Former Home Secretary David Blunkett has warned the Government it must be more open and honest with voters to re-engage the public with the political process.
Mr Blunkett, who hinted he was keen to return to the Cabinet following his resignation last year over his affair with Kimberly Quinn, said politics and politicians should be more relevant to the community.
That, and a "different style" of more focused, communitycentred manifesto ahead of the General Election, would help encourage people's sense of belonging and stake in society.
Giving the Joseph Chamberlain Lecture to the Balsall Heath Forum in Birmingham, Mr Blunkett said Labour's Big Conversation, where Ministers toured the country talking to voters, had started off the process.
But he stressed that more needed to be done to empower people to gradually change their surroundings because of the culture of cynicism that surrounded the political process and those involved.
More community-centred politics could also persuade people it is worth voting.
He added: "The first thing to do is to be honest about what we stand for. We must use the General Election as a sounding board to reflect back into the political arena the real feelings, the real concerns and the hopes for change for people in their neighbourhoods, their cities and towns."
Mr Blunkett also called for political language to change, to "say it as it is", without worrying about the "ridicule" of some commentators.
He said he had been scorned for his use of straight-talking during his time in office but was unrepentant.
Calling for a greater use of new technology, such as the internet, text messaging and mobile phones in getting across the political message, he said in the three months he had been out of front-line politics, he had discovered that the electorate was smarter than politicians sometimes thought.
"The Government of Tony Blair, the Budget of Gordon Brown and the manifesto of my party has to be about the future, about a different sort of world, a caring world," Mr Blunkett continued.
"As John Donne put it four centuries ago, 'no man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent'. We need to get that self respect and respect for others across more generally."
Later, Mr Blunkett acknowledged he must "earn" a return to Cabinet after being forced to quit over the Kimberly Quinn saga.
He resigned as Home Secretary when an inquiry found he had given a false account of his involvement in a visa application for his former lover Mrs Quinn's nanny.
The Sheffield Brightside MP has made no secret of his desire to be back to the top echelons of Government. He had been tipped for a swift return after being appointed a key campaigner for Labour in the run-up to the General Election, expected on May 5.
Asked about his future Cabinet prospects, Mr Blunkett said: "I have got to earn it."
He told BBC Radio 4's World at One: "The Prime Minister has made no promises.
"Before the General Election takes place I have got to get out there, do what I'm good at which is talking, working with, listening to people, campaigning for a Labour victory.
"The Prime Minister will make his decision at that point on the enormous merits of a whole range of people who have every right to be in the Cabinet."