The resignation of the CEOs of NatWest and Coutts over Nigel Farage’s ‘debanking’ shows that when ‘diversity and inclusion’ run up against the principles of a free capitalist society, the free capitalist society prevails (at least for now). Farage is not yet satisfied – he has launched an advocacy campaign for others whose accounts have been closed after thousands came forward with similar stories.
Not finished yet
The British Veterinary Association has warned that, as things stand, EU rules will block 51% of vet medicines entering Northern Ireland from other parts of the UK from 2026. This is despite Sunak claiming the Windsor Framework removes “any sense of a border in the Irish Sea”.
The future of HS2 is once again in doubt after it was categorised as ‘unachievable’ by the Infrastructure and Projects Authority. This ought to be a huge embarrassment for a government which keeps promising to ‘level-up’ the UK.
After inconclusive election results, many pundits think that Spain is heading for fresh elections this year. Neither of the two major parties have obvious routes to forming a majority government, after the right-wing Vox party, likely coalition partners for the main centre-right party, won fewer seats than expected.
The gains in Spain so tame they’ll vote again?
The Polish PM has voiced concerns over Wagner Group fighters relocating near to the Polish-Belarussian border after their brief mutiny earlier in the summer. Their intentions remain unclear, and the situation has been muddied further by comments from Belarussian leader Lukashenko suggesting his relationship with the mercenaries was tense.
This will be the last Briefings newsletter before September.
Andrew Neil questions the logic of rejoiners in the Mail.
Stephen Pollard credits Brexit for lifting Britain out of sick-man status in the Express.
Woke Regulation is Killing Capitalism by Catherine Mc Bride
The closure of Nigel Farage’s bank account is a warning to us all that pernicious forces are misusing rules on corporate responsibility and concern for the environment not only to close individual and small business bank accounts, but to undermine an industry that underpins the entire UK economy by starving it of critical finance.
We do indeed get the politicians, and the regulations, and the bank CEOs that we deserve. If we don’t stand up to banks and insurance companies using Anti Money Laundering policies to close down individual and small business accounts or Environment Social Governance policies to close down one of our most vital industries, then we deserve to live cold, hungry, impoverished lives in hovels like 16th century peasants.
While the majority of politicians and journalists appear sympathetic to Farage in the debanking saga, some of the usual suspects are dismissing it as a ‘populist storm’ enabled by politicians who ‘ought to be ashamed of themselves’. Borrowing language from advocates of capitalism, they say that a private bank should be free to decide whom it offers services without public or government pressure and that concerns about a woke fifth column undermining institutions are hysterical. As usual, they have missed the point.
Nowadays, access to a bank account is a prerequisite for participation in the economy. Dealing with any significant cash flows or holding any significant sum of money would be impossible without one. And since participation in the economy is a fundamental freedom, banks offer a service which is indispensable in a free society. Whether intentionally or unintentionally, if they do or even can collectively exclude people from accessing a bank account because of their political views, as Farage and thousands of others claim they have, this an issue in which government and public alike should take a keen interest.
Controversies about ‘woke’ issues can, at times, seem hysterical and the notion that the ‘debanking’ issue (or any other for that matter) is part of a deliberate and nefarious conspiracy is a little far-fetched. But what the Coutts story has shown is that ‘woke’ ideas can be damaging without any need for coordination. If anything, it is the lack of deliberation that is the problem. Uncritically adopting and prioritising ideas about ‘inclusivity’ made a commercial relationship with a popular and mainstream politician a commercial risk. Once these ideas become ubiquitous across a whole industry, Farage and others like him become de facto excluded.
The Farage banking saga should serve as a warning not to take economic freedoms for granted and to guard them jealously from erosion by mercurial cultural attitudes.
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A Cambridge Philosophy Graduate