Simon Rattle joins Bob Geldof anti-Brexit rant

Simon Rattle joins Bob Geldof anti-Brexit rant


norman lebrecht

October 07, 2018

Three classical musicians appear in a list of pop celebrities who have sent a letter to Theresa May, drafted by Bob Geldof, calling for Brexit to be called off.

The letter argues:

We dominate the market and our bands, singers, musicians, writers, producers and engineers work all over Europe and the world. In turn, Europe and the world come to us. Why? Because we are brilliant at it. No one quite knows why this should be but everyone understands it to be so. The sound and the words seem universal. It reaches out, all inclusive, and embraces anyone and everyone. And that truly is what Britain IS! That is proper Global Britain.

But Brexit threatens, as it does so much else, this vast voice. This huge global cultural influencer. We are about to make a very serious mistake regarding our giant industry and the vast pool of yet undiscovered genius that lives on this little island.

The classical signatories are Rattle, John Eliot Gardiner and Howard Goodall. There may be others but they haven’t been named.



  • Siegfried Bassoon says:

    Who are the signatories?
    Where can we see a list of them all?
    With thanks,

  • Mark london says:

    Well there we have it . The “ stabbing baton “ Rattle, part of the establishment who didn’t like the result and can’t accept they lost ! Coward rattle ! a pretentious conductor and his political views match his arrogance!

  • Allen says:

    I’m sure that former employees of the fishing industry in places like Grimsby would be delighted to discuss Brexit with these extremely rich celebrities. I’m sure there are others north of the M25, and a few to the south, who would like to join in as well.

    No point meeting in Grimsby though. I doubt if the celebs know where it is. or even care.

  • Ellingtonia says:

    “We dominate the market and our bands, singers, musicians, writers, producers and engineers work all over Europe and the world. In turn, Europe and the world come to us. Why? Because we are brilliant at it.”……….forgive me here, but if we are so bloody brilliiant that everyone beats a path to our door, why would they not continue to do so? I have read NLs quote in his posting but can find no evidence to the opposite.

    • buxtehude says:

      It shouldn’t be hard to guess that this is in response to the wail that GB is shackled and crippled by the EU in all things, and that Britain-great-again is just a break away. In fact, signatories are saying, GB benefits hugely from free movement of people in both directions, in their industry. And further, that the soft power of this industry is disproportionately important for British prestige in the world.

      “British prestige in the world” — you can kiss a big chunk of whatever’s left of that goodbye.

      Here’s a nice recent reflection on that leadership of yours:

      From this American distance — just as amazing as our own politics yet even sadder.

    • John Borstlap says:

      It is ridiculously arrogant and shows a parochial attitude rather than ‘global Britain’. The decline of the island is all too visible, and the brexit seems to be one of the obvious results. But concerning its music life, that is indeed fantastic and has always been ‘global’. This gesture of isolation will surely damage GB’s music life.

      • Ellingtonia says:

        “This gesture of isolation will surely damage GB’s music life”………..and your evidence for this overblown statement is?

        • John Borstlap says:

          It is a prognosis, based upon what can be understood of how concerts are organised in classical music life. Chest beating about superiority invites scepticism and worry about local parochial problems, so it would not be surprising if, for instance, international soloists and conductors would prefer the continent for guest appearances. Music transcends borders and boundaries of national cultural identity, and rising them up discourages exchanges and a broader outlook.

          • Ellingtonia says:

            So effectively you have no evidence other than speculation and rumination, and I thought the Dutch were a logical bunch!

  • MJA says:

    Hear, hear. And what exactly makes this a rant?

  • Doug says:

    Rabble should take a lesson from his colleague in the previous post….on humility.

    • jaypee says:

      dog, you voted for cretin donald the pussy grabber…
      What exactly do you know about humility?

      BTW, do you even care for music or are you just here to be annoying?
      Should you be playing with your fellow deplorable friends at fox “news” instead?

      • Stephen says:

        Oh dear, we are descending to the sort of abuse which is common on the social media but not hitherto on Slipped Disc.

        • Mike Schachter says:

          It is from this individual

          • John Borstlap[ says:

            My fly on the wall tells me that this is most probably that angry, middle-aged housewife in Hemel Hempstead who had, in younger years, failed an audition for a trombone place in the local youth orchestra and is fuelling her resentment by daily doses of SD information, to keep the flame alive.

  • Norbert the blob says:

    But conductors are dictators by definition. Why are you surprised they disregard a democratic outcome?!? They have no heed of such things!

  • Alex Davies says:

    Was nobody else alarmed by the caption ‘Principle Conductor’?

    • buxtehude says:

      Not here. Legal principle, principle conductor (especially any of these ones), principal principle — really why should we be splitting hairs and worrying about this?

      Anyway it will matter even less after Exit, since the Germans, Irish &c will be able to stop speaking English then and those remaining can stop worrying since there should be more to life then speling and life will be one big partay. (At least in principle.)

  • anon says:

    “We dominate the market…”

    The letter is undermined by its own argument!

    If Brits dominated the market before the EU, and they dominate the market now, they don’t need to be part of the EU!

    It’s precisely in the industries where ordinary Brits no longer dominate that need protection and exit from the EU!

    Elitist arguments that are utterly blind to the parts of the population that are struggling to make ends meet.

  • Tamino says:

    Hahaha! Britannia rules the (sound) waves. Bit delusional that diatribe. Those days were in the past. Ironically the golden age of British rule in the music business was in the 50s and 60s, so before the EU membership. Bit of a foot in mouth argument IMHO.

  • anon says:

    Oh, Simon Rattle just wants visa-free travel between his home in Berlin and his work in London.

    Choose Simon! You wanna be Sir or Herr?

    • Tamino says:

      Humanity was more progressed 200 years ago. “Alle Menschen werden Brüder.”
      Sir Simon (as he always was called in Berlin too) doesn’t want to follow the human retardation you suggest, having to fall back into your tribal stone age mindset.

  • JoBe says:

    I’m puzzled, I thought Reginald Goodall was long dead. Oh, it’s Howard Goodall, sorry. Reginald Goodall was a Nazi sympathizer and admirer of Adolf Hitler. Just like John Eliot Gardiner’s father, Rolf Gardiner. To each man his reason to tie himself to Germany.

  • Mark London says:

    Rattle getting into bed with Geldof the “junkie family “ leader !

  • Robert Groen says:

    There we are! The invective has hit the fan (again!)

  • Truemusic says:

    So Rattle signs a letter claiming leaving the EU will “destroy British music industry “ totally laughable ! As an aside I would say many of his interpretations of British music “destroy the music” His Elgar Enigma at begining of LSO stint tried hard to do so ! Awful

  • Andrew Matthews says:

    I voted to remain but the reality is that we haver to accept the vote with good grace and make the best of it. That is the way democracy works.

  • John G. Deacon says:

    How very kind of the politically illiterate to remind us that the music business was created only when we entered the EU (TV, recordings, opera, concerts etc.) – before that all was total ignorance and darkness. I must say I had completely forgotten those dark days when I was at the ROH 2-3 times a week experiencing the greatest singers of that era.

    Why do people perpetrate such brainless Grauniad-originated piffle ? After we are free of the EU the UK will thrive as never before – and the Arts in general will have greater sums at their disposal.

    • Mark London says:

      Perfectly put John

    • Tamino says:

      “After we are free of the EU the UK will thrive as never before.”

      Well, very unlikely, John.
      You remind me of that Monty Python sketch:

      • Truemusic says:

        Ah the loser Tam without a credible argument bloats again

      • John G. Deacon says:

        Rather a silly reaction. Just start reading soundly based material and following what is going on and be sure to observe the dreadful intellectual inadequacies of nearly all the Remoaners (Keir Starmer et al) and avoid all those with EU pensions who are contractually obliged to be Remainiacs, or those landowners in the Lords collecting massive sums from the CAP etc.. Then turn to the fact-based opinions of the heads of nearly all major companies (excl. FTSE100 as they are all foreign-owned), notably Bamford & Dyson. And then look into the totally undemocratic and corrupt administration in Brussels and then you’ll have made a start down the right road. Monty Python my a*se. How childish. Final question – do you wish to be IN the EU when it collapses, as it most surely will ?

        • Tamino says:

          John, a simple question: How old are you?

          • John G. Deacon says:

            Dear Tamino : My age is irrelevant but I’m old enough and educated enough to know that Brexit is the right answer for the UK. I have worked for major companies in 11 different countries and have run my own business. The UK joined the EEC but we should never have allowed ourselves, later, to be sucked into joining the undeomcratic EU (having been tricked by our government of the day). The young are ignorant of history where, if they’d been paying attention in class, they would have learnt that the Roman Empire collapsed as its attempt to construct a unified federal Europe failed when they discovered that this is impossible without 100% total control of the currency. No sensible person, therefore, can support remaining attached to a moribund, undemocratic (and often corrupt) administration ruled by unelected people (most of whom could not run a whelk stall – however charming or however addicted to the bottle) and operating from a centre (Brussels in this case). Their interest is absolute power and total control – nothing more, nothing less – and if you vote the wrong way they carry on insisting on further pollings until the answer suits what they want. Democracy is not involved. The EU has no opposition representative nor opposing party nor any machinery of government that remotely approaches democratic rule.

            The current EU administration indicates that Federalism is coming soon controlled by Germany & France. The ClubMed countries are likely to be discarded. Nobody with a brain could ever envisage the UK being part of a Federal anything, whilst also suffering uncontrolled immigration and a common currency and still believe that such things could be good for the UK. On the other hand we cannot tell what drives Remainiacs but it is clearly selfishly driven as such people are too blind to see the eventual outcome and think that the EU is run for their benefit.

            Finally the departure of the UK from the EU is the EU’s greatest day of shame as they must have seen this coming for at least the last 10-15 years yet they did absolutely nothing to stop it. Cameron sought reform and was rebuffed. Great reform, some democracy and a full return to the EEC would be excellent for us all (no contest here – it was a great idea). But I have to say that reading the piffle written by the politically illiterate (of any profession) is highly irritating !!

            So, to answer your original question – I am old enough to understand these things and if you wish for a slightly more flippant answer – simply examine the brain power of those on each side of this contest and the drivel they talk – CBI & FT especially – and there you have your answer. Signed : Zorastro……

            And if you doubt me please read (for a starter) :

    • John Borstlap says:

      The idea that the UK is somehow not free when EU member, is the result of forgetting that the UK wanted itself to be a member. To be part of the EU, nations enter into negotiations out of free will and all member states have wanted to be a member at some stage. To paint a picture as if the EU is some sort of monster trying to eat innocent, freedom loving countries is bizarre. It is no coincidence that the brexiteers are mainly the older generation, and the remainers the younger one. The latter have, also because of the EU, a much more international outlook and understand that the challenges which Europe faces nowadays, cannot be solved by independent countries alone. The whole British attitude as if the EU puts the country against the wall is stupid and dishonest, just like the brexit campaign itself with all those lies and crazy political slogans.

  • Andrew Matthews says:

    What worries me about the letter is that it makes unsupported postulations implying that because Britain is “brilliant” at the arts Europe flocks to “us.” It’s the arrogance of it all that concerns me. What is worse is that the statement that we are “brilliant” claims to be a well known universal truth. I don’t think the letter states, either expressly or impliedly, that the music business was only created back in 1975 or whenever we joined that Common Market as it then was. It just grandly boasts that the whole world is desperate for our artistic output. Whether our artistic brethren will suddenly “thrive” as from next March remains to be seen, but as yet I haven’t any indication that they will do so, but on the other hand I haven’t seen any arguments to suggest that they will collapse in a heap.