|BP: Big Problem|
President Obama’s attitude to the company is starting to grate. Astonishingly, pressure is now being applied on BP to reduce its next dividend, or else. That is a matter for the management and board of BP to decide upon, not the president of the United States. The air is thick with threats from the Obama administration about what lies in store if the company does not do as it says. The assaults on BP come tinged with a hint of anti-Britishness.I agree, but I also suspect there is a fairly simple answer to this vexing question. It could play something like this. By leaping to the defence of the multinational oil giant, Cameron could, but will not want to, be seen by implication defending someone who is accident prone and insensitive in Tony Hayward, and who really has only himself to blame for what Martin calls his "monstering" by the US media.
In this climate of distrust, a letter writer to the FT this morning asks when the U.K. government will speak up to defend BP. It is a fair question, one we can expect to hear more often.
I would have thought, therefore, that Cameron will only begin to defend Britain's good name, currently being indirectly but consciously impugned by a suspiciously energised (but pretty ineffective) US president, when the embattled BP supremo does the decent thing and quits.
Leaving Obama's nauseating anti-Brit dogwhistle propaganda aside for a moment, the issue of Hayward's departure must now come first. Whatever Obama's up to, and I think we in the UK pretty much all know what that is given his pretty appalling treatment of what we are led to believe is America's closest and most loyal ally during his spell so far as leader of the free world, it's Hayward that's really giving Britain a bad name - whenever he opens his mouth.
The longer he remains in post, the longer we will undeservedly take the flack for his many apparent shortcomings, the longer Obama will be able to get away with his pathetic political displacement activities and the longer it will be before Cameron can launch some kind of diplomatic damage limitation operation. With Hayward there, the PM's hands are pretty much tied. The BP boss has been that bad.
But having said all that, if any Obama fans deign to read this post and choose, predictably (and usually rudely) to disagree, I have one word for your sort: Bhopal.