Jeff Prestridge  

Playing politics with cash

Jeff Prestridge

Jeff Prestridge

Both politics and personal finance (obviously) fascinate me. Yet, for the most part, I manage to keep them apart. Pigeonhole them.

The former I believe is best left for heated discussion around the dinner table after a bottle or two of tongue-loosening Rioja.

The latter, which you know I love writing about, pays the bills and ensures I can go holidaying in Mallorca at least twice a year – walking the delightful trails of the Tramuntana Mountains (God willing, I am off in June to marvel at the spring flowers).

Yet the arrival of Jeremy Corbyn as a significant force in British politics has changed things somewhat (he is no Tony Blair, that is for sure). Writing about him is not done lightly.

The more he edges closer to power, the more scared I become that he will put the country on a course to rack and ruin like Labour did in the early 1970s.

You might think we are already on that road and I would not necessarily disagree with you.

It is a view (Mr Corbyn, rack and ruin) shared by the editor of the Mail on Sunday, who has gently encouraged me on three separate occasions in recent months to write about the personal finance implications of a Corbyn-led government. No more pigeon-holing.

Writing about Mr Corbyn is not something you do lightly. Criticise him on any level and you are guaranteed to get a heap of abuse flung in your general direction.  

And I mean gallons of vitriol, usually from members of Momentum. Thick skin andcloth ears are required, as well as a steely determination to switch off your phone for 24 hours to avoid the worst of the bile sent your way.

Earlier this month, I put together the third of these reports: an eight-page special on how to protect your cash from Mr Corbyn.

I admit I did not spare the Labour leader, calling him a Marxist (he is – and proud of it) and highlighting his admiration for the economics of Hugo Chavez, former president of Venezuela – policies that left the South American economy in a dreadful pickle. But the resulting flack was more than impressive.

“Peddling lies in the Daily Hell again, Jeff?” asked one person on social media. “Why did you write such a crazy article?” asked another.

The best was: “Saw your article on Jeremy Corbyn and his apparent loathing for wealth. I feel you’ve missed your calling by about 80 years. You’d have been a real asset to Joseph Goebbels’ propaganda machine, but then you write for the ‘few not the many’’.”

That is a bit rich coming from a party facing accusations of anti-Semitism, but I refused to be provoked. In situations like this, it is best not to engage and entice further opprobrium.