Mark Carney has had a pretty tumultuous year. His critics have lined up to attack him for politicising his office during the referendum campaign while his supporters credit him with being the only the grownup left standing in the wake of it.
He has survived bruising encounters with eurosceptic MPs on the Treasury Select Committee. Jacob Rees-Mogg, for example, has often managed the dual task of appearing unfailingly polite while at the same time witheringly hostile. He's also found himself dragged into Westminster politics as an unwitting pawn in power games between No 10 and the Treasury and has endured month after month of media speculation on everything form his tenure at the Bank to his future political ambitions.
In short, he's faced his fair share of tough times and – to his credit – he's still standing. All that could be about to change, however, as Threadneedle St could be about to face its toughest opponent yet: the vegan lobby. Yes, it turns out that the much lauded new five pound notes contain trace amounts tallow (animal fat) “in the polymer pellets used in the base substrate of the notes.” This technical description comes courtesy of the Bank of England twitter feed, which responded to a question from a (vegan) user about whether tallow was present in the new notes.
Upon confirmation that trace amounts of animal products were indeed lurking within our new fivers, an online petition has been launched which currently has 70,000 signatories – all united in fury and demanding that the offending ingredient be dropped from the manufacturing process. One devastated tweeter howled “So the BoE support the wholesale slaughter of animals…why doesn't this surprise me?” Just wait until they find out that crayons, condoms and plastic bags contain pretty much the same material as the hardy new note.
Will the Bank buckle under online pressure? It's unlikely. Officials declined to comment on the petition but did point out that they buy polymer pellets from an external company which supplies banknote material for 80 denominations in 24 countries. Carney should hold firm in the face of outrage. After all, he's seen off bigger threats this year than an e-petition.