Tarred and Feathered but not Unbowed

BP, the oil industry, fishing and tourist industries and the waters of the gulf can emerge from this crisis stronger if we let them.

My first reaction, like many, to the crisis of the Deep Horizon spill was one of great sadness for the living waters of the gulf, the families coping with loss of loved ones on the exploding rig and the coastal communities whose livelihoods were already dealt a big blow after Katrina.

Living in the midst of a beautiful landscape here on Coniston Water with a clear view of the Old Man, I am acutely aware of the importance of the commons we all share –  the land, water, forests and air –  to our survival.

Right now the most important task at hand is to stop the leak.  The best way to make this happen is by co-operation.  This calls for the best of team playing.  Forget pointing fingers, get on with the job.  Give everyone the backing they require and move.

The relentless finger pointing and castigation of BP is futile while this crisis is ongoing.  Whipping the backside of the main company you are calling upon to save multitudinous lives from future despair is nothing more than theatre and extremely dangerous.  For there is no good that can come from robbing the only one with pockets deep enough to save you from the motivation to keep going.  In 2009 BP made 25.1 billion before taxes.  The previous year, a record, they made 34.3 billion before taxes.  These pockets, while deep, will have no motivation whatsoever to provide for the many mouths and hands outstretched if retribution is whipped up to a feeding frenzy.

This calls for sound judgement.  To the brink but not beyond.   The cure may hurt but must not destroy.   Working together, everyone can grow from this disaster.  Vigilantes beware.   No good thing will come from the destruction of BP and the oil companies that have provided, through good times and bad, the energy that drives the economic miracle that we call capitalism.


One thought on “Tarred and Feathered but not Unbowed

  1. QOW

    BP can do better. What was shown of the Chief Executive’s replies, assuming those shown were complete, was puzzling. The CEO sets the tone for the organisation. What levels of risk are appropriate? How much of an emphasis is on health and safety? What are the budgetary constraints? Working together with the entire organisation with the FD or Financial Controller by his side, these issues are thought through, discussed and become part of the dna of the company. Surely a more appropriate response to the capital hill drilling would have been to provide a glimpse of this structure.

    I suspect that there was a reluctance to provide any information and therefore the ‘fifth amendment’ equivalent response of ‘I wasn’t a part of the decision making process on the rig’ was given. Unfortunately, it has had the effect of making BP look like a bunch of cowboys, incapable of working effectively as a team, in the wild west.

    Still, the most important thing for the moment is to ‘stop the leak.’ Nothing else matters. Everyone else should just get out of the way until this is accomplished.

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