As the 2015 General Election draws closer, the Opposition is facing increasing demands to start thinking and acting like a government-in-waiting. This is a difficult time – opposition is first and foremost about getting elected; plans for office mean nothing without winning power. But those plans for office do need to be capable of tackling deep-rooted issues, issues that have long confounded policymakers and where solutions will take years or even decades to produce lasting change.

Developing plans to tackle enduring problems is a tall order, but it is by no means impossible. Indeed, the challenge has been met before. This note draws together lessons from some of the most successful policies and initiatives of the past thirty years that have successfully made progress on seemingly intractable issues. The paper focuses on the most important issues for parties in opposition.