Mervyn King has criticized the Chancellor for not appointing new members of the monetary policy committee quickly enough. What he hasn't said is that there's a reason for the delay. The pool of talent from which the Chancellor can appoint MPC members is small - it's less a pool, more a fetid puddle. There are several reasons for this.
1. Macroeconomics has not been a very interesting field of study for the last 15 years or so. Many good economists, therefore, have gone into (say) financial or micro rather than macro.
2. Since the 1980s, many of those economists who have been interested in macro have gone not into academia but rather into the Bank itself (and so aren't eligible for the external members' position), or into the City, where they've become deskilled.
3. Many good British academic economists prefer not to work in UK universities. Like David Blanchflower, they've emigrated.
These problems are exacerbated by others. Brown, possibly for good reasons, possibly for bad, doesn't want many City economists on the committee. And he seems not to want a full diversity of opinion on it: why do you think Tim Congdon or Patrick Minford have never been appointed?
A further difficulty is that the MPC's job is partly to provide the illusion of sagacity. Let's face it, it's not that hard to work out whether rates should rise or fall a quarter-point, simply because it makes little difference. What the MPC must do is give the impression that decisions are taken by wise men of good judgment - to comfort the public. Given the choice between a 50-year-old dullard with a good reputation among the chuntering classes, and a 30-year-old genius with no reputation, Brown would go for the dullard every time.
These factors mean there are few economists suitable for the MPC - which is why Brown has already had to resort to employing a mere journalist and the head of an organization which one of Brown's senior colleagues deems "not fit for purpose."
This problem will only get worse.
Herein, I think, lies one argument for adopting a Taylor rule. The MPC just can't get the members to make judgment-based decisions.