Saturday 24 September 2022

Skin in the game

The death of Elizabeth II raised a number of speculations. Here’s an example using the delightfully acute expression “skin in the game”.

Do we ordinary citizens have skin in the monarchy game? A reasonable answer is bound to be complex, but if the alternative is President Tony Blair, then we certainly do have skin in the monarchy game. Rather more than we’d care to lose in one operation. We appear to know it too. It seems to be more than a sentimental, rose-tinted attachment to the monarchy.

Depends on the individual of course, but we often think we have skin in any number of games. Football supporters seem to think they have skin in the game – particularly their team performance and the way their club is managed. Those looking on from beyond the side-lines have no skin in the game, but in the event of a key World Cup match, even they may be persuaded to risk a flake or two.

Low level political activists seem to think they have skin in the political game, but they may be no more than useful idiots. Even MPs may be no more than useful idiots – or simply idiots.

How about those who clapped the NHS, wore masks in their cars and approved of all the lockdown measures? They all seemed to think they had skin in the pandemic game, and it is easy to see why that was so. Persuasion stripped off their skin and lobbed it into the official game. Almost all of it in some cases.

People are persuaded that they have skin in a particular game, even if it isn’t much skin and there are better games. It’s an inescapable aspect of our lives – all that skin stripped off for yet another game. It’s a delightfully brutal expression though – certainly sharpens the nature of allegiance.


Sam Vega said...

For most people, "having skin in the game" is probably restricted to personal and work lives. All they risk in politics is a sense of disappointment that their side didn't win or their favoured outcome didn't materialise.

A K Haart said...

Sam - there are a few outcomes such as Brexit which do make a difference, but the effect of that is easy to exaggerate.