Talking to the Enemy

I listened last night to Jonathan Powell’s repeated Radio 4 programme on negotiating with terrorists. There were some great quotes to remember.  Jerry Kelly – IRA terrorist – on sitting down with the Unionists – “You can only negotiate, and move things forward, with opponents.  You can talk to friends all day”.  How to deal with anger and tension – “I usually let them shout for a bit then I say ‘I think it’s time we had a coffee and I think we are going to get there this way. And if you guys want to go back to war, go to it, it’s what you have been doing for 50 years.  But that’s not what this is about.”  And the bicycle theory – you have to keep it moving forward because if it falls over it’s very hard to pick up again.

It is still available on the BBC iPlayer until 28th July – click here. I shall be looking forward to next week’s final part.


We are a new kind of mediation and conflict resolution service.  What distinguishes us is that we combine top level legal experience with a strong understanding that disputes are resolved by people.  Sometimes just settling the dispute is adequate, and the legal background of our mediators is well suited to that.  But we are also aware that disputants often want something else from the process too and we are skilled at unearthing and exploring that as well.

We hope you enjoy the site and would be delighted to read your comments.