No doubt, Tony Hayward’s chums at his Mayfair gentleman’s club speak of him in warm terms. “Sterling bloke, wot? I remember when he wore the lampshade and throw rug at the annual Christmas party and pretended to be Attila the Hun. Simply ripping fellow!”
But clearly, down in the Gulf of Mexico, our boy is what you might call a fish out of oily water. His comments about wanting his life back, and about the slick being not so large if you consider the vastness of the Gulf, come off as tone-deaf if not callous.
The fact that they’re delivered in a tony British boarding-school accent doesn’t make them any easier to swallow, as Americans witness the despoliation of their coastline by a corporate Goliath that views our precious environment as a wealth generator and nothing more.
BP is desperately trying to hang onto the shreds of its reputation by deliberately under-reporting the bad news and organizing Potemkin cleanup squads for the TV cameras.
As one of its maladroit stabs at self-rehabilitation, the corporation might consider sacking its feckless CEO. Nothing would communicate more effectively to an exasperated public that BP really was sorry about what happened, and it might give a tiny measure of solace to those who never will get their lives back that at least one of the cheeses had to learn some compassion the hard way.