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:
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
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.