I’m busy writing my next book, The Golden Tide, which is a thriller set in Sicily amidst the greed and corruption which follows a major oil spill on the coast. Whenever there is a big oil spill which TV cameras can get to the news goes mad and everyone pities the fishermen. But in practice once the cameras go they get rich three times over, as do all the other local businesses which get their snouts into the compensation trough. Today’s news makes me think I should change the setting and move the book to Louisiana.
Check out the #BBC News report on the ambulance chasing lawyers pitching false claims to a mad compensation scheme which has #BP on the rack for the #Deepwater Horizon spill. An art gallery in New Orleans files a claim and gets paid. An advertising agency does the same, and so it goes on. The Louisiana roads are lined with billboards advertising lawyers who will file a claim on BP for you. And as there is no limit to the claims no-one needs feel guilty they are taking a share of a pot which others who have really suffered damage might deserve more.
It is not just greed. It is not just dishonest. It is disrespectful to the men killed in the incident, to the people who really did suffer harm from the oil and the teams who worked hard to contain and clean it up. Don’t think this could only happen in America though. My research has thrown up a pattern of dodgy claims and get-rich-quick schemes wherever there has been a big spill. My problem is that some of the cases would never be believed in a novel. A New Orleans art gallery gets oil spill compensation? You couldn’t make it up. http://bbc.in/10uNOIy