in Environment

Rob Newman’s History of Oil

I’ve just watched this show on Google Video and urge you to view it. If you’re in the UK you may remember Rob Newman as one half of the Newman and Baddiel TV comedy duo from the early 1990s. I used to watch them with my friends on a Saturday night and we’d all emulate the phrases of their History Today characters of “you know that <something horrible>…that’s you that is” etc ad infinitum. Well, Baddiel went on to work with Frank Skinner on their various football-related shows whereas Newman disappeared from my radar.

That was until I found myself listening to a fascinating interview with him on a Guardian podcast. He is still a comedian but since moving on from his partnership with Baddiel he has got much more involved with being what I guess you could call a ‘climate change activist’. He makes some fantastic points – I’ve mentioned them here before – but his video, originally shown on More4 articulates them in a much slicker way. For example, he makes the argument that World War I was originally a land-grab for oil (the British and Americans did not want the Germans to have access to oil from Baghdad via the Berlin-Baghdad railway that was under construction) and that the British and Americans have always had control of oil fields as military objectives ever since we started to use it as a fuel. There’s so much stuff of interest here – I had no idea, for example, that OPEC decided in 1971 that all oil transactions would need to be undertaken in US dollars; Iraq decided a few years ago to switch to the Euro and that must have frightened the pants off of the Federal Reserve who would have started to see the demand for dollars (and therefore its price) decreasing…

Watch it!

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