Useful idiots, aside from the ‘useful’

If you follow Russian business, you’ll know that the despicable bastards who run Russia are currently in the process of stealing any vaguely oil-or-gas related assets from Western investors – currently, some crooks are trying to nick BP’s Russian subsidiary; last year, the government successfully nicked Shell’s Sakhalin 2 oil field.

Unrelatedly, a grumpy old sod got fired from Shell in the early 1990s and proceeded to sue them. The litigation was settled out of court without anyone admitting anything much, in the way that these things usually are – however, the grumpy old sod in question decided the best use of his now-copious spare time would be to launch a site devoted to hating Shell. Which he duly did. And subsequently, the Russian government’s ropey-as-hell attempts to take over Sakhalin (oh noes! environmental regulations fail!) relied on misleading documents posted on said grumpy old sod’s website.

So I hope the grumpy old sod in question lives long enough to be one of the first to freeze to death when the Russians jack up gas prices to $100 per million BTU…

[digresionally, I fucking hate it when non-cave-dwelling non-hippies slate oilcos for 'environmental damage'. If you drive a car or use electricity, you have no fucking right *whatsoever* to criticise the actions of the oil majors; the problem is you not them.]

One thought on “Useful idiots, aside from the ‘useful’

  1. Jim Bliss says:

    Firstly, the people currently running Russia are indeed the despicable bastards you describe them as. I have no sympathy for them at all, and if they were to suddenly find themselves burning, along with their palatial mansions, as the mob outside bayed for blood, then I’d shed no tears. Indeed I might even grin a secret little grin.

    BUT (and here I speak as a non-driver who uses as little electricity as possible, and although that comes from a green tariff, I’m still working on reducing it) everyone (perhaps with the exception of those who run them) has the right to criticise the behaviour of oil companies. Absolutely everyone.

    More than that; because I firmly believe that non-renewable natural resources should be publicly owned; I will be shedding no tears either at the losses being suffered by oil companies in Russia. In fact, if the assets weren’t going to despicable bastards who will continue to exploit them at maximum capacity, I’d be grinning a not-so-secret little grin about all this.

    Actually I go further than “publicly owned”, and take the Gregory Bateson view that the only rational route to sustainability is to engineer society so that it…

    “shall consume unreplaceable natural resources only as a means to facilitate necessary change (as a chrysalis in metamorphosis must live on its fat). For the rest, the metabolism of the civilisation must depend upon the energy income which [the] Earth derives from the sun.”

    Our addiction to fossil fuels is staggeringly destructive (on so many levels) and while we all, as consumers, must do our part by demanding some kind of change, it simply makes no sense to deny the right to complain about the destructive aspects of a society one is born into, and which one has no real power to change.

    The world simply isn’t big enough for everyone to become a cave-dwelling hippy and abandon mainstream society. And those who do so have very little influence over the society. I’m not saying the system can be changed from within, but it certainly won’t be changed by cave-dwelling hippies. So if they’re the only ones with the right to raise objections, then nothing will ever change. Oil companies will never listen to the criticisms of beardy cave-dwellers. It remains, however, an outside possibility that they may listen to the criticisms of their customers.

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