My understanding (by telephone 4.20 today) is that Glasgow City Council, having originally rejected the offer from the Scottish Government to mediate in the dispute, this afternoon offered to accept mediation if Margaret first vacated her home, i.e. mediation will only be accepted by GCC if the Jaconelli’s give up their sole bargaining chip in the fight against a rich, powerful adversary, with all the resources of the law, law enforcement and Labour political clout on their side.
Margaret has rejected this – it was her decision in consultation with her husband. I have no first hand knowledge of what her lawyer Mike Dailly’s advice was, but I have no doubt that, whatever his advice was, he will still fully support his client in the new situation.
As a professional negotiator by background and training, I have only this to say -
Mediation is the process of an independent third party attempting to assist parties facing deadlock and conflict to reach an amicable resolution to their dispute. A mediator is not a arbitrator – he or she does not offer a preferred solution or binding decisions, and the parties are free to resume their previous courses of action if the mediation process fails.
But an essential pre-requirement of mediation is that the parties have defined their settlement points and identified the gap that separates them, and crucially, that they are willing to indicate their willingness to enter the mediation with an open mind and to vary their positions if the mediation process is successful.
This is the bargaining gap that must be bridged by the parties, assisted by the mediator.
Margaret has always been willing to do this. GCC has not, and gave no such indication today. The gap between her and Glasgow City Council is money and money only, and it is the distance between her target settlement figure (unknown to me) and Glasgow City Council’s last offer of £90,000.
If Margaret has not yet identified her target settlement point, she must do so now, and there must be no suggestion by either party that an easy option of splitting that difference is the right solution.
If this is done, both parties – Glasgow City Council and Margaret – then know exactly what separates them, and can assess the costs to themselves of remaining intransigent or accepting mediation to assist a compromise solution.
More importantly, the people of Glasgow and the wider Scottish public must know what this money gap is, and assess the behaviour of the parties in relation to it.
Tonight's BBC news carried a report on the Siege of Ardenlea Street, and also a written statement from Glasgow City Council. The misinformation continues - GCC say that Margaret Jaconelli has been offered £90,000 and alternative accommodation. No such detailed joint offer has been made or formalised in writing.
Temporary rented accommodation was offered last year - I emphasise, TEMPORARY accommodation, and the £90,000 offer was only made at the 11th hour this year by telephone, with no written details.
£90k and PERMANENT rented accommodation have never been offered, but in any case, rented accommodation is NOT appropriate.
The Jaconelli's home of almost 35 years is being taken from them by GCC - they wholly own it, and the only appropriate offer is full compensation permitting the purchase of a comparable new home in an area of their choice. Glasgow City Council have destroyed Dalmarnock.