Adaptability. That’s the quality that got homo sapiens to the head of the evolutionary queue to destroy the planet. The great apes couldn’t manage it, though viruses are sneaking up on us in their sneaky way. Adaptability: making the best of a bad job. Cue the Paddy Power Novelty Bet: First to become extinct in the great BP Oil Spill race. Which species will you bet on? Not looking good for the Kemp’s Ridley Turtle or your winnings, at 4/5. Brown Pelicans (presumably now sticky black) are a better bet at 8/1. Very likely the adaptability factor (what fun and profit can we get out of this misery?) is in inverse proportion to your distance from the Louisiana coast. A local fisherman or fish probably less likely to take a punt than me sitting in my Cambridge eyrie.
If that’s a little depressing, click back at the top of the page from ‘First to become extinct’ to the higher category of BP Specials and the odds on Next CEO of BP. Very few of the names mean much to me, but I’m not surprised to find Tony Blair (and Gordon Brown, bless) in the running, though happily in the rear at 100/1. The magnificently named Iain Conn is head of the pack at 3/1. But I’m putting my money on Robert Dudley, at 5/1. If that’s the Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, whom Queen Elizabeth I called ‘another ourself’, then he’s the CEO for me. According to Wikipedia: ‘The Earl also concerned himself with relieving unemployment among the poor. On a personal level, he gave to poor people, petitioners, and prisons on a daily basis.’