Bob Geldof slams ‘the worst British government in my life’
Brexit ‘is an expression of English nationalism and I can’t stand nationalism’, says campaigner
Bob Geldof speaking at University of Limerick where he received an honorary doctorate. Photograph: Sean Curtin/True Media/PA Wire
The prominent Remain campaigner also said he believed British prime minister Theresa May would lose Tuesday’s crucial vote in Westminster.
The musician and long-standing political activist was speaking as he received an honorary doctorate at the University of Limerick on Monday.
In Ireland we know where nationalism leads to
He told reporters that he was “passionately against” the UK leaving the European Union but added the EU needed to be overhauled.
“It’s a properly serious mistake, though having said that I do completely understand the other side of argument,” he said.
“I just think it’s not wrong necessarily, it’s just that the end result of that argument is not the correct way to go. There are other ways, more positive ways.
“My view is that Europe needs restructuring from top to bottom, that what the Leavers represent is basically what over 50 per cent of the European electorate represent.”
He also said that the impact on the Irish economy after Brexit will be “tough”.
“It (Brexit) is an expression of English nationalism and I can’t stand nationalism. In Ireland we know where it leads to.
“The English could never be English, they could never wave their flag without being called a skinhead or fascist. That’s part of this whole thing.
“It (Brexit) won’t be apocalyptic but it will be a disaster.
“I think that the Irish parliament and Government have been handling this eloquently, almost in direct contrast to the chaos and nonsense of what is clearly the worst British government in my life — incapable, inept.
“Over here you get patience, compromise, reasons, sympathy, and it’s handled really well.”
Best-selling Irish author Marian Keyes was also presented with a doctorate at the Limerick university.
The writer, whose father Ted died four weeks ago, described how she has become an activist over the last few years.
“I was always a feminist and a socialist in my principles but I was afraid to challenge the status quo,” she said.
“The Ireland I was brought up in, women were supposed to keep their mouths shut and be good. I am so thrilled to be brave enough to call out what I see is injustice from time to time.
“I also had the great privilege to do a talk with the creative writing students and they were so incredibly enthusiastic and engaged and political and it made me very hopeful for the Ireland of the future.”
University of Limerick president Dr Des Fitzgerald paid tribute to them both: “Bob has lobbied politicians and world leaders of all political hues in his herculean efforts to resolve global inequality and poverty.
“In 2017, he handed over the entire archive of the Band Aid Trust to the National Library of Ireland. This will be a major resource for postgraduate students and academic researchers.
“Marian has had a strong commitment to activism, particularly in the realm of gender equality.
“She donated all of the royalties from her best-selling book Under the Duvet to the Irish Simon Community.” - PA