The Spectator

NatWest’s attack on Nigel Farage was a political hitjob

Photo-illustration: Lukas Degutis (Getty, PA Images)

The Coutts scandal can be traced back to the day, two years ago, when the bank proudly announced that it had achieved ‘B Corp’ status. B Corp is a little-known non-profit which operates a scheme a bit like Stonewall’s Diversity Champions Programme. Companies that sign up and jump through the necessary hoops will receive a certificate declaring that they’re ethical and inclusive.

Business and politics should be kept separate, yet woke capitalism wants to fuse them together

B Corp’s website declares: ‘Certified B Corporations are leaders in the global movement for an inclusive, equitable and regenerative economy.’ It adds that its scheme seeks to measure ‘a company’s entire social and environmental impact’.

When Coutts announced itself a B Corp, it was essentially saying that the bank had been politicised, which should have been a warning of what was to follow. Nigel Farage was excluded from the bank as part of its inclusivity agenda. His politics did not align with the bank’s values, so he was punished and ‘debanked’.

A bank should be concerned with finances, not politics. NatWest’s attack on Farage was a political hit-job, but the board of NatWest, which owns Coutts, seem to have thought their actions were reasonable. Their main regret seems to be not that all this happened, but that it became public.

Before she had to resign as chief executive, the NatWest board was declaring ‘full confidence’ in Dame Alison Rose. Once, it would have been a sackable offence for a junior in a bank to break client confidentiality. Yet when the chief executive herself admitted to doing so – in talking to a journalist about Farage’s finances – she thought, even briefly, that she could carry on. Old-fashioned banking values seemed to have been forgotten.

This is not a row about Farage.

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