SIR – Good old Mr Bird (Letters, January 11)! It is gratifying to know that when I go fishing in the (somewhat brackish) right-wing pool, I am at least guaranteed a bite from himself. It is unfortunate, however, that, as usual, he makes a number of quite deliberate factual errors.

Firstly, I have never professed to be a true socialist, or any other sort for that matter. Like most sane individuals, I can see merit in many aspects of the wider political spectrum. While I do prefer a collectivist approach, I also equally strive to avoid rabid dogma (no pun intended).

Secondly, he persistently (and deliberately) clouds the very clear water between socialism and communism. He knows the difference, and so do most intelligent people (although many pretend they don’t).

Finally, I am always particularly amused at the political right’s attempts to denigrate everything Russian. I would have thought a man of Mr Bird’s seniority would remember the debt the West owes to Russia and the 26 million Russians (16 million of whom were civilians) that gave their lives beating the stuffing out of the Nazis and their axis pals (alone, I might add).

Christopher Hindle, Osterley Grove, Bradford