Labour has diagnosed the critical issues it believes are central to getting the country back up and running and has devised five missions to tackle them.

Perhaps inspired by the charismatic Mariana Mazzucato and her book Mission Economy, Labour has followed the analogy she lays out of JF Kennedy’s mission to make the US the first country to put a man on the moon. Labour’s leadership have identified what they want to achieve - the ‘missions’ - and, like the space-race, know there will be hundreds of complex problems that have to be solved in order to do so. Mazzucato highlights the importance of Government’s partnerships with businesses, charities, and local governments, to solve those many complex problems. Labour will require that dynamic, cooperative spirit if it is to deliver its objective-led policy aims.

This focus on missions means that a future Labour Government will have to fight not to be steered off course, doggedly working to establish timelines (and meet them) with a Government machine that itself will require a transformation to be able to work in a cross-departmental, project-management style.

Labour is taking a similar approach to purpose driven brands. Companies that have been established with a specific outcome in mind – The Body Shop, Toms, Ben & Jerry’s, and Seventh Generation for example, are all clear about what they want to achieve through the power and success of their companies. It’s not just about sales targets and profit margins, it’s the pursuit of a higher goal. There are three main advantages of this mission-led approach for Labour:

  1. It provides space to define what a modern 21st century Labour Party stands for, what it believes in and what it will do;
  2. It gives opportunity to secure the long-term trust of a sceptical and disillusioned general public by laying very clear markers and introducing independent monitoring, and;
  3. It warns the existing structures of Government to prepare for change now.

Establishing trust is the main focus for Labour which, despite the positive polling, continues to be dogged by accusations of poor past economic management.

Securing the fastest growth in the G7 is top of the party’s mission list. Not only is it central to delivering missions two, three, four and five – it makes clear to the public that the country’s finances are its top concern. Because it takes it so seriously, it can be trusted, and is prepared to take difficult decisions to meet that growth target – as seen in the more flexible language used around Green Prosperity investment. Labour surely also recognises that a population that feels better off is less likely to yearn for political upheaval. Political stability gives a greater chance for Labour’s missions to be completed over multiple terms.

In fact, the top two missions (securing the highest sustained growth in the G7 and making Britain a clean energy superpower) are all about growth, jobs and investment, which enables Labour to set the scene for its positive vision of Britain under a future Labour Government.

All parties want a healthy economy, to create more good jobs, and have more companies start up or move to the UK. But, talking about the G7 isn’t very relatable to the factory worker on 12-hour shifts or the delivery driver struggling to afford fuel for their van. How does that relate to their lives? There have been calls for Labour to move away from the high-level missions to more tangible and memorable pledges that make it clearer for individuals and businesses about what they can expect.

This approach is considered to be a ’sticking plaster’ and undermines Labour’s central argument that, given so many areas of policy failure are impacting the country, the only way it can be made right for the long term is by changing how we do things. Labour’s mission document describes it like this; “With departments only ever dealing with fixing one small piece of a larger puzzle, problems are rarely addressed in the round, or at the root cause, inevitably leading to poor value for money for the taxpayer.”

The detail of health and policing is still to come, but the recent focus on opportunity gave more information on childcare and early years education, generated £1.5bn through VAT on private school fees, and decentralised skills funding.

This is still a long way from the pledge card of ’97, or the catchy ‘education, education, education’ missive, but the latest reveal indicates a communications strategy bringing big picture concepts to living room realities is underway.