If prime minister puts people first he can win

Atma Singh - Ex-London Mayor advisor

Gordon Brown made a strategic misjudgement by claiming to have eliminated disastrous "boom and bust" economics. In doing so he was guilty of using political rhetoric above a legitimate level.

The British prime minister was right to address the economic crisis. It had to be done to avoid pre-Second World War German mass unemployment and disaster. Economic intervention was the right strategy, but it has been badly executed.

The Conservatives by contrast seem reluctant carers about mass unemployment, property repossessions or banking collapse. They cannot escape from free markets ideology when bad markets is the question and not free markets.

The government did make mistakes by under-estimating the scale of the crisis. It made a mistake on Lloyds HBOS deal and it made a mistake in rescue of banks by very poor first time conditions and negotiations with the Treasury costing billions of pounds in each mistake. It cannot justify this.

The government made a mistake on VAT to try to stimulate through lowering consumer prices, when consumer prices were falling because people did not want to spend money because they were worried about unemployment and economic meltdown. This was also a very very expensive error again costing billions of pounds.

The government has not seen opportunities to stimulate the economy by saving jobs, saving houses from repossessions ( figures have doubled and understate this issue), to tackle homelessness by buying up empty properties for the social sector, by re-inventing the economy through focus on new development and modern sectors, etc.

For example, it saw London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics in the old framework, whereas a strategic framework would see it as a vehicle for employment creation on a large scale to improve the health of the nation through sports by pumping billions into this aspect, by creating permanent sporting facilities across the UK and by improving infrastructure in London ( including roads, underground, rail, security, bridges like Thames Gateway Bridge, etc etc). Creating jobs, investing in health and solving infrastructure problems is part of the needs of modern 21st century London. There is more it could do!

The real problems of 'ordinary' working class and middle class families and their 'economic pain' has been neglected as a consequence of the government's mistakes.

Apologise and correct this - or be doomed for generations as the party that let the people of Britain down when caring about ordinary people was needed.

On a personal level, Gordon Brown has the qualities to succeed in this crisis. He needs to take out rhetoric and put a real strategy in place - and then fight for it like nothing else. Put people first!

* Former advisor to Labour's Ken Livingstone, before the mayor's defeat last year, Atma Singh wants to run for the top post himself in 2012, the London Olympics year.