By Ray Fleming l METHINKS he doth protest too much! That's not quite as Shakespeare wrote it, but near enought to serve the purpose.
The great Bob Geldof seems to stride the world these days, ordering millions to take to the streets and wielding such power that even the formidable Gordon Brown curries favour by instantly exempting the British Live 8 concert from VAT. No one will deny that for many years Mr Geldof has been a knowledgeable, committed and influential campaigner for improvements in the lives of the people of Africa. A roll call of those who have contributed to the agreement reached last weekend by the G8 countries to relieve Africa of its burden of debt would certainly have Bob Geldof's name prominently on it. Unfortunately, however, it seems that his euphoria over the debt relief decision has led to what we must hope is a temporary lapse of judgement. When the Live 8 concerts were announced, Mr Geldof said they would not be fund-raising events like the legendary Live Aid events but instead would have the purpose of raising public consciousness of the Make Poverty History campaign for increased aid to African and other poverty-stricken countries. But on Tuesday, when he heard that tickets allocated in response to text message applications at a cost of 1.50 pounds each were being auctioned on the eBay internet site at up to 1'000 pounds a pair, Geldof was very angry indeed: “It is completely against the interests of the poor. These miserable wretches are capitalising on the misery of millions. I am appealing to their sense of decency to stop this disgusting greed.” A government minister felt it necessary to join in the condemnation and after some hesitation eBay removed the offending offers. But in what way are such resales “capitalising on the misery of millions”? Selfish, greedy, in poor taste. But surely no more than that? It's only a concert, for heaven's sake.

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