There is a lesson from Rugby (of both the League & Union variety) that should be applied to political debate generally and the Brexit debate most particularly.
One of the great joys of Rugby – something surely that can be celebrated even by people who don’t follow the game – is that opposing side’s fans all sit together. There is never crowd trouble – they’ll be some good natured joshing, for sure, but never any trouble.
Whether it is lower league club rugby, through to a top-of-the-table clash between premier sides, or even a bitterly fought international match, the fans sit together, drink and sing together and – as often as not – a fan of the losing side will congratulate a winning supporter on their success at the end of it.
My younger son’s first experience of a live game (quite some years ago now) was taking him to Wasps v Harlequins at the Stoop on his 5th birthday. I was a lone Wasps fan sat in a crowd of Quins supporters, and Wasps that day were on the wrong side of a hiding. All the guys around us were telling my son that he shouldn’t follow his Dad and should instead become a Quins fan. We were all chatting and laughing and they found out it was my son’s birthday.
As we took our seats again after half-time, a group of total strangers had been to the Harlequins shop and bought him a Quins shirt, a Quins hat and a Quins flag. By the end of the match he was standing on his seat singing “The Mighty Quin” whilst I was being teased about my son now being a cuckoo in the nest.
He is, I’m afraid to say, an ardent Harlequins fan to this day.
That is one of the (many) reasons I love Rugby.
It should be perfectly possible for people who passionately support one side of an argument to be able to respect people who passionately believe in the other side. We can believe the other is misguided and wrong, but there is no need to insist that they must therefore be evil!
There is much too much of that in evidence in political debate over the last several years and, at a guess, such attitudes have never yet convinced anyone to change their mind.
The segregation at the football is what gives it the atmosphere though. I’ve been to rugby games and found them to be incredibly sterile experiences. Loads of middle class bores who make a song and dance about being morally better than the louts who shout, swear and sing rude songs at the football
So you prefer the company of ‘louts who shout, swear and sing rude songs at the football’ (not to mention the physical violence), thereby ruining the experience for others not of the same persuasion.
Give me the ‘middle class bores’ any time.
Yes, I much prefer the company of louts at the football crowd. It doesn’t ruin the experience of anybody at the game because everybody who goes does so because they like the atmosphere and the tribalism they way it is.
The violence at the ground has now all but disappeared anyway
So you like women being terrified ?Having lived near a football club who failed to obtain promotion resulting in groups of violent supporters wandering the streets, the women who lived in the halls of residence were terrified of being raped.
Rugby league never attracted violent supporters even though it is a much tougher game than football.
Once there was a rugby union match where there was trouble. Willie John Mcbride said ” Put them on the pitch and lets see how tough they are ” .
It would be interesting to compare how many football supporters play football or have done so and that for rugby, league or union.
There are fundemental differences. One can kick a football around on a hard surface such as concrete and do little damage to the body.Rugby has to be played on grass because players are tackled. Players of rugby need to be more robust to withstand the impact of tackles and being kicked in a ruck.
When it comes to the World’s population , there is much smaller percentage who will be able to play rugby as it requires a larger, more rubust and resilient physique.
After a match players shake hands and then have a drink with one’s opponents which requires resilience, robustness, an absence of spite and an unwillingness to hold grudge. It is a matter of character. Rugby, a ruffians games played by gentlemen, football, a gentlemens game played by ruffians.
I didn’t know this, and found it very heartening.
I once shared an office with a passionate Rugby Union player. He was at one time a reserve for the England squad (“One snapped tendon away from playing for my country!”). He was a perfect gentleman and interestingly said that although the players loved the game, none of them took their status all that seriously.
Your concluding words could hardly be more needed or better expressed.
In an otherwise thoughtful article, repeating this Remainer-type canard:
“It’s a sporting simulacrum for the vote to leave the European Union. But, just as with Brexit, there is a clear economic trade-off when you focus on the local rather than the global market.”
– just ruins it. Shame really, because it immediately puts the author into the category of someone unable to think beyond anti-Brexit sloganism; slogans which are patently untrue.
There is equally a clear economic (and social) trade-off when you focus on globalism at the expense of the local. Poorly argued.
About six months after Britain voted in 2016 to leave the European Union, then-Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson gave a speech on his country’s putative new place in the world. “Brexit emphatically does not mean a Britain that turns in on herself,” he said. “We are not some bit part or spear-carrier on the world stage. We are a protagonist — a global Britain running a truly global foreign policy.”
According to one of its main architects, Brexit was a vote for the globalism you so despise.
You guys need to make your mind up as to what Brexit was actually for.
After 7 years, one would have thought that you’d have got your story straight lol.
Somewhat strange to lump all people who voted Brexit as “you guys”. Sure there are a small number of “Singapore on Thames” extremists, but most people wanted more control of U.K. policies. rather than outsourcing industrial decisions to the “cheap labour” globalists at the EU.
“NO SURRENDER!” eh Frank?
I’m struggling to see how the line you refer to is anything other than indisputable, regardless of which side of the fence you’re on. Brexiters often argue that the economic pain is worth it because of sovereignty or whatever. I thought the article was a good hearted attempt at positivity.
it was a good hearted attempt at positivity – but there has been an undisputed negative effect on many working class towns as a result of successive governments following a globalist agenda- rather than looking after its own industries and towns. There is economic pain from this angle too.
“Following a globalist agenda” is itself a bit of a lazy cliché. No government has seen itself as doing that. Protectionism in the 1930s was not a rip roaring success, nor were the 1970s. If “not pursuing a globalist agenda” means endlessly subsidising (this means taxpayer’s money) politically favoured industries, that is a road to nowhere. We don’t live in a low tax “night watchman” state, or anything remotely resembling it. We need much better productivity in Britain, easier said than done of course. Governments of all stripes sometimes have to take tough decisions; I can’t recall the last time when someone argued that the government should not spend more and more in their pet area, as a solution to all ills.
I support Brexit, but on balance I think the economic case supports Britain, which is not in general a world class technical hub, forming part of the Single Market.
That’s pretty much a Requiem for GBplc.
What do you mean by GBplc? If you’re referring to public companies (plc), the very nature of them is that they are owned by international investors.
You should have said GBlimited, which would be both legally accurate – and more apt lol.
Brexit impacts on business. Unfortunately, as your comment demonstrates, it was driven by ideologues with a rather limited understanding of business. Wasn’t it Mr Johnson (who knows SFA about business) who remarked: “f**k business” lol.
When did we last have a PM who did understand business? Neville Chamberlain perhaps?
I’d already referred to it as “thoughtful” – my home town rugby league club is pretty much in the boat as Featherstone Rovers, and much of what the author wrote rang true, hence my dismay at his cheap reference to Brexit. In actual fact, our economic outlook is now far more global than it ever could’ve been as part of the EU. Failure to acknowledge that is exactly as i described it – simply following Remainer sloganism.
Aha. I’d love to see you standing in front of investors, seeking funding for your new business. First question will be how do you intend to grow the business. From your response above, one assumes you’ll tell them that you have a fantastic new “no exports” policy, and, instead, you will focus on e.g. Bolton.
Come of it Frank, the worst investment the UK has ever made sine the War, or at least since 1947, has been, your own comfy abode, Northern Ireland (NI)!
The subsidy dolled out to NI is simply staggering*, and even more than that to similarly dolled out to “needy” Scotland and Wales.
Yet even known it hangs like a putrefying Albatross around England’s neck, solely because ‘some of us’ are too ridiculously sentimental to get rid of it.
Having jettisoned the EU, it is time for ‘charity to begin at home’ and likewise jettison NI.
I’m sure you’d be far better off on your own, don’t you?
(* The dreaded Barnett Formula.)
I sometimes wonder how your brain works.
I agree that Barnet formula is wrong.
But at least NI wants to be, so far, part of UK.
UK spends many tens of billions per year on supporting useless immigrants.
So while supporting NI might be expensive, at least many of them gave their lives for King and Country.
How many Muslims would do that?
Off course NI wants to be part of the ever bountiful UK (really England) as do the wretched Scotch and greedy Welsh. Who wouldn’t given our magnificent generosity?
That is also precisely the reason that Sinbad & Co are paddling across The English Channel as I type.
However I do agree with you that we are also spending far, far too much on these feckless ‘invaders’, to whom we owe NOTHING, and who will NEVER properly integrate with us! In fact how could they?
Returning to NI you maybe too young to recall that they were EXEMPT from National Service 1947-1963, because they were considered to be so very unreliable as to be regarded as absolutely worthless.
Additionally they (NI) then indulged in a revolting civil war between 1968- 1997, costing about 3,000 lives. Even now these wretches* are using the Legal system to persecute via vexatious prosecution an 80 year former Paratrooper**for an incident that occurred more than 50 years ago.
However I am mindful of the sacrifice many from NI made in WW1 & WW 2, and in particular at Thiepval Wood in 1916.
Sadly ‘their’ performance since then has been of such a low order that I for one feel it is time to ask them to leave, and make their own way in this world. In short we owe them NOTHING.
More tea Vicar?
(* Aided & abetted by the USA via NORAID.)
(** Soldier ‘F’.)
Reply attempted at 20.27 BST, but CENSORED.
This really is too much I’m afraid.
Perhaps like me you have a personal interest in the place?
And just for Frank’s appreciation you could have finalised your worthy response with the term ‘LOL’
Sorry, but I’m not familiar with that expression but I thank you just the same.
Interestingly optimistic, in an otherwise gloomy world dominated – and not improved – by lashings of money from outsiders. Here in my small southern town our local soccer club is once again doing its best to claim that it has the right to dictate how a public recreation ground should be managed – entirely for its benefit, apparently. It has periodically proclaimed itself worthy of joining the ranks of teams in rather higher leagues, only held back because it has not been given a private ground (and the cash to run it). Few residents or Councillors care much what happens, and seem in thrall to “the beautiful game”, whereas they would care were it a genuinely community-based rugby league club. We lack the sense of community, history and identity of “the north”. So good luck to them!
It seems that the reference to Brexit was shoe-horned into this article – without any apparent justification – presumably to get clicks. Shame.
Bit harsh? A lot of the traditionally Labour places that voted Leave -some even switching to Conservative in 2019 – were also the heartlands of Rugby League.
To many voters in those heartlands Brexit was a protest vote, a way to give a negative verdict on their area’s recent past and future prospects. These were the Leavers who pressed the reset button without having a clear idea about what the reset would look like. Others were more thought-out ( I heard complaints about how the Single Market kept wages low), but still voted Leave without having much hope of winning.
But negativity and hopelessness can only get you so far, you need to find some kind of positivity and self-belief just to carry on. For a lot of the Leave-voting areas in Yorks and Lancs, the local rugby clubs are the living proof that hope never died. Where community pride exists, you can do something with it That’s how I read it anyway
I’m with you on nearly all of that. Labour and the unions were dead set on not joining the EEC as it would reduce UK wages. This is exactly what happened. At least now the struggling communities have more of a chance of kicking out the next lot of people who “screw them over” . Supporting this principle is more important than any immediate plan – and provides hope to influence the future.
It is very interesting article, which highlights real problems in former industrial heartlands of Britain.
But reality is that without mergers the local clubs are to small to be successful or even repair toilets and showers.
So choice is between being local and poor or not local and more successful.
There is no way that small town can generate enough following to create great club.
Just look at football. What happened to Blackpool, Preston, Sheffield etc?
I enjoyed the piece, so sorry to nitpick, but “Had it not been subsidised by the British taxpayer it would have run at a significant loss” should read ” it made a significant loss that was picked up by the taxpayer”. A subtle but important distinction.
In South Africa it is Rugby Union for all comers – am very thankful for that.
How’s the beach? And the ‘Great Whites’?
Where is Mr. Charles Hedges among these comments? I suspect he may have ghostwritten this article!
Not sure about that, but as an outsider, it always struck me as a fantastic game – I’d watch it in preference to rugby union. Never understood why it isn’t more popular.