Politics.co.uk Blog

Monday, 21 June 2010

An ill-advised break

It's no surprise the BP chief executive was ripped apart by the White House's chief of staff for spending his first day off sailing.

"I think we can all conclude that Tony Hayward is not going to have a second career in PR consulting," Rahm Emanuel said. How right he most certainly is.

Anything else would have been acceptable. A game of chess. A quiet pub lunch. Sitting around watching the World Cup.

Not riding the majestic waves of the Solent and English Channel, enjoying the delights offered by large stretches of non-polluted water.

It was the latest in a series of gaffes by Hayward, who was accused last week of evading questions as he sat grumpily through a Capitol Hill grilling.

The fuming hostility of the congressmen questioning him was a little overwhelming for those of us who like our select committee queries to be more sedately put.

After all, the contrast with the Treasury committee's mild-mannered assaults on banking chiefs in the wake of the financial crisis couldn't have been greater.

But imagine a scenario where the glittering waters of the Channel were the ones being sludged up by an environmental disaster on the scale of that currently blighting the Gulf of Mexico.

Imagine the anti-American fervour which would be triggered if it was a US energy giant behind the hundreds of thousands of barrels of oil spewing out of a sea bed near us every day.

The truth is every drop of anger and frustration targeted at BP is justified. We shouldn't be complaining as BP attracts flak.

It was pointedly called 'British Petroleum' by one congressman, even though the company has been officially registered by its initial for the last decade.

Yet now is no time for nationalistic quibbling. BP deserves all its gets.

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