Sunday, August 15, 2004


Favicon madness.

The Frank Dobson photo I stolen aquired from Fax Your MP (top left) as a favicon makes 'Our Frank' look a tad too much like a hamster. Mind you only those using Internet Explorer 5 or Mozilla Firefox will be able to see it. Will do something to rectify it in the next few days.

The favicon remark hopefully gives me just enough of a tenuous excuse to exhibit the latest t-shirt from Mark Perryman's Philosophy Football that I found on Cll Bob Pipers blog (via) UK political blog aggregator.
Cllr Bob comments: 'The man is on £4 million a year!'

I wouldn't go that far Bob. If my memory serves me right Philosophy Football had a £70K turnover about 5 years ago. Not bad for the CPGB's former Marketing Director of the loss-making Marxism Today.

Saturday, August 14, 2004


A visit from Bulwell Community Toy Library.

A delegation from Nottingham's Bulwell Community Toy Library (BCTL) visited Frank Dobson and patron cum local MP Graham Allen at the House of Commons. The delegation consisted of parent/volunteer committee members to commemorate the 25th anniversary of BCTL which:

'...has grown to be a shining example of good practice throughout the UK and is recognised in the government's National Play Review, headed by former Health Minister Frank Dobson...'
(Source: Hucknall Today.)

Friday, August 13, 2004


NHS reforms hit.

Seeing that yesterday's item was on Foundation Hospitals I really should include this Guardian item from July 20th:

NHS reforms hit as elite hospitals are downgraded.

'...Alan Milburn, the former health secretary and architect of the foundation policy, planned for a first wave of more than 30 independent NHS trusts to be set up this year. But 10 of the hospitals he named failed to make the grade and two of the 20 that did are at risk of demotion.
Frank Dobson, Mr Milburn's predecessor and a critic of the foundation policy, said: "Those of us who were doubtful asked what would happen to trusts that fell by the wayside as it was eminently predictable they would...'


UK Political Blogs aggregator.

Just in case you missed it in the comments below, Julian Bond has very kindly put this blog on the UK Political Blogs aggregator.
Very handy. Thanks very much Julian.

Thursday, August 12, 2004


Poisoned Chalice(s).

Camden New Journal: on our local hospital UCLH which has recently achieved Foundation Hospital Status.

UCLH Chief Executive Robert Naylor is interviewed in an item titled Hospital faces challenge of move to £422m centre:

'...he says the controversial political battle over foundation hospitals, which pitted him against the unions and former Health Secretary Frank Dobson, the Holborn and St Pancras MP, is nothing compared with the test of moving to a new £422 million hospital campus in Euston Road from next year...
...the move to foundation status, designed to free the hospital from Whitehall bureaucracy and increase local democratic control, was a fraught one. Critics argued that neighbouring hospitals would suffer as a consequence, a charge that Mr Naylor dismisses.
He said: “Frank Dobson kept saying we would pay our staff more and that that would damage the NHS, but it hasn’t happened yet and it’s not going to. “It wouldn’t be in our interest because all the patients would then come to us, and we’re not ready to deal with them.
“But I understand Frank Dobson’s arguments and have great respect for him, as I know he does for us. He has his opinions and as an MP that is his right...”

Chances are that in the medium term Foundation Hospitals will drive most of it's employees wages further down.

Some background.
One of the main reasons for Labour winning the 1997 General Election was that the public had lost faith in the Tories ability to deliver on public services. Gordon Brown decided to continue with the same budgetary model that the Tories had for New Labour's first three years in power.
Dobson was given one of the most critical posts in Government -especially a Labour one- Minister of Health. Yet he was given no extra money to sort out the mess that the Conservatives had left them. In effect his hands were tied.
He was then cajoled by Tony Blair into another no-win situation of becoming the official Labour candidate for London Mayor against Ken Livingstone.

NB: Parliament is in recess till September 7th so things are fairly quiet.

Wednesday, August 04, 2004



The site has been live for less than 24 hours and I have had two good luck comments to my first posting. Three if you include an email from one of my mates. Cheers to all of you.

At the end of his comment Councillor Andrew Brown enquires:

"...Just wondering though is this the Freedom of Information Act you were looking for, or did you want another one?"
We have had a Freedom of Information Act for a while now. Even though I have no desire to denigrate Labour, this particular piece of legislation is as useful as Monty Python's Dead Parrot. It is a class one minger.
There's no use anyone trying to insist otherwise because most researchers still need to go to the USA to use thier version of the FOI to try and discover critical information about stuff that's going on over here.

So Andrew, whenever you become Prime Minister, a more thoughtful FOI would go down quite nicely thank you.

Tuesday, August 03, 2004



A very warm welcome to the new blog Frank Dobson MP. I intend to add quite a few bits n' bobs to this site so please bear with me as it changes appearance.

Just in case you aren't aware what this is all about you can start at Tim Ireland's (Bloggerheads) Blog your MP and his Tim Yeo site. I'm a believer in democracy and freedom of information and I hope you are too. Unfortunately New Labour has been quite slow off the mark in the latter. David Clarke, the first Minister who was responsible for its implementation claimed in public that he was being sabotaged by some of his colleagues. David Clarke's Ministerial position was not renewed. Like many of the other items that New Labour promised in its early days we are still waiting for a Freedom of Information Act.

Like Tim I believe that considering how cheap it is to make a blog there is no good reason why any elected representative or even prospective candidate from Councillor upwards shouldn't have a website so we can all see what they are doing in our name.
The only time I have ever had an unsolicited communication from any MP that wasn't an overt electoral campaign leaflet was roughly six years ago from Frank Dobson, my current MP. It was a signed Christmas card which I received a couple of months after he was cajoled into becoming the official Labour Party candidate to block the possibility of Ken Livingstone becoming the Mayor for London.

This is an non-partisan project. For the record I have hardly voted in my life. I did vote Labour in the landslide 1997 General Election and I would call myself centre-left in my political outlook. However I would vote for any other party if it proved to be closer to the centre ground than Labour.
The current Labour government is the most neo-liberal government the UK has had in living memory. It is currently politically situated somewhere on the right wing of the Christian (definitely not Social) Democrats. I don't object to them being politically situated there but it is unhelpful for ordinary members of the public who want to form an informed opinion regarding who to vote for when the Labour leadership regularly claims to be Social Democrat and many of its backbench MPs say it's Socialist. In practice it's neither.

The first maxim one of my Politics lecturers instilled in us was that Politics is the study of what a political party claims to do and what it actually does in practice.

Nobody can make an informed decision on who to vote for unless they have as much *useful* information as possible on their MP. Although most of the pundits are saying there won't be a General Election till the middle of next year, it is feasible that we could have one as early as this November.

If Frank Dobson MP would like to post items on this blog he is more than welcome.

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