The two seismic elections of 2016, Donald Trump’s Presidential victory and the British “Brexit” referendum, were linked by the common thread of a phenomenon they served to expose. Trump’s win and the ensuing resistance in his own administration showed the existence of a “deep state” that could be mobilized against an undesired political outcome in the USA. The existence of this shadow government was held up to transatlantic scrutiny as the UK turned out to have one as well. Seven years ago, despite tireless work on the part of these éminences grises, results went against them, and they have never forgotten it.
Trump’s cardinal sin was that he was not from the American political class, while the “Brexiteers” got the result the British political class didn’t want. And so the respective deep states of the US and the UK had their missions mapped out, to correct these electoral anomalies by any means necessary, and one of the greatest means a government has for persuading its citizens to vote correctly is still the media. The messenger became just as much a priority as the message, and the media had to be ideologically aligned to denounce Trump and Brexit in perpetuity. They were and still are. Seven years after the global establishment took a double blow, the media are still blaming Trump and Brexit for every broken shoelace when racism, White supremacy and climate change are not available. The media, in Britain more so than in the US, is a Leftist concern, but there have been symptoms of a rightward shift in Britain’s broadcast media in the shape of a relative newcomer: GB News.
GB News went on-air in June 2021 and, despite a shaky start, has increased its viewership to a third of that of an ailing BBC. The rise of the channel has alarmed the deep state, from government to the shrill cacophony of social media activists. The channel soon parted company with its figurehead, veteran broadcaster Andrew Neil, who may have been spooked by the first offensive against GB News, one which began before they even went on-air.
Stop Funding Hate (SFH) is an activist group that lobbies advertising companies not to place ads with certain outlets. They went to town on GB News, “persuading” a lot of potential advertisers to starve the channel of revenue. SFH is a standard activist outfit, labelling everything with which they disagree with the emotively charged but meaningless word ‘hate’, a term with which they seem to have a pathological obsession. Their mission statement begins;
Stop Funding Hate began when a group of people came together online to express concern at the way certain newspapers were using hate and division to drive sales. Advertisers are a major part of this business model of hate. As newspaper sales decline, their ads fund the hate that is being printed.
There is, as always and despite its Tourette-like repetition, no working definition of “hate” given. And, as newspaper sales really are declining, SFH have turned their guns on the booming industry of right-of-center TV and online news channels such as GB News. They are not unaccompanied.
HOPE not Hate (HNH), the British activist group I covered here for Occidental Observer, have taken an associative approach to GB News, linking various contributors with figures or organizations deemed heretical, however tenuously. “Far-right extremists”, say HNH, “find a friend in GB News”.
A media offensive would not be complete without a word from the Jewish Quarter. One of the opinion jockeys at GB News is Neil Oliver, a rugged Celt very much given to the now-familiar trope of the coming global government. Any media comment which references global governance has been pre-judged as “antisemitic” by The Board of Deputies of British Jews (who are more sheriff than deputy when it comes to policing the townspeople). The complaint is even thinner than usual, with Oliver’s monologues claimed to reference “conspiratorial antisemitism or other misinformation”.
So much for the activist outliers, the deep state’s foot-soldiers. Closer to the heart of government, there is another active unit working to bring GB News down. The Office of Communications (OfCom) is the regulatory body responsible for ensuring political impartiality in broadcasting. While there has been a long-running argument that the BBC is regularly given a pass despite being blatantly biased, Ofcom have not been so lenient with GB News.
The latest OfCom investigation into GB News concerns the channel’s “Don’t Kill Cash” campaign. They are being investigated using Ofcom’s main weapon, the Communications Act of 2003, which bars broadcasters from expressing “views and opinions … on matters of political and industrial controversy or current public policy”. But GB News have been clever and used a method which has caused further anxiety to the deep state and its grocery clerks: they asked the public.
Clearly, the campaign is aimed at proposals for CBDCs, or Central Bank Digital Currencies, hailed by the Left as the perfect tool for surveillance and control, decried by the Right for the same reasons, plus the effects of a cashless society on those who rely on point-of-sale liquidity. Window cleaners don’t take Visa. So, GB News organized a public petition. In Britain, if a petition is sent to Parliament with at least 100,000 signatures, the subject matter or proposal may be debated in the House of Commons. GB News’s campaign received 160,000 signatures in four days, and this looks a lot too much like democracy to pass unnoticed by the watchtowers of the deep state. GB News also make a point of their contact with the public, with petitions, viewer e-mail segments, and vox pop.
Ofcom have also chased clubbable Canadian commentator and author Mark Steyn from the station. Steyn was cautioned for comments on the Covid vaccine, but the watchdog will be aware of his views on a string of protected topics, including climate change. Steyn’s views on global warming have been the center of a long-running legal battle between the presenter and climatologist Michael Mann.
Another ongoing Ofcom investigation concerns politicians being allowed to present opinionated political TV shows, which again GB News neatly side-step by employing serving politicians to host the panel-led chat sections of their output. The problem as the deep state sees it is that all these presenters are right-of-center politically. Left-wing British newspaper The Guardian makes a telling comment about Ofcom policy;
GB News and Talk TV’s [a rival start-up] willingness to push opinionated television news in a manner not traditionally seen on British television has left Ofcom playing catch-up, trying to apply a broadcast code written in a different era dominated by the BBC and ITV.
Apart from admitting that Ofcom does not pay attention to the evolution of an industry in which it is a key player, this means nothing. This is not some update of antiquated rules; the aim of the corporation is to go after a new player who is playing rather too well. In this case, that means GB News. But the British deep state may have gone too far with one of the presenters at the channel, a man who has for the past month been at the center of one of the biggest censorship scandals the UK has ever seen.
Nigel Farage is the ex-leader of the Brexit Party and now a popular presenter at GB News. At the end of June, Farage was contacted by his bank, the prestigious Coutts &Co., and told that his account was being closed. Also at the end of June, Farage won the TRIC (Television and Radio Industry Club) award for News Presenter of the Year for his GB News show. He was booed at the presentation by a partisan crowd of predictably Leftist media rowdies. Exactly a week later, the CEO of Coutts parent company, NatWest Bank, leaked a story to the BBC at an industry dinner. The story was that Farage’s account had been closed as he lacked sufficient funds (at least £1 million) to keep it open, and the story ran on the BBC’s website the next day.
The story proved to be very fake news, and the BBC eventually gave a rare apology to Farage. But for Coutts, problems were just beginning.
Coutts is what used to be called a “household name” in the UK, now better known as a “name brand”. Not many people can afford to bank there, but everyone has heard of it. That’s how branding works. Not many people drive a Rolls-Royce, but everyone has heard of the company (particularly Germans now that BMW owns Rolls-Royce).
Farage formally requested all the information on him held by the bank, as he is entitled to do by law. In reply, he received a 40-page dossier which, apart from being grossly defamatory, made it clear that Farage’s account was closed for purely political reasons. “Brexit” was mentioned 80 times in the document. Farage went public with the dossier, followed (after a struggle) by the resignations of the Chairman of Coutts and the CEO of NatWest Bank.
In terms of brand damage, Coutts do not sell ice cream or beer, they provide banking services for the rich, so there can’t and won’t be an effective boycott. NatWest is a different matter. People, and a lot of them, may close their accounts not because they are trying to teach the brand a lesson, but because they wish both to hold conservative views and also function as a normal, solvent human being. NatWest is a household name in the UK.
But so is Nigel Farage. There will be plenty of British people who can’t name the Foreign Secretary or Chancellor of the Exchequer, but will know the name Farage. He himself has vowed to start a campaign to force government legislation on bank account closures, as he is far from alone in being “de-banked” and many thousands of others are now starting to come forward. But behind the unmasking of the bank’s real motives in closing Farage’s account is not that he has a message that “doesn’t align with Coutts’ values”; it’s that he has a powerful medium for that message in GB News, a channel which is gaining ground, more so due to this affair.
This has raised Farage’s political profile more than any campaign stunt ever could. Usually sneered at by the press, there is a new respect for his leverage. Even German newspaper Die Welt expressed reserved approval for Farage, almost gushing that “Other parties can only dream of his influence”. They might have a point. Farage vs Coutts – which may yet feature as a court case – has shown both that the deep state is as active as ever, and that it can be taken on if its separate hydra-heads are attacked (even in self-defense) individually. The alternative is a Chinese-style credit system whereby the corporate approval of expressed opinion will become a priority requirement to open a bank account rather than mere solvency.
If the British banking industry is able to enforce compliance with a state-driven narrative, then they are a quasi-legislative sub-contractor of that state. Government has out-sourced censorship to private companies — the same as when you call your bank and speak to someone in India. They are already well on the way to doing this with the big tech companies and online “hate speech”. Farage has exposed the workings of the deep state, and it may be their arrogance that has allowed this story to break. Farage is ensuring it doesn’t stop breaking. NatWest hired a legal firm to investigate the closure of Farage’s account, Travers Smith, whose senior consultant Chris Hale described Brexit in language such as “xenophobic, racist and nostalgic”. Farage Tweeted this, and it is curious to see nostalgia joining xenophobia and racism as one of the new deadly sins. Farage has set up a website for those who have been similarly affected at www.accountclosed.org.
The US, equipped with the First Amendment, would appear to be immune to this gross offense against freedom of speech, but Chase Bank has become embroiled in a row about shutting the account of Dr. Joseph Mercola, a vocal critic of US vaccine policy, and credit processing companies have long canceled payments for sites like The Occidental Observer This presents serious First Amendment concerns if it can be shown that the banks are acting as proxy enforcers of a pro-government narrative, along with the resulting punitive powers granted.
The globalists have many targets, but their prize would be the American First Amendment. With that not gone or at least seriously compromised — as with Canada’s version — the US media could be controlled wholly, with no possibility of news and opinion media which rubbed against the grain. In January of this year, at a World Economic Forum rally, the Vice President for Values and Transparency at the European Commission, Vĕra Jourová, spoke of “Illegal hate speech, which you will soon have in the US. I think that we have a strong reason why we have this in the criminal law”.
In January this was just a petulant slap at Elon Musk, then in the process of trolling the EU over big tech responsibility for “hate speech”. But it shows what is on the EU’s mind. In terms of free speech and the media, they would prefer America to be a lot more like Turkey or Iran.
So, the deep state is not a shadowy cabal directing operations from an undersea island, or cavorting at Bohemian Grove. The deep state is the smooth interlocking of the various social platforms a citizen can and must use with the aim of aligning that citizen’s public-arena expression to conform to a state narrative. Nigel Farage may have struck a blow which will reverberate on both sides of the Atlantic, and GB News will benefit from his — and their — persecution.