ownership services like train operators who have consistently failed to functionproperly in the private sector. An active, long term industrial policy must bepursued to dramatically increase the share of manufacturing within GDP even
as the UK’s tax base dependence on financial services is reduced. Government
support of vocational training as a genuine alternative to academia is alsoessential to this reshaping and will also take the better part of a decade todeliver.The pol
itician’s temptation in all of this will be to promise easy solutions that
will offer the promise of change overnight at the expense of someone else. Too
often this has been a particular Labour curse in which each new ‘Good Thing’ is
promised to the voter
by being paid for by ‘Someone else.’ For 2015, Labour
must resist this temptation. Because believability in all of this is achieved byblending low cost, immediate change policies (like the interest rate cap) withlong term expensive policies (like a million affordable homes).
Here Labour can learn from the Conservative’s winning frame on austerity.
Consider: austerity states that things are hard, that they will get worse andthat only in the long term will things improve. By tapping into ideas of shareds
acrifice and long term change the politician’s promise becomes believable
again. After all, as any Labour canvasser can attest, voters have a remarkable
‘bullshit detector’ and are increasingly likely to reject easy, overnight solutions
as impossible even as they believe the truth-telling politician who offers short-term pain for long-term gain.
But that’s not the only means Labour has at its disposal to convince a wary
electorate to lend their vote once more. The way in which Labour does politicsboth in opposition and then in government must also be different. For aLabour Party that is a movement again with hundreds of thousands of activistswill be capable not just of electing a Labour government but of also shapingour society both through community actions and by influencing government
policy. For as Ed Miliband used to say during the leadership election: “had we
listened in government to the Party we would have built more houses and
avoided war in Iraq.” A shell of a party with fewer then 200,000 pape
rmembers can be far more easily ignored then a movement representing nearlya million activists.
The implications of this approach are profound for Labour’s policy offer.Instead of proposing a series of changes to people’s lives on their behalf and
for their own good, Labour policy becomes about what people can dotogether, with government, council, community, private sector and individual