Love tennis or not everyone loves the excuse to sit in the sun and drink Pimms*. But did you know Wimbledon is actually just like British Politics?
*other gin based drinks are available 😉
This way. That way. Forwards and backwards. Watch Wimbledon coverage and you’ll see the spectators swinging their heads from side to side following the balls.
Watching the TV election debates or live streams from parliament it can seem a little similar. Politicians bounce ideas and arguments backwards and forth across the House of Commons chamber.
And then the next day they do it all over again.
Sorry, Ed Miliband.
Tim Henman, our thoughts are also with you.
When Andy Murray walks onto centre court at Wimbledon we see a superhuman athlete taking on overwhelming odds and winning (most of the time). What we don’t see are the months of training regimes, diets, sacrifice and general pain that leads to the winning.
It’s just the same in politics. Most MPs spend a few years working their way up from the bottom before making any headway. Proposed new laws like the Snooper’s Charter spend months being researched and written up before another party (in this case the Liberal Democrats) blocked it. But now the Conservatives are back in power, the Snooper’s Charter is back on the agenda.
Just like Civil Servants (who help MPs with work but are not linked to a specific party) Ball Boys and Girls are expected to help play run as smoothly as possible, whilst staying out of the limelight.
“You cannot be serious!” was John McEnroe’s famous cry of outrage. Just like Tennis political debates can get… heated.
More recently Andy Murray got into trouble after the BBC was forced to apologise for his swearing. For politicians something as simple as a tweet can get you into hot water. Less than 140 characters were enough to cost Emily Thornberry her job in the shadow cabinet. #Fail
Strawberries and Cream. Pimms and Lemonade. Wimbledon is steeped in tradition. The reason players always wear white at Wimbledon and not at other tennis tournaments? Tradition, that’s why.
You’d expect nothing less from the oldest Tennis tournament in the world.
British politics is also known for its old-fashioned approach. In the House of Commons chamber MPs are actually not allowed to speak to one another directly. They refer to each other as “The Right Honourable Gentleman or Lady” and can only speak to The Speaker.
MPs are also not allowed to accuse another MP of lying whilst in the House. At Wimbledon clapping is only allowed after a point is won; total silence is supposed to be respected whilst a point is played. In Parliament clapping is not allowed at all; as some SNP MPs found out.
Queueing for tickets is another Wimbledon staple. Many tennis fans wait from 5AM in order to secure day tickets. Wimbledon top tip; if you have to queue, send a parent whilst you have a lie in.
Parliament is no different; there are not enough seats for all 650 MPs. This major fail means that MPs have to reserve their seats early in the morning. Tradition dictates that certain older MPs should get first dibs. However, as the SNP showed Labour recently, rules are meant to be broken.
In fact most of the things we take for granted in British politics are actually just tradition, not written in law. This is because we don’t actually have a written constitution; an ultimate law for the country.
One minute you’re riding high; with victory within your grasp. And then suddenly it’s all over. You’re lying in the dust, not quite sure how it happened. And just like that your journey is over.
Sorry, Ed Miliband. Again.
Just like in Wimbledon, setbacks can come out of no-where. An unexpected fall for a tennis player could lead to an injury. And depending on the luck of the draw you can find yourself up against friend and family.
The Williams sisters Serena and Venus have battled it out in 25 matches. Serena has the edge, having beat Venus 14 times.
Two siblings fighting it out for the top spot knowing that only one of them could win? Is it just us or does this sound a bit like when Ed Miliband beat his brother David to the Labour Leadership?
Sorry, David Miliband.