A MAN of so many anecdotes, rumours run wild that Frank Dobson will be tempted to write an autobiography once he relinquishes his Holborn and St Pancras parliamentary seat in May.
But if ‘Being Frank’, or whatever name he chooses for his career memoirs, does ever make it to print, maybe former London mayor Ken Livingstone might want to give it a miss.
The ancient history of the first London mayoral contest and the messy fallout within the Labour Party over it remains a subject which Frank rarely talks about now. But that didn’t stop the London Live TV channel asking him today, as he sat perched on a bar stool, something as simple as whether he thought Ken was a “good mayor”.
“No,” Frank replied.
“As far as I’m concerned he didn’t get on with doing enough about housing. What’s the biggest problem Londoners have had all the time I’ve lived in London. I arrived in 1959 and it’s got worse and worse and worse, with Londoners born and brought up in London being priced out of the area. He didn’t do enough and his successor has done even less..
The Independent‘s Oliver Wright, doing the interviewing, also asked him about whether he felt “uncomfortable” about living in a council flat in Bloomsbury.
Frank said: “I get criticised by Tories but if I had done what they wanted people to do, we’d have bought it and we’d now be sitting on a fortune. As I voted against Right To Buy, that would have been total hypocrisy and I try and avoid hypocrisy.”
On Margaret Thatcher, meanwhile, he added: “I think she benefited from a certain deference to her because she was a woman. I know that may sound sexist but that was my impression.”