Monday 9 July 2018

Naked Into The Conference Chamber

Writing as an old negotiator of big, drawn-out deals (I'm working on one now, which explains the lack of posting) I can only laugh in disbelief.  I'm sure everyone else is laughing, too, though there's precious little non-ironic pleasure to be had.

What does May think she's achieved?  In full public gaze she has wrung out of her Cabinet their collective absolute-worst-we-could-possibly-accept-fallback position, delivered it to the other side - who won't agree even to that!  And why should they?

There are plenty of *successful politicians* who make it to the top without any understanding of the ways of the world.  Corbyn is a pretty extreme example, but there's a rich field to pick from on all sides.
Ordinarily you'd expect ideology-bound Labour would suffer from this more than business-oriented Tories; but in the good old days there were plenty of Union types in their ranks who know a thing or two about the ways of the smoke-filled room.  Even Nye Bevan, apparently an ideologue of the first water, had done a bit of negotiating in his time, and "astonished his supporters by opposing unilateral nuclear disarmament" (Wiki) with his famous one-liner**.

Interesting to see David Davis resigning this morning - he was always a resigner, so no surprises there.  Johnson was never what anyone would think of as principled ...  and remind me, why has anyone, ever, seen anything in Gove??

I'm guessing the odds on Corbyn in No.10 before Xmas have shortened a bit.


**"It is not a question of who is in favour of the hydrogen bomb, but a question of what is the most effective way of getting the damn thing destroyed. It is the most difficult of all problems facing mankind. But if you carry this resolution and follow out all its implications ... you will send a British Foreign Secretary, whoever he may be, naked into the conference chamber."


Sebastian Weetabix said...

It is necessary to destroy the Tory party as presently constituted. If that means Corbyn, so be it. At least he opposes the EU.

Raedwald said...

Agree. Davis has buggered both Johnson and Gove, though - Gove as a two-faced opportunist, and Johnson is damned as a laggard follower if he goes today and a self-interested hypocrite if he stays.

Yes, time to destroy the current Tory party at the ballot box, and for five years of social, political and economic chaos, which will be exacerbated if the global downturn hits next year as well. Oil at $100 will accelerate things a bit as well.

Time to stock up on candles and wedge the hatch-covers, perhaps.

Anonymous said...

"Naked into the conference chamber" Wasn't that Ernest Bevin? (An altogether more admirable chap than Bevan)

Nick Drew said...

No !!! Click on the wiki link in the text

(BTW, the 'no' was regarding the authorship of the dictum, not their relative admirability)

Raedwald said...

Yes, Nye Bevan was not only a gulag apologist, praising Stalin's Russia to the refters in the Commons long after the facts of the Holodomor were known, he was also a loathsome traitor, in the pocket of his Soviet masters even when negotiating disarmament.

Hywell Williams wrote some time ago in the Guardian:-

"Bevan's typical self-righteousness was well to the fore when, as shadow foreign secretaryin 1957, he abandoned unilateralism with much talk of needing to protect British interests. But Donald Bruce, his parliamentary private secretary, said years afterwards that Bevan was responding to advice from the Russians, who found the retention of British nuclear weapons a useful ploy in negotiating with the US."

So even this 'naked into the conference chamber' hysteria was treasonous guff at the command of his Soviet paymasters. His corpse should be dragged from the grave, burnt to ash and the ashes scattered in the London sewers.


CityUnslicker said...

I really don't get DD's resignation.

It must only be because he thinls May's deal will swim. Otherwise you just wait for the EU to say no, then revert to no deal.

Sensible people will then say extend article 50 for a year so a no-deal can avoid a hard bump - that would be real compromise.

But he has quit today, so obvs May has said she has sold this to Merkel.

Personally, I think the deal is just fine by the way so not really sure I get the Brexiteer upset about it all. But because I think it is an OK position, I know the EU will reject it within minutes.

Anonymous said...

Whether or not the deal is "fine" is now immaterial - though I agree there is nothing fundamentally wrong with it.

The two local conservative MPs/local parties have already mobilised for a new GE. There must be a strong belief a CCO that May is toast.

Book your holidays now.

Anonymous said...

Re Bevan - Yes, you're quite right. I've been misattributing it all these years.

James Higham said...

Tories have no chance unless they resign en masse. Those breaking with this abomination will be returned.

Anonymous said...

" If that means Corbyn, so be it. At least he opposes the EU."

Unfortunately, he is so stupid that the Establishment and the EU will run rings around him.

Don Cox

Anonymous said...

It's not really "May's deal".

The whole Chequers plan was cooked up by her Rasputin -- that's Olly Rasputin, for those of you interested in politics.

It's working out very nicely for him, and for his fellow Remainers in the Civil Service. Three leading Brexiteer ministers gone today, and perhaps more to follow. An entirely Remainer or cowed-Brexiteer Cabinet is just what they are aiming for.

Whether the country will put up with being subjugated by unelected officials and "advisors" is yet to be seen. Perhaps Olly should check up on what happened to the original Rasputin, in the end.

AndrewZ said...

The EU negotiators have repeatedly stated that they will not compromise the integrity of the Single Market. That's a genuine "red line" for the EU and not just a rhetorical one because the consequences of doing so would be so enormous. But May's latest fudge would require them to do just that, so they will certainly reject it.

If this is really the British government's definitive proposal to the EU then there will be no agreement on anything and we will drop out of the EU with no deal when the two-year negotiation period required by Article 50 concludes at the end of March 2019.

It's also possible that it is a political ploy to shift the Cabinet towards a deal that involves remaining in the EEA to retain access to the Single Market and thus allow for "frictionless trade". If so, it is succeeding. Davis and Johnson have resigned and no longer have any influence over the final decision. There is virtually no chance of Tory rebels making any serious attempt to depose May or bring the government down when they know that it could (a) let Labour into government, and (b) destroy their own careers because the Conservative Party never forgives disloyalty (even if it will forgive literally anything else). In this scenario, May is racing against time to get her preferred solution in place before the Article 50 clock runs down and if she fails it will still be "no deal" by default.

Raedwald said...

Odds of 2018 Election slashed on Betfair to 6/4, with May 2/1 to go this week

K said...

I can't imagine the Brexiters forcing an election in 2018.

Safest thing is to let May do her thing but make sure she doesn't sign us up to anything for longer than 5-10 years. Let her take the heat for the inevitable Brexit day disaster (even with the best plan something will go wrong) and then replace her and begin the long process of diversion from the EU.

If Davis or Boris want to topple May now then they better be sure they can survive Brexit day in only 9 months time.

dustybloke said...

Who knew titanium was yellow?

Anonymous said...

When the dust settles on this, people will realise what a pragmatic suggestion the proposed plan is. Who would have thought they would have hired someone that understands both economic geography and international trade.

A few fishermen are going to get burnt but at least we'll have a car/aerospace industry.

andrew said...

Whether by conspiracy or cockup, the deal we will be presenting is the uk's take it or leave it offer.
This mutch is clear to all.

I am pretty sure the eu will say 'non' and so no deal remains by prediction.

Bill Quango MP said...

A lot of people seem to think the EU will say no.
Why should they? Merkel has already seen the deal. Already nodded it through.probably wrote half of it herself.
It would be little surprise if Theresa asks Angela to come on over and sell it to her cabinet.

Anonymous said...

I don't see why the EU would say "non" when the proposal was cleared with, or co-authored by, Merkel, before the cabinet meeting.

Don Cox

Nick Drew said...

Because May is claiming (as I understand) that it can be delivered without Freedom of Movement

What's going to cause the EU to drop FoM at this stage in the game?

Isn't it more likely, they'll say - you can have your parallel-tracking structures and associated thin veil of empty face-saving language, but only with

(a) sanctions (aka 'consequences', to quote from May's own material) if 'your' rules ever diverge from the EU's;
(b) FoM (as we've always said);

oh, and
(c) ongoing payments for market access, not just the one-off 'settlement' amount


Which sounds like "no" to me

AndrewZ said...

Why would the EU reject it? Because it means letting Britain choose which parts of the Single Market to participate in. Instead of being “all or nothing”, Single Market membership becomes a menu of options to choose from. But if Britain gets that deal then every other major trading nation will demand the same opportunities. They will argue that WTO non-discrimination rules oblige the EU to offer the same options to everybody. The remaining members of the EU will then demand even greater freedom to pick and choose which parts of the Market they implement. It would change the whole nature of the system, which makes it far too big a concession for the EU to make.

But if that’s true, why all the resignations? If ministers know that the Chequers proposal is dead on arrival and that the PM is against “no deal” then they must conclude that this isn’t the final proposal at all. It’s just the first step in a series of concessions leading to a very soft Brexit in which Britain remains in the Single Market. If they accept the first concession then they will have much less credibility in opposing the next step, and less time to do so before a deal is struck. The rational choice is to return to the backbenches where they will have more freedom to obstruct this process. The no-dealers will realise that they don’t have to force the government to adopt any particular policy, they just have to block any further progress towards an agreement until the two-year negotiation period runs out and “no deal” happens by default.

Thud said...

Isn't it possible that we get this through and then further down the line move even further into a total Brexit, after all the EU as it is now constituted may not exist?

andrew said...

As nd said the eu will say no because it violates the 4 freedoms.
Even may knows that fot tje uk freedom of movement is the red line that will be redrawn with her political blood if she tries blur that one


No deal.

Nick Drew said...

Corbyn - I've jumped to the next thread BTL at CU's new post