Mosley gives a weak defence

Max Mosley, Red Bull, 2006, 270150

Max Mosley has given an interview to the Sunday Telegraph – whose F1 correspondent Kevin Garside was just about the only journalist to stick up for the FIA President following the sex scandal story in the News of the World. Mosley made his position on the matter quite clear:

I think what happens is they think ‘what can we get at him, ah yes, we can say he’s this Nazi. Is there any basis for Nazism? Not really, but we can kind of invent something and then focus on the family name.’ The whole thing was quite deliberate from that point of view because it adds to the story.

He continued to insist that the majority of people within the FIA support him, despite very few having said so in public.

For every letter I’ve had from a club president saying ‘I think you should step down’ or ‘I think you should consider your position’, I’ve had seven, slightly more than seven, who said ‘you’ve absolutely got to stay, don’t give an inch’, and ‘this is the most outrageous invasion’, and suggesting that there’s more to this than meets the eye, which of course there may be.

Mosley was dismissive of the criticism saying:

None of the heavyweights have said anything, the people who really are the opinion formers in Formula 1. There’s a few ex-drivers.

Which is simply not true. Are BMW, Mercedes, Toyota and Honda not heavyweights? Is Mark Webber an ex-driver?

The Nazi angle is irrelevant

It’s becoming clear that there are two key matters that lie at the heart of the whole sordid debate.

The first is the ‘Nazi’ thing which, as I wrote in my very first post on the subject, seems like a dubious connection as it is one that British tabloids are fixated with.

If Mosley does have as many supporters as he claims to I think they’re standing by him because they don’t believe the Nazi angle.

But even if the Nazi thing isn’t true, the News of the World have given Mosley more than rope to hang himself with, and he’s grasped it with both hands.

The fall

That’s because of the second point: the President of the FIA has been revealed to be someone who gets a sexual thrill out of punishing people. Last year he levied an unprecedented fine against a team led by a man who we know Mosley does not like.

Can we honestly now say with any confidence that Mosley handed out that punishment because he thought it was the correct thing to do and not because he got a kick out of doing it?

What about when Eddie Irvine appealed against a one-race ban in 1994 and it suddenly became a three-race ban – a move that stunned many in the sport? What about Toyota’s expulsion from the World Rally Championship in 1995?

These were all controversial cases that led to severe punishments. The FIA president must be able to hand out these kinds of punishments when they are deserved. What we now know about Mosley makes it impossible to believe he can act with impartiality in these matters.

The moral argument

Mosley is trying to make the debate all about the ‘Nazi’ element and ignore the wider question of whether you can be considered a fair judge when you admit to being sexually aroused by administering punishment.

The reason he’s doing that is because the meeting on June 3rd to decide his future will surely have a lot to say about this clasue:

According to Article 27 of the Statutes of the FIA:

The World Motor Sport Council may directly impose the sanctions provided for in the International Sporting Code, and where appropriate the World Council for Automobile Mobility and Tourism may impose fines on or demand the exclusion from FIA bodies or international sporting events of licence holders, executive officers or members of ASNs or ACNs:

5) who by words, deeds or writings have inflicted moral injury and loss on the FIA, a World Council, their Members or their executive officers.

By focussing on the ‘Nazi’ part of the revelations he is trying to distract attention away from the heart of the matter – the real reason why he can’t stay in his job any more, and why every day that passes with him still in that role damages F1 even more.

NB. I’m sure you’re all as sick of this sordid story as I am – I’ve got some ‘proper’ posts on the way shortly.

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100 comments on Mosley gives a weak defence

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  1. God this man Mosley knows no shame and is using legal arguments of the like he would not give a second thought of throwing out if used against him at the FIA.

    The many correct legal arguments brought up at the Spygate trial were simply not entertained by Mosley (no other court in the world could do that).

    I agree 100% that he is deflecting re the Nazi element to try and hoodwink the FIA voters and public opinion in some quarters and knowing how the FIA operate he may well succeed in winning the vote.

    The fact that few in the F1 world says more about the fear of reprisals than anything else which is in itself a crime and a disgrace.

    Being a Telegraph reader I was appalled that they at first supported Mosley and only changed their stance one a wave of opinion against their initial views were received (from the likes of me and others) . It will be interesting to see how they report it in the coming weeks.

    I hope the press from around the globe will go to Jordan and press both the people there and Mosley on this pervert scandal currently engulfing motor sport.

  2. Robert McKay said on 20th April 2008, 12:17

    He’s not "deflecting the Nazi element" – as Keith says, the Nazi aspect is irrelevant. And I think calling him a "pervert" is just too far.

    The only thing I think he’s really failed to defend/answer is the fact that the sport and the FIA in general is damaged by the story, and on that basis alone he should go. Removing him on grounds of his sexual preferences is just ridiculous - and it seems to be on this premise that many people in the media are basing their opinions on.

  3. Rohan said on 20th April 2008, 12:54

    Keith, I am amazed that you have basically said that anyone who enjoys BDSM should not be in a position of power. In one fell swoop you have effectively ruled out at least half the population (because that is a rough estimate of how many people enjoy/fantasise about bondage) from such a position.

    Most people thought Irvine deserved more than a 3-race ban at the time and your article also implies that Toyota did not deserve to be banned from the WRC for one of the most blatant forms of cheating there is.

    I, for one, look forward to the scum at the News of the World losing their jobs when the "newspaper" is forced to pay Max so much damages that they go into liquidation.

  4. Did anyone expect Mosley to give a proper defence? It’s not his style – bullying and blustering is his normal way out trouble, no reason to think he’d change.

    Unfortunately the EGM won’t necessarily decide Mosley’s future. He and his cronies have made sure the agenda hasn’t been changed to allow allow the clubs to question Mosley, or to take action based on the result of the vote.

  5. Lady Snowcat said on 20th April 2008, 13:21

    Well if you look at the responses of the Telegraph readers they agree with Max…. virtually exclusively …..

    And personally… I don’t want a rag run by Mr Murdoch to dictate the decisions of the governing body of Motorsport….

    This is personal and nothing to do with motorsport….

    Max’s actions were not my cup of tea thank you, but they were in private and as he is an unpaid position that doesn’t dictate sexual morality what on earth is a little S&M between friends to do with anything…

    Except selling papers to the prurient and embarrassing Max’s family of course ….

  6. @ Robert McKay

    May I suggest you refer to an English dictionary re the word ‘pervert’.

    Then read the limited text as already published in the News of the World, you then will, I’m sure acknowledge that a pervert he is.

    You may consider being a pervert not to be a bad ting, that’s your right, but nevertheless a pervert he is.

    A thought: Why is the FIA vote to be by secret ballot? Is it to protect those voting from retribution from those at the FIA or to stop retribution from the members of the individuals motor organisation?

    Members of parliament vote for their constituents as they are serpents of the same and their votes area matter of public record as they should be. Is this not yet another case where real democracy needs to be brought to the FIA?

    In my view those that support Mosley can not or do not want t see the bigger picture. I contend that no organisation that represents both children and women (and many men) can be openly headed by an acknowledged pervert.

  7. Lady Snowcat – “And personally… I don’t want a rag run by Mr Murdoch to dictate the decisions of the governing body of Motorsport….

    This is personal and nothing to do with motorsport….”

    That’s the second comment I’ve seen you write using the same logic.

    That raises this question, why is it “personal” when auto manufacturers have not only denounced Mosley (in Porsche’s case explicitly said they wouldn’t enter F1 as a car builder) but asked him to step down, isn’t that hurting the sport?

    Isn’t being asked to stay away from events as in the case of Bahrain hurting his ability to perform as he was “hired” to do?”

    And a secondary question… how soon will it be before you fall into line with Max and condemn the prostitute for letting the world in on his dirty little secret?

    Max “The Littlest Perv” Mosley needs to go sooner rather than later.

  8. Fireblade said on 20th April 2008, 14:42

    It is very apparent that Keith Collantine is trying to convince people of her bizzare and helpless anti-Max Mosley campaign,which alot of weak-hearted souls are  supporting…
    -It is also very apparent that there is a discreet driving force behind this anti-Max Mosley campaign…
    -As a professional journalist-from which u are quite far away-you should have printed the complete article without ur subjective opinion and give people the chance to make their own judgement.
    http://www.pitpass.com/fes_php/pitpass_print_article.php?fes_art_id=34534
    -Your campaign wil lead nowhere…Take my word for this!

  9. Rabi said on 20th April 2008, 15:36

    It is very apparent to me Fireblade that F1Fanatic is a Blog.

    In fact if you scroll down it even says that under "about F1Fanatic.co.uk"

    A Blog is not supposed to be the expression of professional journalism but rather the expression of personal opinion.

    So there’s no need to knock him or call the other people who believe Max will never recover from this weak hearted. Name calling won’t do anything, you call yourself a "professional" yet you have just displayed you don’t exhibit any of the ethics or responsibilty that come with it with your snide comment.

    And I’m referring explicity to: "As a professional journalist-from which u are quite far away"

  10. Journeyer said on 20th April 2008, 15:37

    Fireblade, I read the entire Pitpass article, and Keith cited the relevant bits in their proper contexts.  He can’t quote the entire Pitpass article without getting sued, so he did the next best thing.

    It is also very apparent that there is a discreet driving force behind this anti-Max Mosley campaign?  Yes, there possibly is.  But that’s beside the point now.  Point is, the people he had jurisdiction over has lost respect for him as a leader because of something he did, and when that happens, the leader has to accept the consequences of what he did and do the right thing – resign.

  11. Journeyer said on 20th April 2008, 15:39

    Rabi, to be fair to fireblade, he never claimed to be a professional journalist.  Rather, he thought that Keith was a professional journalist – which he’s not.  :)

  12. As far as I see it, if you are in a job, you should not engage in activities that undermine your ability to do that job. If you do happen to engage in such activities, you should try not to be caught. And if you are caught, you should try to limit the damage as fast and as far as possible.

    If Max had come out straight away, set the record straight, apologised for  any offence unintentionally caused and kept a low profile for a while, then this would not have undermined his ability to do the job, even if all of News of the World’s allegations had turned out to be true. It would have had the secondary benefit of letting his preferred successor practise some of the more high-profile parts of the FIA presidential role – and at some point Max will surely want to retire, if only to go on a beach and finish reading the books he’s always wanted to read…

    As it was, staying quiet for six days and then trying to blame News of the World when it was his own behaviour that was raising eyebrows look like his two key errors. NotW has long been suspected of being marginal in its news collection methods, and I for one initially refrained from commenting because I thought that the whole thing would turn out to be a fabrication. By staying silent, the rumours ended up convincing the mainstream press before Max opened his mouth. It certainly proved the old adage "Give a lie 24 hours’ head-start and the truth will never overtake it".

    Blaming the press made him look guilty and incapable of good judgement – and the president of the FIA has to be capable of good judgement to command the respect of others. This lack of respect opened up a vulnerability for his enemies to exploit, expanded further by the Crown Prince of Bahrain’s predictable "dis-invitation". That’s what will cause the premature end of Max’s career – lack of trust. Max’s scandal merely presented the opportunity to convert the distrust. The act was personal; the response to other people’s responses was public.

    Had Max governed well, or even if he’d acted promptly to limit the damage he caused through the scandal’s publication, it is unlikely that this affair would have done more than temporarily inconvenience him. As it is, I think we will see him leave the FIA stage in October 2009 and quite possibly earlier.

    And Fireblade, Keith is a him, not a her. And the underlying forces of this campaign are the writer’s duty to say/write what he/she sees (which presumably underlies your comment as well), annoyance at Max’s repeated refusal to do what is right and concern at the likely consequences for F1, motor sport and the FIA.

  13. Michael Counsell said on 20th April 2008, 16:32

    Its a very good blog even though I whole heartedly disagree with some of the stuff on here, its better than most proper F1 websites.

    If you search for F1 on google this is the 23rd page so it is influential.

    The moral judgement argument paragraph is pretty awful and I think it is morally wrong to consider someone’s sexual preferences as any criteria for suitability for a professional position.

  14. Journeyer said on 20th April 2008, 16:38

    Michael, point taken.  I don’t think it’s Max’s sexual preferences that’s the problem.  I mean, a lot of people are into S&M and no one minds.

    I think the issues here are twofold:
    1. His S&M allegedly had serious Nazi connotations.  The Nazi connotation is very distasteful especially for someone who wants to lead a "Racing Against Racism" program.
    2. He cheated on his wife and his family.  And what a way to do it… with 5 prostitutes.  For someone in such a high position, a certain moral standard is expected, as he should be a role model.  And he has fallen way, way short on that standard.

  15. Fireblade said on 20th April 2008, 17:00

    1-"Blaming the press made him look guilty and incapable of good judgement – and the president of the FIA has to be capable of good judgement to command the respect of others. This lack of respect opened up a vulnerability for his enemies to exploit, expanded further by the Crown Prince of Bahrain’s predictable "dis-invitation". That’s what will cause the premature end of Max’s career – lack of trust. Max’s scandal merely presented the opportunity to convert the distrust. The act was personal; the response to other people’s responses was public."
    That shows your very weak understanding of the minimum rights of protecting the human privacy.So i really don’t know how would u look like getting caught with a prostitute giving u a …job and filmed and published and I am 100% that u will blame first thing the press and will never blame yourself…I smell double-standard fumes…

    2-"And Fireblade, Keith is a him, not a her. And the underlying forces of this campaign are the writer’s duty to say/write what he/she sees (which presumably underlies your comment as well), annoyance at Max’s repeated refusal to do what is right and concern at the likely consequences for F1, motor sport and the FIA."
    The objective writer’s duty is to outline the all aspects of any present problem and to show all different point of views, not to impose and force a very specific point of view.
    3-The writer seems not to be living in Europe where hiring prostitutes is legalized.Filming is not legalized and this is a point which i did really miss in this forum.What i drink/eat/ religion I believe in and who I sleep with is of no one’s business.Period!
    4-Why did the objective writer not investigate the persons and interest groups who are standing beside this set-up crime?
    5-The reason for the newspaper in question to publish this article in the first place was-among other hidden reasons-to boost lagging sales numbers!

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