Theresa May makes a New Year pledge to negotiate the best deal for everyone. Which, outside the world of political rhetoric, means the best deal for no-one
Keep away for a few more hours, brave new world. I am warm and dry and selfish, and appreciate the comfort of refuge beneath the bedclothes. But 2017 intrudes. There has been a bloody attack in Istanbul by who knows whom, fuelled by who knows what emotions.
Then a second news item. In creepily calm tones, our Prime Minister offers the people of the United Kingdom a new year message. Brought to you by the silver-tongued sidekicks who dreamed up the Brexit means Brexit message, we now can start the new year comforted with the thought that Theresa May, as she sits down with other great leaders to negotiate, will be there to obtain the best deal for everyone.
Just in case some of you missed it:
Everyone means everyone
Not just those correctly recognizing the will of the people by voting leave. But even for the bewildered or unpatriotic lesser forms of humanity who abstained or even (shudder) voted remain.
The best deal for all means the best deal for all.
Sometimes words conjure up a vision. Theresa May’s curiously emotionless delivery nevertheless provided me with a vision. That of a protective mum promising fearful children everything will be alright. No need for fear. No need for hate. Those nasty people across the table will be unable to overcome her all-encompassing maternal powers.
Except . . .
Except for a nagging thought.
The best deal for all may mean something else. Faintly in the background can be heard protests from one-time respected experts. Experts in the nature of ‘the good’, ‘the ethical’, even ‘the material well-being’. The philosophers, poets, even economists.
Then there are the bemused, among whom I find myself more often than I admit. Suppose there is a deal which is the best possible for everyone? I would like to know a bit about what it looks like. Would it disprove one of those theories that no such deal is possible? Like the hypothesis of rationality proposed by Professor Kenneth Arrow , an idea which got all those other so-called experts in a tizzy?
At risk of misunderstanding the wisdom of Professor Arrow, I would argue that
the best deal for all is no deal at all,
in a world where people grow up, eat, sleep, try to survive as best they can, with differing needs. Meeting these needs also requires some help from others in whom we have placed our trust.
Happy new year to one and all, including leaders and the followers they deserve.