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Is the BP oil tragedy endangering the UK's image in the United States?

Ian Brimacombe Ian Brimacombe | 09:01 UK time, Tuesday, 8 June 2010

bloodhand.jpgWhile BP is still trying to contain the worst oil spill disaster ever, it's not only its reputation which is at stake in the United States. The British government is said to be increasingly worried about the rise of Brit-bashing stateside, and the impact that might have on the special relationship between the two countries.

The man at the epicentre of the tensions is BP's CEO, Tony Hayward. Omnipresent in the US media from the beginning of the crisis, he has lurched from one gaffe to the next. "There's no one who wants this to be over more than I do, I want my life back" he said, to the outrage of coastal residents.
The New York Daily News called Hayward "the most hated and clueless man in America".

This blogger point to the British CEO's arrogance and out of touch attitude.

And President Obama, who has himself been criticised for his slow reaction to the disaster, said in a recent NBC interview, that he would have fired Tony Hayward over his response to the 50-day-old spill.

It's all too much for some journalists in the UK, who have started condemning the attacks as anglophobic. The weekly Spectator magazine writes this week that British institutions are being demonised by a hypocritical American President and calls for BP to fight back.

So, what do you think? Will the BP oil tragedy tarnish the image of Britain in the US, and could it damage the special relationship? We will be debating the issue on World Update this week.

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