So a matter of hours and a swift volte face by NatWest. “Internal communications error”, , …”central process” …”not fully understood”…etc.
I sort of expected that.
Its what all big corporates do when caught with their trousers down!
Very reminiscent of filtering/blocking more widely, in which every single mis-block and over-filter has been a one-off mistake. No, honestly.
A few out-takes. First, this was effectively censorship. Its one of the reasons why the government’s five-point plan for controlling the net (which is explained in greater detail in the book) includes the idea of passing legislation to make it easier for financial organisations to not deal with businesses they consider (morally) dodgy.
Not unlawful. Because that is covered already by pre-existing law. But, you know: the sort of thing that is very difficult to define in law though “you know it when you see it”.
Second, i am lucky. Privileged in this instance. Because as a journo with access to media, my case very quickly ascended the corporate hierarchy. Not so, most people.
I don’t NOT use that privilege when i need to. It is, after all, one of the main ones i retain and i also take the view that sometimes, the right conversation in the right ear can smooth the way for others after. I know, f’rinstance, that over the last few years i have changed corporate policy in more than a few places in ways that might make life just a teensy bit easier for other people.
And third? Well, the big question is why NatWest would refuse an account even if the book WAS intended as pure smut. Because as long as it is not unlawful, i’m not sure that its any of their business.
I worked on a series of military books many years back. Very ick. And one of the journals in which we wanted to advertise included this in their advertising T’s and C’s: “The journal does not accept publicity for weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear, biological and chemical”.
Well, quite. And i hope naughty RBS, NatWest’s parent, never opened any bank accounts for Saddam Hussein – or any other pole on the axis of evil…
So, i have asked NatWest to let me have guidelines on what they would refuse to open accounts for and, if they do happen to include material on that list that is lawful but possibly not to their taste, why they think themselves justified in doing that.
I’ll let you all know the answer on Monday.