In mediations we were used to things being hushed up such that you have to be there to see the action as one side makes an offer and the other bats back with a counter offer. Politicians don’t have the luxury of doing things quietly as if it isn’t the subject of a press announcement on the day, it’s leaked and all over your front pages. To our shuttle quietly plying our trade between two or more rooms is matched by the super shuttle designed as much to inform a wider audience whilst very publicly parrying with each other.
What a spat we have had over the past few months as David Davis moves up from nil to somewhere close to €50,000, and Herr Junker seems to stick at rather more. I won’t ponder the political considerations, but starting at an extreme position simply encourages the other side to reciprocate making it harder to find the centre ground that the timetable dictates we should be up to. Had we simply seen the result after a series of secret meetings, there would be shock and horror from the home crowd as they would neither know how you got there, or fawned consent to what emerges. So understanding and appreciating different stages of the negotiation and somehow being seen to authorise or rubber stamp the next stage is a necessary pre requisite of the super shuttle. But to a timid commercial mediator looking in it all seems sometimes like pistols at dawn.
Maybe they would have avoided some of the testiness had they sat a little longer in smoke filled rooms with a glass in hand rhumb nations on the possibilities rather than the improbabilities showcased in recent months.
Anthony Glaister Mediator and Arbitrator