THERE are fewer reasons to be cheerful than there used to be. Inflation is to reach 13%. Interest rates are going in only one direction. The average household’s energy bill is predicted to exceed £5,000 by the end of the winter; that’s more than £400 every month, and it is a financial game-changer for very, very many people.

Very, very few people are immune to this cost of living shock. And, so, it is entirely understandable that as they look at their outgoings hitting the accelerator, they look to their employers to balance the books through a commensurate growth in their earnings.

It sounds so simple, does it not? Simplicity, and an easy way out, is what we all want in times of extreme turmoil. And, we need not look too far to be offered it. For in times of economic trouble, Britain’s far left politicians and activists are always rapid and effective at telling us what we want to hear.

The cost of living crisis is providing them with a new platform, and they are exploiting it extremely effectively. The most prominent reincarnation is the Enough is Enough campaign, backed by Jeremy Corbyn, the man rejected by the working classes in favour of Boris Johnson.

As is generally the case with socialist platforms, the aims are entirely laudable. Their first aim (or “demand”, as they put it) is “A Real Pay Rise”. They want a minimum wage of £15 per hour, public sector pay rising with inflation and an “inflation-busting” rise in pensions and benefits.

Amen to that, yes? Who could argue?

Their second demand is to “slash energy bills” which is exactly what I, for one, want to hear. They’ll do that by cancelling the increases in the price caps and, thereafter, nationalising the energy companies so that the Government can supply us all with cheap energy forever.

Thank goodness for that.

Third, they want to “end food poverty” by increasing state benefits, and fourth to create “decent homes for all” by capping rents charged by private landlords and by throwing up another 100,000 council houses.


Finally, and, reader, you know what’s coming don’t you? “Tax the rich”. The record has been dusted off and the greatest hits are playing – wealth tax, higher corporation tax, higher capital gains tax, and higher tax on the top five per cent of earners.

This is all deeply attractive as a concept. And, of course, it has to be deeply attractive as a concept because in every country around the globe that socialism has been tried, it has failed with devastating consequences.

Critiquing the policies, and digging further than their superficial joyfulness, is easy enough. Inflation-busting increases across the public sector would simply feed further price inflation and create a vicious cycle of economic doom – it needs starved, not fed. That is hard and inconvenient for those of us who are struggling to pay the bills, but it is real life.

Cancelling price caps and nationalising energy companies will not change the global wholesale price of energy, and to do so would merely solve a large problem in the short term at the expense of creating an enormous problem in the long term. We need the energy companies, and their profits, to invest in a renewable future, which governments have neither the skill nor the money to do.

The best way to end food poverty is to keep prices low at the tills, which can only be done in a competitive environment rather than in a nationalised one; the future some on the far left want to see for our supermarkets.

Most landlords have one one or two properties and make a very small profit on them; they are affected by the cost of living crisis, too, and rent caps will simply make them sell up, reducing the supply of properties for rent.

The top 10% of earners pay 60% of the UK’s income tax, and the top 1% pay 30%. The latter group, in particular, tend to have mobile income, and frankly I’d rather keep their tax receipts here than force them elsewhere.

However, this isn’t just about the policies; it is also about the people behind them. It is absolutely critical to understand who these people are in order to then understand what Enough is Enough, and the smattering of other similar campaigns, are really about.

Mick Lynch, best known for pleading poverty on behalf of £80,000-a-year train drivers, is one of its leaders. Mr Lynch is becoming one of the best-kent faces on our screens, running rings round several presenters, and doing his job of holding the Government to ransom highly effectively.

But Mr Lynch is also the man who is thought by some to be using his new fame to suggest that Russia may not be entirely to blame for its invasion of Ukraine. Instead he used an interview to moot that Ukraine – a country whose leader was elected in a free and fair election – may be corrupt, hinted at Naziism, and suggested that its closeness to the European Union was a provocation for Vladimir Putin.

If this were an isolated case, it might be glossed over. But another leading strongman in Enough is Enough is Mr Lynch’s RMT colleague Eddie Dempsey. Where Mr Lynch’s apparent antipathy towards Ukraine is subtle, Mr Dempsey’s appears less so. After Putin’s first invasion of Ukraine, in 2014, Mr Dempsey visited buoyant pro-Russian forces, posing for a photograph with one of their commanders.

This is all in keeping, of course, with the position of their former political leader Mr Corbyn and the Stop The War coalition, which has persistently cited Nato expansion as the driver behind Mr Putin’s horrific war.

A current Labour MP and another Enough is Enough leader, Zarah Sultana, backs that Stop The War position but then, given her views on the former Russian outpost, Cuba, one would expect she would. Last year, when Cuban demonstrators bravely protested against a communist regime which is estimated by some historians to have killed more than 100,000 of its people, not to mention the torture and persistent famine, Ms Sultana suggested that protests would be better aimed at Washington DC.

In truth, a lingering, immovable devotion to Mother Russia runs deeply through Britain’s Left. And we should all be concerned that it appears to run deeply through the Enough is Enough campaign.

Beware the velvet glove, readers. It may contain an iron fist.

• Andy Maciver is Founding Director of Message Matters and Zero Matters

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