To all bar Tony Hayward, it is clear that BP is finished in America. A Macarthyite degree of opprobrium has been cast against the interloper. As Matthew Lynn notes, BP’s PR flunkies are grovelling across the networks, apologising in that singularly lachrymose British fashion. They should stop demeaning themselves and fight back. BP is to blame for the leak, but it is being demonised by an American President whose desperate populism and prejudice is masquerading as principled leadership; it is the latest British institution to be victimised by Barack Obama...
Barack Obama ignores these current and historical realities by unleashing banal rhetorical flourishes, such as: ‘BP is responsible, BP will pay.’ (Lawyers will debate that contention for years.) Next, disregarding BP’s loud remorse, he castigated the company’s directors for ‘trying to point the finger at everyone other than themselves.’ His coup de grace was to call a fatuous criminal investigation into BP. The indignant, fuming President then softened his image by posing with Diana-like despair on a sunlight beach, gazing into the middle distance above the blackened sea. None of which has stemmed the disaster. Powerless to act and unpopular, his arsenal's a bland granary of brimstone and photo-ops; the mid-terms must worry the visiers surrounding the king.
He's been likened to King Canute of "commanding the tides" fame (yes, I know that Canute himself was saying the opposite of the impression often attributed to him). Professor Obama doesn't know what to do when he commands the oil to recede, or commands BP to make it stop, and his command fails. Was it arrogance that caused him to turn down offered help from other countries? He wants to keep his boot on BP's neck, but doesn't know whose "ass to kick".
Really, America? You voted for this guy?