6.8.4 Political Negotiability

Politicians must reconcile differing viewpoints when deciding how to govern, and decisions may be needed on specific issues without waiting for an election or change of government.  Negotiation is therefore at the heart of their role.  The people’s representatives, in the form of politicians (6.1.2) and recognised group spokespersons (6.4.4), need to be able to negotiate meaningfully and to reach decisions that are accepted as legitimate.

For negotiation to be meaningful in the terminology of this book (2.4), it has to be respectful, inclusive, balanced and transparent.  The following sub-sections examine each of these criteria in turn:

  • Respectfulness means recognising that each of the parties to a negotiation wants to be treated as an equal ( Negotiations should aim to reach a position where all parties feel that they have benefited, in contrast to a confrontational approach – which results in dissatisfaction and continued conflict.
  • Political inclusivity means ensuring that all affected groups are represented ( Such an approach can compensate for the fact that no government is selected by all the people.
  • Balanced negotiation means taking account of the numbers of people affected and the impacts on them (
  • Transparency includes keeping people informed during negotiations and explaining decisions (

If there is a failure to agree, an appeal process may be needed – as described below (6.8.6)



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This is a current page, updated since publication of Patterns of Power Edition 3a.  An archived copy of it is held at https://www.patternsofpower.org/edition03/684a.htm