Warning: This post was published more than 11 years ago.
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Neil McIntosh has caused quite a debate over on the Newsblog by suggesting that Bob Geldof shouldn’t be getting so worked up about Live8 ticket sales on eBay, suggesting instead that if Geldof had auctioned the tickets in the first place, he could have raised a lot of money. Understandably, this upset a few people, and so the debate has begun.
Of course, Geldof isn’t really that bothered whether his tickets are sold on eBay or not. It’s illogical to complain: After all, by selling them, people who are more committed to his cause than those current ticket holders will buy them. Geldof simply had his little faux-angry outburst to get Live8 another day of headlines. And it worked beautifully.
This also explains a point which has been confusing me. I’ve been naively wondering why Geldof has organised this huge concert, which will attract fans of the artists playing, and not people who support his cause, thus making no political point whatsoever. The point of the concerts is clearly not to have a large demonstration of public support. The idea is to generate a whole wave of media coverage, with the central Africa theme in the background. Once this consumes the whole news cycle, politicians will then be forced to respond.
Think about it: The day of the G8 meeting itself, the papers will be full of reportage from the previous day’s concerts. The following day, they will be full of reportage from the rally. Therefore, Tony Blair will be forced into announcing something, or he will look weak, unresponsive, and ultimately impotent.
It doesn’t really matter who goes to the concerts, as long as they’re considered a success. So they need a full house – and what better way to ensure a full house than to give away the tickets?
This is an extremely cynical plan, as it assumes that Geldof can second-guess and manipulate the media, and that’s a notoriously dangerous thing to do. However, he’s very brave to attempt it, and he believes his cause is just; even if I’m not entirely convinced, I’m glad that the issues are being publicly discussed, and that’s a major step forward. So good luck to him.