This article appeared in the Sunday Herald
It will have been a thoroughly British sex scandal from start to finish: the patrician figure, whose pinstripes conceal sadomasochistic foibles, undone by lurid undercover reporting of his private misdeeds. It’s like nothing has changed since 1963 and the Profumo affair.
By the time you read this, Max Mosley might well have vacated his presidency of the Federation International de l’Automobile, motor sport’s governing body. The clamour for his resignation has certainly gathered in volume and hostility over the week, after the News of the World’s graphic expose of his participation in an orgy with alleged Nazi overtones. Car manufacturers lined up to express their outrage, while the ADAC, Germany’s national motoring body – he was elected by the equivalent bodies of more than 200 countries – announced in a statement that “the more than 100 million motorists worldwide should not be burdened by such an affair”.
Rather a comic suggestion that, the idea that members of the AA and RAC and the like will be so disgusted that they might get out of their cars and throw up at the very thought of motoring’s besmirchment. Anyway, Mosley, whose old man Oswald tried and failed to get Britain to snap its heels for fascism back in the 1930s, denies there were any Nazi connotations to his exertions in the London “sex dungeon” where he was secretly filmed, and, alleging a high-level “covert operation”, has filed a writ for invasion of privacy against the Rupert Murdoch-owned newspaper.
Meanwhile, British Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton has been all veiled platitudes about setting young people a good example. Mosley’s resignation may be on the cards but, good example or not, it remains unanswered what is to be gained from his departure. It seems counter-intuitive to imagine freshly-laundered linen sits top of the job spec for running the FIA. Being fabulously rich. Yeah, that would work. An aristocratic background? All the better for buddying up with crown princes in such bastions of pluralistic liberal democracy as Abu Dhabi and Bahrain – where, let’s face it, the sport’s future lies.
Mosley has enormous power in a multi-billion pound sport which has a huge global following – a fairly intrepid lot who are unlikely to go off and watch cycling instead just because their man might be a bit perverted. For some reason we have come to expect senior figures in the world of sport to behave as pillars of morality. It is stupid and unreasonable. Mosley’s job is to make sure motor sport thrives. On that alone let him be judged.