Irish rocker, Bob Geldof, described hardcore Brexiteers as “headbangers” as he picked up an Honourary Doctorates of Letters from University of Limerick (UL), along with best selling novelist Marian Keyes, Monday.
Both Geldof and Keyes received the honorary awards for their commitment to activism and social justice - Keyes particularly in the realm of gender equality. The author also generously donated all of the royalties from her best selling book Under ‘The Duvet’ to the irish Simon Community.
Prior to accepting the award, UK-based Geldof was asked by reporters about his views on his adopted country leaving the European Union.
“I’m passionately against it,” he replied.
The outspoken singer and human rights campaigner said the current British government, led by Theresa May were the “worst British government”... “bar none”... “incapable”... “inept”.
In contrast, the Irish government have handled the impending Brexit “elegantly”, in stark contrast “to the chaos and the nonsense” in Westminster, he added.
The Boomtown Rats frontman, best known for organising Live Aid in 1985, which at the time raised a staggering £30m sterling for the starving in Africa, said that, in his opinion, Brexit would have “terrible” consequences for both the Irish and British economies.
“It throws everything up in the air between the two islands,” he said.
“I don't think the English recognise this in themselves - There is a big anarchic streak that runs down the spine of being English - whether it’s Francis Drake, Winston Churchill, Margaret Thatcher.”
“Imagine if France decided to leave (the EU) - how (would) they resolve the border between Germany and France? - and when you say that to the English, they kind of say, ‘well it’s not the same’...It is precisely the same.”
Geldof, (67), told reporters he recently “had a row” with a “extremely senior government politician” over Brexit.
“(The politician) said, ‘I thought you’d show more loyalty to your adopted country’, and I had to stand back from this (and think) - do I have to smack him or what, you know?”
“And I said (to the politician), but you don’t understand - what I’m doing is fighting with everything I have for my adopted country, and he was trembling with rage and went off.”
Mr Geldof said the current Brexit deal is “a properly serious mistake” and “an expression of English nationalism”.
“I can’t stand nationalism. In Ireland, we know where it leads to,” he added.
“But the English have had to suborn their natural sense of being a people in a certain place, which is a patriotic notion which misguided men and women can curdle into a dangerous political ideology called nationalism.”
The Dubliner said he believed MPs would reject the Prime Minister’s Brexit plans in the Commons, Tuesday, and she would be forced to rejig the deal.
“Whether its enough for the headbangers is up for grabs. Their totally cool - they think (Brexit) is not ‘crashing out’ (of Europe), they think its ‘freedom’...what?”
“Meanwhile, the actual backstop to this project is Russia who are currently invading Europe. If we do split - if Britain is the loose thread on the EU jumper, and Brexit pulls that thread, then you could see a great unraveling...which will be a tragedy.”
Mr Geldof and Marian Keyes each expressed their delight at receiving their honourary doctorates from UL.
“You’re looking at a man who didn’t get the Primary, never mind the Inter (Junior Certificate) or the Leaving (Certificate). Of course I’m honoured,” Mr Geldof added.
“I’m so delighted. This is the city of my birth and it’s where my dad was from. He died a month ago, and he would have loved today,” Ms Keyes said.