David Lane (M Star September 7) is right to point out how the political systems of eastern Europe led to higher status and incomes for manual workers.
This cannot be achieved in a capitalist society, where ownership of productive assets is the index of social worth.
There were also many other positive features to those regimes such as the quality of healthcare, education and sports facilities, and the low levels of acquisitive crime.
But is it really a puzzle why people in those countries don’t vote to bring those systems back?
Their political institutions weren’t very democratic.
There was not enough availability or choice of basic consumer goods.
There were unacceptable levels of state surveillance, control of art and culture, and repression of dissent.
Surely the real puzzle is why anyone would freely choose to go back to those kind of societies?
Socialism means political democracy, it means workers getting goods that they want and need, and it means freedom from oppressive surveillance.
We need to accept that the soviet and Eastern European states were far from perfect examples of socialism and we need to communicate visions of socialism that build on the achievements of capitalism, as well as presenting a balanced analysis of past mistakes and shortcomings along with the genuine achievements.
Until then we have little chance of building left unity and no chance of convincing voters that socialism is the best way forward here and now in the 21st century, not only for manual labourers but for everyone.