WATCH: Bob Geldof: “The Lib Dems are the only party ballsy enough……”

Listen to Bob Geldof explain why he wants the people of Richmond Park to vote for Sarah Olney tomorrow. Choice quotes include:

“You can’t have the settled will of the people of Richmond to stay in Europe betrayed by the poster boy of the Brexiteers.”

He appealed to pro EU voters to back Sarah Olney to beat Zac.

Bob Geldof is as I write this outside a station in the constituency campaigning with Sarah Olney.

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  • Lorenzo Cherin 30th Nov '16 - 4:56pm

    I now know why , I do like Thursdays !

  • No, no, no.

    Just no.


  • William Ross 30th Nov '16 - 5:37pm

    Are you really comfortable with Bob Geldof? Remember him giving obscene signs along with his elitist friends to poor hard working fishermen in the River Thames?
    I believe that some of our people from Peterhead were there…..What a poster boy.

  • Matt (Bristol) 30th Nov '16 - 5:37pm

    This is purely a personal opinion, and I guess it’s important to not distort things by overattention to trivia, but I do worry about us dallying with this man – even when I agree with him, he has the incredible ability to p*ss people off and alienate them from us.

    He might work for us in Richmond – but whether he will have any positive impact outside of London is deeply moot.

    The incoherent mutual abuse-throwing of the Farage flotilla episode, in which Bob Geldoff was a prime antagonist – although almost immediately overshadowed by the horror of Jo Cox’s death – would have in a ‘normal’ campaign been a definite low point.

    If we must have a wealthy media type advocating for us, more Greg Dyke and less Bob, please.

    I hope Sarah does well, and at the very least we will give the Tories a few bruises and a bit of a shock, and I hope it slows the government’s precipitate rush towards the door marked ‘Hard Brexit / pirate-capitalist takeover’. But he whole country is watching – we need to be shown again before the court of opinion to be a serious, credible party, not a one-issue nine-days-wonder with some celebrity hangers-on.

  • Katharine Pindar 30th Nov '16 - 5:38pm

    Wonderful. He has really cheered me up (as did you me this morning, Lorenzo, thanks!).
    I can now see Bob Geldof as our Harry V, storming the gates of Brexit: ‘Once more into the breach, dear friends, once more…’ (though hopefully the only dead will be some of the untruths of the Leavers!) And blessings be on all our Liberal Democrats who have been working so hard with Sarah in Richmond Park.

  • William Ross 30th Nov '16 - 5:48pm


    Can I now second Bob Geldof as being your ” Harry V”? Perhaps he can also run into the breach with Tony Blair and Nick Clegg?

  • Would have thought that Libs might have learnt from the referendum. He will repel more than he attracts. Reminds me of Clinton hanging out with various celebs, that went well. Not that Sir Bob is not entitled to his views, but celebrity endorsement of political campaigns is always a turn off for me, big mistake in my opinion,time will tell.

  • paul barker 30th Nov '16 - 6:16pm

    God, what a load of whingers ! We should welcome Geldofs support, he is a good man & probably saved more than a million lives in the 1980s. What has that little twat Farage ever done for anyone else ?

  • John Peters 30th Nov '16 - 6:22pm

    @paul barker

    Live Aid was paved with good intentions.

    I’m not sure that current historians have the same thoughts on the legacy as you.

  • Katharine Pindar 30th Nov '16 - 6:52pm

    @ William Ross. You’ve perhaps forgotten that Henry V had an astounding victory.

  • George Flaxman 30th Nov '16 - 6:56pm

    I wonder what the reasoning is claiming we are ahead of Zac ?. Seems like an unnecessary hostage to fortune.

    (an LD member who can’t be bothered to sign-in)

  • William Ross 30th Nov '16 - 7:44pm


    History certainly repeats itself, but the second time in jest!

    You may just take Richmond though. It is one of the most Remain constituencies in the country and I can see little else to divide Zac and Sarah. Mind you , if you win, it will tell you little, except that 72 percent of the constituency were for Remain!

    Sunday will be much more interesting…….. I had an article published today. You can find it on ThinkScotland.

  • Richard Underhill 30th Nov '16 - 8:26pm

    Timing is important. Imagine there is a Concorde leaving New York and you need to be on it to be there.

  • Martin Clarke 30th Nov '16 - 8:37pm

    Bob Geldof is electoral poison.

  • @William Ross – If Richmond Park dumps Zac G despite his impressive majority in the last election, an awful lot of MPs will sit up and take notice. And, at this stage, given that we are five+ months after the referendum and the government gives every impression of being as clueless today as it was then, that in itself would be a major achievement.

  • Martin Clarke – “Bob Geldof is electoral poison”. Geldof may be opinionated, passionate, sometimes loudmouthed, but I think the majority who know anything about the man regard him more in the light of Paul Barker’s comment “a good man”, misguided sometimes maybe, pain in the … occasionally, but fundamentally on the side of helping those who need help. I think it is very encouraging that someone with his record and persona has backed a candidate who let’s face it, till a month or so ago had no public profile whatever. Good luck for Richmond Park tomorrow – remember we have had a passionate MP, in Jenny Tonge there in the past – I think passion will go down well.

  • “If Bob Geldof really wants to help the developing world, he should use his platform to lobby businesses to pay their corporation tax. Defending tax avoidance through his indifferent practice of it and his rubbishing of its criticism on live TV, is two steps backwards and one step forward for his campaign.”

  • Bernard Aris 1st Dec '16 - 12:30am

    OK, nobody’s perfect, not even Bob Geldof.

    I just wonder who of the famous Britons the Tories can get to stand on a streetcorner campaigning for them.

    And Bobs harangue against the Brexit boys is heartening.
    If Geldofs analysis of Goldsmiths political attitude as a MP of an overwhelmingly “Remain” constituency (and I have no way of checking that), it goes far beyond Edmund Burke’s famous remark to his electors that he has to be able to ALSO (mind you, he doesn’t say: exclusively) use his own common sense and attitude (beside the opinions those electors express to him) in deciding his standpoint.
    Representing (at least to some degree) the opinions of your voters, and getting- respectively giving feedback from and to those voters on your surgeries in the constituency and speaking at meetings there, is exactly the advantage proponents of a district-wise voting system often quote against the “national proportional representation” system like we’ve got in the Netherlands.

    I wish the LibDems in Richmond all the best.

  • William Ross
    “Are you really comfortable with Bob Geldof?”
    Yes I remember speaking to him on a Biman Bangladesh
    flight stopover in Dhaka back in his Boom Town Rats days.
    He is a very nice guy.

  • Whoever told the Guardian that the LDs are ahead in Richmond Park needs to think about strategy versus tactics. Even if it works, even if it motivates a few Labour tactical votes, it’ll sap the national impact of victory. And if Zac wins, instead of ‘big gain in Lib vote share’, the headline will be ‘Libs fail’.

  • RBH
    Not so many read the Guardian. Although this is true of most printed newspapers papers.

  • John Barrett 1st Dec '16 - 9:27am

    If Bob was not a non-dom like Zak, who likes to avoid tax where possible, he would be more credible as a supporter, and if wealthy individuals like Bob and Zak and corporations paid their fair share of tax here and in Africa much more would be raised for the poor and hungry than charitable donations and “Do they know it’s Christmas” singles. I think it would be wise to give him a wide berth and if Bono arrives too, Sarah would be better asking why he organises his tax affairs to contribute as little as possible in his native country while at the same time telling others, including governments, and the rest of us, to contribute more.

  • Mike MacSween 1st Dec '16 - 10:15am

    No. Stop doing this. It loses votes. Hillary Clinton had support from every celebrity going. Trump had none. He won, she lost.

    When are you going to learn that very rich pampered celebrities spouting their ‘opinion’ turns people off. It has exactly the opposite effect to what you think it does.

  • Jayne Mansfield 1st Dec '16 - 10:37am

    Does Sir Bob think that those constituencies where the settled view of the electors was for Leave but have a sitting MP who continues to argue for Remain should vote those Remain MPs out at the next election ?

    The new leader of UKIP would be delighted if this was so, especially as he eyes up northern constituencies.

  • David Blake 1st Dec '16 - 12:56pm

    I think this was a big mistake. He will lose us votes, not gain them.

  • Lorenzo Cherin 1st Dec '16 - 1:22pm

    While my satire of Sir Bob above shows , despite admiration for years when the effort was for Africa, I can take or leave him, I think others might be better advised to lay off slagging off so called celebrity endorsements.

    Floella Benjain was and is someone who for years had great knowledge of and involvement in political and societal issues . She is a valued and trusted part of our team . Lords Putnam, Cashman , Winston, Glenda Jackson , Lord Fellows , Lord Lloyd Webber , Sir Ludovic Kennedy, ………….

    President Reagan !!!

    GeorgeClooney , Ben Aflek, Matt Damon …

    So called celebrities are citizens, of countries , of the world !

  • Clinton got 2 million more votes than trump and there are recounts

  • Ruth Bright 1st Dec '16 - 2:11pm

    This is the man who took on Mrs Thatcher when she dismissed him with the words that the starving millions “can’t eat butter” and he said actually they can. Of course it is a valuable endorsement.

  • Mike MacSween 1st Dec '16 - 3:08pm

    Theakes – Clinton lost the election. Stop talking about the ‘popular vote’. Or shall I point out that UKIP are a lot more popular than the Lib Dems, on the ‘popular vote’.

    But that wasn’t my point. Which is this – even with Stevie Wonder, Beyonce, Springsteen, Jon Bon Jovi and whoever else supporting her, Clinton lost.

    I don’t know what people you mix with, but many ordinary folks, let’s call them ‘the voters’ really resent being told who to vote for, by wealthy stars who live a life of unimaginable pleasure and luxury. And that resentment is completely justified.

  • Mike MacSween 1st Dec ’16 – 3:08pm….. many ordinary folks, let’s call them ‘the voters’ really resent being told who to vote for, by wealthy stars who live a life of unimaginable pleasure and luxury. And that resentment is completely justified…..

    Well, MM, if you are right, then the ‘ad-men’ waste a lot of money on celeb endorsements….

  • Jayne Mansfield 1st Dec '16 - 3:21pm

    @ Ruth Bright,
    I seem to remember that Bob Geldof made his comments to Mrs Thatcher about the malnourished needing butter oil in the context of his criticism about the Common Agricultural Policy and the sophistry of Brussels and Strasburg when supporting (CAP).

    I don’t know whether his, or the intervention of any other celebrity is helpful or not.

  • William Ross 1st Dec '16 - 3:21pm

    My guess, and it is only a hunch, is that Barack Obama was enough to swing the UK referendum behind Leave. He is the biggest “celebrity” of all. He has since campaigned hard for Clinton and now, Renzi………. Oh what fun!

  • John Barrett 1st Dec '16 - 3:29pm

    Many admen do get it wrong.

    Anyone remember Jimmy Saville advertising for British Rail? He was selected to promote travel by train because at the time the ad men said he was trusted by so many, and sadly he was.

  • Matt (Bristol) 1st Dec '16 - 3:34pm

    Lorenzo – most of your instances are people of substance. There is usually a palpable difference between ex-celebrity politicians (at least up to this year) and celebrity political endorsers. I admit Sir Bob sits on the border between the two groups.

    I think I didn’t say clearly enough that I think he may – due to local circumstances and the overall affluence of the constituency – work effectively enough in Richmond Park itself. He only lives on the other side of the Thames, so is almost a local.

    The issue for me is whether he would work nationally, and I think that by-and-large he is a divisive figure, despite his many good points.

    Of course, we cannot tell at this moment whether he would agree to work nationally for us, or whether he will be portrayed as having ‘won it for Sarah’ should we all wake up tomorrow to find that what we all hope for has happened. I hope not. He is just the icing on a very elaborately, lengthily and collaboratively baked cake, after all.

    Anyway, no-one has to listen to me, I am quite a minor hanger-on myself. Perhaps Mark Wright – if he is dropping through – will be able to tell us whether Bristol LibDems would accept such an endorsement were it offered to us.

    I very much suspect we would take the short-term advantage over any longterm national fall-out, any day.

  • John Peters 1st Dec '16 - 3:48pm

    @William Ross

    Obama’s Referendum intervention was one bright spot uniting both Leavers and Remainers – in their agreement that it was unhelpful.

    I’ve seen reports that it led to a 1-2% swing to Leave, so at least some celebrity endorsements are good.

  • Mike, you miss my point in your outrage. Clinton got most votes despite the celebrity endorsements, well that would suit the Lib Dems fine would it not, more votes today means victory. Doubt if that will happen though, it is too big a mountain to climb.
    PS I live a quiet life with my family, grandchildren and fairly innocuos souls at work and observe that currently the Lib Dems seem to be consistently outpolling UKIP who have seemingly slumped beyond our wildest dreams.

  • Lorenzo Cherin 1st Dec '16 - 5:10pm

    You make far too many contributions here to be a minor anything , a medium size fish in a medium size pond is a good size 1

    Your points on the examples given by me , are interesting. I feel that you are often right if the so called celebrity is a pain , as here sometimes, or often, like Sting !

    I guess that what I believe is what the late and marvellous Dame Peggy Ashcroft said , stardom is a phoney concept or thing. A talent that is known is a well known talent . A talentless person that is known is a well known talentless person. Too many celebrities are in the latter group, but increasingly the former are described that way. I am trying to get an independent feature film made . I have had the pleasure of directing two or three very well known actors who have done cameos for free .If they had endorsed my candidacy for council for our party a few years ago , I might not have come last !

  • @Mike McSween – “I don’t know what people you mix with, but many ordinary folks, let’s call them ‘the voters’ really resent being told who to vote for, by wealthy stars who live a life of unimaginable pleasure and luxury. And that resentment is completely justified.”

    Those same voters are happy to support wealthy politicians and have no problems with them telling them who to vote for.

    Maybe you object to the wealthy stars but not the wealthy politicians. I doubt most voters share your view on that though.

  • Mike MacSween 1st Dec '16 - 7:24pm

    Confirmation bias anyone? YOU think Bob is helping, because he’s saying things YOU agree with.

    Does nobody have the ability to see things from somebody else’s perspective? What does this look like if you aren’t a Lib Dem supporter? And you voted for Brexit?

    Because those are the people we need to persuade, not people who already agree with us.

    I hope Sarah wins, but it will be despite this ‘celebrity’ endorsement, not because of it.

  • Matt (Bristol) 1st Dec '16 - 8:17pm

    Thanks Mark, for allowing me to troll you into commenting – don’t think I can massively disagree with what you say. .

  • Andrew McCaig 1st Dec '16 - 8:20pm

    Mike MacSween,
    I agree that Bob Geldof will not persuade many Leave voters after being pilloried by the right wing press over the “Battle of the Thames”

    Of course the bit that was never reported much was that Farage’s large boat doused Jo Cox and her husband and two young children with a hose as they sailed past in a small inflatable (no doubt the small craft of their house boat on the Thames). I would say that was rather more nasty than a V-sign, but it is what people hear and read that counts…

    Today I don’t think we are really courting Leave voters in Richmond park. I doubt if the Remain voters will be put off us by Bob Geldof… And if they bother to watch his video, it is pretty good…

  • “Celebrity” endorsements can be a mixed bag. There are some who like them, and some who don’t, which applies to the concept as well as the individual. The question will always be what can be gained from such an association, and whether it can do more good than harm.

    In this case, we’re standing a novice candidate against an incumbent MP with a decent majority and his own celebrity status. Love him or loathe him, Zac has star quality, and the media love writing stories about him and the opportunity to print a photo of him looking handsome. This is a campaign that requires the LibDems to take risks, and to grab attention of those who might not have been paying attention. If Bob gets a few more people to notice Sarah, then it’s probably doing more good than harm.

    During this campaign, we’re pitching for the votes of those who voted Tory and Labour last time. I think the early campaign, and arguments about Brexit will have been appealing to the soft and Remainer Tories, but convincing Labour voters we aren’t Tories ourselves is a bit tougher, even with the support of Caroline Lucas. You could argue that every appearance by Clegg just serves to wind up the Labour voters, and bringing in Geldolf, is just what was required to get their attention, and see to us in a fresh light.

    People say that we’ll find out if it helped or hindered when the vote is counted, but ultimately, we can’t be sure one way or another. I’ve heard mixed reports about what happened to prompt Bob to flick the Vs towards Farage. Some say he was provoked, as the boat had been soaked with water, while others say that Geldolf was showing contempt for innocent, hard-working fishermen. Whether or not there was baiting, I’m confident that Geldolf’s ire was aimed at Farage, and not honest fishermen, and I’m surprised anyone would believe otherwise. Well, anyone who hasn’t been drip fed a steady diet of bile by the Mail and Express. That’s not to say that people might think he’s been unwise, or lacked tact. However, no-one is putting him forward as a candidate to become an MP, and I think in this context, more of the relevant people will see his support as a reason to think this unknown candidate is worth a punt, than be put off. I mean, fans of Farage will be put off, but we weren’t hoping to convince them, were we?

  • paul barker 1st Dec '16 - 9:07pm

    The point about bringing in celebs at this stage is that it creates a buzz around the Election & makes the hassle of voting seem more exciting. We have to remember that only half the voters in RP will actually vote, probably. For many reluctant Libdem voters the tempting alternative is staying at home in the warm.

  • Mike MacSween 2nd Dec '16 - 8:46am

    Paul Barker. Good point. I might be wrong of course, it has happened before. Though I certainly think a celebrity like Bob is the most toxic form. In my local party I’ll certainly want a very hard think about any celebrity endorsement, though it’s fairly unlikely.

  • Lets ask Bob to get a few of his musician friends to perform at a big party to celebrate the win at Richmond.

  • It’s brilliant to get Bob’s support. However, strategically celebrity endorsements are highly risky and usually worth little – if anything – in political credit. Useful for a 15 second soundbite but the effort should be carefully assessed against net benefit. Celebrities who are lifelong supporters and/or party members with a long track record of involvement are goldworthy.

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