A major challenge in advocating non-doctrinaire, progressive solutions to social ills is that rational, pragmatic arguments do not have the emotional force of the more simplistic solutions offered by the left and right. Citizenship education (see previous post), if introduced, would go some way towards remedying this situation, but it is not currently in place and it is unlikely that it would ever entirely remove the appeal of populism.
This therefore means that for a pragmatic political programme to gain acceptance from large parts of the electorate, the inclusion of policies with a straightforward popular appeal may be necessary. It should be possible to identify a number of such policies that can still contribute to an overall rational approach to particular issues e.g.
- Greater English language requirements for immigrants (see previous post)
- Capping public sector pay (see previous post)
These policies could then be given particular prominence during communications with voters. The point is, though, to harness populism for progressive purposes rather than just to chase votes.