What distinguishes left and right and what is the balance between them. Why are political issues are so divisive?

I am drawn to the left because I believe that only a government can run certain services and projects such as education, health, infrastructure and defence.

The right argues that these services can be run better by private enterprise. I question therefore what is the point of the state if not to organise collective social projects, and if it does not then it shrinks to nothing, and there is ultimately no country and no society.

We may institute competition in the health service but justified only if competition genuinely drives down costs, makes organisations waste less, but not if it makes them cut corners and lower standards. The standards in the health service should be the highest, and we should be prepared to pay for them. The state is the guarantor of fairness and equality.

Society needs glue to hold it together. A set of values shared beliefs, upheld by justice and law as the basis for civilisation and for society as we know it. Otherwise, we would return to the survival of the strongest, the fittest, the meanest, the most violent as in the middle ages. We have come a long way since, having understood the importance of human rights to oppose anarchy and to support the equal rights of all.

Socialism is built on these notions of equality, to give people equal opportunities, even if it is not possible for all people to achieve the same heights. Not all people have the same intellect or capacity to produce, but society underwrites protection the weakest to perform to the best of each person's abilities and so contribute to the whole.

By its nature, therefore, the basis of socialism is that the strongest support the weak. But let us not confuse socialism with the centrally planned economies of the Soviet Union which put aside individual freedom on pain of punishment.