• Truth unto Power.


    You know, there is something refreshingly honest about a political leader donning military uniform – when that leader is an authoritarian despot like Alexander Lukashenko. Often as not these odious dictators like to adopt the garb – literally, not figuratively – of democratic leaders such as President Biden or Prime Minister Johnson.

    Criticise Boris if you like but one aspect of criticism – that he did not act quickly enough to impose the draconian restrictions upon the civil liberties of the British People – speaks not to an instinct of authoritarian despotism but the very opposite. Telling people when to wash their hands, when to go out and where is as alien to Mr Johnson as it is second nature to Mr Lukashenko.

    Of course, there are very brave people like the young Belarus journalist Raman Pratasevich who discover the hard and sadly painful way that saying things that despots don’t like lands you in the deepest trouble.

    HOWEVER: Here there is one similarity between democrats like Mr Johnson and despots like Mr Lukashenko – they don’t like to hear things they find disagreeable. The difference of course lies in their reactions. Mr Lukashenko throws people into prison and abuses them. Mr Johnson on the other hand doesn’t because he believes in democracy and human rights. Nevertheless all politicians like to hear people say nice things about them and they particularly like it when people say things that they agree with – such as their policies are very good and that they are supported.
    There is a political term for this: “stroking cats”.
    Yesterday we speculated on the likelihood of a merger between Royal Dutch Shell and BP and that the person who would have the the yea or nay on this – the EU’s Competition Commissioner, Margrethe Vestager.

    Now one thing that the CEO’s of both oil majors know is that Commissioner Vestager has an obsession about the gas CO2.

    For some strange reason the woman thinks that it is a danger to life on Earth!

    Now Commissioner Vestager is as convinced about this as Mr Lukashenko is as convinced that he will remain the man in charge of Belarus until such a time as he – and he alone – thinks fit!

    Thus it is that both CEOs are managing the affairs of their companies to take this into consideration! It would be recklessly stupid not to do so and neither man is reckless or stupid!

    Both men realise that they have to be “on board” with Commissioner Vestager’s CO2 obsession.

    Both men also are very aware that they and their boards have to obey the law! To this end they have legions of lawyers – all very competent and very expensive – to assist them.

    Both men are also aware of COVID-19 and the effect it is having on the demand for the products their companies supply.
    I am very firmly of the opinion that there will come a time in the future when a merger will be announced between BP and RDS.
    Because of the difference in power and global influence – that the “European Union of the Cities and the Regions” is a superpower and “Brexit Britain” is not – the merger will see the new merged entity as a European based corporation with it’s headquarters in The Hague, Netherlands, and incorporated not in the United Kingdom as a public limited company but as a “societas Europaea”.

    A societas Europaea (“European society” or “company”; plural: societates Europaeae; abbr. SE) is a public company registered in accordance with the corporate law of the European Union (EU), introduced in 2004 with the Council Regulation on the Statute for a European Company. Such a company may more easily transfer to or merge with companies in other member states.
    As of April 2018, more than 3,000 registrations have been reported, including the following nine components (18%) of the Euro Stoxx 50 stock market index of leading eurozone companies (excluding the SE designation): Airbus, Allianz, BASF, E.ON, Fresenius, LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton (and its parent company Dior), SAP, Schneider Electric and Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield.
    GOTO: https://europa.eu/youreurope/business/running-business/developing-business/setting-up-european-company/index_en.htm
    Now of course there will be many British Patriots who proudly proclaim “Brexit Britain” and were and are members of parties such as UKIP. These good people will declare that the people who have the power are the shareholders of these companies and that the shareholders of BP and RDS will have to agree with the merger. Doubtless these good people will argue strongly that these shareholders (myself included) should think not only of the share price but also of their country and put the needs of their fellow countrymen (and women) first. I agree, but like many others I look to the example of Sir Michael Jagger who when asked by a pollster way back in the days of the Liberal SDP alliance as to how he would vote (in the upcoming general election) the great man answered thus:

    “Well, my heart tells me to vote Labour. My head tells me to vote for the alliance and my pocket is telling me to vote Conservative and I am terribly worried that my pocket might win the argument!”

    I know how Sir Michael feels! The net averaged cost of my RDS “B” shares is £18.65 and if the price rises to £19 per share, then I’ll get my money back having made a tiny capital gain (£610) that will pay off the dealing costs.

    I reckon that when the pandemic has subsided enough for the world’s economies to recover to a reasonable degree, then the boards of BP and Shell will announce their plans to merge, the share prices of the two companies will soar and I will finally be able to get my money back!