Friday, 18 June 2010


Well, what a charade.

The Congressional Committee, investigating the oil spill in the Gulf, is disgraceful. I fully understand the point that they are coming up to midterm elections, but the 'indignation' "I am insulted"  that they were not getting answers, is frankly pathetic.

When the rest of the world is genuinely keen to find out why, the CEO of BP was totally sensible to take the line he did, when he had to listen to an hour and half of lectures on how his company is guilty, now can you give us the evidence to hang you with? It was truly terrible.

The oil spill is dreadful. The deaths unforgivable. The damage to the economy and ecological system too horrible to contemplate. But they need solutions now not scalps. This is the not the time for a trial, and in fact the CEO is the person who is trying to deliver the answers. If in due course it is proved that he has been negligent then he will have to take the consequences. However the idiots on the Committee clearly have a simple politicians view of the way large organisations work. Please preserve us from such people.

With out the threats, the seriously bad litigious culture of the USA, and the tendency for everyone to jump on a damages bandwagon, then he may just have been more helpful. But what did these guys expect?

He first has to manage the disaster, then he is has to keep his Company solvent, he has a duty to everyone, including his share holders, of whom 40% are American. It is just not sensible to undermine his ability to fulfill these responsibilities.

Of course his style did not help with this Paxmanness interviewing technique. He was perhaps too calm. I personnally would have been inclined to show a bit of edge back.  But I fear there is a bit of a cultural difference here, but who would expect the Americans to make any allowance for that?

It was bad enough seeing our own politicians questionning David Kelly. That was too bad, but Congress makes our Select Committee, seem polite. Ours do seem to want to get evidence first.

However politicians generally are not equipped for this sort of task. Serious consideration should be given to limit their ability to call anyone to their Committees in the future, on the back of something going wrong. Leave that to lawyers who tend to be better at getting at the facts.

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