Sunday 4 December 2016

Geldof considers an Irish homecoming to escape dangers of Brexit fallout

Published 23/10/2016 | 02:30

Outspoken: Singer Bob Geldof with his wife Jeanne Marine, who he said 'loves Ireland'
Outspoken: Singer Bob Geldof with his wife Jeanne Marine, who he said 'loves Ireland'

Bob Geldof has said he will consider moving back to Ireland if the UK opts for a 'hard Brexit'.

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The singer and activist was speaking as Britain's prime minister, Theresa May, leans toward the 'hard Brexit' strategy following the country's historic vote, with a triggering of Article 50 as soon as next March.

Speaking to the Sunday Independent, the musician and anti-poverty campaigner said he has never felt out of place in Britain - until now.

Asked if he would move to Ireland in the event of a hard Brexit, he said: "I would, because when I left in the 1970s I just couldn't live here [in Ireland]. There was nothing for me here, just to be like me.

"And so, over the last decade or so, it has become - this sounds self-aggrandising and I don't mean it to be… and many Irish people disagree with me and will say he's talking through his a*** - but I just feel more comfortable here and I have never felt uncomfortable in England until now."

Adding that his wife, Jeanne Marine, "loves it" in Ireland, he continued: "England has given me so much. But for the first time in my life I felt deeply, deeply uncomfortable with what is happening. Deeply, deeply uncomfortable. It's like the British government is taking f**king speed or something."

Geldof also described how he believes Brexit is simply the latest development in a shift towards extreme right-wing attitudes around the world.

"It's not just Trump, it's not just Brexit, it's Le Pen, it's the AfD (Alternative for Germany) in Germany, it's the Five Star Movement in Italy, it's the election in Austria.

"We are in very, very, very, very dangerous times because we are confounded by the reality of the 21st Century, which is the flood of power after 600 years from the West to the East."

Speaking about the European Union's greatest strength - to protect its members against war, he said: "Our institutions were constructed in the wake of World War II to allow for consensus. To never again create continental suicide and mass slaughter. To create the United Nations, to create the World Bank, to create - as Churchill called for in 1936 in Zurich - a union of European nations. We were economically embedded so they never had a reason to fight again."

Now the rocker says his greatest fear is that future generations will be forced to take up arms.

"If Britain pulls the loose thread on the EU cardigan, the whole thing might unravel. And my fear is, if not my children, then my grandchildren will have to go to war again and I will do whatever to prevent that from happening.

"That's the great danger of this. That we will revert to competing states. Because when you compete, ultimately there is challenge and war.

"People think I am nuts when I say that, but I think just the fear of that would make me want to stop it."

The singer was a high-profile voice for the Remain Campaign, launching a nautical attack on Nigel Farage's flotilla of boats on the Thames outside the Tower of London.

As MPs watched on from the Commons' terrace and helicopters hovered overhead, the Live Aid fundraiser shouted that Farage was "no fisherman's friend".

Asked if he would consider running for the Aras in the 2018 campaign, he quipped: "I would be Ireland's Donald Trump."

Sunday Independent

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