Sunday review #2: Frank’s council flat.. again; Corbett woz ere

Sunday June 19, 2011

*CLICK click click.. the news cycle officially clicked around another full circle this week as we were back with ‘Frank Dobson lives in a council flat’ this week. Every couple of years this has come up since the council bought up Dobson’s home in the late 1970s. This week, the Daily Mail and others pointed out private rental places he could live in with his family wage. Labour supporters in Camden say he doesn’t help himself, and we can all think of people desperate for help on the waiting list for social housing. I’m sure Frank would remind his critics that he has been a friend to council tenants over the years, opposing his own party’s policies sometimes to stand with the Defend Councill Housing campaign group. If he was going to move flats, he would have done so by now. And more interestingly if he was going to be evicted, wasn’t the best chance when the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats were in charge of Camden? After all, Dobson has a second home in Yorkshire (you don’t think that accent comes from West Ham, do you?) and this would have put him in line for a proposed ‘two homes and your out’  policy. There were sharp words from Chris Naylor, the then Lib Dem housing chief, but did that administration lose its nerve in the end? It was fun to call Dobson “two pads Dobbo”, but nothing changed.

* Josie Hinton’s exclusive investigation into two men who were mistakenly buriedin a municipal grave, the plots known as ‘pauper’s graves’ used for people leaving no next of kin or funds to pay for a funeral, was important but disturbing reading. It is hard to be believe that such mistakes can be made, it is hard to imagine what it must be like to be told your relative has been buried without you knowing – even though you only live around the corner. At the time, these mistakes were discovered Barry Sullivan, a community volunteer at the Camden Town Neighbourhood Advice Centre, had to give consent for his friend, Fred Newman, to be exhumed as well. Mr Newman was at the top of the grave, which contained six coffins. I remember his distress. He had promised ‘Freddie’, who didn’t have anybody else to help, he would do all he could for him and felt in an impossible position. He just wanted Freddie to rest in peace. No longer with us, Barry shouldn’t have had to go through that.

* As the argument over whether or not it’s hypocritcal to protect Bansky’s grafitti while prosecuting famous taggers goes on (for almost as long as Frank Dobson’s council house thing), here’s something from @heardinLondon on Twitter. Frame it or find the vandals, the Two Ronnies woz ere.

2 Comments on Sunday review #2: Frank’s council flat.. again; Corbett woz ere

  1. Keith Sedgwick // June 20, 2011 at 1:37 am //

    The interesting thing is why the CNJ has never made anything more of this. In the last election, Frank made a big deal about how he had one of the lowest expenses claim of any MP, as did the CNJ. However, both he and the newspaper failed to mention that he was living in subsidised housing and so, unlike other MPs, he didn’t need to claim housing expenses to be able to do his job in Parliament.

    Housing in Camden is effectively subsidised by the tax-payer by over £2bn a year. Whilst this is money well spent on the needy, one could hardly put Dobson in that category.

    What really sticks in my craw is the self-serving moralising of privaleged people who claim to have socialist values. Dobson was all against selling-off housing in the last election, because of the large numbers of people on the Housing waiting list, but he couldn’t do the right thing and give up his Council property for one of them. Shame on him and shame on the CNJ for failing to hold hime to account.

    • Richard Osley // June 20, 2011 at 12:49 pm //

      Thanks for the thoughts Keith. If you want to see New Journal stories on Frank Dobson and his council flat, you can see them in Holborn Library. Also, would love to see the CNJ made a ‘big thing’ of Dobson’s low expenses. That sounds like a case of mistaken identity.

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