The comments by BP’s chief execute, Tony Hayward, that, as a Brit, he can take the vitriol that’s being chucked at himself and his company may not exactly be helpful, but it’s certainly more constructive than the crude oil that’s spilling out of Barack Obama’s department, which have led to yet another war of words with Britain.
The new British Business Secretary, Vince Cable, was forced to condemn American ‘gunboat diplomacy,’ citing the president’s ‘extreme’ anti-British rhetoric, having heard that the US government now intended to launch criminal proceedings. Now, I’m as much on the US’s side as anyone else here; it was BP that caused the mess, even if it doesn’t deserve the lion’s share of the blame.
And that’s exactly why I object to their president’s obsessive hatred of Britain and its people, which now rears its ugly head yet again.
It may surprise Mr Obama to know that BP is actually a multinational company. Although he gets his fix on referring to it as British Petroleum, it has been officially known as Beyond Petroleum for more than a decade. However, as much as I’d like to think that Obama doesn’t have a bizarre, deep-seated resentment of Britain, I simply must accept that everything he’s done during his presidency, from sending back an official gift, a bust of Churchill, to the frankly insulting treachery of refusing to support us over our defence of the Falklands, which are as much a part of Britain as London, despite our involvement in two of America’s wars.
Of course, the Gulf of Mexico oil rig explosion is not even comparable to the destruction levelled on the Indian city of Bhopal in where almost two and a half thousand citizens were killed by pesticides, with estimates of more than ten thousand Indian civilians killed as a result of the disaster. That was, funnily enough, not caused by British imperialism, nor even by a British corporation, but an American company known as Union Carbide. What about the one hundred and seventy people killed by an American company, Occidental Petroleum, in the North Sea? And the psychopathic US officials who refused to testify at the inquiry? Not that anyone should be killed in the pursuit of oil, but only eleven lives were lost when Deepwater Horizon exploded and sank, and the company has already taken full responsibility for the calamity - when this isn’t entirely justified, either.
Obama’s criminal investigation may reveal to him the full scale of American culpability in this. It is not BP who built or managed the rigs, but an American company, Transocean. It was, in fact, Transocean that built it, and then leased it to BP. Haliburton that was responsible for the concrete, not BP. And, even though the rig was now in nominally British ownership, it was still the employees and resources of yet another US corporation who were responsible for overseeing it.
I respectfully submit to the US president that he tones down his anti-colonial hatred; it is spilling out into the Atlantic, at a rate of at least three press conferences a day, and even Vince Cable, a mild-mannered financial expert, is finding it a little difficult to stem the tide flowing from such a public disaster.
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