Julie Burchill: BP crisis - Tony Hayward was always way out of his depth
Published 28/07/2010 | 00:04
In an interesting aside to this syndrome, it's funny how the bad behaviour of the World's Wickedest Oilman turned out to be nothing like the fictional antics of JR Ewing or indeed his Hollywood antecedents in Douglas Sirk's legendary film Written On The Wind.
Instead, Tony Hayward has acted like a grounded teenager who got caught letting the bath flood the family home while he looked at porn on the internet.
After describing the spill as "tiny" and predicting the extent of the damage done as "very, very modest", he notoriously visited the devastated Gulf Coast and told reporters who asked what he would like to say to the wretched local people: "The first thing to say is I'm sorry. There's no one who wants this over more than I do. I would like my life back."
It really could be John Prescott talking about being caught with his trousers down – or Adrian Mole.
I've been under the impression that for years the big companies have run all sorts of sophisticated psychological tests on their employees to see if they're made of the right stuff.
They're obviously asking the wrong questions to end up with a sulky, self-pitying horror like Hayward. Hopefully that multi-million pay-off will buy him all the train sets he can handle and prevent him from ever attempting to play with the grown-ups again.