It has taken Bernie Ecclestone two days to apologise for remarks he made praising Hitler as a man who could "get things done." That is probably quick by his standards. It probably was a struggle for him to sya the word 'sprry' at all, because this is a man accustomed to getting his way.
But the wording of the apology, while less offensive than the original, is still insensitive. He says that his remarks "upset a number of people in the Jewish community, Germany and elsewhere", as if Hitler is a sort of cultural taboo peculiar to certain national or religious groups.
I happen to know that his remarks profoundly upset a friend of my mother who, as it happens, is not Jewish, German, or elsewhere, but she is old enough to have married her sweetheart before he went to war. He never came back. Nor did others of her relatives. She spent part of Saturday trying to ring The Times on the telephone to tell them how angry she was that they had published Eccleston'es remarks, but could not get through.
What is disturbing about Ecclestone's mindset, apart from the offense he caused, is that is an example of the increasingly fashionable view that democracy is a broken down system that has failed the British public. It simply is not true. Anyone with a reasonable knowledge of history or of world affairs will see that the general rule is that the most proposerous and efficienlty governed societies are democracies, and our democracy is one of the better ones. Dictatorship is wasteful as well as repressive. While Mugabe "gets thinsg done", Zimbabweans starve. But the British are like people who are born rich who have no sense of the value of money: We have enjoyed the freedom to vote and to speak for so long that we have forgottne how precious they are.