Public Affairs: Soap Box - Jo-Ann Robertson, MD of public affairs and corp comms, Ketchum Pleon

In the aftermath of the local government and London mayoral elections, the coalition is having a crisis of confidence. Despite a strong showing from the Labour Party, turnout was depressingly low and so, alongside the Government, even Ed Miliband is having to ponder how to make the great British public care about politics again.

As ever, the answer from the political elite is that we need to 'engage' voters. In London, there have been calls to make Labour's selection process to choose the next mayoral candidate an open primary. But this misses the point and continues to treat the electorate as shallow.

While we become obsessed with process and internal structure, what the electorate actually wants is a decent set of policies - not gimmicks, or the easy option, but solid policies that relate to everyday life and make things easier.

Our elected local government leaders are doing it all the time, with some of the most radical and effective answers to the economic climate coming from leading Labour councils in London and beyond.

It is time for the career politicians in London and the policy wonks in their ivory towers to stop obsessing about engaging the electorate through process and thinking that they are in an episode of The West Wing. Policy substance is the way to win back voter engagement.

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