Friday, 8 December 2017

Writing - Negotiating an exit

I am not referring to finding the door when leaving the pub after a good session but rather BREXIT. For the last 18 months we have heard nothing else, almost daily, but there seems to have been a move forward in the last 24 hours. Of course, this is not the first exit. Benjamin Franklin negotiated an exit from the British Empire.

Image result for benjamin franklin
Benjamin Franklin

So what did Franklin do?

1 Take your sharpest political thinkers.

John Adams a lawyer who led the cry for Independence in 1776. John Jay a congressman and ex-Spanish ambassador. Henry Laurens the richest of them was a slave trader and a rice planter.

It is true that our current negotiators have somewhat different CVs, in fact their credentials are more difficult to ascertain as the loyalty to the party and the leader are serious factors. We citizens of the UK hope that the PM selected a team who were bright enough to protect our best interests.

2 Look after number one.

It was a team that entered negotiations in Paris with Franklin. He couldn't have managed opening negotiations without support from Spain and France. However, once the door was opened the US looked after their interests. They knew that with a negotiated exit from the Empire agreement could only be achieved with agreement the allies. So when Franklin spotted an early opportunity because of other pressures on Britain he dumped the Spanish and French and went ahead on his own.
The chances of such an early opportunity arising in Brexit is zero because of the size of the EU but it is to be hoped that our team has the whole of Britain in its mind and not just big business.

3. Make outrageous demands.

Now this is perhaps a position that all negotiators will adopt as the opposition will usually meet you half way. In the current negotiations that is a situation we will probably never find out about. As things are at the moment, the UK seem to be backing down to almost everything.

4. Find common ground.

At this point we are in almost the exact same position that was Franklin's. Trade offs are simply permissions for small bits of concessions such as who can fish the waters off Newfoundland and so on. The trade negotiations will be full of such acts as the fisheries and farming policies will create political arguments.

5. Show of strength

Show no sign of weakness. Franklin was strong on this but in the 21st century May is the opposite.

Finally, the common ground has to be recognised and agreed upon. We know what Benjamin Franklin agreed but what will our leaving the EU look like? We won't know for years.

God Bless