as Britain’s recovery continues to gather pace.

Unlike his predecessor, who often found himself in the unenviable position of having to respond to events, not least the erosion of trust between the banks and their customers at the height of the financial crash, the canny Canadian is in a position to set the agenda.

This is illustrated by his warnings about the housing market overheating – and now the creation of the Banking Standards Review Council that will implement the fairness agenda being pursued by, among others, the Yorkshire and Clydesdale banks.

Though the creation of another tier of governance will sit uneasily with those who seek smoother and more transparent decision-making in all spheres of life, the British Bankers’ Association patently failed to uphold the public interest during the financial crisis because it remained a cheerleader for the banks rather than for their customers who had been mis-sold various products 
or denied a loan for a business venture.

This new mechanism will, at the very least, mean that the banks – and especially those institutions that were rescued by taxpayers – will have to be held to account for issues like lending to small businesses and whistleblowing protocols.

As the MPs’ expenses scandal has demonstrated, it will take time to win back lost trust.

Yet, at the same time, it would be reckless and irresponsible if the banking industry returned to the deeply flawed lending practices that exacerbated Britain’s financial meltdown. With the growing likelihood of a rise in interest rates before the next election, Mr Carney must combine the need for stability with a desire to kickstart the economy in regions like Yorkshire that have yet to benefit from the recovery that is now self-evident in London.

The rail reality

A Grand opportunity for trains

AS YORKSHIRE’S public transport operators are already used to meeting the needs of a large – and growing – number of travellers in every rush hour, they are well-placed to respond to the challenge that will be posed in early July when Yorkshire hosts cycling’s Grand Départ.

Yet today’s unveiling of their strategy for the Tour de France will be awaited with particular interest, not least to see whether there is the flexibility to provide sufficient extra train services to serve those locations – Ilkley, Skipton and Harrogate being three examples – where spectator numbers will be at their greatest.

Given that there will be significant road closures, trains and buses will need to come into their own for those who cannot get to their preferred vantage point by bicycle or foot. Clear communication, a trait that has not always been readily associated with Yorkshire’s transport providers, will be critical.

Three other points also need to be acknowledged. First, the Grand Départ should be seen as an opportunity to promote trains and buses to a whole new audience. Second, the needs of cyclists should now be an intrinsic element of all future transport policies – particularly the need for safe bike storage areas at stations. Third, many visitors from Europe will be used to a public transport service that runs like clockwork. As such, it would be disappointing if the failure of operators to plan ahead left them with an unfavourable impression of this county.

Flower power

Chelsea’s tribute to Great War

GIVEN THAT the poppy remains a lasting memorial to the fallen, it is fitting that a First World War trench is a defining feature of this year’s Chelsea Flower Show.

The No Man’s Land garden, inspired by ABF The Soldiers’ Charity, is an evocative reminder of the unremitting conditions that troops faced a century ago – even if the sultry weather of recent days lessened the resemblance to the quagmire-like trenches of the Somme’s bloody battlefields.

As Britain prepares to mark the First World War’s centenary, the creative industries can help today’s generation to become more engaged with the sacrifices made by their forebears – whether it be a Chelsea garden or War Horse, children’s writer Michael Morpurgo’s tear-jerking story.

Yet the opening lines of Lieutenant Colonel’s John McCrae’s poem still remain timeless:

“In Flanders fields the poppies blow

Between the crosses, row on row,

That mark our place; and in the sky

The larks, still bravely singing, fly

Scarce heard amid the guns below.”