Charles Moore Charles Moore

The Spectator’s Notes | 13 July 2017

Also in Notes: Laura Kuenssberg’s threats from Corbynites; the BBC on think-tanks; Mrs T and the east London comprehensive

For some time now, banks have wielded hamfistedly the concept of the ‘politically exposed person’. They have withdrawn bank accounts from — or refused them to — not only kleptocrats from crazy dictatorships but also blameless citizens of parliamentary democracies like our own. Now, I gather, they have started to persecute the fringes of the British royal family. One such royal person tells me that he had to resign from the board of a charity before the bank thought it safe to let it open an account. He adds that he has two royal relations who have been refused accounts. In the case of an American bank, it declined the customer because it wanted nothing to do with ‘present or past non-US officials, their families or close associates’. Strange that the family whose head appears on every British bank note and coin should encounter this difficulty. Does royalty have no human rights?

In the row which has rumbled on about Laura Kuenssberg’s allegedly biased coverage of the general election, one significant factor has not come into the public domain. Early in the campaign, Kuenssberg was assailed by Labour supporters. But later on, and in the post-election recriminations, it was Conservative supporters who were the more annoyed with her. Perhaps this is simply explained by the fact that Labour did better than expected and the Tories did worse. However, the bit the Tories haven’t said in public but keep complaining about in private is that the BBC never reported that Kuenssberg was so badly threatened online by Corbyn supporters that she was given personal protection. They feel that this subdued her capacity to cover the contest clearly. They suspect that if Theresa May had possessed fans as thuggish as Mr Corbyn’s, the BBC would have made a meal of it. I do not know the details of this story, and the BBC won’t comment on security questions, but I have had it informally confirmed from within the BBC.

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