The British backlash over President Obama and the BP crisis

Discussion in 'Politics' started by flame boy, Jun 11, 2010.

  1. flame boy

    flame boy Account Disabled

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    Firstly let me say that I'm not much of a political one, yet the politics forum is the correct destination for this type of discussion. My reason for starting this thread is not to get into a spat about the US versus the UK, but merely to gauge reactions from other members.

    Times Online - Obama feels the heat from BP backlash.


    Now personally, for me, I think this is quite astounding. Great business and political minds in the UK have all of a sudden thrown their hands up in outrage regarding this issue. As I am seeing it, this is nothing to do with Britain and absolutely everything to do with BP. People saying that President Obama was coming down on the UK in general is, in my opinion, absurd.

    If BP was, for example SP (Spanish Petroleum) then I would expect the exact same level of criticism for their handling of the situation. I think it's very petty of some of these UK folks to try and spin this as a personal attack -- it's nothing personal, it's business.

    How do you feel about this? I personally think it's remarkable that British people are getting their knickers in a twist because Obama has (rightly) called out the bigwigs responsible for this disaster.
     
  2. Joll

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    It's all a bit embarrassing and disastrous. Was just discussing it in chat. :/
     
  3. flame boy

    flame boy Account Disabled

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    I agree, it's very embarrassing.

    I can see the point made by some who have said that we need to focus on the issue of sorting out the problem and less of who is to blame, that I can understand. For people to say that this is anti-British, is to me unfathomable.
     
  4. kloffus2000

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    Let us get a few facts straight. BP though registered in London has not been called BRITISH petroleoum for 12 years yet Obama persists in stressing the British . It is in fact an international company formed by a merger with Amoco I think.
    There are six British directors AND SIX AMERICAN directors.
    The company which owns the rig was Transocean Ltd. whichj is also an internation al company based for tax reasons in Switzerland.The company that was responsilbe for the concerting that shold have prevented the blow out was infacyt Halliburton a wholly Amewricvan company. Yet Obama keeps stressing the British whike the Americans keep their heads down. It would have mbeen more hoinorable if some of their directors had stepped up to the plate and acepted responsibility in the way that BP has.
    Of the 126 workers on the rig, Deepwater Horizon, only 8 were BP employees. BP had a 65% share in the well while partner Anadarko has25%.

    BP employs 22000 Americans and 10000 British.

    Ther also seem to be a difference in language between the USA and us. " I want my life back" means for us " There is nothing I want more than to clear this mess up. I can do nothing else until it is sorted. " Whereas to the Americans it seems to mean " This is a nuisance and I want out."
    Please let us be fair about this. It is an international comany and an very serious accident. BP has accepted responsibility and undertaken to compensate those affected. It has done everything it could to deal with the leak. The President is actually powerless to do any better at this stage. Therfore he is attacking not just BP but Britain at every turn to shift attention away form his own failure.
     
  5. Jason

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    This is now a major issue in the UK and is on the front page of the newspapers. There seem to be two sorts of problems:

    1) The company is BP - not British Petroleum - and while registered in the UK is almost as much a US company as a British company. It was operating in the Gulf of Mexico under US rules and regulations including US safety inspection. By wrongly and repeatedly calling the company British Petroleum Obama is damaging "brand Britain". The subliminal association is Britain=oil spill=bad. Throughout he should have used the correct name for the company so as to avoid damage to Britain.

    2) There are concerns that Obama may talk away all confidence in the company so that it goes into liquidation. There are very serious financial analysts in Britain who believe this is a credible risk. This would be a big financial blow for the USA. But it would be an even bigger blow for the UK. An amazing £1 in £7 of private pension funds is held in BP, so if it goes under or stops paying a dividend we have a real hit on the incomes of pensioners. Obama's anti-dividend rhetoric is worrying - Britain needs a dividend paid by BP. We are walking a financial tight-rope as it is, and to see Obama damage our finances for his own internal politics hurts.

    The British concern is that Obama is seeking to deflect responsibility from the USA to Britain. He is risking the very existence of BP. Cameron has refused to comment on the issue, which in its own way is pretty serious. The discussion from others in Britain is that Obama is tarnishing the office of US president by his repeated wrong naming of BP and by his apparent willingness to talk BP into liquidation. There is also concern that while the UK held its fire in not criticising the US over the banking crisis the US is not returning the favour (on something which is of far less cost). There's also concern that this will damage the relationship between Cameron and Obama at a time when the UK is looking towards a more Atlanticist policy. The challenge is to get a win out of this situation. We need the financial brains to put a cap on the maximum BP will be paying out, and we need ageement that BP will pay a dividend. And we need a clear statement of support from Obama for BP.
     
  6. flame boy

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    I agree that this will have an impact on the British economy and pensions - big time. It's sad to see a company slip in to such a awful situation but I personally believe their mismanagement of this crisis while it was still in it's infancy is a part of the reason people are so angry about this. Their cavalier attitude towards the situation has won them no favour - I think the American people have ever right to be furious, but yes some of it is misplaced by being angry with Britain on the whole but overall their anger is totally justified. We'd feel exactly the same way if it was the other way round.

    We should come together to sort this out and stop the finger pointing.
     
    #6 flame boy, Jun 11, 2010
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2010
  7. vince

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    It only been 12 years since it's been officially "BP" and supposedly "BP" doesn't mean anything and is not an abbreviation of anything. Well sorry folks, when I see a BP station, I think "British Petroleum" and so probably does anyone over the age of 30 who drives.

    Untwist your nationalistic knickers. Obama is not seeking to blame Britain. He, and others in the US government, are seeking to recover the costs of the clean-up from the responsible parties. The primary responsible party is the one who holds the drilling license, organized the whole show, employed the contractors, oversaw the work, and would have taken the profits.

    Those are the facts and sorry if British pride is bruised. Or if "brand Britain" (WFT?) is damaged. I actually haven't heard much in the media blaming Britain. The defensiveness and reverse finger pointing is actually louder and somewhat embarrassing to listen to.

    I'd like to know how this Obama's failure. What's he supposed to do? Dive down there in Submarine One and plug the damn hole himself? Be out there conducting random safety drills on oil rigs?

    Blaming Obama is the deflection.
     
    #7 vince, Jun 11, 2010
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2010
  8. B_crackoff

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    BP is the merger between the AMERICAN OIL COMPANY & British Petroleum. It specifically changed its name because it was now a transatlantic company.

    If Obama cannot get his facts right, God knows how he ever obtained a law degree! The guy is a moron. You'll wait an eternity for any money from British Petroleum, because it does not exist! So everytime he mentions it, he is either lying, or misleading the US public.

    What next - an invasion of Persia - troops out of Mesopotamia!

    The fact that none of the US TV companies mention that it was US companies subleased (by order of Halliburton & Co no doubt) i.e TransOcean to do the work as experts, whose equipment failed so catastrophically, is astonishing.

    The continued use of the word British, with no reference to American, is starting to make this seem racial pointscoring in order to deflect attention.

    Obama's comments that the oil companies & regulators are too close, is even more disingenuous given that he himself signed off massive new Gulf exploration just weeks beforehand.

    It even seems like they're going to use NALCO - a company closely associated with Warren Buffett, Al Gore, Soros, Apollo, Blackstone, Goldman Sachs, & Hathaway Berkshire - to use a dispersant BANNED in the EU as toxic called Corexit, which will suffocate whatever sealife is remaining.

    Obama is just protecting his cronies & backers, instead of manning up like a statesman to this disaster. It proves his lack of ability & experience in either diplomacy, or crisis.
     
  9. Joll

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    I think it's a catastrophic disaster environmentally - and I fully understand USA citizens being angry.

    However, as other people have mentioned, the rig was owned and operated by a separate (American) company, and the co. responsible for the blow-out valve was also American. That doesn't mean to say it isn't BP's responsibility - and they have rightly shouldered most of the blame for it, and are trying everything within their power to sort it.

    It is embarrassing for the UK (as it's still viewed by many as a British company, whether it still is or not) - but I do think Obama is milking it a bit now, and overdoing the fingerpointing. As Jase said - talking BP into liquidation isn't going to help anyone, especially those who are owed compensation and who are affected by the clean up efforts.

    Cancelling/deferring the dividend might seem the ethical thing to do, while the clean-up is focused on, but is it practical, and what damage will it do to the company and to UK pensionholders?

    *Apparently they're deferring the dividend payment due to US pressure (and putting it in an escrow account).
     
  10. BenKwan

    BenKwan New Member

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    Wow, Crackoff, you have this way wrong. The regulations and cronyism occurred years ago on all of this and I agree with Vince . . . this is just another bag Obama is left holding. Perhaps if people didn't focus on blame and considered the environment and the people in the region affected, your comments would be directed properly to prevent this in the future. BP (or British Petroleum, or American Petroleum, or whatever) loves it when we argue amongst ourselves as it takes the pressure off of them and/or our governments.
     
  11. maxcok

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    :confused: Are the British now a race? Who knew?

    Otherwise your typical trollish anti-Obama rant courtesy of Crackoff.


    BTW, Brit friends. I haven't heard a peep of any ant-British sentiment here, so I can't imagine what this reaction is all about. Is it purely a semantic thing, saying 'British Petroleum' vs. 'BP'? Maybe Obama thinks saying "BP" sounds trivial and unpresidential, I don't know. At any rate, it seems completely silly to get your knickers in a knot over this. Next thing you know, we'll be having another damn 'tea party'. :biggrin2:
     
  12. B_starinvestor

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    It would probably be appropriate if Obama ever gets off the golf course that he oughta head down to Louisiana and check things out.

    He is absolutely pathetic.
     
  13. maxcok

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    And there's another one lining up to whack the Obama pinata.

    Maybe he could go do some bush hogging? Seriously doll, you can do soo much better.
    "President Obama will make his most extensive trip to the gulf coast yet, visiting Mississippi, Alabama and Florida on Monday and Tuesday of next week, the White House announced late Tuesday.

    He will "further assess the latest efforts to counter the BP oil spill," the White House said. The trip, his fourth trip to the region, fills a scheduling hole created when Obama canceled a trip to Indonesia."



     
    #13 maxcok, Jun 11, 2010
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2010
  14. D_Andreas Sukov

    D_Andreas Sukov Account Disabled

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    Can't let things like that get in the way, Max
     
    #14 D_Andreas Sukov, Jun 11, 2010
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2010
  15. maxcok

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    :confused: Things like what? Brush? Facts? Whackers? Reality?
     
  16. Countryguy63

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    I'll second this. To be honest, until reading this thread, I just thought of "British Petroleum" as a name, ...not associated with a country. In other words, you don't hear people running around spouting "Those damn brits are spilling oil in America" :rolleyes:.

    The owners, leaders, and just plain "the company" is responsible for this disaster, not a country.
     
  17. Qua

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    Same. I never once associated BP (which I didn't realize wasn't called British Petroleum anymore) with Britain as far as blame is concerned, nor has anyone I've talked to.

    This seems like some Brits assuming xenophobic Americans will immediately hop on the blame bus. If Mexico or "Muslims" could be blamed, then yeah, we probably would.

    All the indirect vitriol I've seen has gone towards Bush and co. and American political movements which seek to retail the oil industry's grip on modern life.
     
  18. dandelion

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    If I was interested enough I might have followed some of the debate which must have been going on about who is really to blame for this. BP has the contract, so the bills come back to them. However they were not carrying out the work. The name haliburton came to attention before because they were ripping off the US and ultimately Iraq for work they were plainly failing to carry out after the invasion. If that was anything to go by, this is their fault, but I dont see anyone much saying haliburton has failed to stop the leak.

    Instead people seem to be concentrating on whether BP somehow cut corners. The people who died when the rig exploded were the ones who suffered most immediately. There is a limit on how far an employer could push its contractors into doing risky things, even if it was deliberately trying to do so. So I find it hard to credit BP had cut a deal which both parties believed was dangerous with transocean/Haliburton. Much more likely BP cut a tight commercial deal with willing parties, who then themselves cut whatever corners led to this mess. BP is at fault for not choosing a better contractor, but it remains to be seen exactly how much better the available alternatives might be.

    But to return to the issue, I hear no calls for Haliburton not to declare a dividend, nor transocean. Lots of calls addressed to BP. Maybe this is not true in the US, but it is here. From my perspective it looks like BP will get the bill for something not directly under its control while the others who did the deed are not under the same contractual liability to the US government. The US is going after the only one it has directly on the hook.

    Obama is becoming increasingly desperate because he will get the blame for this for as long as it continues. Yet there is absolutely nothing he can do about it. All he can do is threaten to get tough with the only party he can legally get at, BP. It makes no difference what he says to what BP does. I dont for 1 minute think they said 'oh dear, lets do nothing unlesss the president complains'. What they have tried might be pretty ineffective but I imagine it is the best that could be done.

    BP is an important company for the UK economy. Ditto for the Us, but the US is bigger overall so the impact is less. The UK economy is flaky, at best. It does not need extra panics. Obama is creating a panic. What the British economy needs is calming words emphasising the up side for BP even if they are doomed to bancruptcy. What the president needs is to talk up the pain he will inflict on BP and how he will tear BP to pieces, even if in the end it only costs them 1 years profits. We are at a point where british national interest is in conflict with the presidents personal interest. Which is why a number of movers and shakers in Britain are starting to say it is time to tell Obama where to get off.
     
  19. dreamer20

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    I have no problem with Obama calling BP British Petroleum, which I view as being British Petroleum International Limited too. That company's and your use of the initials BP doesn't erase its historic British association, but perpetuates it. Unlike you, I don't see why BP should distance itself from its British ties because it is involved in yet another oil industry scandal.

    According to your line of reasoning, to protect the "British brand" persons shouldn't use the "British" portion of British titled companies when these entities are negligent, cause catastrophic disasters and subsequently become subject to criticism, scrutiny and bad press. Unfortunately for you, liberal societies, such as Britain's or the U.S.A.'s, do not suppress a person's right to name the business and the grievances they have with said business for such a ridiculous reason. Hence Margaret Thatcher named and shamed "British brand" businesses which were overstaffed, inefficient and in need of reform in the 1980's. And if I have a grievance with British Airways I won't remain silent about it.
     
  20. TomCat84

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    Agreed. There is NO way that an American President is anti British. You're the only powerful REAL friends we have in Europe.
     
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