This is unseemly, I know. But it’s very disappointing when someone you thought was on you side reveals their true colors. Ask Obama how he feels about General McCrystal.
BP’s CEO Tony Hayward has wisely decided to go into hiding. So a new scapegoat has been found. A Senator Joe Barton has dared to describe (Youtube clip) the $20bn the President has demanded as a “shakedown”. He makes some perfectly reasonable comments.
Clearly the word “shakedown” must be incredibly offensive to Americans. Much more offensive, I presume than using the term “veddy veddy” to (presumably) mock the English accent.
I don’t know how many readers Joe Romm has, but I would imagine a good proportion of them are in the UK. I would have thought alienating them was straight out of the Tony Hayward school of poor PR. Once again, the irony of it!
Oh, and maybe there are only 60 million Brits. But there are over a billion Indians. And they’re noticing the double standards being applied.
Shockingly, my comment in support of Joe Barton on Joe Romm’s silly post has been “awaiting moderation” since this morning. I can only conclude I’ve been ostracised. Lucky I have a thick Brit skin.
Anyway, here’s my shocking point of view:
“Well, I think Joe Barton has a valid point. There’s no legal basis for expropriating the $20bn from BP. It’s for consequential losses (e.g. the effects on tourism, fishers etc) for which the legal framework is compensation by fines per barrel of spill. So maybe BP is going to have to pay twice. Who knows?
Btw, to declare an interest, or rather not, I invest my spare pocket money in alternative energy not oil companies (though some Big Oil shares might be part of my managed pension fund). Anyway, I’m underweight BP, so I shouldn’t be so bothered. But this is a point of principle.
Joe Barton is just being shouted down by public opinion.
Since when are opinion polls a reliable guide to what’s right or wrong, true or false?
We have, on the one hand, public opinion, rather than the pre-existing legal framework, determining how much compensation BP should pay.
But, on the other hand, we have global warming, where, many would argue, we hope our leaders will listen to the science and not fickle public opinion.
Smart move, guys. Smart move.”