Game On!

I like to think my blog observes good netiquette. This means that I try to abide by the rules of the officers’ mess, as explained to me by my father who served in WWII – rules designed to prevent unnecessary arguments amongst people that have to work as a team. No mention of sex, religion or politics then …

Ho hum … weather’s been nice today, hasn’t it?

Ah, to hell with it! Are you as fed up as me with the low level of political debate everywhere? In place of long-term solutions, all we get are short-term promises and glib soundbites. There is little real analysis, in-depth investigation, development of expertise. We are governed by fear and ruled by division. Where are the big ideas to tackle the huge problems we face in the world? Where are the people with courage to speak the sometimes unpalatable truth about what should be done?

The system rewards those who play safe. A biased press pounces on anyone who promotes adventurous solutions which threaten the status quo. And far too many politicians, particularly those in office, seem to have adopted/adapted José Mourinho’s football methodology (click link for the sport side) as outlined by his biographer, Diego Torres:

1. The game is won by the team who commit fewer errors.

2. Football favours whoever provokes more errors in the opposition.

3. Away from home, instead of trying to be superior to the opposition, it’s better to encourage their mistakes.

4. Whoever has the ball is more likely to make a mistake.

5. Whoever renounces possession reduces the possibility of making a mistake.

6. Whoever has the ball has fear.

7. Whoever does not have it is thereby stronger.

Now such shenanigans may bring dividends in soccer – send everyone to sleep and sneak in the back door, perhaps – but it’s no way to run a country. Leadership is about much more than hanging back and waiting for opponents to screw up. You have a responsibility to come up with fresh ideas. And with a frightening plethora of international problems facing humankind, from spreading conflict to ecological degradation, we need outward-looking statesmanship – no gender bias intended! – rather than petty, parochial point-scoring.

Football and politics have one obvious thing in common: both are corrupted by money. But it’s one thing to strangle soccer in pursuit of victory, quite another to stifle public debate in pursuit of private gain. Politics may be the art of the possible, but it should also be the science of the necessary. Let’s hear from all sides before we reach conclusions. For without contraries, as William Blake said, there is no progress.

With so much to be done to create a world fit for future generations, it’s high time we upped our game. Football can be beautiful. Politics can be true.


Image result for foot on ball




25 thoughts on “Game On!

  1. The idea of politicians being public servants has long gone on both sides of the pond. It’s about maintaining power through fear of the other, whichever other is in vogue this week. Lies are the common currency of the present politician with debate being replaced by who is the loudest.

    At least football has a definite season that ends and we can breath.

      1. Excellent stuff, not seen this guy before, goes to show that the problem of political inertia verging on paralysis crosses national boundaries. Thanks for the link!

        1. No worries! Yeah, Shaun Micallef is great. He’s pretty well known over here, but not so much overseas. That clip was from a show he had years ago ( goes to show how much has changed :/) , but he’s still around doing various cool things 🙂
          Yep, it unfortunately seems a widespread phenomenon…..sigh.

  2. This one from 60 years ago may ring a few bells

    Nothing changes – but are we downhearted? No! Remember there are blue skies coming. Don’t know where, don’t know when, but surely the pendulum of logic will swing away from the current mess and hover over the sunny uplands of peace and sanity sometime soon, won’t it??? And then we can all have a jolly good time. With lashings of ginger beer …..

    1. A bit like watching Geoffrey Boycott at the crease slowly building an innings while batsmen at the opposite end run themselves out trying to win the game … or something. Thanks for the Sellers piece, Mike!

  3. There does seem to be a lot of “the other side is making a huge mistake” without any viable better solutions proposed. Of course, once the “other side” becomes the A side, that lack of better solutions rears up and bites them. Wouldn’t it be nice if scientists and engineers ran government instead of politicians? It might be boring, but I bet it’d work…

  4. Now look at that, I’ve been thinking that reading ‘Fever Pitch’ had told me everything I needed to know about football, and now you provide me with an insight that is more concise, and very much sums-up what I’ve been trying to put into words when discussing this farce with friends.

    Do you realise that you are seriously challenging my long-term aversion to sport?

  5. Yes, I find it all exhausting! The thing I hate most is watching politicians shouting all over each other’s speeches. It really seems like they’re still in debate club and not talking about something serious

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