Labour has much to learn from the churches.
One often hears that church attendance is in decline and that society is becoming more secular. Of course there is truth in that. But some churches are growing.
And in any event, active participation in voluntary groups has been declining generally: churches remain some of the few places where people gather voluntarily for fellowship...and to listen to someone speaking to/at them for 20 minutes or more!
Church ministers usually live in the communities they serve too. So perhaps political parties can learn something here. In particular, one lesson is to not just talk about your values but live them out because people watch us to see if we are people of integrity, whether Christians, Labour Party members, or both.
Tribune published an article I wrote covering this theme in August 2004: you can find it at http://docs.google.com/Doc?id=dc9bg35v_2c8hgn3