Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Floats like a butterfly, stings like a horsefly

So Nick Clegg has turned out to be a masterful negotiator, leaving the other leaders, as well as those eminences grises P Mandelson and A Campbell, trailing in his wake. Negotiation is a combination of art, science and temperament, which is not to say it can't be learnt or that a natural aptitude can't be developed.

Which makes Clegg's experience in what is thought of as one of the toughest arenas for negotiation, that of global trade, particularly valuable. Whilst carrying Leon Brittan's* bag in Brussels he was in charge of the EC negotiating team on Chinese and Russian accession talks to the World Trade Organisation. Against Chinese and Russians and on behalf of a gallimaufry of Europeans - that's hard ball, demanding stuff.

Anyway, he appears to be a much more considerable politician than I believed before his success in the debates and before he parlayed a tricky hand into what looks right now like tidy winnings. He deserves his name, floating like a televisual butterfly but also stinging like the eponymous horsefly.

* Apparently, he tried to persuade Clegg to join the Tories. Well, it took a while...


Gadjo Dilo said...

Yes, I barely know Nick Clegg from Simon Pegg or Bert Fegg, but the transition from election chaos nightmare to a (possibly) workable and stable goverment has been remarkable. A 'result', I dare to suggest.

malty said...

Harry potter may yet pass his exams, good point about negotiating with the Chinese in particular, their technique consists of blank faces and no speaky, it's all about not losing face.

Mr Hee..."too expensive"
Malty...."quality costs"
Mr Hee..."you shorten price by 30%"
Malty...."I will shorten price by 10% with no guarantee of quality or delivery"
Mr Hee..."ok 8%, any less, my partners not happy"
All about not losing face, crack that, easy peasy.

Mr Hee exists, a charming man, factory in Malaya near Subang airport, once said "Mr Crinton no good, dorrah no good, I buy you runch"

Gaw said...

Gadjo: There seems to be some good stuff in there. In any event, it's going to be interesting.

Malty: It's the Russians that are really tricky.