I’ve also written a piece for Foreign Policy on the great Bahrain Grand Prix controversy:
The irony is that a race designed to flatter and showcase the Bahraini regime has instead become a focal point for unrest, shining a light upon a repressive government whose actions would not receive nearly as much attention in the European and international press if Bahrain had not purchased the right to host motor racing’s traveling circus.
That, however, is small comfort when set beside the moral iniquity of millionaires and billionaires fretting about tire temperatures and race set-ups while pretending that all is sunshine and sweetness. Meanwhile, the Bahraini regime continues to thwart all but the most superficial reforms and has no qualms about using any amount of force necessary — including tear gas, stun grenades, and birdshot, reportedly — to do quell the small, but vocal chorus of non-violent dissent. At least, unlike a year ago, they’re not using live ammunition. Not that Ecclestone or F1 would care — or, god forbid, dare to speak up. Formula One may try to paint itself as a glamorous business but the cheap and grubby reality beneath the surface shine is rather different. The sport sold its soul long ago — and with that any sense of shame as well.
Still, at least Yates of the Yard assures us that Bahrain is safer than London. So that’s all right then.