Why hypocrisy is like a camouflaged bus

The corporate art of getting the sympathy vote

No, I haven’t been at the wacky baccy. Hypocrisy is like a bus, because it doesn’t matter if you miss one…there’ll be another one along in a minute.

The problem is not, however, one of catching the bus, but rather that the folks at the bus-stop don’t often spot it is a bus. “Do you know,” says the bloke at the front of the queue, “I’ve been waiting here over an hour now, and nothing but stretched limos have come past.”

So there is a never-ending stream of hypocrisy, but your hypocrisy cove is a master of disguise. Here’s a classic example from this afternoon:

‘Royal Dutch Shell fears draft EU financial trading rules could force it to divert nearly $1B of additional capital through clearing, its CFO says. New EU regulations would require companies breaching set trading thresholds to clear their transactions, which Shell says would tie up significant capital that could otherwise be used for investment.’

Now this story is going to go down in the annals as ‘f**kwitted EU gets business tangled up in costly regulation again’, and much as most of us know that’s what the European Bunion spends most of its time doing (after embezzlement) this CFO knows better than most that he is lying his autistic accountant’s head off.

A major reason why oil is very expensive these days – historically speaking – is that for a good twenty years before, roughly, 2004, the industry ‘invested’ primarily in shareholder dividends and personal bonuses. The dividends put the share price up, and the lack of any new exploration-style investment (or deep-find technology-style investment) meant relative scarcity and higher prices and more profits without much in the way of new raw material costs. Yo! Bigger dividends and higher share prices and profitable stock disposals and even bigger bonuses. Just not much oil being discovered and opened up.

So for RDS’s Chief Financial Orifice to cry foul and shame about this EU policy is hypocrisy on a grand scale. But then, one of the profound weaknesses in the entire system of remote shareholders buying and selling through bourses is that the system is a 24/7 temptatation to do the short term wrong thing, rather than the longer-term right thing for businesses in need of affordable energy.

All of this would, of course, be obvious to an underachieving three year old terrapin. But in the lexicon of neocon ‘defences’, it evokes, “There is no alternative”. Now there are dozens of alternatives in all the sizes and most of the colours, but here too the so-called ‘framing’ technique comes into play: that is, taking a descriptor you’ve used out of context and using it to pigeon-hole one as a deluded fanatic. For example:

communitarian = hairy open-toed sandal sucker

mutualist = soviet communist

self-sufficiency = agrarian siege economy.

Pretty soon, you’re the recipient of more smears than a gynaecologist. Now there are few more worthy recipients of the smear than the EU and all things Brussels, but smearing somebody or some new law on the basis of it disallowing you from doing something admirable that you never did in your entire life, well…at that point you have arrived  in the black, drizzling antimatter world in which Lord Mandelson is queen, sorry, king. Cheap shot, but this is a free site, and good marksmanship training is expensive.



10 thoughts on “Why hypocrisy is like a camouflaged bus

  1. JW – utterly brilliant post. I truly hope to meet you before I die if only to thank you for your deconstruction of other peoples’ BOLLOCKS.

    Keep on slogging!


  2. My recommendation is to partake in huge quantities of wacky baccy.
    You all knew I would say that. (it is healthy, it prevents flu, Everyone of us has canabinoid receptors in our brains, the only naturally occurring source of which is a waccy baccy plant. Why (that would be a fundamental Why))

    It’s not hypocrisy, it’s business.

    If you found that one foot down in your garden there was a block 60mt by 40mt by 30mt deep of 24ct gold, would you
    a) release it onto the market in one fell swoop thereby devaluing your holding by 50% or would you
    b) take a longer term view and create an artificial scarcity by only releasing x ounces onto the market a bit at a time ?

    Your job as CEO is to maximise profits, there is no moral imperative, you only abide by the law where infringement threatens overall profitability (on your watch)

    Why is it hypocrisy to abide by the rules of the game even though we know that the rules have been bent, these are the rules we allowed to be created.

    The fault lies with the makers of rules, they make rules to enrich themselves (otherwise what is the point of wielding power)

    The hypocrisy lies with those that vote for the charlatans and then complain about the veracity of said charlatans (because they are not acting in the direct benefit of that individual voter)


  3. “The hypocrisy lies with those that vote for the charlatans and then complain about the veracity of said charlatans (because they are not acting in the direct benefit of that individual voter)”

    Don’t agree. There are only charlatans to vote for and I can’t remember the last time ‘they’ did anything which acted in any meaningful way for my benefit. In fact quite the reverse.

    The reason I and I suspect many others complain, is that the charlatans don’t do what they said they would and in fact do whole rafts of things they didn’t say they’d do.


  4. “Your job as CEO is to maximise profits”

    This is a certain way to destroy a Company. It leads to short term decisions which will cause harm. Examples are stopping training, maintenance, R&D, trimming manpower too far and dubious financial practices. I appreciate that this is not what the Markets want as this will not maximise stock prices but it is this short termism which lies at the heart of many of our problems.

    A good CEO will produce a reasonable level of profit while ensuring the Company remains in business for the future. Maximising profts is the other side of the coin from what we are seeing preached in the EZ in terms of over stressing austerity; rather than a more balanced longer term view of fixing the problems.


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  7. Just a point, RDSB dividends equate to 4.5%, plus the shares can be volatile, hardly excessive.
    Plus they are one of the few FTSE100 companies that have paid a reasonable amount to the taxman, plus are strong supporters of the Pension Pots most of us have.


  8. Ok so

    English and proud of it becomes -racist bigot
    Don’t want anymore eastern europeans taking the low paid jobs -plain bigot
    Wanting to maintain my country’s heritage -oops more racist bigotry
    Wanting to govern ourselves [re: EU] becomes -little englander



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