British Conservatives prepare for deep-sea oil drilling

Drill, old boy, drill. It’s a government built on oil men, for the benefit of oil men. The posh new PM called in Big Oil and asked them for a wish list and Shetland drilling was right up there. His team is a creepy lot that Dick Cheney might not even be seen with. Well, maybe not that extreme but you get the picture. It’s a far cry from the nature-loving Cameron that we saw earlier but it’s also what is to be expected from the right. How confident should the British public be in the budget hacking which is led by the former BP CEO who hacked the BP budget which led to the BP refinery catastrophe in Texas? Sure he can cut budgets but when you throw out the in house experts and outsource for cheaper solutions, it doesn’t always work out so nicely. It’s backwards thinking, but welcome to modern right wing politics.

This approach to the environment has seeped, like a slick, over Cameron’s policies. He commissioned another oil man, Tim Eggar, to go and ask the world’s oil companies what they want from his government. They won’t let me see the findings. But we know oil companies received big tax cuts in the Budget, and the Government’s subsequent energy policy paper says life needs to be made “simpler [and] clearer” for oil companies to drill in British waters. Even though it is our addiction to oil that is causing and worsening global warming, the paper says: “We need policies designed for hunting [oil]… We need policies that offer the right incentives to explore for and extract the remaining reserves of oil and gas, and to keep existing fields open for as long as possible.”

It pledges to open the oceans off the Shetland Islands to deep-sea drilling. Yes – that’s the deep-sea drilling you’ve seen in every newscast for the past month. Cameron is promising Big Oil tax breaks to drill, baby, drill.

At the same time, projects designed to provide alternatives to oil are being axed. The Financial Times headline put it bluntly: “Climate projects face axe from Cable.” (Remember: Saint Vince is a former oil man himself, who worked for Shell through its worst atrocities, including working intimately with the Nigerian military as they were murdering democracy activist Ken Saro-Wiwa.) Some of the very best programmes are expected to go. For example, Mitsubishi and Siemens pledged to come to Britain to make offshore wind turbines if the Government made a £60m upgrade to our ports to make it possible – but Whitehall whispers are that it will be abandoned. Britain will miss out on a headstart in one of the great growth industries of the twenty-first century.


An American in Paris, France. BA in History & Political Science from Ohio State. Provided consulting services to US software startups, launching new business overseas that have both IPO’d and sold to well-known global software companies. Currently launching a new cloud-based startup. Full bio here.

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