UK Brexit and Interest Based Approaches

I thought it might be helpful to apply Interest Based Bargainging approaches to UK Brexit Negotiations? 
1) The British Constitution since Henry VIII is one sentence: “Parliament is sovereign” or if you want to be a bit archaic: “the Monarch in Parliament is sovereign”
2) Edmund Burke established the concept of Representative Democracy, which is central to operation of the British Constitution: voters elect representatives who govern and whom they can throw them out at the next election if they don’t like their voting/governance
3) Referenda have no constitutional standing in UK Constitution
4) There are two basic forms of negotiations: interest based and positional. South African peace was delivered by interest based approaches: what is in the interests of the white minority and black majority and what deal best meets these interests. A positional approach would have been: majority rule now no conditions or Apartheid forever. The middle east has no peace because all negotiations have been positional, among other reasons
5) Interest based negotiations are not like poker, they involve openly and with curiosity exploring the interests of both sides. This is quite consistent with continuing Parliamentary input. Indeed Parliament becomes the means to surface and address interests of all sections of the UK including the 48% who voted to Remain. Typical interests would be Per Capita National Income, unemployment levels, fiscal deficit levels, balance of payment deficts, affordability of the National Health Service, regional interests: London, Scotland, North of England etc. and impact of immigration on pay, skill availability etc.
6) The best way to have a strong positions vis as vis the EU would be to have no firm timetable and to have used the next six months to build the strongest possible BATNA: Best Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement: the UK walk away, the best it could achieve in terms of its interest without an EU deal.
7) It would not be hard to model a BATNA: pick the major non EU trading nations, look at what they import, look at what the UK exports and see a likely level with reduced trade barriers. Given most countries are in the WTO, reduced trade barriers are not going to be that big a deal especially as all these major trading countries are a lot further away and most trade in the world happens between neighbors
8) I suspect the BATNA is appallingly weak, but the Brexiters should be forced to construct, model and measure it with real numbers, if only best estimates: India, Brazil, China, Japan, whoever trade with.
9) There is no harm in making the interest calculation public, indeed it is the best way to communicate it and encourage the EU to state its interests rather than its positions
10) I think a skilled negotiator could actually achieve all the Brexiters wanted in terms of real interests (not positions like no immigration) and maybe even help reform the EU. Brexit as a catalyst.
11) But we are lumbered with Theresa Mugabe May who knows no economics, no foreign policy (according to Nick Clegg from his time in the cabinet with her, a silo thinker who is still mentally Home Secretary fighting old battles with the Treasury) who is intellectually unequipped to understand interest based bargaining, based on her current stances and self inflicted political injuries. I hope I am wrong.
6) The best way to have a strong positions vis as vis the EU would be to have no firm timetable and to have used the next six months to build the strongest possible BATNA: Best Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement: the UK walk away, the best it could achieve in terms of its interest without an EU deal.
7) It would not be hard to model a BATNA: pick the major non EU trading nations, look at what they import, look at what the UK exports and see a likely level with reduced trade barriers. Given most countries are in the WTO, reduced trade barriers are not going to be that big a deal especially as all these major trading countries are a lot further away and most trade in the world happens between neighbors
8) I suspect the BATNA is appallingly weak, but the Brexiters should be forced to construct, model and measure it with real numbers, if only best estimates: India, Brazil, China, Japan, whoever trade with.
9) There is no harm in making the interest calculation public, indeed it is the best way to communicate it and encourage the EU to state its interests rather than its positions
10) I think a skilled negotiator could actually achieve all the Brexiters wanted in terms of real interests (not positions like no immigration) and maybe even help reform the EU. Brexit as a catalyst.
11) But we are lumbered with Theresa May who knows no economics, no foreign policy (according to Nick Clegg from his time in the cabinet with her, a silo thinker who is still mentally Home Secretary fighting old battles with the Treasury) who is apparently unequipped to understand interest based bargaining, based on her current stances and self inflicted political injuries. I hope I am wrong.

About creativeconflictwisdom

I spent 32 years in a Fortune Five company working on conflict: organizational, labor relations and senior management. I have consulted in a dozen different business sectors and the US Military. I work with a local environmental non profit. I have written a book on the neuroscience of conflict, and its implications for conflict handling called Creative Conflict Wisdom (forthcoming).
This entry was posted in Conflict Processes, Economic Conflict, PERSONAL CONFLICT RESOLUTION: CREATIVE STRATEGIES, US Political Conflict, Ways to handle conflict and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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