Oil and nationalism

Nationalism and Oil

Take two of the nastiest things around and you’re bound to get grim results. Nationalism and oil make for an unhappy world.

When the Deepwater Horizon oil spill kicked off, everyone was happy to get stuck into BP. Fair enough. It was their obscene negligence in a relentless search for fossil fuel exploitation that caused the disaster in the first place.

But then the tone from the UK changed.

As soon as people realised that it might be their pension fund money that is tied up in BP, or their national economy affected, suddenly it was no longer an environmental disaster. The real disaster was these cynical anti-British haters (like Obama) who wanted to bring down BP and damage our economy.

“Stand Up For Your Country”, squealed the Daily Mail, pleading for Cameron to come to BP’s defence.

US against the UK. Obama vs Cameron.

The incredible volte-face by the UK media (and parts of the public) indicates two things:

  1. Environmentalism and a green conscience is easy when cheap. The British public was happy to join in the bashing of BP when it wasn’t costing them money. As soon as the spectre of economic repercussions was apparent, the tone changed and all pretense of caring about the environmental catastrophe evaporated.
  2. Nationalism is the real opiate of the masses. Give people a national cause to believe in and they are happy to forget all their ills. Corruption, dictatorship, poverty, climate chaos, none of it matters if you can fly the flag and beat a drum (or blow a vuvuzela).

Time to go to watch the World Cup. I’m supporting Ghana..

1 Response to “Oil and nationalism”


  • It seems like there is finally some good news with the spill. The Houston Chronicle reports, U.S. ships were being outfitted earlier this month with four pairs of skimming booms airlifted from the Netherlands and should be deployed within days.” Better than never, I guess. For all those feeling pretty gloomy about this situation, I recommend a good laugh… Here’s a funny joke, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dd0svVWfFbo

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