Friday, 13 April 2012

In Defence of the Bahrain Grand Prix

Lots of liberals are whinging that the Bahrain Grand Prix shouldn't go ahead. 'Human Rights', they cry, weeping into their muesli. 'Torture. Repression. No freedom of speech or assembly'.

And yes, Bahrain is a corrupt dictatorship that ruthlessly crushes all dissent. They've even bought John Yates, the ex-Scotland Yard and Murdoch mouthpiece, a man who has never declined to have his mouth stuffed with gold ('I feel safer here than I did in London', the corrupt tyranny-lover said).

But why all the fuss over Bahrain? The next race is in Shanghai. Have you never heard of Tiananmen Square? Or Urumqi? Do you know nothing of China's brutal and very profitable approach to democracy and human rights ('no thanks')? Face it: Formula 1 is organised pollution designed to make billions for advertisers, oil producers and its organisers, while making a series of very unpleasant states look like fun destinations. Malaysia, Singapore and Abu Dhabi are all more or less repressive. Australia thinks that environmentalism is slightly more reprehensible than paedophilia, the UK, US and France wave nuclear weapons in peoples' faces…

The category errors westerners are making are in thinking that a) F1 matters in some way, and b) that there's a 'good' list of countries and a 'naughty' list, and that we're always on the good list. Who keeps Bahrain afloat? A US Navy base, British secret service personnel, and Saudi Arabia, my least favourite country of them all. F1 is a business. Ecclestone and Co. are very rich, very right wing fat white men. They respect tyranny and don't care about you, me or the people of Bahrain, China or anywhere else. They're immune to moral arguments. They care about cash. Look at their pompous and self-serving statement:
President Jean Todt led a fact-finding mission to the Kingdom in November 2011, meeting a large number of decision-makers and opinion formers, including elected Shia members of parliament, the president of the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry, ambassadors from the European Union countries, the Crown Prince, the Interior Minister and many members of the business community.
Laughable. Who are the 'decision-makers and opinion formers'? The same vicious elites who organised the murders of hundreds of protesters, and make tidy sums in bribes commissions for the race. As for the 'independent commission', the Crown Prince, the Interior Minister and the 'business community'… Well, let's just say that 80% of 5 women thought that Bernie Ecclestone's shampoo made their split ends look better.

So my advice to liberals: stop your handwringing. The F1 'community' is immune to morality. Let the race go ahead so the world can see exactly who is on which side. I hope the Bahrain Grand Prix goes ahead. I hope that the people of Bahrain wreck the event on live, global TV. I want the plutocrats and the millionaire drivers to be besieged and strung up by their sponsored Rolexes pour encourager les autres.

Cancelling the race would just allow F1 and the sponsors to pretend they have consciences. Let them face the consequences of their beliefs instead.

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