Jimmy Anderson’s Sledging Détente Demonstrates A Poor Understanding of International Relations

Jimmy Anderson has publicly called on both England and Australia to ditch the sledging for the upcoming Ashes series. Clearly, the drawn New Zealand series had a tremendous impact on the once-surly Anderson.

Here, against a cricketing minnow, on their home turf, in an essentially meaningless two test series, England shook off their troubles and played with a newly discovered joie de vivre, safe in the knowledge that this was nothing more than a glorified exhibition series.

Unfortunately, Anderson’s sledging détente demonstrates a wilful ignorance to the fact that nation-states are inherently rational actors. It also fails to comprehend the zero-sum gain nature of international relations. In the dog-eat-dog world of international cricket, Australia is the clear superpower – and we act unilaterally.

The Ashes is not the time nor the place to enact a moratorium on sledging. This is a classic case of a weak nation pledging a peace offering to a stronger, historically aggressive opponent with a long history of rational decision making.

Australia will not sign up to the terms of Anderson’s armistice. Their military operation is to conquer and crush England in the form of a cohesive, relentless insurgency. Then, they will force England to sign a modern day Versailles Treaty, rendering them impotent.

This is a major strategic mis-step from England. Australia are the schoolyard bullies and always have been. The way you beat a bully – be they a nation-state or a sports team – is by confronting them directly, not appealing to their sense of decency and morality.

Essentially, this is like The Simpsons’ Martin Prince attempting to fend off Nelson Muntz’s bullying by performing an impromptu flute recital. The best Martin can hope for is that Nelson will walk away confused, handing him a pyrrhic victory at best, a tremendous loss of face. In reality, the bully will see right through this whimpering tactic and deliver an even more profound, merciless beat-down.

Given his own history, Anderson has no right to come out and make such a hollow statement ahead of a major international congress (The Ashes). This is like China lecturing us on human rights, or Abbott tut-tutting other nations about the perils of climate change prior to a G20 Summit.

Anderson’s diplomatic olive-branch is nothing but crude populism; an opportunistic attempt to seize upon the goodwill generated by another nation’s hard work (New Zealand).

By taking the moral high-ground, Anderson is attempting to shame Australia into following suit. But he fails to realise that Australia has reaped the rich rewards of sledging for so long – it’s a proven asset; part of our national psyche.

Much like how our economy depends heavily on the export of coal and iron ore, we depend on sledging. You cannot simply expect Australia to stop the drilling and embrace renewable energy without a fight.

Put simply, Australia has the bomb. To think we would give it up without a multilateral disarmament is naive – or just plain idiotic.

By Dave Edwards 

Has Everyone Forgotten That We Hate FIFA?

Firstly, congratulations to the Matildas. This article is in no way meant to take the gloss off their magnificent 1-0 defeat of Brazil. Beating Brazil in any form of soccer, in any form of competition, let alone the Round of 16 in a World Cup, is to be celebrated heartily.

But as we bask in national glory, we ignore an inconvenient truth. This is a FIFA World Cup. FIFA. Remember them? The corrupt bastards who took a shitload of cash to award a World Cup to Qatar, where some 1000 migrants have already lost their lives on construction sites under oppressive working conditions? Yeah, them.

Being the women’s World Cup, the best of us really want to embrace this success. This, along with last weekend’s fantastic netball grand final, has seen women’s sport enjoy unprecedented exposure in this country. Which is undoubtedly a great thing.

But just because it’s the women’s competition doesn’t mean we shouldn’t recognise this is a FIFA competition, and that FIFA is fucked.

Weeks ago we were all talking about boycotting Russia 2018 and Qatar 2022, but now we are right behind our girls. Admittedly, Canada doesn’t have quite the human rights problems that those two have, but they still club seals, don’t they?

It is indicative of a national psyche where success outweighs everything. In Australia, wins triumph evil. The only thing that supplants our national past-time of high-horsing moral indignation is winning. Nothing else matters when winning. We like to win. And who doesn’t?

Culturally speaking, we are content to just ride the good times. Whether it’s the mining boom or unsustainable property prices, Australians are prepared to shut our mouths and reap the rich rewards until it all turns sour. Then, we’re the first in line to cry poor.

It is purely hypothetical, but what would have happened if we had won the 2022 World Cup via corrupt means? It would be very interesting to see how we would have reacted to the scandal. I highly doubt we would have been demanding a redraw. Probably, much like most Essendon Bombers supporters, we would have just shoved our heads in the sand and waited for it all to go away.

Sure, there would be less international outcry, given less workers would have died and we haven’t recently invaded our neighbours, but it still wouldn’t make it right.

As in the case of recent outcry over the execution of Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran, our indignation, misguided or otherwise, only lasts so long. #BoycottBali ran out of steam quicker than you can say ‘cheap beer and 6-foot barrels.’

At the end of the day, we will twist whichever way the wind blows. 

By Alasdair McClintock with staff writers

Origin Was Great Last Night, Wasn’t It?

State of Origin II was a wonderfully gripping affair, with NSW prevailing over Queensland 26-18. Here again to dissect the whole experience is TPA’s core editorial group: Dave Edwards, Sam Perry, Ben Shine and Al McClintock.

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Sam Perry: Origin reactions?

Alasdair McClintock: I am outraged, although a decider will be fun.

SP: I like Melbourne games because it’s rugby league’s 28th pitch to the rest of Australia for relevance. Like a kid at a dinner party, both TV and the administration get to show us their best toys. Channel 9 went with the pre-game player-based narrative in a bid to connect new fans with new heroes.

We learnt, for example, that John Dugan’s home town is 75% Anglo-Saxon. That Cameron Smith is the best player, even though he looks like a banker.

AM: Really, they mentioned that about Dugan? How strange.

SP: Yeah they were juxtaposing his hometown whiteness with Smith’s hometown diversity. Weird. Logan has “250 different cultures.” They were Ray Warren’s exact words.

We also learned that referees had clearly been briefed to abandon all Origin protocol and actually blow penalties at the ruck, presumably to quicken up the game to make it more attractive. We also learned that they’d been briefed to ensure NSW win, presumably to hook Victorians into Game 3.

James Tamou cut his hair and subsequently played better. There’s no doubt his hair – and game – had more spike.

Dave Edwards: I learned that Phil Gould is completely, frighteningly senile. He should have been out of the game years ago but he can’t go home because he hates his wife.

AM: Yeah, his pre-game comments that Gallen is “too old” seem only too true of himself.

DE: I also learned that Greg Inglis looks unbelievable when running freely.

SP: Yes I was startled by Inglis’ uprightness.

DE: Fucking upright eh. The purest runners are those who strive for ultimate verticality.

SP: Agreed. The antithesis of the typically hunched running style of most league players, reminiscent of Street Fighter’s Blanka.

DE: I also learned that whatever the current state of rugby league – or my gradually increasingly apathy towards the code – a good game of Origin will still shake me to my very core and remind me why rugby league is great, and indeed relevant.

Ben Shine: I’m interested in the impact on Melbourne. Was rugby league a good house guest? Did they put the toilet seat down when they were finished? Melbourne was clearly a good host – putting on a great spread of pyrotechnics. Did league reciprocate by bringing a bottle of wine or Cadbury Roses on arrival?

SP: That’s a wonderful question. My view here in Melbourne is that a beautiful symbiosis occurred.

AM: I doubt it. Rugby league responded by heckling during the minute silence for Ron Clarke and (I presume) top-decking their toilet.

SP: Our northern friends brought their lowbrow sensibilities in the form of brash colours, heavy drinking, minute’s silence abuse and referee corruption, which in turn allowed Melbournians to stake the vast moral high ground that they crave. Both parties get what they want.

DE: Melbourne was curious. The people flocked in their thousands to the Colosseum, eager to watch these slaves fight to their death. It was a beautiful, thrilling display of Origin football, and the elites were suitably impressed.

BS: Like a Mandingo fight, the rich elites were thrilled with the spilled blood and gore.

SP: Yes, the consensus in the office today was that they liked “the rugby.”

DE: No matter how many millions the NRL pours into growing awareness in Melbourne, you can be assured that elitist AFL loving snobs will continue to facetiously refer to the game as rugby. And therein lies the key problem.

SP: Good try by Woods though.