With the importance of the oil industry to Shetland we must earnestly hope lessons are being learned in the Gulf of Mexico that will prevent a similar disaster occurring in UK waters.
As always the response to such a crisis brings out the best and worse in human nature. For an example of the worst we need look no further than the usual suspects in the banking and financial sector where many traders have recently been short selling (a financial derivative that rises in value as a share price falls) BP shares with the sole aim of profiting financially should the already bad news for BP and the Gulf region become worse still.
To portray the best in human nature we can admire the volunteers who comb the Gulf coastline, searching for oil-stricken birds putting those beyond help out of their misery and aiding those they can by painstakingly cleaning their oily plumage. Their only reward is knowing they gave a helpless, distressed bird a second chance.
One of the individuals mentioned above may ride soiled boiler suit-clad on their bike while the other rides sharp-suited in their limousine, but which of the two would society be the poorer without?
Rather conveniently the same four-letter word can be used to describe those who seek to profit by leeching of others misfortune in the Gulf and the film of oil forming on its ocean surface.
Iain M Macdonald
Isle of Lewis.