Friday 25 October 2019

The artifice of the deal

When he was just plain old mister, Donald Trump ‘wrote’ a book called The Art of the Deal explaining how to do deals.  He didn’t write it himself, of course, he got a proper writer to do that, but the book claimed to explain how he was the world’s best dealmaker ever.  I’m not sure that anyone other than himself ever believed it (the real author has subsequently suggested that it should be recategorized as fiction), and it’s clear that his view of all deals as zero sum games is significantly at odds with the way most businesses set about achieving agreements, but somehow it managed to sell quite a few copies.
One person who appears not to have read it is Boris Johnson.  I doubt that even Trump could have come up with the sort of offer that Johnson made to parliament yesterday, which appears to be of the form ‘do one thing you don’t want to and I’ll allow you to do something else that you don’t want to’.  The attraction to the opposition parties of being allowed to discuss his withdrawal agreement if they first agree to his demand for an election immediately after passing it is far from being obvious.  It’s more like the mafia than a negotiation, except he can’t even get that right – instead of making the opposition an offer they can’t refuse, he’s made them one that they can’t accept.  It’s hard to avoid the conclusion that the ‘offer’ isn’t really serious at all, just another attempt at playing silly games to try and get his own way.


Anonymous said...

'Playing silly games just to try and get his own way' seems to have worked so far.

Liked by his European counterparts, managing to pass his BREXIT bill at second reading, what's not to admire?

By all means criticise his policies but don't play the man, it's smacks of the sort of behaviour everyone expects from the Welsh.

We can do better than this!

John Dixon said...

"...seems to have worked so far" In what sense, exactly, has it 'worked'? It's true that he's still in Number 10 (which may well be his only objective), but he's effectively powerless.

"Liked by his European counterparts" - which alternative universe are you inhabiting?

"...managing to pass his BREXIT bill at second reading" - that's simply untrue; nothing was passed, agreeing to discuss it does not amount to agreeing its contents.

"...don't play the man" As a general rule, I'd agree with that. But when dealing with an inveterate and pathological liar, who demonstrably tells untruths almost every time he opens his mouth, it's difficult to concentrate on the substance - because there is none that can be pinned down.

dafis said...

Your comment about "don't play the man ... " is bang on the button. Shallow and shifty, dear old Boris has to be tackled high low and anywhere else ! In fact his only redeeming feature is that he is revealing to us all how absolutely knackered the Brexit project is by now. It was kicked off badly and has deteriorated over 3 years into possibly the most mismanaged peacetime enterprise ever. Yet he took on the P.M role with the usual razzamataz about doing deals blah blah when it was quite evident that however "likeable" he may be ( not my description !) getting a deal to a meaningful conclusion was highly unlikely due to the accumulation of political debris over the preceding 3 years. But there again he just had to get his paws on that top job.

Simon Neville said...

Three useful points.