A political football is a topic that gets kicked around a lot by politicians. It is not necessarily a hot-button issue, as the debate may not necessarily be heated, but it is an issue with which candidates will try to score points, on which all the major parties will have platforms to try and differentiate themselves. Sometimes it seems that the candidates argue over it simply to have something to argue over. This tendency is particularly noticable before elections.

For instance, one could say "The existence of the British NHS is not up for debate, but the administration and efficiency thereof is a perennial political football between the Labour party and the Conservative party." Or as The Register said, "US national security has become firmly established as a key campaign issue, and a dangerous political football" (from an article entitled "US terror alert becomes political football")

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