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Coutts, Catholics, and ‘cancel culture’

Catholic Union Deputy Director, James Somerville-Meikle, writes:

I have never explored opening a Coutts account. I somehow doubt my Catholic Union salary would put me in the bracket of high-net worth individuals which the bank is famous for looking after.

But if I were a potential customer, I wouldn’t want my political or personal views to be held against me. This increasingly seems to be the reason why Nigel Farage’s account was closed by the bank after an internal briefing raised concerns about his “xenophobic, chauvinistic and racist views”.

Whatever you think about the former Brexit Party leader, it is worrying that a person’s views should be judged in this way. Coutts has perhaps chosen the wrong person to ‘cancel’ as Mr Farage has hit back strongly at the decision, putting the bank on the back foot.

While opening a high-net-worth bank account may not be the ultimate litmus test for a free and fair society, it does speak to an attitude in which people and groups can be cancelled if their views are not considered mainstream.

We see this with Catholic events and speakers, in the workplace, and increasingly in business decisions. Not all Catholics will find common cause with Mr Farage’s views, but his willingness to take a stand is something more of us may need to do.