What Frank told Rawnsley

I saw writer Andrew Rawnsley walking around the party conferences with the confidence of a  journalist paid more than a local hack and remembered I hadn’t bothered so far with his anti-bullying book The End Of The Party, a chronicle of the fall of New Labour and the rise Gordon Brown’s angry streak. As luck would have it, when I returned from Birmingham, the paperback version had landed on the Camden New Journal’s doormat.

With so many of these books for so little time, I’ll be honest, I’m skim-reading. But what of this?

The whips ran an intense operation to beg, borrow and bully votes from Labour MPs. Frank Dobson had been twice promised by Blair that he would become British High Commissioner in South Africa. He was warned by Number 10: “If you don’t vote for the government, you can forget about South Africa.”

Rawnsley gives a footnote to explain where he picked up this snippet. Check the back: *117 Interview with Frank Dobson

Given the Holborn and St Pancras MP’s willingness to speak out against Blair’s invasion of Iraq, his foundation hospitals and the Labour government’s failure to invest in Camden’s council homes, either Frank didn’t really want that high commissioner job too much or he didn’t care too much for bullies.

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2 Comments on What Frank told Rawnsley

  1. …or Frank made it up?

    It’s a bit of a wild story and he was often thought of as a bit suspect in this department, wasn’t he? Sounds a bit like an old man trying to sound important. Awww

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  2. Commons knowledge this – but your analysis slightly wide of the mark.

    First up for High Commissioner was Paul Boeteng MP – by that time Frank was by then fully signed up to the pro-Gordo awkward squad so when Boetend left the job it went to…a career diplomat.

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