The national icon suddenly announces that the future of the thing we pride ourselves is at stake. Some big mean foreigners are going to take if off us. Oh no, oh no! Fortunately, there’s a solution. It just requires a few tens of millions of taxpayer dollars. Sound familiar? As with the Hobbit, now with the All Blacks. We got suckered once. Will we again?
The gambit is only halfway through with the All Blacks.
First, we’ve had the shock announcement that the All Blacks may not be able to afford to go to the next World Cup. Funnily enough, this revelation just so happens to have come during the early stages of the Rugby World Cup.
Second, the IRB ups the stakes and indicates they’re not going to compromise by saying ‘so what if you don’t come’. What an incredible affront while we’re hosting the World Cup and on track to win it!
The next stage will be a reinforcing of the ‘crisis’. The All Blacks cry poverty, the IRB says ‘tough’. Heartfelt interviews. Tough men in tears etc etc.
As the crisis rises (just before the final?) helpful proxies muse that maybe manna from heaven (also known as our tax dollars) could cut this Gordian knot.
The government, seeing the political advantage of ‘saving the national game’ organises an emergency meeting to coincide with the victory parade, where it signs a big fat cheque of public money.
The genius of this is that the three parties – the local icon, the international bully, and the government – don’t actually have to be in collusion for them to work together to rip us off.
And rugby is the winner on the day.