Ed Driscoll

Are You Now, Or Have You Ever Been--And Would You Like An ATM Card, Sir?

Britain’s Spectator asks a quite reasonable question–in response to a quite out of bounds one: “Why are our state-owned banks asking customers about their political affiliations?”

Some tip-offs are so awful that you almost hope they are untrue. When I was told by Geoff Robbins, a computer consultant, that he had been asked about his political connections before opening an account with the state-controlled Royal Bank of Scotland it sounded fantastical. Having the state owning the UK banking system is bad enough, but asking about party membership before you open an account? Not in Britain, I thought. And indeed, the RBS press office denied it outright. “We would not ask that question, nor dream of doing so,” said an RBS spokeswoman. So had Robbins concocted his story? I doubted it. So I called RBS Streamline myself and pretend to set up an account for credit card processing facility. I used the details of my mother-in-law’s real company and when they started to talk politics, I switched on the tape recorder.

You can hear the audio of the questions asked in the above YouTube clip; the Royal Bank of Scotland is now admitting that this is, as the British like to say, “a cock-up.” But coming in the land of Airstrip One, it’s certainly a reminder, as Steven Den Beste once wrote, that George Orwell’s 1984 is warning for the rest of us, but a user’s manual for the left.

(Via John Hawkins’ Conservative Grapevine, which has loads of other links well worth your time.)