Negotiation: it’s a good time for it … 

Libra 2010

… if the world is anything to go by. The UK had to reach compromises in forming a Cabinet. The new Australian leader, Julia Gilliard, needed good negotiation tactics and FINALLY we have a cabinet again here in the Netherlands after the last one fell in February this year. We now have a fellow Aquarian as a Prime Minister. I hope he does us proud! I suppose being born on Valentine’s Day must be good for something. Mark Rutte is the first Liberal Dutch leader since WWI. The current planetary aspects are bringing people born in the sixties, who resonate with today’s alignments, into powerful positions. Since the elections in June this year, negotiations have been the order of the day. Thank goodness for Saturn in Libra, our sign of the month. Responsible if slow negotiation.

Libra – the sign of balance and taking all sides into account. It seems the world is sick of the opposite Aries approach, competition and winning, first past the post, and an economy that rewards this. And selfishness. Time to pause and be forced to look at several different viewpoints and to deal with them. It has been a difficult, nail-biting, interesting time here as there was one seat separating the two parties who received the most votes in the elections. The end result is a minority government with support from the Freedom Party led by the anti-Koran Geert Wilders (also a product of the sixties), currently in court on a charge of inciting discrimination and hatred. Freedom of speech forms a big part of the defence, again a Libra topic at the forefront, different views requiring to be heard.

Photo from Phil Nijhuis/ANP – remember Geert (left), Aquarians (Mark right) are always right!

I wrote about Saturn in Libra in my last Libra post, and the themes are still relevant and visible in the world. I said then “The trick in business is to take fair decisions and have balanced leadership.” David Cameron who to be ‘fair’ is a Libran so understands this, said at the party conference “We need a new conversation about fairness.” and he has been on about fairness often lately, particularly in relation to child benefits in the UK.

However I was contemplating the idea of negotiation, which I am no good at at all. If you make me an “Offer I can’t refuse” – I almost never do! I suspect I am not alone. One of the things I read on the topic suggested that we are never taught these skills and that resonated with me. Indeed competition and winning are often rewarded. In the paper recently there was an article on how we need more women in the cabinet (fairness again?) because we women are better at compromise and binding people together. I’m afraid I agree with my Aquarian mate Mark on this who said he doesn’t believe in quotas for the number of women in leading roles – he has chosen the best qualified people to be his ministers in cabinet – hear hear! Quotas are no way to achieve equality. And anyway I’m not convinced that women are better at this than men, I see some pretty confrontational women in my practice!

It is an interesting acknowledgement though that we all need to act together more. We need to discuss and look at the viewpoints of one or more parties. After all, that is democracy. I think everyone needs more training in this to emphasise the power of Venus, the ruler of Libra. Not that Venus was all love and light in the mythology, but we could learn from her negotiating skills! She didn’t take off her girdle for no reward. She also used her skills to win a competition judged by Paris, which eventually led to the Trojan War – not much harmony in that but at least she got what she wanted.

Chile mine

2nd Chilean minor to be rescued Mario Sepulveda – wikicommons

And lastly, I can’t fail to mention the story dominating the news, the heartwarming story of the Chilean minors – all safe and sound as I write this. Without teamwork, negotiation and different countries working together the rescue would never have happened – and I must say that it is nice to have a GOOD NEWS story for a change, see this post for more on this. It is a coincidence that it happened in Libra time?

Faye Blake-Cossar

Interesting Website of the Month

A fairly long but well structured and useful article on how master negotiators work. Improving negotiation skills from who better than someone in that Libran profession, a lawyer, Thomas Noble.

Quote of the Month

“Don’t raise your voice, improve your argument.”
Archbishop Desmond Tutu, a Libran who at 79 has just retired, although whether he will disappear from the world stage remains a question mark. I hope not.

I was watching Randy Newman last night on BBC4 (I’d forgotten how much I liked him) and this seemed appropriate for this post, maybe I’ll add a song each time … 

Lyrics to “The World Is’t Fair” by Randy Newman:

When Karl Marx was a boy
he took a hard look around
He saw people were starving all over the place
while others were painting the town
The public spirited boy
became a public spirited man
So he worked very hard and he read everything
until he came up with a plan

There’ll be no exploitation
of the worker or his kin
No discrimination ’cause of the color of your skin
No more private property
It would not be allowed
No one could rise too high
No one could sink too low
or go under completely like some we all know

If Marx were living today
he’d be rolling around in his grave
And if I had him here in my mansion on the hill
I’d tell him a story t’would give his old heart a chill

It’s something that happened to me
I’d say, Karl I recently stumbled into a new family
with two little children in school
where all little children should be
I went to the orientation
All the young mommies were there
Karl, you never have seen such a glorious sight
as these beautiful women arrayed for the night
just like countesses, empresses, movie stars and queens
And they’d come there with men much like me
Froggish men, unpleasant to see
Were you to kiss one, Karl
Nary a prince would there be

Oh Karl the world isn’t fair
It isn’t and never will be
They tried out your plan
It brought misery instead
If you’d seen how they worked it
you’d be glad you were dead
just like I’m glad I’m living in the land of the free
where the rich just get richer
and the poor you don’t ever have to see
It would depress us, Karl
Because we care
that the world still isn’t fair

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