If they want to avoid another hung parliament, both sides need to take more risks. This isn't a time for small-ball politics.
The triumph of identity politics means too many progressives appear willing to dismiss the white working class as socially backwards and not worth listening to.
The shadow work and pensions secretary took Ed Miliband's advice and referred to "social security", rather than "welfare".
Should the Labour leader be booed and heckled, as on previous occasions, it will undermine the Tories' claim that he is the plaything of the union leaders.
The former home secretary says it was "made clear earlier in the year that the oldies wouldn't be coming back". Miliband wants to promote the new generation.
One challenge facing Miliband is that many would like him to back more radical solutions to the problems the party is highlighting than he is prepared to support.
Just as only Nixon could go to China, so only a leftist can sell Labour's new position on welfare to a sceptical PLP.
A promise to cancel the project, which could cost up to £80bn, and invest the savings in more electorally popular policies is just the kind of gamechanger that Miliband needs for the conference season.
The pressure is now on Miliband to deliver policies that, as Andy Burnham put it, "knock the others off the pitch".
History shows that parties can win despite the unpopularity of their leaders, but to do so Labour needs to offer policy substance.