The board has been set. The pieces are in place, pawns safeguarding the more “powerful” pieces who take shelter behind them. The only problem being working people are the pawns. The game is rigged and certainly not in our favour.

Last week saw yet another increase in the rate of interest – the thirteenth in a row. The Bank of England, which it was revealed last year had shelled out £23 million in bonuses to staff, saw fit to continue this path, inflicting misery and hardship on millions across the country.

It's been a continuous failure of our democracy that has empowered the well renumerated people, more often than not men in suits, to control the levers of our economic system, taking calculated gambles that result in real-life harm to families across our communities.

In their ailing fight to bring inflation under control, the Governor of the Bank of England moved the first piece: the sacrificial pawn. He urged caution on workers’ wage demands. A guy earning £597,592 per year told teachers and nurses that they were the ones who must show restraint.

Merrily echoed by the Prime Minister hours later in a stunning coincidence, he tried to talk tough, hinting that he would ignore public sector pay rise recommendations under the guise of “affordability”. I can’t remember the last time bankers’ bonus and executive level salaries were questioned under an affordability banner.

There is an outrageous gaslighting afoot. Before our very eyes, the attack strategy from the powerful pieces has been set: it’s the workers who are to blame. Not political inaction. Not failed economic theory. Not casino capitalism that caused a run on the pound, pensions to be under threat and mortgage rates to rise. It was those pesky workers simply asking for their pay not to be cut.

The reality is that the driver of inflation isn’t the wages of ordinary people. Don’t just take my word for it – take the word of the International Monetary Fund, not traditionally a friend of the working class.

As they reported last week, “profits were about one percent above their pre-pandemic level in the first quarter of this year. Meanwhile, compensation of employees was about two percent below trend."

Their analysis shows that, across Europe, profits accounted for 45% of price rises since the start of 2022. In other words: corporate profits up, workers’ wages down.

Across the UK, corporations are reporting bumper profits during this cost-of-living crisis. Barclays reported a £2.6bn pre-tax profit – up 16% and its highest quarterly profit since 2011. Lloyds Banking Group reported £2.3bn pre-tax profits – a 46% increase, while NatWest Banking Group reported £1.9bn profits – a 50% increase. HSBC, meanwhile, announced pre-tax profits of $13bn (£10bn), compared with $4.2bn for the same quarter in 2022.

What about the oil and energy companies? Shell has accumulated $9.6 billion. BP has acquired $5 billion. Closer to home, SSE has doubled profits to £2.18 billion whilst Scottish Power’s parent company Iberdrola took £1.32 billion.

Supermarkets? They’re part of the windfall too: £2.42 billion for Sainsbury’s and Tesco got in on the act with £2.03billion last year, up from £1.6billion pre-pandemic.

Let’s not get lost in the figures. Behind every single penny is the toil, sweat and work of ordinary people struggling to make ends meet. The pawns at the front.

Rishi Sunak or Jeremy Hunt don’t talk about restraint for these companies. They call for restraint for the workers.

Yet spurred on by out-of-touch politicians, the Bank of England continues to increase interest rates in an attempt to suppress workers’ wages and economic demand.

It is, by proxy, a sickening attempt to engineer a recession. Our policy makers are using a hammer to screw a nail. The result is further splintering of an already broken economy.

Rather than raising interest rates to create a recession, we should be using the tax system to capture excess profits and discourage further price gouging.

We should be introducing taxes to capture the wealth accumulated by the super-rich during the pandemic. We should be using the money raised to increase productivity, build resilience in core public services, invest in our domestic manufacturing capability and ensure we are not at such a great risk from global supply chain shocks. Above all, we should be taking our energy system into public ownership to limit energy prices, as the French have done.

Don’t ever let politicians tell you that your wages are causing inflation, they aren’t. The evidence is in front of our face. Profiteering is driving up costs and they want you to take the blame. If this makes you angry then get organised. Workers aren’t pawns in a game, we’re people. We don’t need pay restraint. We need a pay rise.

Roz Foyer is General Secretary of the Scottish Trades Union Congress.