Maybe time to update the city gossip column?

In 1990, Miller joined Texaco as marketing manager – just three years before the oil major, subsequently acquired by Chevron, was hit with a lawsuit for “negligent” and “reckless” drilling in the Amazon region of Ecuador.

In 2011, Chevron was finally presented with the bill for that environmental contamination: a mammoth $18.2bn (£10.9bn). It makes Miller’s Cabinet career-ending £45,000 expenses claim look like small change.


Err, yes
, but might be worth updating the anecdote to include the fact that Chevron has just won the case proving that the environmentalist lawyers had lied, cheated and bribed their way to that victory, no?

After all, doing so would add to the possible jokes one could tell about the behaviour of Ms. Millar.

11 comments on “Maybe time to update the city gossip column?

  1. Also a Marketing Manager at Texaco – who is basically involved with the sale of refined products – is considerably distanced from crude production in the Amazon. The two are so far apart they are pretty much separate companies. You might as well try to associate a Hyundai car salesman in the UK with a shipbuilding fiasco in Korea.

  2. I don’t think you got the memo, Tim.

    By the way, off topic but the Tamiflu scandal is interesting. According to the Prophet Goldacre pbuh in the Graun, it’s all down to the evil Roche and Big Pharma (it’s almost like he has a book to flog) but not to the state which allowed what seems to be a fairly elementary error in the support for Tamiflu (exposed by one Japanese doctor) to influence its decision to spunk £0.5 billion of our cash on a drug which turns out to be useless at best and possibly harmful.

    Admittedly, a difficult area – we probably do need some sort of medicines regulator and the pharmas are certainly self-interested. But if one paediatrician could see the gaping lacuna in this, why couldn’t Andy Burnham or the head of NICE or whoever?

    Will Burnham apologise and resign as a shadow minister? Will anyone be sacked? My breath is baited.

  3. Also, note the deliberate removal of the word “a” before “marketing manager”.

    “Joined Texaco as a marketing manager” implies there are more than one, which was the case (there will be thousands worldwide). “Joined Texacao as marketing manager” implies she was at the head. She actually joined Texaco when she was 26, fresh from an advertising agency, so it’s doubtful that she was the head of anything.

  4. That really is a poor bit of work, the phrase ” finally presented with the bill ” does imply that is the last word in the matter, along with all the other slants noted.

    Just on the Tamiflu, there is often a public health case to buy anything that might have a use rather than do nothing when it comes to a possible epidemic. The need to be seen to ‘do something’ can outweigh the cost if it cuts the panic.

    If the NHS had not spent the money, can you imagine how many Guardian columns there would be on cuts to the NHS leaving the UK exposed etc. etc.

  5. Doc, yes, that’s true. But if we’re in a world where politicians are spending half a billion just to combat Guardian and Daily Mail headlines (and I grant you we probably are) that is utterly terrifying!

    And the basic point stands – if I read the Oxford study right (I’ve only skimmed it) all it took was one paediatrician to say, ‘Hang on, these studies… only one of them is peer-reviewed, the rest are little more than in house puff pieces.’

    Did anyone raise this at NICE/Whitehall? it would be nice to know.

  6. “But if we’re in a world where politicians are spending half a billion just to combat Guardian and Daily Mail headlines”

    It’s a symptom of how divorced the political class have become from its electorate, There’s almost no dialogue apart from through a media giving its customers what they want. A route to influence politicians.
    That the result is far less than optimal reflects how inadequate it is.
    A political class, more in touch with its electorate & having a greater deal of trust, would be better able to have sensible dialogues about relative benefits. A media requires polarisation because controversy sells chip-wrapper.

  7. I actually blame us – I think we (as a whole) get the media and politicians we deserve.

    It’s probably – definitely? – a function of our historic wealth and comfort. When we lived in caves and ate mammoths, I doubt we tolerated too many people sitting at the back of the cave chalking up this month’s mammoth kill, or holding Save the Mammoth demos.

  8. I think the parliamentary practice of pairing off (a pair of MPs on opposite sides agreeing both not to vote when one is away from London or sick etc) could be extended to the Millar situation as follows.

    One disgusting, fat, female, mother, thieving, entitlement junky resigns as a cabinet member. To even things up, we need a Labour equivalent with all the same attributes. Stand up Ms Harman.

  9. I hold no brief for Maria Miller, but equating her with Harriet “The Nonces’ Friend” Harman is unnecessarily harsh. I’m sure there are Labour harridans of lesser egregiousness to whom she can be more fairly compared.

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