/ A non-partisan Brexit thread

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Tyler - on 15 Jun 2017
A lot was made during the election around who 'we' would want leading the negotiations with the EU but I can't see that it makes much difference, does it? There's obviously a major ideological difference between whether the UK wants to allow the four freedoms and on the EU's side whether they would allow free trade without all four freedoms but these will be decided away from the negotiating table. What persuasive arguments could either side make during negotiation to make the other alter their red lines? Even if May and Davis manage to play some Jedi mind tricks on the EU (or vice versa) there will be several levels of review after that before anything is ratified.

To use an analogy, is all that is being negotiated on some car matts and a tank of petrol or can a good negotiator get the UK "a better deal"?
1
Bob Kemp - on 15 Jun 2017
In reply to Tyler:
Apparently one of the problems is that basically we haven't got many good negotiators. Many of our more recent trade deals have of course been negotiated by EU professional negotiators. We no longer have a pool of skilled negotiators.

(Sorry, no source... can't remember where I read this.)
Post edited at 12:11
Bellie on 15 Jun 2017
In reply to Tyler:

It would help if we the UK had a clear understanding of what we wanted out of the negotiations... which I don't think we do yet - especially now after the election.

'A red, white and blue brexit' sounded like a fudge.


1
Tyler - on 15 Jun 2017
In reply to Bob Kemp:

I've heard that as well, and it seems plausible, but I'm wondering how much difference that makes? Assuming there is no major incompetence (I'm keeping it non-partisan so won't comment!) I'm assuming the headline deals would be pretty similar no matter who was negotiating. I can see the lack of skilled negotiators being more important when it comes to drafting workable agreements that don't need constant revision rather than during the horse trading
stevieb - on 15 Jun 2017
In reply to Tyler:

I'm concerned that we will agree a politically attractive deal rather than an economically attractive one.
I think the EU would happily give use tariff free trade in goods (but less so in services) and this could be spun as a success.
Tyler - on 15 Jun 2017
In reply to Bellie:

> It would help if we the UK had a clear understanding of what we wanted out of the negotiations... which I don't think we do yet - especially now after the election.

> 'A red, white and blue brexit' sounded like a fudge.

I agree but that's what I'm getting at, it's not so much who negotiates best (or whether one side alas a 'bloody difficult woman' etc.) as the major issues will have been decided before the parties get around the table, there'll be little room for manoeuvre.
Bob Kemp - on 15 Jun 2017
In reply to Tyler:
I'm not sure exactly what the horse trading phase will involve, but I don't think I'd trust it to the rank amateurs that seem likely to be involved!
Post edited at 12:43
HansStuttgart - on 15 Jun 2017
In reply to Tyler:

The Last week tonight show has a suggestion at the end of the episode ...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fyVz5vgqBhE
Tyler - on 15 Jun 2017
In reply to HansStuttgart:

Co-incidentally I was trying to watch that earlier but it's not available, what does it say?
HansStuttgart - on 15 Jun 2017
In reply to Tyler:

regarding negotiations:

No real leverage, no proper mandate, and lack of a plan, you've got a problem...

Send in somebody they don't expect: Send Lord Buckethead
RomTheBear on 15 Jun 2017
In reply to Tyler:
> To use an analogy, is all that is being negotiated on some car matts and a tank of petrol or can a good negotiator get the UK "a better deal"?

I think that one shouldn't make the mistake to compare this to a typical business negotiation.
In a business negotiation a player with a weak hand can, if skilful enough, bluff his way through, use some charm, and get a good deal. Everybody who has negotiated anything knows that.

The situation here is completely different, where talking 100s of very skilful negotiators, lawyers, many layers of review, and levels of democratic approval. In this type of negotiation the final deal ends up reflecting quite closely the real power balance between the two parties.
Post edited at 18:01
The Ice Doctor - on 15 Jun 2017
In reply to RomTheBear:

It's impossible. End of.
TobyA on 15 Jun 2017
In reply to Bob Kemp:

> Apparently one of the problems is that basically we haven't got many good negotiators. Many of our more recent trade deals have of course been negotiated by EU professional negotiators. We no longer have a pool of skilled negotiators.

There are plenty of very able Brits working for the EU institutions, presumably with some in the DGs that deal with trade negotiations, but yes - because all trade deals have been done at the EU level for 30 years, the UK's skills have been aimed at creating an EU common position that Britain wants, before negotiations with a third country begins. The big lie of the Eurosceptic press has always being that "Brussels" decides these thing, when actually EU common positions were mainly a compromise hammered out by the national governments of the EU member states, not by "Brussels" - which presumably refers to the Commission. Anyway, the UK has long had reputation amongst our EU partners for being a very savvy operator with highly competent diplomats meaning that EU common positions often ended up looking rather like what the UK said they should.
Bob Kemp - on 15 Jun 2017
In reply to TobyA:
That all makes sense. But will any of those seasoned negotiators want to work for our shambles of a non-government, starting Monday?
TobyA on 15 Jun 2017
In reply to Bob Kemp:

Yeah, I'm not even sure if they will necessarily have to stop working for the EU even? If you paid your pension contributions into the EU system, paid national insurance equivalent in Belgium etc. they might want to just stay there if they can. You meet the odd American or Australian working for the UK civil service, so I guess its possible.
Bob Kemp - on 15 Jun 2017
In reply to Bob Kemp:
Talking of shambles, this is interesting on the current turmoil in the Brexit bits of government:

http://www.politics.co.uk/blogs/2017/06/15/brexit-talks-start-on-monday-and-we-have-no-idea-what-we-...
Big Ger - on 16 Jun 2017
In reply to Tyler:

A non-partisan Brexit thread?

Best of luck with that idea here mate.
1
Jim C - on 16 Jun 2017
In reply to Bob Kemp:

> That all makes sense. But will any of those seasoned negotiators want to work for our shambles of a non-government, starting Monday?

I'm not sure the EU have a great record of negotiating, how many deals have they actually brought to a conclusion in the 30 years they have been in charge of trade deals?
Pete Pozman - on 16 Jun 2017
In reply to Bob Kemp:

"Big swinging egos at the top" ; yes.
john arran - on 16 Jun 2017
In reply to Jim C:

> I'm not sure the EU have a great record of negotiating, how many deals have they actually brought to a conclusion in the 30 years they have been in charge of trade deals?

That just proves how good they are, surely, since " no deal is better than a bad deal". ;-)
wbo - on 16 Jun 2017
In reply to Tyler: while I would wonder how much a good negotiator would get you I would be very concerned about how much a bad one can lose you.

The real problem here is one of targets and mandate. In the most successful negotiations I've been involved in we were the technical experts and could say yes or no, without corporate/technical second guessing, and what we agreed was binding. This is utterly different. It will be, without a clear objective, very hard to say what you want, and more importantly, what you can accept. Also , you cannot be in a position that you need to get stuff agreed outside the room.
Ultimately this comes down to a lack of leadership. The UK doesn't know what it wants, or what it can accept nor does it have someone who can make that decision for the country and sell it to the electorate so most people are happy. The recent election very much reveals that. I don't know if that's a failure of representative democracy as a system, or simply that the current leadership is inadequate

RomTheBear on 16 Jun 2017
In reply to john arran:
> That just proves how good they are, surely, since " no deal is better than a bad deal". ;-)

As this Tory MP said on question time, we're the best country in the world, so everything will be awesome. That's our negotiating strategy. The EU will bend in front of our awesomeness.
Post edited at 08:40
jondo - on 16 Jun 2017
In reply to Tyler:

Even if you have good negotiators the UK is at a disadvantage at this point in time. Financial services based in London would have incentives to move to Paris or Germany, while eastern European developing economies would have all the support to replace many UK exports to the EU with their own local industries.
The only option really is to pay the bill and retain some access to the single market and at the same time work to transform the UK economy back to be industrial focused while developing stronger trade ties to Asia and America.
Bob Kemp - on 16 Jun 2017
In reply to Jim C:

There are around 50 trade deals already and another 70 or so in progress.

The CBI seems to think they do some good work:

http://www.cbi.org.uk/business-issues/brexit-and-eu-negotiations/eu-business-facts/10-facts-about-eu...
ads.ukclimbing.com
Bob Kemp - on 16 Jun 2017
In reply to RomTheBear:

Thanks - I now have a horrible vision of Boris, David and Liam dancing to this:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=StTqXEQ2l-Y

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