A speech I should have made

There were a collection of fine speeches made at the dinner to celebrate the closing of the Saab deal last night. I guess I felt a little intimidated by the surroundings and the people present, but it remains as my only regret from this trip (aside from not bringing a better camera) that I didn’t create an opportunity to take my stand and present the enthusiast’s point of view on the deal that was made.
This is what I should have said.
For those of you who were present last night and are reading this today, please feel free to pass the link to this entry along to your colleagues if you feel it’s worthwhile.

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I hope none of you mind me standing here and presenting you with a glimpse into the enthusiasts’ point of view on this deal. I know I didn’t expect to be here tonight, getting the insight to this deal that all of you have provided. In a similar spirit, I’d like to offer all of you a perspective that you’ve possibly read about, but still may not understand.
First of all, I’d like to thank Victor for gathering together such a distinguished group of Saabs United readers. It really is wonderful to have met you all today and especially in such beautiful surroundings. Your commitment* to keeping Saabs United’s statistics up there in the clouds has been outstanding πŸ™‚
Given that so many of you have been readers of the site at one time or another, there’s a fair chance that I’ve offended you at some stage. That’s because you were probably being a bastard πŸ™‚ but now the deal’s done it’s fist pumps, high fives and manly hugs all ’round.
But of course, we are all here to celebrate a deal that many of you, at many different stages, possibly thought may never happen. I can tell you that as an enthusiast, with the comforting blindness that comes with being a layman on these issues, I always maintained a belief that this day would come. You shook that belief more than once, but it remained.
For us in the enthusiast community, a life without the Saab company making cars is unimaginable. That’s the case most of the time, but especially over these last 15 months. To me, personally, it just never ever made sense that a company with such a rich heritage, a great workforce, great management and a stable of brand new vehicles waiting in the wings…… it just never made sense that such a company should close.
Mention has been made of the various campaigns and gatherings that took place in the Saab community, especially over the last few months. These gatherings were incredibly important for us as a gesture of support for the company, but they were also important because they generated attention that meant that a decision about Saab could not be made in the dark. This is what we wanted all along.
With due respect to our friends from GM who are here tonight, the notion that Saab would be closed at the behest of some guys in a far away land, and mainly due to an adverse finding in a spreadsheet, was beyond comprehension.
Saab deserve the chance to carve their own path. The road ahead is not without risk but I believe that the combination of Victor’s energy, entrepreneurial spirit along with Saab’s incredible management and workforce means that Saab have their own chance at being very very successful. To quote Bruce Dickinson and Iron Maiden, “if you’re gonna die, die with your boots on.”
But that won’t happen, of course. Saab are ready and able to kick ass and I can’t wait to see that happen.
On behalf of the enthusiast community, I’d like to thank everyone here for the efforts you’ve made at bringing this affair to a successful resolution. You’ve done a great thing today. A great thing.
There are two people that I’d like to thank especially, however.
Victor Muller has inspired a great deal of confidence with his energy, intelligence, enthusiasm, rugged good looks (shall I keep going Victor, or will you offer me a job now?). His dedication to this task and his tenacity in seeing it through – pulling rabbits out of hats** on a daily basis – is one of the main reasons we’re all here tonight. To Victor, the enthusiast community says “Thankyou for saving our favourite company, and we are right behind you”.
And secondly, the debt owed by the entire Saab community to Jan-Ake Jonsson is beyond description. The day your workforce met you in the carpark of the factory in Trollhattan to thank you really did bring a tear to my eye, and I know I speak for a lot of people in saying that. Such dedication and admiration is incredibly rare – but it is 100% appropriate in this case. I’ve written it on the website a thousand times, but I’m pleased to stand here as a representative of the enthusiast community and say a very warm “Thankyou” to Jan-Ake Jonsson and his incredible management team, a few of whom are here tonight.
So thankyou all for your work, and for listening to me here tonight. I’m not sure as to whether or not I’ve gone over the previously mentioned 10 minute fantasy zone***, but if I have then I sincerely hope that it’s been personally rewarding for all of you.
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* The readers commitment – a very high proportion of the people I met in the deal room and at dinner confessed they were pretty regular readers of SU, which was very nice to hear.
** I’ll explain the rabbit reference in an entry shortly.
*** The fantasy zone – In the first speech of the night, VM indicated that any speech over 10 minutes risked having male members of the audience lose interest and drift off into fantasies of a lewd nature.

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