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Ecclestone issues an apology

NEWS STORY
07/07/2009

In the face of mounting anger over comments he made at the weekend, Bernie Ecclestone has issued an apology, claiming that his comments have been misunderstood.

In a piece for The Times, Ecclestone writes: "First, an apology," Continuing with "I remarked in an interview that Hitler was able to get things done. I have no complaints about the quote - it is what I said - but it was not what I meant to say.

"Not surprisingly it has upset a number of people in the Jewish community, in Germany and elsewhere," he continues. "Those who don't know me think I support Hitler's atrocities; those who do know me have told me how unwise I was to articulate my points so badly that it should have been so widely misunderstood.

"In a sense it illustrates the point I was really trying to make. Politicians these days struggle to get things done. They are trying to put themselves in a position where they can win an election, so they constantly have to compromise, rather than saying what they really believe. As a result, when faced with a serious financial crisis, things aren't being done that should be done.

"In a time of 24-hour news politicians constantly have to answer questions. Their remarks get picked up by their opponents, who can steal their ideas or use their words to pick an argument. Why should someone who has to make decisions all the time constantly have to talk about it? If you were running a business, you wouldn't have to put up with that. You can put up strong barriers.

"Politicians don't have that luxury. If they make a mistake, everyone knows they did something stupid. I'm in the same position now.

"During the 1930s Germany was facing an economic crisis but Hitler was able to rebuild the economy, building the autobahns and German industry. That was all I meant when I referred to him getting things done. I'm an admirer of good leadership, of politicians who stand by their convictions and tell the voters the truth. I'm not an admirer of dictators, who rule by terror.

"Politicians live in fear of public opinion. If they weren't so nervous, they might have anticipated the economic problems and the banks wouldn't have been allowed to get away with what they did. But they didn't want to see the problems on Wall Street.

"They are like doctors faced with patients suffering from a serious disease. Instead of telling them what is really wrong, they give them a course of tablets and send them away. I don't blame the politicians; it's the system we've created.

"The downside of democracy is the belief that everyone should have a say in how things are run; but it's not that easy. The upside of democracy is that it allows people to say what they think - even when it's about me."

There are some who will surely try to make as much mileage out of Ecclestone's comments as possible, however, at Pitpass we are convinced that the F1 supremo meant nothing sinister and that he merely failed to communicate his opinion correctly. Sadly, in these politically correct times of 24-hour global news coverage it is often better to keep one's opinion to oneself, especially when one enjoys such a high profile.

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