“El Clásico” Primacy of Politics

When Mr Hewitt began his lecture on the primacy of politics in development, little surprise that it matched the description of politics and development in almost all of the developing countries in modern days.

What is politics in the first place? Adrian Leftwich articulated the politics is a whole spectrum of activities which involved in conflict, cooperation and negotiation in related to resources whether at local, national or international levels. This has put me into a question, is it all about power?

The dominant role of politics in development is not new and it has been one of major factors in most developing countries. For example Mogadishu, the capital city of Somalia remains as it was before the intervention of foreign power in 1990s conflict and it has the lowest index of overall governance in the whole African continent.  According to 2015 report of Ibrahim Index of African Governance (IIAG), Somalia has not progressed since 2000 in all development measurement such as safety and rule of law, participation and human rights, sustainable economic opportunity and human development due to political instability.  However in Hinthada  a small and underdeveloped rural area in Myanmar, local politics plays vital impact in the nation’s return to democracy from military regime primacy, when the de facto leader of ruling party USDP and former general, U Htay Oo was defeated by a school teacher in 2015 election.

Somehow, it came across my mind that football has so much connection with politics. Despite glamourous excitement of English and Spanish football, development politics has significantly built up the sport’s background historically and geographically. As I have no intention to bring further discussion on football itself, Philip Cowley a political scientist in his study explores most of big clubs in English football are founded in labour or worker populated area, which reflected urban areas and cities such as Liverpool, London and Manchester during Britain’s massive industrial period in 19th century. The political preference of the city’s population showed inclination to Labour based ideology rather than Conservatives.


The spicy flavour of Spanish football lies on the rivalry of big and famous clubs: Barcelona and Real Madrid known as El Clásico, refers to any football match between them. Both clubs compete each other and shared numerous honours in Spanish league nearly a century. The rivalry appears to be originated from Spanish political history, as they sometimes identified as opposing political representation. Real Madrid viewed representing Spanish nationalism and Barcelona seen representing Catalan nationalism.

El Clásico match often marred with controversies, fierce tackles and harsh challenges from both players. This kind of playing aggressiveness, could be superficial or exaggerated, nonetheless the level of intensity in the field or in the actual political scene might tell us actual story. Although none of the players, managers nor the supporters were born during Francisco Franco’s Coup D’etat in 1936, I believe that’s the way El Clásico should be portrayed and it shall remain as it is so the rivalry of political supremacy between them can be prevailed.

So, having this ‘El Clasico’ type primacy of politics to be succeeding, we are left to ponder political influence in this challenging developmental era, whether they are for dominate development or just to capitalize development for undisputed political survival.




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