Diary

IN BED WITH THE GOVERNMENT

Mr. Dan McLaughlin’s excellet post, ‘The Face of Sanctions’, and Mr. Erick Erickson’s comment in one of his posts, ‘…….that does not mean to say that BP’s ties to the Obama administration should not be investigated…’, may seem to most readers to have no connection. However to the undersigned they were a remarkable coincidence because he, along with BP, were active participants in “legally” (?) breaking the oil sanctions imposed on Rhodesia in 1965 by the British government and the UN. In Mr. McLaughin’s post he makes the very, very salient point that “……sanctions regimes cannot be enforced, especially in countries with multiple borders or where powerful countries openly or tacitly decline to cooperate”. You would have thought that Harold Wilson, the then Prime Minister of England in 1965, would have had the intelligence to have recognized this very salient point of ‘multiple borders’ when he attempted to impose oil santions on Rhodesia. And I would add to this point, where such countries have an economic interest in the target or in the bordering countries – China and Russia in Iran and Great Britian in South Africa. May I take the liberty of quoting from the ‘DARKEST TRUTHS OF BLACK GOLD’, “……the factor that allowed a British Government, majority owned oil company (BP) to continue to supply petroleum products to a country, a country that had been embargoed by that very same majority owner, was the British Government’s need for the impetus of the South African economy”. This was a case, not of the government overlooking certain actions of a corporation, but of actively supporting those actions or as Mr. McLaughlin puts it, “…..where powerful countries openly or tacitly decline to cooperate”.

For decades BP has had the experience of being in ‘bed with the government’. As a majority owned oil company from the year 1914, it even had two Government directors on its Board of Directors. It was in 1914 that Churchill through the Admiralty bought a majority interest in BP or as it was then known the Anglo-Persian Oil Company. The culture of decades of being ‘in bed with the government’ takes many, many years to dissipate after you no longer legally have a government majority owner. With BP’s monumental task of stopping the leak in the Gulf, now is not the time to distract it from its twenty-four a day concentration on this task. But when it is successful in capping the well, surely there are some required answers as to how this catastrophe happened.

Being ‘in bed with the government’, is now known by the more polite term of ‘corporate welfare’. It is an abomination. It is paid for by the taxpayers. Dare ethanol be mentioned? Starting with BP, after they are successful in solving the problem in the Gulf, and its ties to the Obama administration, ‘corporate welfare‘ is a multi-billioin dollar tax cut that should engage the interest of the new congress after the November elections.

Robert Palmer Smith