Nick Dearden And The Secret Trade Talks

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Nick Dearden misses, probably deliberately, the basic idea of why trade talks are secret:

What the whole incident really underlines is Johnson’s commitment to secret government. Like the Russia report, the trade papers should have already been in the public domain. Allegations of foreign interference in elections, and trade deals that will change the way our economy and society work, are things we all need to know about. Johnson has shown the depth of his commitment to keeping such information from us – and deliberately spreading disinformation when there’s any attempt to expose the facts to the light of day.

So, why is it that such negotiations should be secret?

Well, because they’re negotiations. Because the whole point of them is to say well, if we let you have this bit then what do we get back for it? What’s the give and take here? The aim being to reach some sort of balance where each side is sufficiently unhappy about what they’ve had to give that they threaten to leave but sufficiently happy about what they gain that they’ll sign.

At which point we can’t have 65 million back seat drivers peering over the negotiations shouting that this is a red line that cannot be crossed. Back seat drivers like Nick Dearden who want to insist that no morsel of chlorine washed chicken should ever pass a British lip. What, not even if we get granted entire, whole and complete free trade access to the American economy in return? According to Dearden probably not and according to what might be an acceptable deal probably.

That is, Dearden, the very person shouting for transparency, is the reason we don’t and can’t have it. Who could negotiate a balanced deal with Gobbo screaming in their ear?

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Sam Vara
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Sam Vara

It was just the same when the Government were negotiating the exit from the EU, and idiots called for Parliament to discuss our terms. As someone memorably put it, that’s like taking your family to buy a car and having a big row in front of the salesman about how much to spend.

If they can’t get what they want, these people would rather we fail in everything we do.

Spike
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Spike

Quite; the pundit would like the negotiators to behave in a way that opposes their own interests while serving those of the pundit.

jgh
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jgh

Memories are vague, but I remember Sheffield Council negotiating a big contract for something, then one of the Labour councillors blabbed to the press, and the whole thing collapsed with the sound of smashing cymbals. And the Labour councillors involved couldn’t grasp how what they’d done was wrong or how causes cause actions.

Witchie
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Witchie

Just agreeing that the chicken can be sold here doesn’t mean that people have to buy it, and therefore if they do ut will be a matter of the exercise of free choice.

Jim
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Jim

I do agree, but there is a significant problem with the ‘If you don’t want it don’t buy it’ argument, in that its not always obvious which things are made with the questionable ingredient. And we don’t always have a choice. For example, if a school caterer decides to give the kids chlorinated chicken, because its dirt cheap, who will know? It won’t be labelled as of US origin, and even if its origin is discovered, what is a parent to do, refuse to let their kid have lunch? The halal meat situation shows us how difficult it is for… Read more »

Spike
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Spike

Then “If you think the labelling is inadequate or missing, don’t buy it.” Or if you distrust the vendor and there is no use of an independent testing organization. If you want halal, don’t go to a pot-luck dinner.

Michael van der Riet
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Michael van der Riet

You might have a point, Jim. A couple of months ago my automatic retort would have been “The Yanks eat this chlorinated shit and it doesn’t seem to have done them any harm does it?”