Once the BP investigation got back underway after a vote forced a break in proceedings it became obvious which way this enquiry was going to go.

Like the protestor, Diane Wilson who with black painted hands and face tried to effect a citizen’s arrest of Tony Hayward, the members of the committee had only one thing on their mind. And that was to publicly hoist him high. The stage was set, the rope was ready, let the lynching begin.

They even resorted to nationalism by referring to BP as “British Petroleum” (it isn’t, the name was changed to BP so as to lose the national identity) and constantly talking about the American people.

They have also learned from the hearings investigating bankers that a good thing to do is constantly harp on about lack of accountability and co-operation.

Putting yourself in the shoes of the US Senate Energy and Commerce Subcommittee you can understand their stance. The people of the US are suffering directly and on a large scale because of the actions by what they see as an easily identifiable source.


With Tony Hayward’s shoes on you can see why he would take the position he did. Decisions were taken on the rig about which he knew nothing and the only people who could say what went on are sadly dead. As to the technical matters it seems that the US regulators did approve them. At least one of the investigating panel, Senator Burgess, identified that. At one point he was stressing the need to get the regulators before them to answer tough questions. But that was something the Chairman Sen. Stupak did not want to discuss, saying that there was a long way to go and thatwould come in the fullness of time. In fact the Chairman cut that line of thought off pretty quickly.

As far as anything Tony Hayward could say, it was always going to be wrong and he knew it. So best to say little and await the outcome of the official inquiry.

The US wants a quick resolution, to see guilty party(s) hang, examples made and BP to go bankrupt whilst paying reparations.

It is a pity that the US system wasn’t so keen in sorting out the Bhopal explosion in the same manner, as well as Coca Cola environmental impacts abroad and the massive constant oil spills in the Niger Delta (see picture – which by all accounts makes the Gulf one look like a minor plumbing problem).

This hearing is an exercise in domestic politics. It should have taken place later when emotions were running lower, real facts were known and some real conclusions had been drawn from proper investigations.

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