The industry that keeps on giving
06 Jul 2007 - JG
Not everything on Picking Losers is about the bad side of government. For example, here is a heart warming tale of giving and kindness from the corporate hospitality boxes at Wimbledon. Spotted this week, lurking behind a bowl of strawberries and through the bubbling fizz of a champagne glass, was a Mr Jim Campbell. Jim who? You may ask. Jim Campbell. Mr Campbell is the civil servant in charge of regulating Britain's oil and gas industry, including responsibility for pollution and oil spills. So what? You may continue to ask. Well, Mr Campbell was the very special guest in an all expenses paid luxury chalet at the All England Lawn Tennis Club of oil giants Chevron. Chevron has stated that the £1000 a head hospitality for Mr Campbell, or Jim as they probably call him, is an annual event – what thoughtful chaps.
This is just one of a number of examples where the DTI, or DBERR as it now known, has been courted by oil companies. Other friendly, and totally innocent I'm sure, treats that the oil industry have sent their way over the past year include a racing day at Glorious Goodwood, private art views, a trip to the ballet, a golf outing, a party visiting the crown jewels at the Tower of London, tickets to balls, dinner in a Michelin-starred restaurant, and a case of champagne from Shell for Christmas. In fact, from May 4 2006 to April 26 2007, EDU staff received a total of 170 gifts and invitations from companies including Shell, Total, Exxon Mobil, Amerada Hess and Chevron. I wonder why DBERR is getting so many kind and thoughtful gifts from the constantly under fire, multi billion pound industry and its leaders at time when the environment is top of the agenda and environmental groups threaten their huge profit margins? They must just be jolly good blokes, I suppose. I wonder if I'll be getting any kind gifts in the future from this generous bunch?