Monday, 23 January 2012


Fortunately, the earthquake that hit Chile last week was political, not geological. But the agreement reached between Renovación Nacional and the Christian Democratic Party had the chattering classes, well, chattering. It was the first time since the early 1980s, and certainly since the return to democracy, that two political parties of different coalitions reach an official agreement on anything. The fact that it was on a package of political reforms is even more significant.

As I outline in this column, the reality is that the actual content of the agreement is rather short on details, or as Cristobal Bellolio says, "mucho ruido y pocas nueces". But after a long, hot year in which we thought that the political class had lost the capacity to talk to each other, the fact that the two parties were willing to take a leap into this unknown territory, is positive. It may well turn out that no agreement is actually implemented, or that the document becomes a starting point from which further negotiations may take place. The real value, however is these people have finally realized that, as Churchill said, "To jaw jaw is always better than to war war".

Of course, then he went to war.

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