Tuesday, 8 June 2010

BP's Hayward Should Go Now

BP: Big Problem
Iain Martin has just quite justifiably wondered out loud when David Cameron is going to answer the ridiculously shrill and totally unjustified anti-British sentiments, disguised as tough-guy criticism of BP Inc for the Gulf oil disaster, emanating from the irritating Obama's noise hole. He says:
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.
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 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.

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.


  1. Sorry, I can't agree with this. Whatever the shortcomings that led to the disaster, BP's response has been incredibly impressive. To co-ordinate a corporate operation of that size with the degree of professionalism that they have mustered is nothing short of astonishing.

    If you want to throw stones at BP managers, you might want to start with the Sun King, who put together BP and Amoco to create the current company.

  2. Hey, I was just following Jeff Randall (whom I admire - and generally agree with).

    You're dead right to hold forth in your admonitionary background heads-up, Adam, but, sadly, and however unfair it might seem - or even is - I think that at this late hour, the substantive point I made in this post still stands.

    The stones bouncing off us are being thrown by desperately unpopular American Democrats, like Obama, because we're British and it suits him. But that's been made possible by the hoon Hayward's Tim-Nice-But-Dim approach to disaster management, Stateside. I'm not throwing any stones, old boy, and neither are you (as far as I know).

    I'm not gonna change my mind about Hayward. You might want to change yours.


Any thoughts?