“I’m Andy, and I’m a central banker,” said Andy Haldane, the Bank of England’s chief economist, to a ripple of laughter as he began a TEDx talk in Glasgow. “It wasn’t actually a joke, but thank you,” he added.
Central bankers and economists are not known for their humour, but Haldane’s 2018 speech would have fitted in as easily at a standup club as among the neoclassical columns of the 324-year-old Bank of England.
As well as the jokes, Haldane told the audience that in the aftermath of the financial crisis he learned more from speaking to charity workers and people in the street than he did from “all those economists and all those company bosses”.
It is his easy manner and confidence to speak his mind, even when his views ruffle feathers, that put Haldane in the spotlight this week for another speech, this time warning of the economic damage that could be caused by fears about the impact of the coronavirus.
A savvy PR operative, Haldane knew to insert a memorable and easily understood phrase to get…