While Americans might feel we have a common-sense consensus about the oil company formerly named British Petroleum, it’s insightful to note that it’s not exactly a worldwide consensus.
In fact, the British press, even the internationally focused BBC, has taken a downright parochial point of view, and that’s more than just casually interesting. Should BP eventually seek bankruptcy protection at the parent-company level, which is frankly unlikely except as a threat to keep Congress at bay, it would be in London.
Across the pond they describe the U.S. political situation in terms like “feverish” and say that Tony Hayward was pilloried, which I believe in UK-speak carries a certain tone of unfairly attacked. They admit there’s a feeling that the American press and political establishment is “ganging up” on the British firm while paying less attention to U.S. companies involved in the spill. Oddly, they sometimes identify Transocean as an example, although that company moved its headquarters offshore some time ago, we presume for tax reasons.
Earlier this week, I did an interview with the BBC that at least somewhat illustrates the difference in tone.
Listen to interview here: StuartSmithBBC
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