HuffingtonPost had a very apt headline on its lead story this morning: "The Man Who Wasn't There." That was the major refrain all through Tony Hayward's testimony before Congress yesterday. The post has a link to a video (which I didn't view because I saw the real time version) which shows the whole thing in 4 minutes. I don't know which was more disgusting: Haywards memory lapses, lack of presence, and general lack of control of a company he supposedly headed, or, that ReThuglican idiot's apology for the 'shakedown.' A couple of thoughts occurred to me during the whole dismal time Hayward was obfuscating. First, just how long has this man been on the management end of the business and out of the operations end? He seems to be woefully out of touch and out of date on the technology. Second, our Federal government for at least the last 40 years has actually been far too pro-business and it doesn't matter whether Republicans or Democrats have been in control. Neither one has been very enthusiastic about regulating any industry especially the biggest ones.
Evidently, even some UK commentators were unimpressed with Hayward's performance. One even questioned the wisdom of putting someone like him in such an important position. He came across, in my mind, as a captain of a sinking ship trying desperately NOT to go down with his command. I had another thought just now: exactly how long does it take to investigate an accident like this? They have had 60 days. Or is the investigation merely a convenient, but unsatisfying, excuse to not say anything at all while they hope the firestorm dies? I have my suspicions but I have a nasty, cynical mind on matters of business ethics.
One of the commentators on the news this morning talked about the British response and a very pertinent question raised by said commentators: what about the other oil companies? Mom's response was that they were not the ones who caused the spill so the focus on BP at this time is justified. I would add another point: BP had more than 700 'serious, willful and egregious' safety violations over the last couple of years compared to less than 100 for ALL of the others. However, there is a point that gives me some concern. During the testimony by the other oil CEOs, one of the Senators noted that their disaster response plans were carbon copies of BPs--down to the plans to safeguard endangered species that are not present in the Gulf and the same deceased expert to be contacted in case of emergency.