Marble Falls Let’s shed a big fat crocodile tear for the elites here and abroad. Their secretive real estate transactions are on their way to being more transparent both in the US and Britain. Their private law firms, corporate filings, and bank accounts have been exposed by whistleblowers and hackers. Their legacy admissions are under fire at Harvard and other expensive, private universities. All of this is almost as bad as when they started having to allow women and nonwhite members in their private clubs. No worries really, given the huge gap between them and the rest of us, they can take quite a few hits given how lofty their pedestals.
All of which makes a big dustup within the elites across the pond kind of bizarrely humorous. Nigel Farage is a daft rightwing firebrand in the United Kingdom and wherever people don’t turn the page quickly or change the channel in Europe. He was credited as a primary architect of Brexit which took Britain out of the European Union and a short-lived party over there called UKIP, United Kingdom Independence Party, which scared some of the other elites for a bit until it bored the voters, who have increasingly felt buyers’ remorse over the whole “Leave” thing. Farage’s stock has fallen start post-Brexit. He showed up in the ranks of the Trump supporters in 2020, but otherwise, like so many, disappeared in the pandemic, when all of us had more important things to worry about.
He’s back though in a strange, it could only happen to the elite, kind of tempest in a teapot. Turns out he had been a customer of an old line, fancy pants British bank, Coutts, founded in 1692, whose continuing claim to fame is the fact that it is the bank of choice for the royals. The bank seems to have concluded that Farage’s extremist profile was a reputational problem for them and booted him out. Having a personal grievance, he seized a platform on the front pages to complain, and hooted and hollered about his closed account there. The Prime Minister claimed that “No one should be barred from using basic services for their political views. Free speech is the cornerstone of our democracy.”
All of us down here, still standing on green earth, know that’s poppycock. Free speech and private enterprise, much less private banking, have nothing whatsoever to do with each other. If anyone who has ever opened a bank account bothered for a minute to read the fine print, they would know they can be terminated as a customer at the whim of the bank for virtually any reason. There’s no grievance procedure or reason given. There’s no reversal available in court. Banks here and there can claim “reputational” concern, and you’re gone. Or they can claim nothing whatsoever and give you thirty days to find another place for your business. In truth, I’ll bet Nigel and the rest of the bluebloods over there and over here know this only too well. Most people booted from banks would zip their lips and move on. Being a bit of a controversial figure myself, I could tell some stories, if I wanted.
In Nigel’s case, the chief executive of Coutts parent company, NatWest Group, had to resign because she blabbed about his personal account to the BBC radio network. That’s a no-no that even prompted some sympathy from Sir Keir Starmer, head of the Labour Party, who was willing to circle the wagons around Nigel for this breach of the elites’ code of omerta. At least in the USA, when Trump gets booted by a bank, it’s largely because he doesn’t pay them back on his loans, and to his credit, maybe more from the code of the scammer than some sense of privilege, he just finds another sucker bank.
If they have deep pockets, they’ll always find another place to put their money. Pity the poor elites, I don’t think so.