Thursday, April 29, 2004

BP Boss says Iraq is a job for Iraqis

Lord Browne, the head of Britain's biggest company BP, and the oilman's oilman has said that his firm has given up on Iraq as an investment. Link Apparently, he believes that the lack of a sovereign and legitimate Iraqi government and the small matter of guerrilla war means that "It's not obvious to me that you need foreign oil firms" and that redevelopment of the Iraqi oil industry should be left to local state-owned groups. Does he mean - the Iraqis? Perish the thought! This is serious, though. Lord Browne is, as much as anyone can claim to be, the uncrowned king of British industry. BP has been astonishingly successful on his watch, especially compared with Shell's accounting shenanigans and poor reserve-replacement ratio (put simply, Shell is having trouble finding oil, which is a problem if you're an oil company). The firm itself is something like the last bastion of the British Empire - it was created, dear God, by Winston Churchill in 1911 with State funding to assure oil supply for the new generation of fast, oil fired battleships that Winston's Admiralty had introduced. Its foundation was the old Anglo-Iranian Oil Company, but as the years went by it prospered and grew. Up until the late 80s, throughout its history it had been partly State-owned. This is as close to the deep state as business gets, so politics must surely listen.

Look, Tony, in the last week you've been wapped by 1) the Diplomatic Service, 2) the Church, 3) the Army, 4) British Petroleum - and you still know you are right! It's a great pity, just think what could have been accomplished with such gifts of determination and blatant pigheadedness. He could almost have been a Yorkshireman. But no. He's always stubborn over trivialities and stupidities, whilst being utterly spineless whenever he is right. Again and again Mr. Blair digs in for the citadel of his final stand - but carefully digs all the trenches facing the wrong way..

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