The state must accept its role as the glue for society and there are certain roles such as defence, health and education which need the state as guarantors. And because of this, only the state can run social services.
What distinguishes left and right, and what is the balance between them? Why are political issues so divisive?
The left believes that governments are the guarantors of education, health and infrastructure. The Liberal Democrats believe in funding the NHS and improving mental health care.
The right argues that private enterprise is best placed to achieve these services. The Left argues that it is for the state to run social services. But what are the safeguards to ensure equality and access? What is the point of the state if not to organise collective social projects? Otherwise, the state then shrinks to nothing. The State is ultimately the barometer for country and society.
Protecting the NHS
We may institute competition in the health system, but it should only be to drive down cost not quality. Such change is justified only if it makes organisations waste less, but not if it makes them cut corners and lower standards. The standards should be the highest, and we should be prepared to pay for them. The state is the guarantor of fairness and equality.
The State is the Glue
Society needs glue to hold it together. A set of values, common beliefs, upheld by justice and law. This is the basis for civilisation and for civilisation as we know it. Otherwise, we would return to the survival of the strongest, fittest, meanest and the most violent, as in the Middle Ages. We have come a long way since, having understood that equal human rights oppose anarchy.
The core values of Socialism are these notions of equality and equal opportunity, even if not all people can achieve the same heights. Not all people have the same capacity to achieve, but society underwrites the protection of the weakest to do their best and so contribute to the whole.
If Socialism is the support of the weak, it shouldn’t be confused with the centrally planned communist economies which put aside freedom and punish dissension. This is not a caring society.
Brexit and the political turmoil over the last three years have put these issues into public debate and the 2019 general election more so.