Take Me To Your Leader Writer

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...has written more leaders (newspaper editorials) than anyone alive or dead, an honour still to be recognised by the Guiness Book of Records or the Nobel judges. I have produced them for the Daily Mirror, Daily Mail, Sunday Mirror, Today, the Sunday People, the Evening Post (Hemel Hempstead), the Caithness Courier and the Student (Edinburgh). My creed is: Have opinions, Will travel.

Wednesday 31 May 2017

The skilled art of negotiation (and it isn't Corbyn who hasn't got it)

When I was a trade union official, many years ago, I worked out that there were two ways to negotiate. One was to thump the table, shout, bluster, threaten to walk out and, indeed, sometimes walk out. The other was to try to find some common ground, behave with civility, never lose your temper and treat the other side with respect. It should be no surprise that I adopted the latter tactic, having taken over from a Father of the Chapel who had done the opposite. And I won the biggest pay rises for journalists that there had ever been on Fleet Street. So naturally it amuses and horrifies me to see Theresa May in effect taking the attitude towards the European Union negotiations that you would expect from the most rabid, hardline trade unionist. If Bob Crow were still alive, he would surely approve (he was very anti-EU anyway). The idea that the leaders of the 27 other countries will politely listen to her demands and then nod approvingly as she lectures them while playing to the image of being a bloody difficult woman is laughable. For a start, anyone who has ever been involved in negotiations and isn't completely stupid knows that the side which has the power has an advantage. And thinking that in a contest of 27 against 1, the 1 has the advantage is, frankly, breathtakingly moronic. That doesn't mean I think Jeremy Corbyn would be a great negotiator. I don't think he has done any since he was a junior public-service union official in the 1970s and the European team will be a lot different from management in a cottage hospital. That is irrelevant, though, as despite the interesting - yet clearly meaningless - latest poll, Theresa May will be the one leading the UK's negotiators. It is her who will be wandering naked into the negotiating chamber.

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