The latest disclosures of what was going on behind the scenes at NatWest when Nigel Farage was “de-banked” are both revealing and quite shocking.
They reveal a culture of employees openly disparaging one of their customers – and in some cases making libellous allegations. The staff seemed to openly celebrate closing Mr Farage’s account, with one gloating that he was a “Mr nobody now he has completed Brexit...”
What these astonishingly inappropriate and childish comments reveal is how this culture must have come from the top of the bank. After this revelation, we can only wonder how the bank has behaved with its other clients.
At the heart of this lies a new phenomenon born out of the internet. Institutions both commercial and governmental obsess about what is said about them on social media. They seem to ignore the fact that sites like X, or Twitter as it was previously known, are completely unrepresentative of the majority of the British public.
This new culture of virtue signalling has seemingly replaced the solid and more often boring purpose of managing money and providing services. Fearful of being “cancelled” by unrepresentative groups of activists, these institutions now feel compelled to show their empathy for a myriad of divisive minority causes and by so doing, taking sides.
It makes me wonder why any right-minded person would entrust their account to NatWest when the Farage case may well not have been a one-off, but instead an illustration of how the bank sees its clients. The trail of commentary shows that employees felt free to bring this destructive cancel culture into the Bank.
Yet NatWest is not alone. From Black Lives Matter to the trans rights debate, individuals and institutions choose to embrace this divisive culture to the detriment of their prime responsibility of equitable, professional and rational decision-making. Nothing has made this clearer than the behaviour of the NatWest staff, and their astonishing internal commentary.
I am not alone in being surprised that the chief executive who oversaw this culture, Dame Alison Rose, appears set to depart with a pay-off of some £10 million. Instead of a bonus for failure, the Government should now sell its remaining shares – and expose NatWest to the full mercy of the free market. The cashflow boost from the sale could then be put towards the cause of cutting taxes; a bonus for the taxpayer.
As institutions retreat and back down in front of the woke mob, society is turning in on itself in an attritional debate over rights and responsibilities. NatWest is simply the most egregious example of what is sadly becoming common practice.