Dick of the Year: Lord Browne
This is a nomination for Bright Green Dick of the Year from Manishta Sunnia. If you want to submit your own nomination email adamramsay @ gmail before midday on the 31st.
Baron Browne of Madingley, crossbench peer and former chief executive of BP
Who but the former CEO of a petroleum company, BP is better equipped to advise the government on the higher education sector? That is what the previous Labour government must have thought for employing Lord Browne to carry out a review in apparently ‘Securing Sustainable Future for Higher Education’. If uploading debt onto generations of young people for three years of education in universities can be considered as ‘sustainable’ then Browne clearly has a flawed view of what an education system should be.
It is however of no surprise that Browne does call for marketization of the education sector along with an 80% cut in teaching grants for universities. In BP, Browne was involved in PR spins that led the company to change it’s image with slogan ‘beyond petroleum’ whilst still drilling heftily for oil. BP also was classed as second in the ‘Ten Worst Corporations in 2000’ and only five years later, in 2005, it topped the list.
It seems Lord Browne, who was a close friend of former Prime Minister Blair, is now good friends with the coalition government and has been appointed as a ‘Non-Executive Director’ board member in the Cabinet Office, making departments ‘efficient’ and overhauling how Whitehall works. Can that lead to only more cuts and double-speak? No surprise.
I think this is all spot on. But there’s another reason Browne should be nominated.
He was the Chief Executive of BP who instituted the cost cutting regime that caused the Deepwater Horizon disaster. Someone who, as a CEO of a major company decided that the safety of his workers was less important than a few quid, should never have been allowed to hold any government post.
Given his record with BP it’s no surprise that his proposals for student finance are short sighted, penny pinching and hugely damaging.
Well worth a vote for both the reasons you outline and for his actions at BP.