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How Coutts destroyed capitalism Nigel Farage's snub is a cautionary tale

Rob Stothard/Getty Images


July 21, 2023   4 mins

It began, as crises tend to, with the promise of convenience. Say you will make someone’s life easier, at no apparent cost to them, and you will win their attention. Fulfil that promise, and you will win their favour. Over time, you will win their loyalty; and before long, they will be your soldier.

Cast your eyes elsewhere and witness another phenomenon. It is to do with how we decide what to think, and it is founded on the idea that no good can come from someone we deem as bad. This sinner commands scant sympathy, no matter their plight. Whatever they say is right is actually wrong, and whatever they say is wrong is actually right. We can set our compass by them.

Now look in a third place, where we find motives and incentives. Here, one is rewarded for coming to swift and certain judgments, no matter how flimsy the evidence. The prizes are symbols of affection and words of praise and a quantifiable increase in influence.

It may seem laughable to cast the above as context for a dispute between a man and his bank, but various currents in contemporary culture have swept us to this point. If only they would leave us here, we could view the episode as trivial, or mildly vexing or wryly amusing. But these currents are strong, and they will not leave us here, and they may destroy something.

Much discussion surrounding the matter of Nigel Farage and Coutts has been rather like a curious game of ping-pong, one played without a net or even a table. One says this, one says that, and back and forth it all goes. But one has been able to say pretty much anything, because the known facts have been so scarce. Hit the ball wherever you like and your opponent will return it; it can never be called out.

Farage has at least now provided some documentation to support his claims. Minutes from the bank’s “wealth reputational risk committee” stated it “did not think continuing to bank NF [Nigel Farage] was compatible with Coutts given his publicly-stated views that were at odds with our position as an inclusive organisation.” It added: “This was not a political decision but one centred around inclusivity and purpose.”

Later, faced with the resulting ire, it responded by clarifying: “It is not Coutts’s policy to close customer accounts solely on the basis of legally held political and personal views. Decisions to close an account are not taken lightly and involve a number of factors including commercial viability, reputational considerations, and legal and regulatory requirements.” Complicating the issue is an apparent offer from Coutts for Farage to bank with its parent company NatWest. So Farage’s claims may not have been entirely debunked, but neither has he been entirely debanked.

Yet there is surely a question over those minutes, and what they mean in a broader sense. Despite everything, it seems our trust in banks has never been greater. We are only a few years on from the Great Crash and resulting bailouts, and yet the way we pay is becoming vastly more dependent upon them. The drift towards a cashless society and an enormous increase in online transactions have left us at their mercy. Stashes of cash, privately held, are of diminishing use. Living without a bank account is becoming impossible.

We may well think it fine for certain companies and institutions to proclaim certain ethical principles; we may even find it admirable, and give them our custom. And we would expect them to conduct business in accordance with these principles: if their actions told a different story, we might then call them hypocrites. But the more essential the service, the more concerning this becomes.

Coutts may not be an essential service, but normal high-street banks are. And it is easy to imagine such a business boasting of being “inclusive” and driven by “purpose”, a term used in boardrooms today meaning, according to one definition, a desire to be a force for “positive change” in society. In denying its services to someone who failed to comply with its “values”, it could justify itself not only commercially, but morally.

This principle extends into a form of investing known as ESG (Environmental, social, and corporate governance), which, like “purpose”, looks beyond the financial: it encourages the direction of money towards enterprises that the investor believes are moral, and away from those the investor believes are immoral. This may be laudable, and is doubtless well-intentioned. And yet.

The problem is that these are ideologies that fail to realise they are ideologies. To many of their proponents, it is just a matter of being kind, doing good, keeping on the right side of history, and making life better for more people. Their virtue is self-evident, so anyone who opposes them is a creature of vice and must be resisted. And thus we find ourselves in a strange place, where the nice people are coercing us into becoming more like them.

I should be happy about this. I am a Guardian-reading, Remain-voting, lockdown-supporting, double-Covid-vax-boosted Anglican who defends the BBC and wore masks more often than was strictly required during the pandemic. But it is hard to ignore the stirrings of a certain polite and cuddly totalitarianism (it would obviously laugh at the word and create mocking memes, rather than reflect upon itself meaningfully). There are other noxious forces in the world, too — not least a kind of nihilism that seems to be emanating from Russia — and these may be equally destructive, but these tend to be easier for us to identify and thus resist. The evil that wears our own clothes is more able to do its work unhindered.

And here is where it affects us all, because our economy and way of life more generally will struggle to survive if these currents continue on their path. At its best, the free market is democratic: the free market is obviously ideological and flawed in itself, but in principle it treats everyone the same, regardless of their political views. A financial system that favours certain views over others is obviously a threat to this. And who is to say whether those views currently in fashion will be viewed so favourably in years to come? The progressive Left once advocated for eugenics, after all; which of today’s right-on beliefs will be damned by tomorrow?

Farage versus Coutts, then, is a diverting tale that has added to the gaiety of at least some of the nation. Cashlessness, philosophical shallowness and the warping effect of social media have played their part. But this story feels like a staging post on the way to somewhere else. Sometimes, revolutions come in the strangest ways. A bank for the super-rich may have just accelerated the demise of capitalism.


Peter Ormerod is an editor for NationalWorld. 

EntsPeter

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polidori redux
polidori redux
10 months ago

“I should be happy about this. I am a Guardian-reading, Remain-voting, lockdown-supporting, double-Covid-vax-boosted Anglican who defends the BBC and wore masks more often than was strictly required during the pandemic.”
I know you have to say that, but it still makes you sound like a bit of a d!ck

Last edited 10 months ago by polidori redux
Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
10 months ago
Reply to  polidori redux

Yes. The sheer enthusiasm with which he proclaims his comprehensive conformism is almost embarrassing.

Benjamin Jones
Benjamin Jones
10 months ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

He’s on a wind up for comments, surely?

Benjamin Jones
Benjamin Jones
10 months ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

He’s on a wind up for comments, surely?

Right-Wing Hippie
Right-Wing Hippie
10 months ago
Reply to  polidori redux

I’m a rootin’, tootin’, pistol-shootin’, hogwild, sidewindin’ son of a b***h, but you don’t hear me bragging about it.

Frank McCusker
Frank McCusker
10 months ago
Reply to  polidori redux

You ignore the serious point of the article and rush to post a childish insult about someone whose politics doesn’t conform to those of the Unherd / MAGA thought bubble. Bravo!

Albert McGloan
Albert McGloan
10 months ago
Reply to  Frank McCusker

This is MAGA country, varmint.

polidori redux
polidori redux
10 months ago
Reply to  Frank McCusker

I didn’t rush, It was a considered reaction.
As for his serious point – Run of the mill. Though it might have got you excited.

Last edited 10 months ago by polidori redux
Albert McGloan
Albert McGloan
10 months ago
Reply to  Frank McCusker

This is MAGA country, varmint.

polidori redux
polidori redux
10 months ago
Reply to  Frank McCusker

I didn’t rush, It was a considered reaction.
As for his serious point – Run of the mill. Though it might have got you excited.

Last edited 10 months ago by polidori redux
Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
10 months ago
Reply to  polidori redux

Yes. The sheer enthusiasm with which he proclaims his comprehensive conformism is almost embarrassing.

Right-Wing Hippie
Right-Wing Hippie
10 months ago
Reply to  polidori redux

I’m a rootin’, tootin’, pistol-shootin’, hogwild, sidewindin’ son of a b***h, but you don’t hear me bragging about it.

Frank McCusker
Frank McCusker
10 months ago
Reply to  polidori redux

You ignore the serious point of the article and rush to post a childish insult about someone whose politics doesn’t conform to those of the Unherd / MAGA thought bubble. Bravo!

polidori redux
polidori redux
10 months ago

“I should be happy about this. I am a Guardian-reading, Remain-voting, lockdown-supporting, double-Covid-vax-boosted Anglican who defends the BBC and wore masks more often than was strictly required during the pandemic.”
I know you have to say that, but it still makes you sound like a bit of a d!ck

Last edited 10 months ago by polidori redux
Arkadian X
Arkadian X
10 months ago

” I am a Guardian-reading, Remain-voting, lockdown-supporting, double-Covid-vax-boosted Anglican who defends the BBC and wore masks more often than was strictly required during the pandemic.”

The lengthy disclaimers are becoming and integral part of articles like this. Just like Daisley yesterday on the spectator who said, when talking about this saga that
“I consider the former Brexit party leader an odious demagogue; a faggy-breathed loudmouth; a rubicund rabble-rouser; a phoney populist; a Dulwich dull-wit; a poisonous poker of societal wounds; a hideous weeping pustule on the body politic who oozes resentment like pus over everything he comes into contact with.”

It does look like they don’t want to run afoul a certain kind of readership.

Mark Melvin
Mark Melvin
10 months ago
Reply to  Arkadian X

I don’t normally read Daisley’s articles but that one sounds like a cracker. Some great alliterations in that snippet and the rest is pure Monty Python!

Frank McCusker
Frank McCusker
10 months ago
Reply to  Arkadian X

He forgot to mention Fa-rage’s biggest failing of all – “7 times political failure”

polidori redux
polidori redux
10 months ago
Reply to  Frank McCusker

He is the most influential political figure of the 21st Century. Suck it up.

polidori redux
polidori redux
10 months ago
Reply to  Frank McCusker

He is the most influential political figure of the 21st Century. Suck it up.

Mark Gilmour
Mark Gilmour
10 months ago
Reply to  Arkadian X

People like Daisley always seem to think their feelings about people they don’t like are oh so important.

Mark Melvin
Mark Melvin
10 months ago
Reply to  Arkadian X

I don’t normally read Daisley’s articles but that one sounds like a cracker. Some great alliterations in that snippet and the rest is pure Monty Python!

Frank McCusker
Frank McCusker
10 months ago
Reply to  Arkadian X

He forgot to mention Fa-rage’s biggest failing of all – “7 times political failure”

Mark Gilmour
Mark Gilmour
10 months ago
Reply to  Arkadian X

People like Daisley always seem to think their feelings about people they don’t like are oh so important.

Arkadian X
Arkadian X
10 months ago

” I am a Guardian-reading, Remain-voting, lockdown-supporting, double-Covid-vax-boosted Anglican who defends the BBC and wore masks more often than was strictly required during the pandemic.”

The lengthy disclaimers are becoming and integral part of articles like this. Just like Daisley yesterday on the spectator who said, when talking about this saga that
“I consider the former Brexit party leader an odious demagogue; a faggy-breathed loudmouth; a rubicund rabble-rouser; a phoney populist; a Dulwich dull-wit; a poisonous poker of societal wounds; a hideous weeping pustule on the body politic who oozes resentment like pus over everything he comes into contact with.”

It does look like they don’t want to run afoul a certain kind of readership.

Katharine Eyre
Katharine Eyre
10 months ago

This article makes several good points, including emphasising that how essential a service is makes a clear difference in whether it is OK to refuse/get rid of someone’s custom based on values.
I’ll come back to the argument frequently made that you can’t support Farage and yet say a baker can refuse to bake someone a cake because the customer is gay. (Amendment: comment slightly inaccurate, I was referring to the Ashers bakery case where a bakery refused to make a cake with a pro gay marriage message on it).
I say there is a clear difference here. Banking services are the key to being able to do many other things in society – pay your rent, receive your salary, save for your pension etc. Not being able to buy a cake does not have such a ripple effect – if one baker refuses you, that does not have any effect on your ability to do anything else in your life. You just huff, puff, and trot on to the next baker who probably will serve you.
Put another way: if Farage had turned up last week and said “Well, I went to baker X to order a cake with “I LOVE BREXIT, I DO” on it in pink icing and they refused me because they are ardent remainers!”, I would have thought “So what? Stop whinging and buy your cake somewhere else”.
It is about how much power the customer has in each situation; a customer is much more vulnerable position with a bank because he/she needs the bank. A baker has no such power. No one needs cake to participate in society (although I’m sure many would disagree…); customers are not in a vulnerable position. Quite the opposite, they are in the more powerful position of being able to vote with their feet. Swapping your bank account is a far greater inconvenience than popping along to another baker.
It follows from that that a company’s ability to choose its customers based on its values/purpose is going to be affected by how essential their services are to a (potential) customer as well as the balance of power between that company and the (potential) customer.
Put in blunter, more political terms: wokeness hits a limit when it seeps into dealings with essential services.

Last edited 10 months ago by Katharine Eyre
Jeremy Bray
Jeremy Bray
10 months ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

It was sinister enough that Ferage was debanked by Coutts for his political and social attitudes but what has been less commented on is the yet more damaging fact that apparently no other bank was prepared to offer him an account and they all marched in lockstep with Coutts.

If Ferage could have easily moved to another bank just as you suggest another baker would be willing to bake a cake with the desired message it would have been a matter of shame that Coutts, the bank that discriminates on the basis of wealth. also discriminates on the basis of politics, but the fact that other banks took a similar stance becomes a matter of totalitarian oppression.

Last edited 10 months ago by Jeremy Bray
Katharine Eyre
Katharine Eyre
10 months ago
Reply to  Jeremy Bray

That was exactly my argument: banks should not be able to pick and choose their customers to the same extent as a baker can. Coutts was wrong to kick NF out for the reasons set out in the report and the other banks should not have been able to so glibly refuse his custom without a sound reason for doing so (i.e. refusing to provide the Know Your Customer information when opening an account).
As I clearly said, when essential services are at stake – refusing people because they don’t have the right/the same values/opinions has to be looked at a lot more closely than a similar refusal relating to more banal things like cake.

Last edited 10 months ago by Katharine Eyre
Ben P
Ben P
10 months ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

As ever Katharine your comments read better than the article itself. I look forward to reading more in future.

Ted Ditchburn
Ted Ditchburn
10 months ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

I don’t agree with the social and political wooly jumper fascism implicit in the declarations by management of Coutts Bank, apparently accepted by the highest echelons of both it and parent company Nat West.
Please can I have a refund of the personal amount of my tax allocated to keeping these people in their jobs and careers over the last 15 years?
Can you please apply an interest rate that matches the Bank’s interest rate on overdrafts during these 15 years, not the rate they paid to savers?

Ben P
Ben P
10 months ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

As ever Katharine your comments read better than the article itself. I look forward to reading more in future.

Ted Ditchburn
Ted Ditchburn
10 months ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

I don’t agree with the social and political wooly jumper fascism implicit in the declarations by management of Coutts Bank, apparently accepted by the highest echelons of both it and parent company Nat West.
Please can I have a refund of the personal amount of my tax allocated to keeping these people in their jobs and careers over the last 15 years?
Can you please apply an interest rate that matches the Bank’s interest rate on overdrafts during these 15 years, not the rate they paid to savers?

Luke Piggott
Luke Piggott
10 months ago
Reply to  Jeremy Bray

Didn’t they offer him a NatWest account? Or did I misread that part?

Howard Gleave
Howard Gleave
10 months ago
Reply to  Luke Piggott

Apparently only a personal, not a business, account.

Anne Torr
Anne Torr
10 months ago
Reply to  Howard Gleave

And only after he had made a very public issue of Coutts.

Ted Ditchburn
Ted Ditchburn
10 months ago
Reply to  Anne Torr

Quite. It looks like the BBC Business Corr got his line about ‘not enough money’ from the CEO of NatWest at a dinner the night before he broke the story.

Ted Ditchburn
Ted Ditchburn
10 months ago
Reply to  Anne Torr

Quite. It looks like the BBC Business Corr got his line about ‘not enough money’ from the CEO of NatWest at a dinner the night before he broke the story.

Anne Torr
Anne Torr
10 months ago
Reply to  Howard Gleave

And only after he had made a very public issue of Coutts.

Arkadian X
Arkadian X
10 months ago
Reply to  Luke Piggott

Yes, I would like to understand more about it, but everyone glossed over this.
(Not to mention the down votes… Why???)

Peter B
Peter B
10 months ago
Reply to  Arkadian X

Because the end result of Coutts’ action was that no other bank would offer him an account. They had taken an action, knowingly or otherwise (I strongly suspect the former), which made Nigel Farage unbankable.
You should also note that Alison Rose’s letter of “apology” to Farage contained no reason for the closure of his acount. To remind you of the facts here:
Phase 1: Nigel Farage goes public about Coutts/NatWest’s action
Phase 2: Coutts/NatWest/BBC breaks client confidentiality by leaking a supposed reason for closing Farage’s accounts (supposedly not rich enough)
Phase 3: Many other Coutts customers call BS on the Coutts/BBC line in Phase 2
Phase 4: Farage gets his Subject Access Request answered by Coutts. This explicitly states that the reason was political.
Phase 5: Alison Rose apologises to Farage and states that the reason was *not political*. She fails to state what the actual reason was. By not reinstating the original accounts, it is clear that there must have been another reason.
How many lies do you need Alison Rose/Coutts/NatWest to tell here ?
I sincerely hope that action is taken against both Coutts/NatWest and the BBC for breaking client confidentiality. But not optimistic.

Arkadian X
Arkadian X
10 months ago
Reply to  Peter B

Absolutely. What should be explained better is what actually happens when you get “unbanked” and the difference between business and personal account.

The “apology” was something to behold, and I hope *she* will pay the ultimate price (i.e., move onto a different lucrative job).

Peter B
Peter B
10 months ago
Reply to  Arkadian X

They’re not really jobs in the way we’d understand them though. I remember learning about sinecures in history lessons about 18th century England at school. It didn’t make sense to me then. It does now.

Peter B
Peter B
10 months ago
Reply to  Arkadian X

They’re not really jobs in the way we’d understand them though. I remember learning about sinecures in history lessons about 18th century England at school. It didn’t make sense to me then. It does now.

Arkadian X
Arkadian X
10 months ago
Reply to  Peter B

Absolutely. What should be explained better is what actually happens when you get “unbanked” and the difference between business and personal account.

The “apology” was something to behold, and I hope *she* will pay the ultimate price (i.e., move onto a different lucrative job).

Peter B
Peter B
10 months ago
Reply to  Arkadian X

Because the end result of Coutts’ action was that no other bank would offer him an account. They had taken an action, knowingly or otherwise (I strongly suspect the former), which made Nigel Farage unbankable.
You should also note that Alison Rose’s letter of “apology” to Farage contained no reason for the closure of his acount. To remind you of the facts here:
Phase 1: Nigel Farage goes public about Coutts/NatWest’s action
Phase 2: Coutts/NatWest/BBC breaks client confidentiality by leaking a supposed reason for closing Farage’s accounts (supposedly not rich enough)
Phase 3: Many other Coutts customers call BS on the Coutts/BBC line in Phase 2
Phase 4: Farage gets his Subject Access Request answered by Coutts. This explicitly states that the reason was political.
Phase 5: Alison Rose apologises to Farage and states that the reason was *not political*. She fails to state what the actual reason was. By not reinstating the original accounts, it is clear that there must have been another reason.
How many lies do you need Alison Rose/Coutts/NatWest to tell here ?
I sincerely hope that action is taken against both Coutts/NatWest and the BBC for breaking client confidentiality. But not optimistic.

Samuel Gee
Samuel Gee
10 months ago
Reply to  Luke Piggott

So like Plessy v Ferguson.

Konstantinos Stavropoulos
Konstantinos Stavropoulos
10 months ago
Reply to  Luke Piggott

Why does a simple question take a negative vote..?

Caroline Ayers
Caroline Ayers
10 months ago

I dont know but I do know that sometimes when you try to like a comment it automatically down votes the comment instead, which is utterly weird. It’s happened to me. So maybe that’s what happened here – of course Luke should be able to ask a question without a downvote. !

Konstantinos Stavropoulos
Konstantinos Stavropoulos
10 months ago
Reply to  Caroline Ayers

You can undo your downvote by clicking a positive vote and vice versa. You can actually do it again and again back and forth. Click twice opposite of what you voted if you want to reverse your vote, or once to make it neutral.

S Wilkinson
S Wilkinson
10 months ago
Reply to  Caroline Ayers

It updates the current total vote tally when you vote. So if 6 people have voted between you loading the page and you casting your vote you see the effect of all 7 votes applied at once.

Konstantinos Stavropoulos
Konstantinos Stavropoulos
10 months ago
Reply to  Caroline Ayers

You can undo your downvote by clicking a positive vote and vice versa. You can actually do it again and again back and forth. Click twice opposite of what you voted if you want to reverse your vote, or once to make it neutral.

S Wilkinson
S Wilkinson
10 months ago
Reply to  Caroline Ayers

It updates the current total vote tally when you vote. So if 6 people have voted between you loading the page and you casting your vote you see the effect of all 7 votes applied at once.

Caroline Ayers
Caroline Ayers
10 months ago

I dont know but I do know that sometimes when you try to like a comment it automatically down votes the comment instead, which is utterly weird. It’s happened to me. So maybe that’s what happened here – of course Luke should be able to ask a question without a downvote. !

Howard Gleave
Howard Gleave
10 months ago
Reply to  Luke Piggott

Apparently only a personal, not a business, account.

Arkadian X
Arkadian X
10 months ago
Reply to  Luke Piggott

Yes, I would like to understand more about it, but everyone glossed over this.
(Not to mention the down votes… Why???)

Samuel Gee
Samuel Gee
10 months ago
Reply to  Luke Piggott

So like Plessy v Ferguson.

Konstantinos Stavropoulos
Konstantinos Stavropoulos
10 months ago
Reply to  Luke Piggott

Why does a simple question take a negative vote..?

Katharine Eyre
Katharine Eyre
10 months ago
Reply to  Jeremy Bray

That was exactly my argument: banks should not be able to pick and choose their customers to the same extent as a baker can. Coutts was wrong to kick NF out for the reasons set out in the report and the other banks should not have been able to so glibly refuse his custom without a sound reason for doing so (i.e. refusing to provide the Know Your Customer information when opening an account).
As I clearly said, when essential services are at stake – refusing people because they don’t have the right/the same values/opinions has to be looked at a lot more closely than a similar refusal relating to more banal things like cake.

Last edited 10 months ago by Katharine Eyre
Luke Piggott
Luke Piggott
10 months ago
Reply to  Jeremy Bray

Didn’t they offer him a NatWest account? Or did I misread that part?

Judy Englander
Judy Englander
10 months ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

I agree. Unlike cake baking, banking has become a public utility like water, energy and broadband even though the providers are plcs.

Last edited 10 months ago by Judy Englander
P N
P N
10 months ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

The baker is likely a sole trader whereas Coutts is (or should be) answerable to its shareholders. Coutts owes a fiduciary duty to act in the best interests of shareholders and not turn away commercially viable business for political reasons. A bank is also subject to FCA rules requiring it to treat customers fairly.

Right-Wing Hippie
Right-Wing Hippie
10 months ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

I’ll come back to the argument frequently made that you can’t support Farage and yet say a baker can refuse to bake someone a cake because the customer is gay.
I would say that the distinction lies in that the bank has availed itself to the protections afforded by legal incorporation and in doing so forgoes certain rights that the individual possesses. Conversely, the sole-proprietor baker retains those rights, but lacks the protections available through incorporation. Freedom of speech and freedom of association are natural rights that adhere to the individual; we as a society have chosen to extend them as privileges to corporations, but that is our choice, since corporations are not naturally occurring entities in the way that individuals are. Further, it should be understood by those who seek incorporation that we as a society may grant them privileges as corporate bodies at the cost of demanding an abrogation of certain liberties that they would otherwise enjoy as individuals.

Caroline Ayers
Caroline Ayers
10 months ago

..hmm not sure your point is correct. The Baker thing is all about discrimination law which protects against discrimination based on sex and sexual orientation amongst other protected categories, like race and age. There is no right not to be discriminated against because of your political views so NF has no legal protection actually. Nor is there any right to a bank account in the UK (unlike the EU which introduced this right in 2014 – no idea why we didn’t enact it into UK legislation.) Hence the brouhaha. Thank goodness NF has made this into a media storm. We need a UK right to a bank account which cannot be taken away without due process.

Caroline Ayers
Caroline Ayers
10 months ago
Reply to  Caroline Ayers

ps I meant to say it’s nothing to do with whether the offending business is incorporated or not – corporations are totally subject to the discrimination laws – I was an employment lawyer acting for corporate clients for many years.

Right-Wing Hippie
Right-Wing Hippie
10 months ago
Reply to  Caroline Ayers

I’m not talking the law on the books, but rather general principles–I think the reason this affair poses such difficulties is because we’ve based our laws on untenable assumptions, rather than a clearer understanding of what rights ought to accrue to the individual and what privileges are granted to a corporation.

David Wootton
David Wootton
10 months ago
Reply to  Caroline Ayers

I’m afraid you are wrong. The Equality Act 2010 forbids suppliers of services from discriminating on the basis of religion or belief. The Forstater case established that this means you are allowed to manifest your belief as long as you do so within reasonable limits — without being insulting, bullying etc. Thus if Farage was debanked for being a Brexiteer or supporting Trump or being an anti-vaxxer that would all be illegal. We know he always behaved in a civil fashion in dealings with the bank, but I suppose if he engaged in foul-mouthed tirades against the EU in public, in “hate speech”, it *might* be possible to argue that he was being debanked not for his beliefs and their legitimate manifestation but for carrying on in public in such a fashion as to be unacceptable as a customer. But the bar would be very high and I can’t see any grounds for claiming Farage was over it.

Caroline Ayers
Caroline Ayers
10 months ago
Reply to  Caroline Ayers

ps I meant to say it’s nothing to do with whether the offending business is incorporated or not – corporations are totally subject to the discrimination laws – I was an employment lawyer acting for corporate clients for many years.

Right-Wing Hippie
Right-Wing Hippie
10 months ago
Reply to  Caroline Ayers

I’m not talking the law on the books, but rather general principles–I think the reason this affair poses such difficulties is because we’ve based our laws on untenable assumptions, rather than a clearer understanding of what rights ought to accrue to the individual and what privileges are granted to a corporation.

David Wootton
David Wootton
10 months ago
Reply to  Caroline Ayers

I’m afraid you are wrong. The Equality Act 2010 forbids suppliers of services from discriminating on the basis of religion or belief. The Forstater case established that this means you are allowed to manifest your belief as long as you do so within reasonable limits — without being insulting, bullying etc. Thus if Farage was debanked for being a Brexiteer or supporting Trump or being an anti-vaxxer that would all be illegal. We know he always behaved in a civil fashion in dealings with the bank, but I suppose if he engaged in foul-mouthed tirades against the EU in public, in “hate speech”, it *might* be possible to argue that he was being debanked not for his beliefs and their legitimate manifestation but for carrying on in public in such a fashion as to be unacceptable as a customer. But the bar would be very high and I can’t see any grounds for claiming Farage was over it.

Caroline Ayers
Caroline Ayers
10 months ago

..hmm not sure your point is correct. The Baker thing is all about discrimination law which protects against discrimination based on sex and sexual orientation amongst other protected categories, like race and age. There is no right not to be discriminated against because of your political views so NF has no legal protection actually. Nor is there any right to a bank account in the UK (unlike the EU which introduced this right in 2014 – no idea why we didn’t enact it into UK legislation.) Hence the brouhaha. Thank goodness NF has made this into a media storm. We need a UK right to a bank account which cannot be taken away without due process.

Chipoko
Chipoko
10 months ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

Banking is an essential service in the modern, digital and increasingly cashless era. To deny anyone access to banking facilities is to eradicate the them from social existence, to immobilise their resource base and ultimately to eliminate them from public discourse. It is a fundamental and grievous injustice. This practice is akin to isolating someone, no matter how ill, from access to NHS services because his/her legitimately stated/held views do not confirm to the ‘diversity, inclusion and equality’ [DIE] agenda of the NHS. Such cancellation represents an horrendous injustice against any individual thus treated; and the fundamental destruction of a basic human right to access an essential service, without which normal existence in modern society is rendered impossible.
The most alarming thing of all is that Woking Class leaders of powerful corporate organisations, not to mention public services managers, can so easily terminate individuals’ bank accounts (or access to services) with little or no prospect of retribution for their actions. We are used to such tyranny in the likes of Nazi Germany, communist Russia, modern China, North Korea and Zimbabwe. The large dossier compiled by Coutts on Nigel Farage without his knowledge is a most sinister development of a kind that we thought was confined to brutal totalitarian police states, not our so-called free nations. To witness such egregious processes being dished out without any compunction under the auspices of the DIE philosophy by corporate leaders is to realise that our historic notions of liberty and democracy in the Western world are themselves cancelled and that we have entered a New Dark Age.

Last edited 10 months ago by Chipoko
Bryan Dale
Bryan Dale
10 months ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

I know of no cases where a baker has refused to bake a cake for a customer because a customer is gay.

Phil Mac
Phil Mac
10 months ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

They refused to make the product with the message, not to serve the customer.

Samuel Gee
Samuel Gee
10 months ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

It wasn’t the cake. It was that a gay couple thought it would be inforadig to go to a well-known bakery owned by a Christian family and ordered a cake decorated with the message “Support Gay Marriage” on it. They declined the business. Nothing to do with cake.

Phil Mac
Phil Mac
10 months ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

They refused to make the product with the message, not to serve the customer.

Samuel Gee
Samuel Gee
10 months ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

It wasn’t the cake. It was that a gay couple thought it would be inforadig to go to a well-known bakery owned by a Christian family and ordered a cake decorated with the message “Support Gay Marriage” on it. They declined the business. Nothing to do with cake.

Martin Terrell
Martin Terrell
10 months ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

I think the point is that the baker was denounced by the great and good for refusing to bake a cake with a particular logo – rather than refusing the customer. The customer then has a choice of other bakers to go to. If you are banned by Coutts/NatWest, you find it much harder to open an account elsewhere, and have to suffer a great deal of inconvenience.

Katharine Eyre
Katharine Eyre
10 months ago
Reply to  Martin Terrell

The baker was taken to court and it went to the ECHR. The baker refused to fulfil an order placed by a customer for a cake with a pro gay marriage message on. My comment was a bit inaccurate there. But if you refuse to fulfil a customer order, you are refusing the customer with regard to that order.
And about the inconvenience, did you read my comment fully? Because that is what I wrote.

Last edited 10 months ago by Katharine Eyre
Peter B
Peter B
10 months ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

The standard business technique for dealing with customer orders you didn’t want used to be to give a very high quote. Then if you do get the business, at least you’re making a decent profit. Would have saved the bakers a lot of trouble.

Ed Brown
Ed Brown
10 months ago
Reply to  Peter B

You miss the point completely Peter.

Ed Brown
Ed Brown
10 months ago
Reply to  Peter B

You miss the point completely Peter.

Peter B
Peter B
10 months ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

The standard business technique for dealing with customer orders you didn’t want used to be to give a very high quote. Then if you do get the business, at least you’re making a decent profit. Would have saved the bakers a lot of trouble.

Andrew F
Andrew F
10 months ago
Reply to  Martin Terrell

I don’t recall Muslim owned curry houses being criticised, never mind prosecuted, for refusing customers to drink their own alcohol (if they don’t sell it) on religious/cultural grounds.

So why baker should not be allowed to refuse baking cake with a message they don’t agree with?

Looks like double standards to me.

Katharine Eyre
Katharine Eyre
10 months ago
Reply to  Martin Terrell

The baker was taken to court and it went to the ECHR. The baker refused to fulfil an order placed by a customer for a cake with a pro gay marriage message on. My comment was a bit inaccurate there. But if you refuse to fulfil a customer order, you are refusing the customer with regard to that order.
And about the inconvenience, did you read my comment fully? Because that is what I wrote.

Last edited 10 months ago by Katharine Eyre
Andrew F
Andrew F
10 months ago
Reply to  Martin Terrell

I don’t recall Muslim owned curry houses being criticised, never mind prosecuted, for refusing customers to drink their own alcohol (if they don’t sell it) on religious/cultural grounds.

So why baker should not be allowed to refuse baking cake with a message they don’t agree with?

Looks like double standards to me.

S Wilkinson
S Wilkinson
10 months ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

It’s also very different in that, when you try to order from a different baker, getting service isn’t contingent on your answer to the question “Have you ever been refused a bakery service or had a bakery service withdrawn?”

Andrew F
Andrew F
10 months ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

Problem with your baker example is that discrimination only works one way.
Would you be prosecuted if you refused to bake cake with a message “being gay is mortal sin?”
Or if you violently protest against movie about religious figure.
Or if you burn books?
We all know answer to that.

Ted Ditchburn
Ted Ditchburn
10 months ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

To answer the article’s author’s question in the next to last paragraph; forcing the gender transitioning process on children before and during puberty is probably a right-on result of nice people and their be-kind beliefs that may come to be seen as the greatest social evil of the present day.
It probably won’t take that many years. But it will create some massive compensation claims and (hopefully) lead to the collapse of the whole Stonewall edifice of ESG authoritarianism.

Jeremy Bray
Jeremy Bray
10 months ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

It was sinister enough that Ferage was debanked by Coutts for his political and social attitudes but what has been less commented on is the yet more damaging fact that apparently no other bank was prepared to offer him an account and they all marched in lockstep with Coutts.

If Ferage could have easily moved to another bank just as you suggest another baker would be willing to bake a cake with the desired message it would have been a matter of shame that Coutts, the bank that discriminates on the basis of wealth. also discriminates on the basis of politics, but the fact that other banks took a similar stance becomes a matter of totalitarian oppression.

Last edited 10 months ago by Jeremy Bray
Judy Englander
Judy Englander
10 months ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

I agree. Unlike cake baking, banking has become a public utility like water, energy and broadband even though the providers are plcs.

Last edited 10 months ago by Judy Englander
P N
P N
10 months ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

The baker is likely a sole trader whereas Coutts is (or should be) answerable to its shareholders. Coutts owes a fiduciary duty to act in the best interests of shareholders and not turn away commercially viable business for political reasons. A bank is also subject to FCA rules requiring it to treat customers fairly.

Right-Wing Hippie
Right-Wing Hippie
10 months ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

I’ll come back to the argument frequently made that you can’t support Farage and yet say a baker can refuse to bake someone a cake because the customer is gay.
I would say that the distinction lies in that the bank has availed itself to the protections afforded by legal incorporation and in doing so forgoes certain rights that the individual possesses. Conversely, the sole-proprietor baker retains those rights, but lacks the protections available through incorporation. Freedom of speech and freedom of association are natural rights that adhere to the individual; we as a society have chosen to extend them as privileges to corporations, but that is our choice, since corporations are not naturally occurring entities in the way that individuals are. Further, it should be understood by those who seek incorporation that we as a society may grant them privileges as corporate bodies at the cost of demanding an abrogation of certain liberties that they would otherwise enjoy as individuals.

Chipoko
Chipoko
10 months ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

Banking is an essential service in the modern, digital and increasingly cashless era. To deny anyone access to banking facilities is to eradicate the them from social existence, to immobilise their resource base and ultimately to eliminate them from public discourse. It is a fundamental and grievous injustice. This practice is akin to isolating someone, no matter how ill, from access to NHS services because his/her legitimately stated/held views do not confirm to the ‘diversity, inclusion and equality’ [DIE] agenda of the NHS. Such cancellation represents an horrendous injustice against any individual thus treated; and the fundamental destruction of a basic human right to access an essential service, without which normal existence in modern society is rendered impossible.
The most alarming thing of all is that Woking Class leaders of powerful corporate organisations, not to mention public services managers, can so easily terminate individuals’ bank accounts (or access to services) with little or no prospect of retribution for their actions. We are used to such tyranny in the likes of Nazi Germany, communist Russia, modern China, North Korea and Zimbabwe. The large dossier compiled by Coutts on Nigel Farage without his knowledge is a most sinister development of a kind that we thought was confined to brutal totalitarian police states, not our so-called free nations. To witness such egregious processes being dished out without any compunction under the auspices of the DIE philosophy by corporate leaders is to realise that our historic notions of liberty and democracy in the Western world are themselves cancelled and that we have entered a New Dark Age.

Last edited 10 months ago by Chipoko
Bryan Dale
Bryan Dale
10 months ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

I know of no cases where a baker has refused to bake a cake for a customer because a customer is gay.

Martin Terrell
Martin Terrell
10 months ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

I think the point is that the baker was denounced by the great and good for refusing to bake a cake with a particular logo – rather than refusing the customer. The customer then has a choice of other bakers to go to. If you are banned by Coutts/NatWest, you find it much harder to open an account elsewhere, and have to suffer a great deal of inconvenience.

S Wilkinson
S Wilkinson
10 months ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

It’s also very different in that, when you try to order from a different baker, getting service isn’t contingent on your answer to the question “Have you ever been refused a bakery service or had a bakery service withdrawn?”

Andrew F
Andrew F
10 months ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

Problem with your baker example is that discrimination only works one way.
Would you be prosecuted if you refused to bake cake with a message “being gay is mortal sin?”
Or if you violently protest against movie about religious figure.
Or if you burn books?
We all know answer to that.

Ted Ditchburn
Ted Ditchburn
10 months ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

To answer the article’s author’s question in the next to last paragraph; forcing the gender transitioning process on children before and during puberty is probably a right-on result of nice people and their be-kind beliefs that may come to be seen as the greatest social evil of the present day.
It probably won’t take that many years. But it will create some massive compensation claims and (hopefully) lead to the collapse of the whole Stonewall edifice of ESG authoritarianism.

Katharine Eyre
Katharine Eyre
10 months ago

This article makes several good points, including emphasising that how essential a service is makes a clear difference in whether it is OK to refuse/get rid of someone’s custom based on values.
I’ll come back to the argument frequently made that you can’t support Farage and yet say a baker can refuse to bake someone a cake because the customer is gay. (Amendment: comment slightly inaccurate, I was referring to the Ashers bakery case where a bakery refused to make a cake with a pro gay marriage message on it).
I say there is a clear difference here. Banking services are the key to being able to do many other things in society – pay your rent, receive your salary, save for your pension etc. Not being able to buy a cake does not have such a ripple effect – if one baker refuses you, that does not have any effect on your ability to do anything else in your life. You just huff, puff, and trot on to the next baker who probably will serve you.
Put another way: if Farage had turned up last week and said “Well, I went to baker X to order a cake with “I LOVE BREXIT, I DO” on it in pink icing and they refused me because they are ardent remainers!”, I would have thought “So what? Stop whinging and buy your cake somewhere else”.
It is about how much power the customer has in each situation; a customer is much more vulnerable position with a bank because he/she needs the bank. A baker has no such power. No one needs cake to participate in society (although I’m sure many would disagree…); customers are not in a vulnerable position. Quite the opposite, they are in the more powerful position of being able to vote with their feet. Swapping your bank account is a far greater inconvenience than popping along to another baker.
It follows from that that a company’s ability to choose its customers based on its values/purpose is going to be affected by how essential their services are to a (potential) customer as well as the balance of power between that company and the (potential) customer.
Put in blunter, more political terms: wokeness hits a limit when it seeps into dealings with essential services.

Last edited 10 months ago by Katharine Eyre
Jonathan Andrews
Jonathan Andrews
10 months ago

“So Farage’s claims may not have been entirely debunked, but neither has he been entirely debanked.”

They would not offer him the business account he required.

This is the second article in as many days, unwilling to accept Nigel Farage might have been hard done by.

Martin Terrell
Martin Terrell
10 months ago

My understanding is that Farage was only offered a NatWest basic account (and not a business account) after he went public with his complaint.

Arkadian X
Arkadian X
10 months ago
Reply to  Martin Terrell

What is the difference in practical terms?

Peter B
Peter B
10 months ago
Reply to  Arkadian X

That you need a business account to run a business !
I’m surprised we still need to repeat this simple fact: Coutts/NatWest have still not provided a reason for closing Nigel Farage’s account.
They’ve currently had at least two tries. The first involved breaking client confidentiality and they themselves have just said it was false (i.e. a lie).
They’ve lied at least one here.
Hasn’t anyone told them about Dennis Healey’s First Law of Holes yet ?
If there’s one thing worse than bankers running banks, it’s clearly non-bankers doing so. Alison Rose. Pitiful.

Peter B
Peter B
10 months ago
Reply to  Arkadian X

That you need a business account to run a business !
I’m surprised we still need to repeat this simple fact: Coutts/NatWest have still not provided a reason for closing Nigel Farage’s account.
They’ve currently had at least two tries. The first involved breaking client confidentiality and they themselves have just said it was false (i.e. a lie).
They’ve lied at least one here.
Hasn’t anyone told them about Dennis Healey’s First Law of Holes yet ?
If there’s one thing worse than bankers running banks, it’s clearly non-bankers doing so. Alison Rose. Pitiful.

Jonathan Andrews
Jonathan Andrews
10 months ago
Reply to  Martin Terrell

A basic account? That’s deliberately aiming to humiliate.
Basic accounts are aimed at those unable to run an account properly

Arkadian X
Arkadian X
10 months ago
Reply to  Martin Terrell

What is the difference in practical terms?

Jonathan Andrews
Jonathan Andrews
10 months ago
Reply to  Martin Terrell

A basic account? That’s deliberately aiming to humiliate.
Basic accounts are aimed at those unable to run an account properly

Martin Terrell
Martin Terrell
10 months ago

My understanding is that Farage was only offered a NatWest basic account (and not a business account) after he went public with his complaint.

Jonathan Andrews
Jonathan Andrews
10 months ago

“So Farage’s claims may not have been entirely debunked, but neither has he been entirely debanked.”

They would not offer him the business account he required.

This is the second article in as many days, unwilling to accept Nigel Farage might have been hard done by.

Derek Bryce
Derek Bryce
10 months ago

”I am a Guardian-reading, Remain-voting, lockdown-supporting, double-Covid-vax-boosted Anglican who defends the BBC and wore masks more often than was strictly required during the pandemic.”
The majority of this formulation means the author is part of the problem he claims to write against. So you’re in favour of locking up and muzzling the citizenry but grasp your pearls at equally sinister phenomenon of debanking? … riiiiight. You’d be the kind of medieval jurist who really digs flaying victims alive but gets queasy when vats of boiling oil are mooted.

Last edited 10 months ago by Derek Bryce
Derek Bryce
Derek Bryce
10 months ago

”I am a Guardian-reading, Remain-voting, lockdown-supporting, double-Covid-vax-boosted Anglican who defends the BBC and wore masks more often than was strictly required during the pandemic.”
The majority of this formulation means the author is part of the problem he claims to write against. So you’re in favour of locking up and muzzling the citizenry but grasp your pearls at equally sinister phenomenon of debanking? … riiiiight. You’d be the kind of medieval jurist who really digs flaying victims alive but gets queasy when vats of boiling oil are mooted.

Last edited 10 months ago by Derek Bryce
R Wright
R Wright
10 months ago

I have seen no mention of the Canadian trucker protesters getting debanked being a harbinger of all of this.

R Wright
R Wright
10 months ago

I have seen no mention of the Canadian trucker protesters getting debanked being a harbinger of all of this.

Right-Wing Hippie
Right-Wing Hippie
10 months ago

Minutes from the bank’s “wealth reputational risk committee” stated it “did not think continuing to bank NF [Nigel Farage] was compatible with Coutts given his publicly-stated views that were at odds with our position as an inclusive organisation.”
By “inclusive” they of course meant “exclusive”.

Right-Wing Hippie
Right-Wing Hippie
10 months ago

Minutes from the bank’s “wealth reputational risk committee” stated it “did not think continuing to bank NF [Nigel Farage] was compatible with Coutts given his publicly-stated views that were at odds with our position as an inclusive organisation.”
By “inclusive” they of course meant “exclusive”.

Allison Barrows
Allison Barrows
10 months ago

Why should the author be happy that a bank discriminated against a customer because of his politics? Would he be happy if another business discriminated against him because he’s a “Guardian-reading, Remain-voting, lockdown-supporting, double-Covid-vax-boosted Anglican who defends the BBC and wore masks more often than was strictly required during the pandemic” moonbat?

Allison Barrows
Allison Barrows
10 months ago

Why should the author be happy that a bank discriminated against a customer because of his politics? Would he be happy if another business discriminated against him because he’s a “Guardian-reading, Remain-voting, lockdown-supporting, double-Covid-vax-boosted Anglican who defends the BBC and wore masks more often than was strictly required during the pandemic” moonbat?

Carmel Shortall
Carmel Shortall
10 months ago

“it seems our trust in banks has never been greater. We are only a few years on from the Great Crash and resulting bailouts, and yet the way we pay is becoming vastly more dependent upon them. The drift towards a cashless society and an enormous increase in online transactions have left us at their mercy.”

It is not a “drift”! We are being herded! But we are certainly going to be at their “mercy”. We are being softened up for a Chinese style social credit system and we will get it when the central banks roll out their CBDCs (central bank digital currencies) – probably ‘carbon credits’ – in response to some confected ’emergency’ or other.

Nigel Farage is not the first – just the most high profile so far. Those who smirk and wink at this may have only a matter of time before the surveillance society decides to debank them, say for a snarky comment below the line in Uherd…

First they came for Nigel Farage and I did not speak out (much) because ”I am a Guardian-reading, Remain-voting, lockdown-supporting, double-Covid-vax-boosted Anglican who defends the BBC and wore masks more often than was strictly required during the pandemic.” – you get the drill…

Rocky Martiano
Rocky Martiano
10 months ago

At last, someone puts this fiasco in the wider context of the technocratic elites trying to impose an authoritarian system of control over their citizens without their consent.
Your last paragraph is extremely apposite. We are already halfway down the slippery slope. Unless we stand up to this now we are all heading for a dystopian future which even Orwell could not have imagined. It’s time to wake up.

Rocky Martiano
Rocky Martiano
10 months ago

At last, someone puts this fiasco in the wider context of the technocratic elites trying to impose an authoritarian system of control over their citizens without their consent.
Your last paragraph is extremely apposite. We are already halfway down the slippery slope. Unless we stand up to this now we are all heading for a dystopian future which even Orwell could not have imagined. It’s time to wake up.

Carmel Shortall
Carmel Shortall
10 months ago

“it seems our trust in banks has never been greater. We are only a few years on from the Great Crash and resulting bailouts, and yet the way we pay is becoming vastly more dependent upon them. The drift towards a cashless society and an enormous increase in online transactions have left us at their mercy.”

It is not a “drift”! We are being herded! But we are certainly going to be at their “mercy”. We are being softened up for a Chinese style social credit system and we will get it when the central banks roll out their CBDCs (central bank digital currencies) – probably ‘carbon credits’ – in response to some confected ’emergency’ or other.

Nigel Farage is not the first – just the most high profile so far. Those who smirk and wink at this may have only a matter of time before the surveillance society decides to debank them, say for a snarky comment below the line in Uherd…

First they came for Nigel Farage and I did not speak out (much) because ”I am a Guardian-reading, Remain-voting, lockdown-supporting, double-Covid-vax-boosted Anglican who defends the BBC and wore masks more often than was strictly required during the pandemic.” – you get the drill…

Dougie Undersub
Dougie Undersub
10 months ago

What will it take for Starmer and others to support Farage on this? Does it need Thames Water to cut him off because his views don’t tally with their values?

Dougie Undersub
Dougie Undersub
10 months ago

What will it take for Starmer and others to support Farage on this? Does it need Thames Water to cut him off because his views don’t tally with their values?

Andrew Wise
Andrew Wise
10 months ago

views that were at odds with our position as an inclusive organisation

Inclusive is the new exclusive – You can only be inclusive if you agree with everything I say 🙂
God help us.

Andrew Wise
Andrew Wise
10 months ago

views that were at odds with our position as an inclusive organisation

Inclusive is the new exclusive – You can only be inclusive if you agree with everything I say 🙂
God help us.

P N
P N
10 months ago

An excellent article until the last sentence. It’s back to front. It almost reads like an editing mistake.
A bank for the super-rich may have just returned us to capitalism by awakening us to the dangers of non-capitalism, specifically the behaviour the author identifies and about which he writes well. It is not capitalist to focus more on ESG than profits, to worry about inclusivity and purpose instead of profits, to kick out customers of whom you don’t approve at a cost to profits.
The idea that somehow capitalism could ever demise is ludicrous in itself.
“Capitalism is not an ‘ism.’ It is closer to being the opposite of an ‘ism,’ because it is simply the freedom of ordinary people to make whatever economic transactions they can mutually agree to.” – Thomas Sowell
Capitalism is not going away; capitalism is freedom. Even if you suppress it for 70 years like the USSR at great economic and social cost it will always come back because, eventually, even lockdown bunnies seek freedom.

Andy Blake
Andy Blake
10 months ago
Reply to  P N

Here’s the thing: how do we ensure that banks or any other corporations adhere to the free-market ethos? Only by adding a layer of state regulation. We already know that deregulated or poorly regulated markets run to monopoly as the big fish gobble the little fish. Someone has to set the ground rules and keep the playing field level as well as break up monopolies.

Karl Marx understood this. That is why he was for letting the market rip, because he knew this is the quickest way down the road to corporate capitalism — building up the monopolistic structures which, with a little push from disgruntled workers at the right time, could be flipped over into state-monopoly communism. Unregulated/deregulated markets > communism and centralised wealth/power. Well regulated markets > freedom and distributed wealth/power.

And yet the Farage/Coutts affair has been made possible by generations of conservatives pushing deregulation at the behest of big corporations, and with the justification that “a private company can refuse/cancel whoever it likes”, an ideology which has taken firm (though not irreversible) hold across social media too. The Farage bank accounts business is surely a wakeup call for the conservative tradition (by which I mean the organicist, Burke-Smith wing of Lockean liberalism) to understand that it is on a collision course with much of what it has allowed to pass in the name of capitalism.

Insofar as “liberalism” is the correct term for distributive market economics and there is some historical precedent for defining the word “capitalism” in terms of concentrations of money-power (which for Marx was a stage on the road to communism), I am wondering whether there might not be some mileage in the concept of a conservative anticapitalism, with the objective of rolling back the second towards the first.

Or even — what would you call a fairness-oriented politics which harnesses the state to regulate companies, ensuring that property remains distributed and control of wealth does not concentrate power in elite hands? Tory Socialism is a name with an illustrious pedigree.

P N
P N
10 months ago
Reply to  Andy Blake

Thank you for your reply. I believe you have made two false assumptions, however, which weaken your argument. The first is that “deregulated… markets run to monopoly”. This is not true. It is more often than not the existence of regulations (which you could describe as poor) which leads to monopolies. A high regulatory environment favours the existing player(s) against upstart competitors, whether that be licences for eg banking, high minimum wages or health and safety. Increasing the cost of business favours big business at the expense of the little guy.

The second is that we need more regulation to ensure companies adhere to free market ethos. This is not true; we already have laws. The Companies Act and the common law both require directors to act in the best interest of shareholders. We also have market forces. Companies which do not act in the best interest of shareholders will suffer and eventually die.

Any political or economic ideology which appeals to fairness as its key consideration is necessarily flawed because fairness is subjective. Life is not fair and no one is omniscient and omnipotent to be able to make it fair. Your suggestion of Tory socialism sounds remarkably like fascism.

P N
P N
10 months ago
Reply to  Andy Blake

Thank you for your reply. I believe you have made two false assumptions, however, which weaken your argument. The first is that “deregulated… markets run to monopoly”. This is not true. It is more often than not the existence of regulations (which you could describe as poor) which leads to monopolies. A high regulatory environment favours the existing player(s) against upstart competitors, whether that be licences for eg banking, high minimum wages or health and safety. Increasing the cost of business favours big business at the expense of the little guy.

The second is that we need more regulation to ensure companies adhere to free market ethos. This is not true; we already have laws. The Companies Act and the common law both require directors to act in the best interest of shareholders. We also have market forces. Companies which do not act in the best interest of shareholders will suffer and eventually die.

Any political or economic ideology which appeals to fairness as its key consideration is necessarily flawed because fairness is subjective. Life is not fair and no one is omniscient and omnipotent to be able to make it fair. Your suggestion of Tory socialism sounds remarkably like fascism.

Andy Blake
Andy Blake
10 months ago
Reply to  P N

Here’s the thing: how do we ensure that banks or any other corporations adhere to the free-market ethos? Only by adding a layer of state regulation. We already know that deregulated or poorly regulated markets run to monopoly as the big fish gobble the little fish. Someone has to set the ground rules and keep the playing field level as well as break up monopolies.

Karl Marx understood this. That is why he was for letting the market rip, because he knew this is the quickest way down the road to corporate capitalism — building up the monopolistic structures which, with a little push from disgruntled workers at the right time, could be flipped over into state-monopoly communism. Unregulated/deregulated markets > communism and centralised wealth/power. Well regulated markets > freedom and distributed wealth/power.

And yet the Farage/Coutts affair has been made possible by generations of conservatives pushing deregulation at the behest of big corporations, and with the justification that “a private company can refuse/cancel whoever it likes”, an ideology which has taken firm (though not irreversible) hold across social media too. The Farage bank accounts business is surely a wakeup call for the conservative tradition (by which I mean the organicist, Burke-Smith wing of Lockean liberalism) to understand that it is on a collision course with much of what it has allowed to pass in the name of capitalism.

Insofar as “liberalism” is the correct term for distributive market economics and there is some historical precedent for defining the word “capitalism” in terms of concentrations of money-power (which for Marx was a stage on the road to communism), I am wondering whether there might not be some mileage in the concept of a conservative anticapitalism, with the objective of rolling back the second towards the first.

Or even — what would you call a fairness-oriented politics which harnesses the state to regulate companies, ensuring that property remains distributed and control of wealth does not concentrate power in elite hands? Tory Socialism is a name with an illustrious pedigree.

P N
P N
10 months ago

An excellent article until the last sentence. It’s back to front. It almost reads like an editing mistake.
A bank for the super-rich may have just returned us to capitalism by awakening us to the dangers of non-capitalism, specifically the behaviour the author identifies and about which he writes well. It is not capitalist to focus more on ESG than profits, to worry about inclusivity and purpose instead of profits, to kick out customers of whom you don’t approve at a cost to profits.
The idea that somehow capitalism could ever demise is ludicrous in itself.
“Capitalism is not an ‘ism.’ It is closer to being the opposite of an ‘ism,’ because it is simply the freedom of ordinary people to make whatever economic transactions they can mutually agree to.” – Thomas Sowell
Capitalism is not going away; capitalism is freedom. Even if you suppress it for 70 years like the USSR at great economic and social cost it will always come back because, eventually, even lockdown bunnies seek freedom.

Simon Neale
Simon Neale
10 months ago

“Coutts may not be an essential service, but normal high-street banks are.”

What’s a “high street bank”? There are sometimes buildings in high streets with a bank sign attached. They seem to consist of a cashpoint (useful, I suppose, if you want to keep your purchases off the system) and a person in a suit minding a rack of promotional leaflets.

Tony Price
Tony Price
10 months ago
Reply to  Simon Neale

Good point! I lived in the very convenient, reasonable well-off, full of small businesses SW London suburb of New Malden for many years before escaping West. 4 years ago there were 5 mainstream bank branches in the high street, i.e. all of the main ones: I went back last week and there are none left – all gone!

Opening a new new bank account these days is a nightmare of bureaucracy, and I would imagine even harder for those at the other end of society from Nigel. Maybe he should just go to the Post Office, if there is one left near to him, like others having trouble getting one have to do.

Judy Englander
Judy Englander
10 months ago
Reply to  Tony Price

NF needs a business account. Five minutes before he was due to appear on GB News for his regular slot, Coutts offered him banking with NatWest but personal only. In her apology letter the CEO of NatWest group which owns Coutts once again offered the NatWest ‘solution’ which is no solution. If her apology is genuine, the CEO should reinstate all of Farage’s Coutts accounts.

Last edited 10 months ago by Judy Englander
polidori redux
polidori redux
10 months ago
Reply to  Judy Englander

I think it might have been one of those arm-twisted apologies that are such fun to see.

Judy Englander
Judy Englander
10 months ago
Reply to  polidori redux

Indeed. I hope she’s squirming.

polidori redux
polidori redux
10 months ago
Reply to  Judy Englander

You have a sadistic streak.

Last edited 10 months ago by polidori redux
Judy Englander
Judy Englander
10 months ago
Reply to  polidori redux

Regarding some people … yes.

Judy Englander
Judy Englander
10 months ago
Reply to  polidori redux

Regarding some people … yes.

polidori redux
polidori redux
10 months ago
Reply to  Judy Englander

You have a sadistic streak.

Last edited 10 months ago by polidori redux
Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
10 months ago
Reply to  polidori redux

Alison ROSE* has made a grovelling apology.
Should it be enough to save her? Or should she be ‘destroyed’?
(* CEO Nat West/Coutts).

Neil McNab
Neil McNab
10 months ago

Wouldn’t that be an attack on free speech, indeed cancel culture in action?

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
10 months ago
Reply to  Neil McNab

No!
More like Divine justice.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
10 months ago
Reply to  Neil McNab

No!
More like Divine justice.

Peter B
Peter B
10 months ago

No. She’s just provided more evidence of her incompetence. She’s running the ****show. She’s responsible. If she were any good, she’d have turned around the crisis. She’s just making it worse.

Andrew F
Andrew F
10 months ago
Reply to  Peter B

Stop it now.
Alison is another example of how having women in charge makes for a better, gentle world.
Is there a single example of a woman creating (not managing) successful global business?
Ah, yes. Terranos.

Andrew F
Andrew F
10 months ago
Reply to  Peter B

Stop it now.
Alison is another example of how having women in charge makes for a better, gentle world.
Is there a single example of a woman creating (not managing) successful global business?
Ah, yes. Terranos.

Andrew F
Andrew F
10 months ago

She did make non-apology apology.

She should be forced to resign. Preferably banned from working in finance industry.
Nothing will happen of course.
Woke parasites would support one of their own.
I wonder if there is woke Masons Lodge?

Neil McNab
Neil McNab
10 months ago

Wouldn’t that be an attack on free speech, indeed cancel culture in action?

Peter B
Peter B
10 months ago

No. She’s just provided more evidence of her incompetence. She’s running the ****show. She’s responsible. If she were any good, she’d have turned around the crisis. She’s just making it worse.

Andrew F
Andrew F
10 months ago

She did make non-apology apology.

She should be forced to resign. Preferably banned from working in finance industry.
Nothing will happen of course.
Woke parasites would support one of their own.
I wonder if there is woke Masons Lodge?

Judy Englander
Judy Englander
10 months ago
Reply to  polidori redux

Indeed. I hope she’s squirming.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
10 months ago
Reply to  polidori redux

Alison ROSE* has made a grovelling apology.
Should it be enough to save her? Or should she be ‘destroyed’?
(* CEO Nat West/Coutts).

Tony Price
Tony Price
10 months ago
Reply to  Judy Englander

Well they should reinstate his accounts – and then immediately cancel them on the grounds that he doesn’t have the funds to justify them! Assuming that is the case, of course.

polidori redux
polidori redux
10 months ago
Reply to  Judy Englander

I think it might have been one of those arm-twisted apologies that are such fun to see.

Tony Price
Tony Price
10 months ago
Reply to  Judy Englander

Well they should reinstate his accounts – and then immediately cancel them on the grounds that he doesn’t have the funds to justify them! Assuming that is the case, of course.

Philip Stott
Philip Stott
10 months ago
Reply to  Tony Price

In my small town in Surrey, five years ago we had: NatWest, Barclays, Lloyds, HSBC, NationWide, Santander & TSB.
Now they are all gone, and the only cash machine is a NatWest one in a branch of WH Smiths, which is out of service 50% of the time.
I couldn’t tip my barber last week because their till wouldn’t allow it, and the cash machine was out of service.

Andrew F
Andrew F
10 months ago
Reply to  Philip Stott

I would be surprised if having all these branches made economic sense for the banks.

Last edited 10 months ago by Andrew F
Andrew F
Andrew F
10 months ago
Reply to  Philip Stott

I would be surprised if having all these branches made economic sense for the banks.

Last edited 10 months ago by Andrew F
Judy Englander
Judy Englander
10 months ago
Reply to  Tony Price

NF needs a business account. Five minutes before he was due to appear on GB News for his regular slot, Coutts offered him banking with NatWest but personal only. In her apology letter the CEO of NatWest group which owns Coutts once again offered the NatWest ‘solution’ which is no solution. If her apology is genuine, the CEO should reinstate all of Farage’s Coutts accounts.

Last edited 10 months ago by Judy Englander
Philip Stott
Philip Stott
10 months ago
Reply to  Tony Price

In my small town in Surrey, five years ago we had: NatWest, Barclays, Lloyds, HSBC, NationWide, Santander & TSB.
Now they are all gone, and the only cash machine is a NatWest one in a branch of WH Smiths, which is out of service 50% of the time.
I couldn’t tip my barber last week because their till wouldn’t allow it, and the cash machine was out of service.

Tony Price
Tony Price
10 months ago
Reply to  Simon Neale

Good point! I lived in the very convenient, reasonable well-off, full of small businesses SW London suburb of New Malden for many years before escaping West. 4 years ago there were 5 mainstream bank branches in the high street, i.e. all of the main ones: I went back last week and there are none left – all gone!

Opening a new new bank account these days is a nightmare of bureaucracy, and I would imagine even harder for those at the other end of society from Nigel. Maybe he should just go to the Post Office, if there is one left near to him, like others having trouble getting one have to do.

Simon Neale
Simon Neale
10 months ago

“Coutts may not be an essential service, but normal high-street banks are.”

What’s a “high street bank”? There are sometimes buildings in high streets with a bank sign attached. They seem to consist of a cashpoint (useful, I suppose, if you want to keep your purchases off the system) and a person in a suit minding a rack of promotional leaflets.

Sam Walker
Sam Walker
10 months ago

” I am a Guardian-reading, Remain-voting, lockdown-supporting, double-Covid-vax-boosted Anglican who defends the BBC and wore masks more often than was strictly required during the pandemic.” Thank goodness I can’t claim to be all of the above.

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
10 months ago
Reply to  Sam Walker

his crossword clue ” Female, ends in nt, but not aunt”

Frank McCusker
Frank McCusker
10 months ago
Reply to  Sam Walker

Indeed. I suspect that you’ve never had an idea in your life which wasn’t part of a pre-baked set.  

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
10 months ago
Reply to  Sam Walker

his crossword clue ” Female, ends in nt, but not aunt”

Frank McCusker
Frank McCusker
10 months ago
Reply to  Sam Walker

Indeed. I suspect that you’ve never had an idea in your life which wasn’t part of a pre-baked set.  

Sam Walker
Sam Walker
10 months ago

” I am a Guardian-reading, Remain-voting, lockdown-supporting, double-Covid-vax-boosted Anglican who defends the BBC and wore masks more often than was strictly required during the pandemic.” Thank goodness I can’t claim to be all of the above.

Paddy Taylor
Paddy Taylor
10 months ago

I am a Guardian-reading, Remain-voting, lockdown-supporting, double-Covid-vax-boosted Anglican who defends the BBC and wore masks more often than was strictly required during the pandemic. But it is hard to ignore the stirrings of a certain polite and cuddly totalitarianism (it would obviously laugh at the word and create mocking memes, rather than reflect upon itself meaningfully). “
Peter, I don’t wish to be rude, but the very fact that writers feel the need to offer themselves cover like this – lest they be lumped in with the Brexity untermensch like the obviously-beyond-the-pale Mr Farage – rather proves the point that the rest of us have been making, that the institutional capture of the majority of our media class represents a clear and present threat to democracy, fairness and equality before the law.
You might want to reflect on that and wonder why you feel the need to prostrate yourself before the approved orthodoxy.
Do you think it’s because you actually believe in it, or does it speak to a moral cowardice that chips away at the foundations of a free, tolerant society and seems to infect most of your journalistic colleagues?
I don’t say that merely to you, but to the whole of your profession.

Frank McCusker
Frank McCusker
10 months ago
Reply to  Paddy Taylor

You’re missing the point. First, the writer is being honest about his political biases. I wish more pundits would do that, instead of pretending to be reasonable. Most Unherders are extremely partisan right-wingers, and extremely conformist in their thought patterns, yet seem to lack any awareness of just how biased they are. Second, the writer is telling you that, even though we readily can infer that he is someone who’d not ordinarily be partial to Farage’s politics, he is nonetheless sympathetic to Farge’s case and concerned about its implications. 
For instance, had you been commenting on banks shutting down various pro-Palestine groups’ accounts in 2015, you might have said that, “even though I’m a pro-Israeli right-winger who despises Palestinians, even I disagree with the closure of bank accounts on political grounds”. 
By being honest about his bias, it adds force to the author’s conclusions, namely that this bank cancellation trend potentially is so serious that even those of us can’t stand Farage’s beery sloganeering feel sympathy for him in this instance.

Paddy Taylor
Paddy Taylor
10 months ago
Reply to  Frank McCusker

I’m not sure that’s true, Frank.
One sees it on cif everyday, those who are about to defend something the tiniest bit controversial feel the need to caveat themselves with “of course I absolutely loath Boris, but ….” or ” I think Trump is the devil incarnate, but ….”, it rather undermines the principle they usuall;y go on to claim.

Paddy Taylor
Paddy Taylor
10 months ago
Reply to  Frank McCusker

I’m not sure that’s true, Frank.
One sees it on cif everyday, those who are about to defend something the tiniest bit controversial feel the need to caveat themselves with “of course I absolutely loath Boris, but ….” or ” I think Trump is the devil incarnate, but ….”, it rather undermines the principle they usuall;y go on to claim.

Frank McCusker
Frank McCusker
10 months ago
Reply to  Paddy Taylor

You’re missing the point. First, the writer is being honest about his political biases. I wish more pundits would do that, instead of pretending to be reasonable. Most Unherders are extremely partisan right-wingers, and extremely conformist in their thought patterns, yet seem to lack any awareness of just how biased they are. Second, the writer is telling you that, even though we readily can infer that he is someone who’d not ordinarily be partial to Farage’s politics, he is nonetheless sympathetic to Farge’s case and concerned about its implications. 
For instance, had you been commenting on banks shutting down various pro-Palestine groups’ accounts in 2015, you might have said that, “even though I’m a pro-Israeli right-winger who despises Palestinians, even I disagree with the closure of bank accounts on political grounds”. 
By being honest about his bias, it adds force to the author’s conclusions, namely that this bank cancellation trend potentially is so serious that even those of us can’t stand Farage’s beery sloganeering feel sympathy for him in this instance.

Paddy Taylor
Paddy Taylor
10 months ago

I am a Guardian-reading, Remain-voting, lockdown-supporting, double-Covid-vax-boosted Anglican who defends the BBC and wore masks more often than was strictly required during the pandemic. But it is hard to ignore the stirrings of a certain polite and cuddly totalitarianism (it would obviously laugh at the word and create mocking memes, rather than reflect upon itself meaningfully). “
Peter, I don’t wish to be rude, but the very fact that writers feel the need to offer themselves cover like this – lest they be lumped in with the Brexity untermensch like the obviously-beyond-the-pale Mr Farage – rather proves the point that the rest of us have been making, that the institutional capture of the majority of our media class represents a clear and present threat to democracy, fairness and equality before the law.
You might want to reflect on that and wonder why you feel the need to prostrate yourself before the approved orthodoxy.
Do you think it’s because you actually believe in it, or does it speak to a moral cowardice that chips away at the foundations of a free, tolerant society and seems to infect most of your journalistic colleagues?
I don’t say that merely to you, but to the whole of your profession.

Howard Gleave
Howard Gleave
10 months ago

“this story feels like a staging post on the way to somewhere else.”

Indeed. A Chinese style social credit system.

Howard Gleave
Howard Gleave
10 months ago

“this story feels like a staging post on the way to somewhere else.”

Indeed. A Chinese style social credit system.

Malcolm Knott
Malcolm Knott
10 months ago

Why do you present this as a case of claim and counterclaim; assertion and counter assertion? You say, ‘So Farage’s claims may not have been entirely debunked…’
On the contrary. His claims have been vindicated, authenticated and acknowledged with an apology. There are no two sides to this dispute. The wrongdoers have been exposed and they have pleaded guilty. Say it like it is.

Malcolm Knott
Malcolm Knott
10 months ago

Why do you present this as a case of claim and counterclaim; assertion and counter assertion? You say, ‘So Farage’s claims may not have been entirely debunked…’
On the contrary. His claims have been vindicated, authenticated and acknowledged with an apology. There are no two sides to this dispute. The wrongdoers have been exposed and they have pleaded guilty. Say it like it is.

Simon S
Simon S
10 months ago

“I am a Guardian-reading, Remain-voting, lockdown-supporting, double-Covid-vax-boosted Anglican who defends the BBC and wore masks more often than was strictly required”
Well – perhaps you will now wake up!

Simon S
Simon S
10 months ago

“I am a Guardian-reading, Remain-voting, lockdown-supporting, double-Covid-vax-boosted Anglican who defends the BBC and wore masks more often than was strictly required”
Well – perhaps you will now wake up!

Peter B
Peter B
10 months ago

One amusing point about closing people’s bank accounts. Good luck expecting them to pay their taxes ! Possibly why the Treasury aren’t keen.

Peter B
Peter B
10 months ago

One amusing point about closing people’s bank accounts. Good luck expecting them to pay their taxes ! Possibly why the Treasury aren’t keen.

Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
10 months ago

This is an utterly mealy mouthed article. It should not be an “amusement” to see a citizen deprived of his bank account, on the grounds of his political views. Banking is a fundamental requirement of living in a modern society..

I’d suggest instead depriving “Just Stop Oil” protestors of their water or gas supplies (the latter, after all, would be rather appropriate). And they, unlike Nigel Farage might be rather more likely to have been convicted of an offence. Would we then have a long waffly article from a Guardian reader about that, I wonder?

Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
10 months ago

This is an utterly mealy mouthed article. It should not be an “amusement” to see a citizen deprived of his bank account, on the grounds of his political views. Banking is a fundamental requirement of living in a modern society..

I’d suggest instead depriving “Just Stop Oil” protestors of their water or gas supplies (the latter, after all, would be rather appropriate). And they, unlike Nigel Farage might be rather more likely to have been convicted of an offence. Would we then have a long waffly article from a Guardian reader about that, I wonder?

Dumetrius
Dumetrius
10 months ago

‘The problem is that these are ideologies that fail to realise they are ideologies. To many of their proponents, it is just a matter of being kind, doing good, keeping on the right side of history, and making life better for more people. Their virtue is self-evident, so anyone who opposes them is a creature of vice and must be resisted. And thus we find ourselves in a strange place, where the nice people are coercing us into becoming more like them.’

Contrast with this from GK Chesteron, Illustrated London News 15 March 1919 :
“The special mark of the modern world is not that it is sceptical, but that it is dogmatic without knowing it. … In short, they always have an unconscious dogma; and an unconscious dogma is the definition of a prejudice. … A man who is awake should know what he is saying, and why he is saying it — that is, he should have a fixed creed and relate it to a first principle. This is what most moderns will not consent to do. Their thoughts will work out to the most interesting conclusions; but they can never tell you anything about their beginnings.” 

Last edited 10 months ago by Dumetrius
Dumetrius
Dumetrius
10 months ago

‘The problem is that these are ideologies that fail to realise they are ideologies. To many of their proponents, it is just a matter of being kind, doing good, keeping on the right side of history, and making life better for more people. Their virtue is self-evident, so anyone who opposes them is a creature of vice and must be resisted. And thus we find ourselves in a strange place, where the nice people are coercing us into becoming more like them.’

Contrast with this from GK Chesteron, Illustrated London News 15 March 1919 :
“The special mark of the modern world is not that it is sceptical, but that it is dogmatic without knowing it. … In short, they always have an unconscious dogma; and an unconscious dogma is the definition of a prejudice. … A man who is awake should know what he is saying, and why he is saying it — that is, he should have a fixed creed and relate it to a first principle. This is what most moderns will not consent to do. Their thoughts will work out to the most interesting conclusions; but they can never tell you anything about their beginnings.” 

Last edited 10 months ago by Dumetrius
D Oliver
D Oliver
10 months ago

Why should this lead to the decline of capitalism? If anything, it’s the opposite. This is a Bank which prioritised politics over shareholder value. Do that enough and you’ll go bust. Capitalism finds a way.

D Oliver
D Oliver
10 months ago

Why should this lead to the decline of capitalism? If anything, it’s the opposite. This is a Bank which prioritised politics over shareholder value. Do that enough and you’ll go bust. Capitalism finds a way.

Jerry Carroll
Jerry Carroll
10 months ago

The left has been trending totalitarian for decades now and its capture of all the strategic high ground — academe, the news media, social media, woke corporate board rooms, HR bureaucracies, government agencies able to flout politically elected leadership, — means its power of compulsion is almost complete. A lot is riding on whether Farage, against rather long odds it must be admitted, can win this battle with Coutts over freedom of speech and thought.

Jerry Carroll
Jerry Carroll
10 months ago

The left has been trending totalitarian for decades now and its capture of all the strategic high ground — academe, the news media, social media, woke corporate board rooms, HR bureaucracies, government agencies able to flout politically elected leadership, — means its power of compulsion is almost complete. A lot is riding on whether Farage, against rather long odds it must be admitted, can win this battle with Coutts over freedom of speech and thought.

Melanie Mabey
Melanie Mabey
10 months ago

Didn’t we bailout these Leeches?

Melanie Mabey
Melanie Mabey
10 months ago

Didn’t we bailout these Leeches?

Frank McCusker
Frank McCusker
10 months ago

In 2015, the Palestine Solidarity Campaign – the UK’s most prominent pro-Palestinian organisation – had its bank account with the Co-operative Bank closed, with no further explanation cited than “the Bank’s risk appetite”.
Stand by for the contortions as Unherders point out why it’s OK to cancel accounts for ‘that lot’, but not for our Nige …
“First they came for the leftie Arabs …”
Chickens coming home to roost, NF-fans

Andrew F
Andrew F
10 months ago
Reply to  Frank McCusker

Distinction is quite simple.
Nigel Farage participates in democratic politics of uk.
Pro Palestinian organisations are supporting terrorists like Hamas, undermining the only democracy in the Middle East.

Andrew F
Andrew F
10 months ago
Reply to  Frank McCusker

Distinction is quite simple.
Nigel Farage participates in democratic politics of uk.
Pro Palestinian organisations are supporting terrorists like Hamas, undermining the only democracy in the Middle East.

Frank McCusker
Frank McCusker
10 months ago

In 2015, the Palestine Solidarity Campaign – the UK’s most prominent pro-Palestinian organisation – had its bank account with the Co-operative Bank closed, with no further explanation cited than “the Bank’s risk appetite”.
Stand by for the contortions as Unherders point out why it’s OK to cancel accounts for ‘that lot’, but not for our Nige …
“First they came for the leftie Arabs …”
Chickens coming home to roost, NF-fans

Adrian G
Adrian G
10 months ago

“An editor for “National World” – “National World includes the historic titles of the Yorkshire Post, The Scotsman, The Portsmouth News and The Sheffield Star.”
His self description goes a long way to explaining why so many provincial papers read so much like “the Guardian”

John Riordan
John Riordan
10 months ago

I am not so sure about the conclusion. I suspect what may be threatened here is not capitalism but the existing version of it in which banks and governments provide and manage a monopoly money supply.

No matter which way you cut it, ESG practices and their evil twin BDS activism effectively delegitimise legal products and services for which economic demand still exists. They do not eradicate the markets in question, they merely erect barriers to entry for certain types of capital, that’s all.

What this does, rather hilariously, is reduce the cost of investment – and therefore increase returns – for capital which can, for various reasons, afford to ignore the effete concerns of western politics. Much like the West’s ban on Russian hydrocarbons has handed the East an enormous energy advantage because it has simply removed the West as a competitive bidder for that commodity.

Blockchain technology has got a poor reputation since its invention but it has to be recognised at some point surely that the banking system itself now seems to be competing with crypto currency technology in the bad reputation stakes. The banks have had 15 years of knowing that a disintermediated alternative to itself exists, and so far it shows no sign that it has learned the right lessons.

In short, I do not think banks can both maintain their oligopoly and also act as an enforcement arm of the state, and especially not as the enforcement arm of a political tribe which is not even in political office.

Frank McCusker
Frank McCusker
10 months ago

NF – what a coincidence : )

Frank McCusker
Frank McCusker
10 months ago

NF – what a coincidence : )