Corporate Versus Political Diplomacy

1_fullsizeWhy corporate diplomacy's time may have come is clear from two interviews in the November 10th edition of the British magazine The Spectator (picked up while travelling by train from London to Paris).

In an interview, Martin Broughton, president of the Confederation of British Industry, chairman of British Airways and former CEO of British American Tobacco, has this to say about global warming . . .

"We in the West have got to lead the way . . . I work on the basis that you would be dumb not to accept the science because if it is right and you do nothing, then catastrophe results. On the other hand, if the science is wrong and we have still taken the action, we will have saved a lot of fuel and become more efficient. So where is the downside?"

Contrast this with the archly political, dismissive and irresponsible comments of former Republican House Leader Tom DeLay in the same edition. He dismisses global warming as a joke. . .

"I’m enjoying global warming. London on Tuesday [in November] is wonderful. I expected to come here and freeze my ass off! There is climate change, of course, but there has always been climate change. It gets hotter, it gets colder, over time that’s the world correcting itself. What I am against is the incredible arrogance of man to think that he can affect the global climate."

I'm not naive about the pragmatic and margin-driven motivations of companies when it comes to some social issues. But it is obvious that there is more of value in Broughton's pragmatism than the self-serving silliness of a right wing demagogue . . . more potential in the diplomacy of a Broughton than the rhetoric of a political anachronism.

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