The Daily Mail’s tedious and unfunny churnalist Richard Littlejohn clearly believes he is on firm ground this morning as he unveils a supposedly hilarious spoof on plans to hold a Formula 1 event on the streets of the capital. But, sadly, Dick clearly hasn’t watched a race for many years, and the working through a list of check boxes to produce the alleged humour is all too obvious.
Formula 1, guv? It's on telly, innit?!?
“The disruption, coming on top of the Olympics, would be enormous” he protests, clearly not having heard over there in Florida that what is being suggested would happen well into the future. This year’s schedule was agreed a long time ago: F1 doesn’t add extra rounds on a whim. And neither does Murray Walker do the commentary any more.
But those boxes need checking, so here we go: Japanese tourists (check!), armed hold-up (check!), road works (check!), bus lanes (check!), congestion charge (check!), wheel clamping (check!), bomb scare (check!), black cabs (check!) speed humps (check!), more road works (check!), temporary traffic lights (check!), parking tickets (check!), protest march (check!), potholes (check!).
Palau de les arts Reina Sofia, Valencia: near the circuit
And, as the man said, there’s more: hot dog sellers (check!), box junctions (check!), joyriders (check!), illegal immigrants (and from Bulgaria, natch) (check!), speed cameras (check!), Tasers (check!), yet more road works (check!), faulty traffic lights (check!) pedestrian areas (check!), one way systems (check!), local Councils (check!) and a bendy bus on fire (bingo!).
Laugh? I thought I’d never start. Dick, you’re a dick. Whether London hosting an F1 event is a goer or not, you don’t have the first idea of what would be involved when looking at it from the side of the pool in your gated compound over there on the other side of the north Atlantic. Perhaps you should look to see what kind of business is being done by other cities that host such races.
Veles e Vents: on the Valencia circuit
The obvious one to check out is Monaco, but then, the rulers of the principality can effectively wave their hands and cause all the traffic closures and circuit changes to be done without recourse to pesky old democracy. A more instructive example can be seen in the Spanish city of Valencia, which has just hosted such an event. Their race is now a permanent F1 fixture.
Valencia’s circuit is just an area of nondescript harbour-side tarmac for most of the year. But when the time comes, in a well choreographed series of moves, all the clutter is removed, the pits set up, safety fences and barriers configured, and the racing happens. No howls of protest from the city’s hotels, bars, restaurants and shops have yet been detected.
But then, Dick doesn’t have to engage brain first. No change there, then.