Election season has started but McQuaid remains the same; he may very well be the only person who sees absolutely nothing wrong with saying one thing one day and the absolute opposite the next. In fact, he regularly does it within the same letter or conversation.
It is the perfect debating tactic. His opponents are so bewildered and confused by the conflicting statements that they eventually give up. Compare this to any regular politician. Sure, they lie and twist as well, but they always try to justify it in some way. Circumstances have changed here, I was misunderstood there, that depends on what the definition of the word “is” is. They feel they still need to be believable, so they attempt to thread all their statements together into a plausible story.
McQuaid is long past that stage, he has no intention to justify his contradictions. He’ll say he cherishes the democratic process and welcomes anybody to run against him, until somebody does. Then he switches to secret letters to the national federations slamming his opponent. Other gems from the last week:
McQuaid wants Cookson to explain why he visited Makarov in Moscow. Since they are both on the UCI board, shouldn’t they regularly meet? Maybe McQuaid should also try to meet with his board members every once in a while. If Cookson reveals details about his meeting with Makarov, will McQuaid reveal details about each of the extensive one-on-one meetings he had with Cycling Ireland board members prior to their decision to support his nomination?
McQuaid is worried that Cookson (and indirectly Makarov) would have a conflict of interest if Cookson were to become UCI president. Because both men are also involved in pro teams (Sky and Katusha respectively), they feel those teams may be at an advantage in the license process once Cookson becomes president. Of course, McQuaid will also tell you that as a president, he had absolutely no involvement in the license process, that it was run entirely by the completely independent license committee. So how could a new president influence it? And if such influence is possible, then surely it is already a potential conflict of interest that Cookson and Makarov are UCI board members? Yet the UCI president never spoke out about his board members.
Strange we never hear McQuaid talk about the conflict of interest between the UCI and its race organizing company Global Cycling Promotion. In a small sport like cycling, conflicts of interest may not always be avoidable. The key is that people know when to recuse themselves from the decision-making process. Whether Cookson will be better at it than McQuaid is simply unknown (although with Cookson I am pretty sure he at least knows the word).
Speaking of conflict of interest, McQuaid has been using the UCI press department to send out news about his candidacy. Enough said.
While McQuaid as the new protector of democracy, transparency and the avoidance of conflicts of interest is laughable without any further explanation, one little encore that reveals all his self-proclaimed strengths to be weaknesses. You may remember that a few years ago, after side-stepping the issue for many years, the UCI was forced to admit they had received money from Lance Armstrong.
- How come McQuaid – now an expert on conflict of interest – didn’t see taking money from an athlete they were supposed to monitor as such back then?
- How come McQuaid didn’t see it as an even bigger conflict given that recently, he had to admit that Armstrong’s 2001 Tour de Suisse test results were highly suspicious (remember he was forced to defend himself against the allegation Armstrong tested positive at this race, so he claimed the results were not positive but highly suspicious – annoying but nothing they could do about it). Clearly the avoidance of conflicts of interest are not his cup of tea.
- He then claimed the money from Armstrong was used for a test machine. To prove it, he would show the receipts to the media. for several years (and several trips by journalists to Aigle) after that promise, no such receipt was shown to the media. So much for transparency.