In your intriguing piece on M&C Saatchi (How will the ad agency that demonised the left now take on the alt-right?, G2, 16 February), Matthew Collins is quoted as sceptical because he says: “No ad can convince people that their lives are better than they actually are.” But in the Soviet Union that is what happened. In Susan Richards’ revealing account of Russians waking up to reality when the iron curtain was lifted, Epics of Everyday Life, she asked a woman recovering from the shock how could she have believed the propaganda when her family’s experience was so different. “We thought we were the exception,” was the answer. I wish M&C Saatchi luck, but agree with Collins that jobs and improved local circumstances would be more help. It is also the best way to turn young offenders away from crime. But don’t forget many of those on the far right supporting Ukip and Trump are in work. They all need hope, not hate, to change their nihilistic worldview. Attention must be paid.
Visiting professor, Mannheim Centre for Criminology, LSE
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