“Fair play with the ‘plastic Paddy’ shtick, Liam, but you’re still talking out of your hole.” So shouted a heckler at the Kilkenomics Festival – his words directed at me.
Up on stage in the Marble City’s bijoux Set Theatre, I was on a panel discussing the possible implications of ‘Brexit’ for Ireland, the sell-out event combining economics with riotous comedy. The show-cased ‘experts’ were dealing with a technical, highly emotive subject: just how will Ireland fare if its biggest trading partner votes to quit the European Union?
“What is a Minsky Moment, anyway?” asks Gerry Stembridge, a razor-sharp Irish comedian. “I’ve been reading about them in the papers and have often wondered”. Stembridge is putting the question to Paul McCulley, Chief Economist at Pimco, the world’s largest bond fund with over $200bn under management. Among the ten most influential economists on earth, McCulley is sporting a T-shirt and jeans.
If that’s not odd enough, the two men, Celtic comic and American financial whizz, are on stage in a theatre in Kilkenny, a bijou provincial city in South-East Ireland. It’s Saturday night and they’re facing a sell-out crowd – all of whom have paid to watch a debate on global economics and most of whom aren’t waiting until the interval to have a drink.
I was delighted to take part in the Kilkenomics 2013 – aka “Davos with laughs”. This fantastic festival combines serious economic debate with raucous comedy, and is the brain-child of Richard Cook and David McWilliams