Category: politics

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.


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