If done right, an industrial strategy can definitely work
Many other European countries have industrial strategies. And they demonstrate that it can work too. They key is to not go about it the 1980's way by pouring cash into failing industries and thereby only postponing their inevitable collapse.
If the Government was smart they would identify five or so growth sectors where the UK has the skill set, environment, trajectory etc. to grow and that could become a serious export sector. Then, instead of pouring money into businesses, you put money and effort into sorting out what the challenges for businesses in those sectors are.
Complex regulatory hoops because the law hasn't kept up with developments? Put a task force on it to sort it out.
Issues with a skills gap in a particular sector? Co-finance the development of training for those skills. From apprentice schemes to supporting local universities setting up specialised courses.
Customers are increasingly abroad but the factories are poorly connected to a port? Invest in relocation or build freight tracks to better connect to ports.
One of the industries with which I think the UK has really dropped the ball is renewable energy. This is a fairly windy Island surrounded by waves, tides and currents. The UK should be *the* renewable energy powerhouse whose companies export installations to all across the world. Instead we have Dutch companies installing Danish offshore wind turbines and connecting them to German installed grid connections to the British mainland.
Obviously, this is all easier said than done. Effectiveness is not Theresa May's style so this thing will likely turn into a big cock up with suspicions of corruption and milking tax payer's money. In five years time it will transpire that some Tory donor has donated 1 million into the Conservative Party coffers and lo and behold, his factory is now getting a dedicated rail line to the nearest port that is of surprisingly little use to any of his competitors.