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Oh Bernie

FEATURE BY MIKE LAWRENCE
08/07/2009

I have a friend who is a keen follower of F1, but he gets his information printed on dead trees. Recently, he referred to budget capping. How we all laughed! Wiping away the tears, we explained that budget capping was last Friday and today was Monday so the whoosh on the street was resource restriction. Last Monday the guy referred to Max standing down. When we caught our breath again, it was explained that he was soooo last week.

According to Max, he had always intended not to seek re-election and was miffed when FOTA gave the impression that he was ousted in order to restore peace and stability to F1. Apparently, Max thought he had thrashed out a deal - Max is a man who knows about thrashing things out - and all parties should be cuddly in their public statements. FOTA had broken the agreement particularly with Luca di Montezemolo calling him a dictator.

Mosley turned to the Daily Mail to tell his story and the headline read: 'I'll call liar di Montezemolo's bluff by staying on as FIA president, warns Mosley.' That is not cuddly, that is one huge ego addressing another huge ego, trust fund kids at dawn.

It was the Daily Mail which once ran an editorial headlined 'Hurray For The Blackshirts!'

The longer that Mosley strings this out, the less chance FOTA has of organising a breakaway series in the foreseeable future.

As Chairman of Fiat, di Montezemolo is the nearest thing there is in the Western world to a medieval prince. A week ago there was talk of Jean Todt succeeding Max as President of the FIA. If you can remember that far back, you will recall that Todt did a few useful things for Ferrari in his time, he was actually rather good but, as I understand, he is currently unemployed. I am reminded of a courtier to a medieval prince who outshines his master and that will not do.

Todt was seen as a successor to Mosley and was also seen as being of Mosley's mind. Being of the peasantry. I have no knowledge of the way princes conduct their business, but I suspect that Todt was too accomplished to be around di Montezemolo. I doubt whether Todt would ever be a Mosley puppet, he is way too good for that, but some believe he would be. Medieval princes, trust fund kids to a man, could be capricious and Todt is currently without work.

All that, however, is so last week.

We had all this going on and then Bernie hit the headlines. In an interview with The Times, Bernie defended the idea of a dictator over democracy. I am happy to consider the idea. When Ancient Rome was threatened, the Senate stood down having chosen a dictator whose powers were limitless for a given period. That was a point that Bernie appears to have missed, there was a time limit. Julius Caesar was assassinated because he did not like the time limit.

Bernie has told the German newspaper, Bild, that it was all a misunderstanding and that he was referring to things like road building and the re-booting of the German economy. It was all a misunderstanding. so that's all right, then. If you want to choose analogies from history, be sure to choose the right ones, otherwise you are plain stupid.

Naturally, influential Jewish groups have been upset, but there are plenty of other groups which might take offence, gypsies and Jehovah's Witnesses among them, plus citizens of many other countries who were slaughtered as reprisals or forced to work as slaves. I knew a concentration camp survivor who did not belong to a minority. He was a Pole and was one of more than 400 young men from his town who were shipped off to labour camps. Five survived the ordeal.

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