Kate Mackenzie Is the anti-British sentiment that bad?

The UK’s prime minister and London’s mayor have stepped into the BP fray, amid concern from several UK businesses that the Obama administration’s response to the Gulf oil spill is encouraging anti-British rhetoric.

But are they getting a little over-excited?

One Energy Source reader wrote, on our ‘British Parochialism or British Pariah’ post:

I’m sorry but I was in the US last week and the anti-British aspect of this is totally being overplayed in the British press. This may appeal to self-important British newspaper writers/readers, but for the vast majority of Americans in the states bordering the Gulf, they just want to maintain their lives and livelihoods.

Ouch. But what the heck, carry on:

Side note: Imagine for a second what would happen if Exxon Mobil dumped hundreds of thousands of barrels of oil off the coast of Cornwall. Imagine the anti-American frenzy that would take place in Britain! What is happening in the US is pale by comparison.

So stop painting this an American anti-British thing. It isn’t. People on the left blame “corporate America” far more than they do the Brits. People on the right blame President Obama and his “knee-jerk reaction”. The ‘British’ issue is secondary at best.

Interesting point. Although even we have had one or two rogue comments on our BP posts railing about the Queen of England’s role in all this, it’s probably fair to say there’s a lot more at play than an anti-British reaction. But the Obama administration is absolutely determined to avoid being seen as too soft on BP. This, too, may be overplayed by the pundits – our Washington bureau chief Ed Luce found surprisingly little enthusiasm for blaming the administration among Pensacola beach residents. In the UK, however, with BP alone responsible for 12 per cent of dividend payouts, it’s not surprising that sensitivities are running a little high.

[For the record, the author of this post is neither British nor American.]

Related links:

Backlash grows to ‘anti-British rhetoric’ - FT