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Wednesday 27 August 2014

Bob Geldof backs Russell Brand’s call for political revolution

The musician echoed the comedian’s sentiments, warning that the current democratic system 'may not be viable for much longer'

Jenn Selby

Published 20/01/2014 | 15:39

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Bob Geldof has called for revolution
Russell Brand

IF ANYONE was set to back Russell Brand’s impassioned call for political revolution, as outlined in an essay for the New Statesman in November 2013, we’d have put money on Bob Geldof doing the honours.

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The Boomtown Rats frontman and political activist echoed the comedian’s sentiments, warning that the current democratic system "may not be viable for much longer". He also praised Brand for his "articulacy and expressing the anger of the moment".

"We have to change and it needs to be in the context of how we live now rather than with some old-hat political ideal," Geldof told the Huffington Post UK.

He went on to condemn capitalism as a failure. Banks, he says, have been allowed to go "out of control", while pure human greed has led to the invention of "completely spurious" financial products.

"They ceased to [give money to others] and gave it to themselves through fraud, outright international global gangsterism," he claimed.

"That's what it was," he continued on the subject of the recent banking crisis. "Mispricing of products, fraud. Mis-selling of products, fraud. Fixing the interbank lending rate.

"Fraud. It was fraud on an unprecedented scale! They sucked billions out of the world economy, destroying individuals, companies and countries.

"Russell [Brand] is completely right. That model cannot sustain us as we saw, it bankrupted Greece, almost Italy, almost France and almost Ireland. It just can't work."

Russell Brand preached revolution during his interview with Jeremy Paxman on Newsnight  However, he didn’t agree with everything Brand had to say. Replacing the current political system with anarchy, for example, is "not viable or plausible".

"You can't just have a free for all," Geldof added. "It just won’t work because we will form structural organisations within that as it's the kind of thing we do."

The real threat on society, he concluded, was the extortionate rates of pay awarded to bankers.

"When you have these supposed masters of the universe averaging more than 248 times the average worker's pay, you have a serious problem of inequality. Inequality stops a society functioning and so it has to stop.

"I do think the version of democracy that we have been living with just may not be viable for very much longer. We will have something where we have proper freedom and elected representation.

"We all co-operate in the knowing lie, which is that everybody promises more and that the economy will inevitably grow. what does that mean? It means more, more of what? That's not viable in an unsustainable and finite world.

"Nor can you in a four year electoral cycle put into place programmes that would help to ameliorate the effects of that. If the economy is affected in that way by definition politics are so that the politics that we've grown up with in a different economy cannot work in a new one, there has to be a newer type of politics.

"You will see a change in the type of politics. It'll still be our government, it needs to be otherwise you'll have problems and it still needs to be a more coherent economy."

Geldof spoke to the publication after a speech to young entrepreneurs hosted by the RockStar Youth group over the weekend.

His opinions come a week after Brand surprised fans when he directed a homophobic slur at Cambridge University students during a Union address.

The comedian was apparently perusing the various college crests in order to choose his favourite.

In a bid to quiet the winning college who cheered as he selected their crest, he yelled out: "Shut up, you Harry Potter p**fs."

Brand himself is yet to clarify his comments.

Meanwhile, Ben Summerskill, chief executive of lesbian, gay and bisexual equality charity Stonewall said: "We’re disinclined to satisfy Mr Brand’s uncharacteristic thirst for publicity by offering any further comment."

Brand also announced a fund to develop recovery communities for people leaving treatment for drug and alcohol abuse last week.

The Give it Up Fund, which will be managed by Comic Relief, aims to provide financial aid to help people remain free from substance abuse by setting up support groups in three pilot areas.

Independent News Service

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