1. This is explanation I imagine the bank would provide, if they could speak openly about it:

    In the banking field, Nigel Farage is classed as a Politically Exposed Person (PEP). This means that his financial dealings come under additional scrutiny with a view to deterring and detecting money laundering, improper financial associations and other high-risk matters. He may have financial associations with Donald Trump or people in Trump’s milieu, and given the criminal allegations against Trump, the bank may have decided that it should not continue providing him with services.

    One aspect of this that could present a concern for bank executives is that if they are prosecutable, just as the account-holder is, and if Nigel Farage did come under investigation by the UK or US authorities, or both, bank executives could be in legal jeopardy too – may even face extradition proceedings, with the threat of a stay in a harsh US prison.

    Whatever the truth about it, I think Nigel Farage is possibly a tool for the Establishment. I sympathise with an ordinary person who is denied banking facilities for any reason, but the reality is that Nigel Farage can open an account today with any bank on the high street. The idea that he is going to be significantly harmed is absurd. Bank managers will be queuing up for his business.

    [quote]”…an international élite, spearheaded by the United Nations among others, and including multi-national corporations, dishonest politicians, and activist fellow-travellers, seeks to ‘unite the world’ under the tyranny of a global ruling class, unelected and unaccountable.”[unquote]

    Hasn’t the world always be run by such people? Has there ever been a time in history when it wasn’t? It’s just the way of the world, specifically people who are unelected and unaccountable to the public at large (or people in general, before we had the notion of a ‘public’). You apply a utopian interpretation and argue for a property-based liberty in an anarchic or minarchic system. Other argue for pure democratic utopias. I don’t believe these systems can be practically realised in their fullest form because I am sceptical about the ability of most people to govern themselves. This means that any utopian system, whether the property-based meta-utopia of libertarians or the propertyless democratic utopia of socialists or the hard totalitarianism of the Juche state in North Korea, has to have a ruling class. Socialists who argue for the common democratic control of all economic resources argue that such a system will be classless, but in terms of the real world they are arguing for a ruling class, because even if most economic decisions will be self-directed or informally organised, people still have to be elected at least to direct the use of strategic resources – thus even under utopian pre-Marxist socialism, there is still a state, just in soft form.

    Since we have to accept a sort of neo-Panglossian picture of the inevitability of a ruling class, let’s consider what that means. Whether the ruling class is benign or tyrannical, or something in-between, depends on one’s point of view and from whichever perspective one is viewing the matter. I think if a ruling class impose mass immigration against the broad current of opinion of a native people, they are acting in a tyrannical manner and their legitimacy can only rest on force. Where I agree with property-based libertarians is that mass democratic will is itself a form of force and authoritarian by its very nature. Democracy in a pure, utopian form can only exist in highly contingent conditions involving a small, homogeneous population made up of people of comparable cognitive ability, and probably upholding traditional social norms. Once social complexity develops, and especially when women have the vote, democracy is corrupted into authoritarianism – and perhaps tyranny, on which I repeat my original point: that whether a ruling class is good or bad (tyrannical), depends on where one stands. A king can be a tyrant to one person and an absolute charmer to somebody else. He may be benign towards his own people and cruel and repressive towards a people he wishes to conquer and plunder. Depends, doesn’t it.

    That brings me to the Spiked article, which bears the subtitle: “If we allow banks to unperson people, we open the door to tyranny.” I don’t know where the people at Spiked have been hiding. If they think denying a bunch of posh, well-heeled dissidents bank accounts is opening the door to tyranny, what about mass immigration, which has been imposed on the native population against their wishes and harms society but benefits the ruling class and their middle-class functionaries?

    • Tom: Farage says that he tried several other UK banks, and none of them were willing to open accounts for him. That may or may not be true. If it is true (and Farage would be in big trouble if it was ever shown to have been false!), it may be due to difficulties with UK banking in general, particularly regarding his business account. Business accounts weren’t that easy to get, even when I got mine way back in 1993. That has only got harder over time. And a Coutts business account probably has some special privileges only available to the rich.

      The BBC seems to think that Coutts closed the accounts because he didn’t have enough money in them. That, again, may or may not be true. But it would not explain why other banks refused to open even personal accounts for him.

      And denying anyone a bank account without a good and provable reason (such as a past bankruptcy) is tyranny. Spiked were not wrong to use the Orwellian word “unperson.” It doesn’t matter how “posh” or “well-heeled” they are. Those who are neither of these things (or even only one of them) have good reason to fear that they may be next.

      • As confirmed in Spiked article, he is not actually being completely denied banking facilities.

        I don’t, of course, agree with denying banking facilities to people on account of their political beliefs, but what I don’t understand about your position is how you can support a property-based society while suggesting that the bank should be restricted in its choices as to who to do business with. Surely it should be up to the bank and the bank should be free to make unfair decisions?

        It may be tyranny, but tyranny is implicit in a society based on private property. If I walk into Tesco carrying a camera and start recording, Tesco will order me to stop and threaten to eject me if I don’t. Tesco could, if they wish, insist that I only enter their store while wearing a green woolly jumper, corduroys and Wellingtons.

        • Tom, a bank should be able to refuse to open a new account if they wish. But they ought to have to give a reason, and to make that reason public on demand. And there ought to be an appeal procedure, in which the final judgement is made by someone outside the bank.

          Moreover, if the other banks’ refusal to give Farage accounts is based on their unwillingness to go through the “PEP” rabbit-hole, that just shows that the whole “PEP” nonsense is unworkable. (By the way, the PEP idea was invented by the Wolfsberg group!) If Farage is seen as a risk to a bank because of his political position, how much more of a risk would, say, Johnson or Sunak be?

          But for a bank to close a pre-existing account is another matter entirely. The bank had already chosen to do business with Farage, in this case for more than 40 years. If we can believe what Farage says, they did not give any reason for closing the account(s) at the time the matter was first raised. That is unethical.

          The biggest problem, though, is that we don’t know the full facts. There are claims and counter-claims, and no-one knows who is telling the truth. (Most likely, none of them are).

          • Neil,

            Either you respect property rights or you don’t. Isn’t that what you libertarians like to say to people? Yes, the contract between the bank and Nigel Farage should be (and is) governed by general law, and it may be that there is jurisprudence that says the bank owe Nigel Farage fair treatment and an abundance of due process, even if it is a business account. Yet, ultimately, if the bank do not wish to do business with Nigel Farage, why should they be required to? And if they’ve offered to let him keep his private banking facilities, and furthermore, offered to refer him to their parent banking group for alternative business banking facilities, then what is the issue?

            Maybe the answer is within what you advocate: in a stateless society or minarchy, there would presumably be a greater choice of banking facilities and manifold alternatives to banking, and society would be without statist political pressures. Nevertheless, would you agree with me that the problem in principle remains: namely, that private property can be just as tyrannical as a political state? It’s not a ‘gotcha’ or trick question, I’m just looking at this honestly.

            I accept that the saving grace is that private property relations in their purest form are underpinned by freedom of contract, a signature of voluntarism and consent, but would you not also agree with me that when any freedom is taken to an extreme, it can become repressive?

            For instance, freedom of association sounds marvelous, but in terms of the real world what could then happen is that some people are denied goods or services. It may be that the goods or services being denied are not essential things – we’ve seen the example of wedding cakes for homosexuals – nevertheless it does point to a potential problem with utopian systems that may seem nice in theory and may work from an academic textbook point of view, but may through up serious problems and quandaries in the real world we all have to live in.

            You can’t have your gay cake and eat it too, if you’ll forgive the pun.

            • Tom, contracts are (or should be) governed by both the specific agreements as documented in the contract, and a general presumption of mutual fair dealing or dealing in good faith, which all of us are entitled to as long as we do our part by dealing fairly. This latter, or something like it, may have been what you meant by “general law.” If we can believe Farage’s story, then the banks have not been dealing fairly with him. That is the issue.

              And I don’t think that any freedom, even taken to an extreme, becomes repressive unless it is invoked in bad faith, or the other party has been acting in bad faith.

              • You’ve an awfully generous view of human nature. I think it would make me a mark if I thought along the same lines as you.

  2. I think this might have something to do with Black Rock and its ESG programme, whose tentacles reach into every cranny of business activity. Businesses now have to ensure that those ‘upstream’ (e.g. suppliers) and ‘downstream’ (e.g. customers) comply with all the ESG nonsense. I am certain that Nigel’s ESG score will be low enough to cause concern in the boardrooms.
    CBDC’s will soon be upon us, and when that happens, they won’t need to close anybody’s bank account – they can just turn off your money at will, for any reason or no reason.
    There is, thankfully, a solution to this spreading cancer. And that is Bitcoin. With Bitcoin, you become your own bank. You don’t need anybody’s permission to transact.
    Humanity will very soon undergo a ‘hard fork’, to borrow the crypto terminology. There will be those who choose to live their lives in the digital jail being built for us by the government, and there will be those of us who have embraced the Bitcoin revolution – free to transact peer-to-peer without anybody looking over our shoulders to see when we have exceeded our ‘carbon

    • I too suspect that BlackRock has a big hand in all this. Did you know that they are the major shareholder in the biggest UK bank, Lloyd’s, that isn’t a member of the Wolfsberg Group?

      But unfortunately, I can’t agree with you about Bitcoin. It’s simply another way of trying to persuade people to invest everything they have into a project that can simply be blown away at any time, either by direct establishment action or by “gently” suffocating its holders. The reality is, that the only wealth that can be preserved long-term is objective wealth, or what some call tangible wealth. Land, gold, and the rest.

      That said, I do agree that there’s a “hard fork” coming. I think this “fork” has been going on for a long time, but we’ve only really woken up to it in the last few decades. But for me, we need something much bigger than Bitcoin to make sure enough of us take the “right” (in whatever meaning) fork.

      BTW, is that you, Hugo?

  3. n May 2022, in the context of the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine the Wolfsberg group suggested banks screen their bank customers for negative news stories, “in order to assess their financial crime risk” – oh really? Dow Jones News Service criticised the document as it did not address the importance of using licensed media in assessing the credibility of negative news media sources identified on the internet. And what exactly are “negative news stories”? It sounds like, for instance, any questioning of the agreed MSM promulgated current narrative … pandemic … Ukraine war ….LGBTQ….

    • Michael: I was aware of the “negative news stories” issue. My problems with it were: what is the definition of a negative news story? From whose point of view does it have to be negative? And are “licensed media,” for example the BBC, any more truthful than your ordinary blogger? You may well be right that this is just a smokescreen, intended to make people think the banks have a “right” to cancel anyone who doesn’t toe the establishment line.

      Also, if they really did take “negative news stories” as an indicator of financial crime risk, shouldn’t they have de-banked Boris Johnson the moment the Partygate story came out?

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