Sunday, March 24, 2024

Benjamin Macintyre: A remedy to division

We live in divided times. Where once there was disagreement over solutions, today there is disagreement over facts.

The proof is everywhere. An article that’s in defence of anything the private sector does? You’re a shill who works for Atlas, an organisation so secretive you can google them.

But what if you write something vaguely supportive of government intervention? Take your Leninist ideas somewhere else, tankie!

Most people want the same thing: a world that will be better to live in in 10 years' time than it is today.

We need to find a common cause to unite us. Something that all political stripes can agree on.

For my final contribution to our Insights newsletter, I have just the thing.

To start mending the political divide, it is time for us all to finally agree on one of the great issues of our time:

Rugby league is the greatest sport in the world.

Now, some of you may be raising your eyebrows. But, if you allow me to explain, you’ll see that there is something for every political persuasion to like about rugby league.

If you’re a social democrat, firstly congratulate yourself for being right about everything ever.

Then, consider that league is the original working-class game. Rugby League was founded by working-class people in the north of England as an act of rebellion against the Victorian values that continue to plague its rugby union cousin.

If you’re a conservative, you’re all about pulling yourself up by your bootstraps, not getting anything for free, and getting on through sheer hard work.

Well, did you know that rugby league games are often settled simply by whoever is most willing to run, tackle, and work the hardest? There are no lucky winners in league, and no free giveaways.

If you’re a hardened libertarian, then you’ll love how English rugby league teams like to stick as many sponsors on their shirts as possible. The free market wouldn’t have it any other way.

Finally, if you’re a centrist, then maybe it’s time to climb down from the fence and form a firm opinion on something for a change. Also, watch rugby league.

It should now be obvious that rugby league is not just a sport. It’s the potential great unifier of our time. From this starting point, we can build a better, more collaborative future.

It’s time to leave division behind. It is time to bravely stand up and jointly cry:

Up the Wahs!

Benjamin Macintyre is a Research Assistant at The New Zealand Initiative. This article was first published HERE

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