Say what you like about Trump... at least he understands deals need to close


Has the great European jaw-jaw resulted in a draw-draw? When the history of Brexit is eventually written, no matter on which side of the great divide you stand, the sheer lack of understanding by politicians as to what a clock is, will stand as a supreme lesson. I cannot think of a peace treaty let alone a deal negotiation which has taken two years... and that does not look like it’s long enough! At the time of writing this blog, it seems like the negotiation is going into extra time to prevent everyone throwing their toys out of the pram. Yet, so far this chit-chat (note: with our friends and allies) has cost the British taxpayer on expenses, travel and outside consultation fees around £600m. Nearly a billion dollars and it’s got nowhere. That is in itself such a monumental achievement I have to pinch myself whilst re-reading my own text. To paraphrase dear Winston, “Never in the field of human negotiation has so much time been wasted at so much cost by so few to the utter bewilderment of so many...” Like him or not I suspect the UK might have saved a fortune by asking perma-tanned occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue to thrash out a deal for a fee of say £100m, with a £100m bonus if he could wrap it all up in the time it takes the English cricket team to play a test series. Sadly, La Donald had just got another job when this all started so we might have needed another slippery deal maker. Anyone know what happened to the other Donald, Don King?

...and another thing

The internet is of course a wonderful thing for collectors of trivia, so I had a rootle around to check out which were the all-time champs for running up the clock on working out an agreement.

Clearly in the interests of a fair comparison, we must put aside century old squabbles of the Jews and the Muslims (let alone Shia vs. Shiite), who in between exchange of gunfire have been hammering away at a peace treaty ever since Coca-Cola only had one flavour.

Or course North and South Korea are only at ceasefire rather than peace, so that’s a good sixty years.

I would love to be a fly on the wall in Hanoi, Vietnam as the hosts try and explain to Kim that:

– Yes, they are still communists

– Yes, they fought a terrible war with the USA… but

– Yes, they worked out a philosophical and economic compromise that has turned their nation into a powerhouse and brought some degree of prosperity and peace to its citizens. (If you have never been, go. It’s wonderful.)

All Kim has done by digging in his heels is make boiled grass a gourmet meal for his long-suffering countrymen. Indeed, his dynasty’s one visible achievement is the national average height in the North is several inches shorter than their direct cousins in the South, such is the level of poor diet.


...and another thing

Of course, it was also Churchill who said jaw-jaw is better than war-war. I agree but if you are stuck in endless pointless meetings, I rather like the idea of a gladiatorial contest to sort it out.

I think the prospect of getting Mrs. May to pick up a trident and net and jumping into the Colosseum to face a heavily armoured Mr. Jean-Claude Juncke might be expecting a bit much.

However, another type contest might resolve it. So here is a thought.

UK vs. France on a quiz of 20th century military successes,

UK vs. Germany on a stand-up comedy routine,

UK vs. Italy to design a programme on organisational skills and logistics,

UK vs. The Rest. A game of cricket and a test on the rules.

Or maybe just go with the ultimate leveler du jour. Let’s do a Bake off. And settle this all over a decent cherry cake and a trifle!

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