by Alan Davies, FUW managing director
I was at a meeting recently discussing issues around Brexit and the frameworks for the future. It was a pretty serious session, but one word quickly became the watchword for the day. That word was “shenanigans”.
“Expect shenanigans”. “There might’ be even more shenanigans”. “This won’t be easy with all the shenanigans”. all these phrases tripped off some tongues present. But what was it all about?
The message is clear, things won’t run smoothly as Governments and organisations prepare for our EU exit. and without doubt: “There will be shenanigans”. There will be “outrage” there will be “accusations”, and there will be “finger-pointing”. But when it comes down to it, will any of that make any real difference?
when one side says “Black” and the other side says “white” do they really mean it – either of them? Or do they expect and are they willing to get to a “Grey” that will be for the good of most of us?
If you look back over the recent “big” decision points with the EU, there were shenanigans leading up to each and every decision. and then when it came to it, everyone became friends in the last day or two and deals were made. and those deals were pretty close to ones predicted weeks earlier. But between the predictions and the agreement came the shenanigans. “Rejection”, “no chance of success” “Red-lines” – most of them were nonsense.
why do we go through this process? why is there all this posturing? and what does it cost?
Cynically you might think that for some in politics this is all a game. when did you ever see someone on “the other side” welcome a statement with open arms and say
something like: “That’s exactly what we had in mind, we agree, thank you”. The phrase “never in Europe good boy” springs to mind!”
Negotiations are an adversarial event for many of the people involved. Power games are being played. Positions are taken and posturing abounds. But – and this is a really important “but”, in the background work is continuing. Civil servants for example are doing the spade work on getting to the right answer, one that incorporates some compromise, but without embarrassing any party involved in the posturing.
They get us almost to an end state without the noise offered by others. They do what is right, and because they can do it behind closed doors they don’t need
to let anyone know what is going on.
This is how it is, it doesn’t always make sense and often generates confusion and frustration. But throughout we should live in the positive hope that there is sufficient hard work being done behind the scenes to make up for all the shenanigans. and if there isn’t, then one day, there really will be shenanigans.