Here is Boris Johnson, not a stupid man, saying something very stupid:
“When you consider the huge exposure of British pension funds to BP and its share price, and the vital importance of BP, then I do think it starts to become a matter of national concern if a great UK company is being continually beaten up on the international airwaves. OK, it has presided over a catastrophic accident which it is trying to remedy but ultimately it cannot be faulted because it was an accident that took place.”
Let me distill that: OK, OK so they have just unleashed a catastrophe...but that's not their fault. Why not? Because it happened.
Maybe it sounds more logical in ancient Greek.
Although Johnson didn't quite have the balls to name Obama as the target of his criticism, he got the headlines he wanted, joining that rabid old fox Tebbit and several others in jumping on this "stop bashing Britain" bandwagon.
This really is the silly story of the week.
The fact that BP is being "beaten up" isn't what's causing the share price to crash - it's the bloody catastrophe that's doing that, and it really doesn't need much help. If British pensioners are losing money that's because their fund managers over-invested in BP and didn't properly account for the risk of a disaster like this one.
What does Obama's "anti-British rhetoric" amount to anyway? Unless you've seen something I haven't, it amounts to this: referring to BP as "British Petroleum". The swine. (Apparently they changed their name a few years ago to BP to avoid being seen to have anything to do with Britain or petroleum - exactly the kind of absurd PR fiddling that under other circumstances, these same critics would be fiercely deriding, and not exactly "patriotic").
Here's the thing: if Obama calling it "British" is such a problem, why are we proudly defending this "great UK company"?
It's not the crass opportunism that gets me down about this stuff, or the (faux-)stupidity, it's the chippiness. It makes us seem so insecure, always seeking out "slights" from abroad to get upset about. Whatever happened to those great British traits of effortless confidence and sang-froid (excuse my French)?
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