Playing by the rules

Published on October 4, 2015

Playing by the rules

Even though neither I nor my Welsh friend who sat beside me at Twickenham understood what the ref was doing, we are both clear that Wales beat England playing by the rules. We checked it out on the TV and heard his reasons. It was also said that England didn’t win because they got on the wrong side of the ref and didn’t follow his rulings well enough to get sufficient decisions in their favour. And whilst I don’t like the result, one of the reasons I follow rugby is that there is a strong correlation between following the rules and winning. It’s not sufficient to throw your weight around, you need to throw it in a legitimate way.

That’s the world I want to live in and that’s why I’m angry about the behaviour of VAG/ Volkswagen which (not who, it’s not a natural being) has thrown its weight around and either ignored the rules or said to the rule makers “we’re too big for you to force us to comply”.

Rules are learned, not natural, and we all break some and spend some time thinking how we can avoid others. But people and national organisations, such as rugby teams, are policed by law makers and law enforcers so that the end result is a working accommodation of liberty and respect for your neighbours. Until we have multi-national, supra-national, bodies then we will continue to see large, deliberate co-ordinated breaches of national laws, of which FIFA and VW are just the latest.

Not only does it matter for our sense of well-being it also undermines our ability to create wealth. No SME could behave this way (and succeed for the length of time that they did). So until it is properly addressed we reduce our ability to create the new companies which create the wealth on which we all depend.

But creating such bodies is a long way off. So is there any interim solution? Resignations seem to me to be little more than those reluctant apologies our children sometimes chuck out. Financial sanctions available to national governments help but what would really teach that such behaviour is completely wrong? How about 80 minutes in the middle of the Twickenham pitch being booed by representatives of every nation? Our chariot is a lot greener than anything they can make.