I got home this evening and tuned into BBC Radio 4â€™s The World Tonight programme to catch up with the news. I listened to the piece on Andrew Lansleyâ€™s proposed reforms of the NHS with interest. My antennae started to twitch as I listened to Frances Crook who was a non-executive director of a NHS PCT trust. Was this the voice of an independently minded practitioner? Oh no! The BBC had managed to roll out a Labour place(wo)man. According to Wikipedia:
Frances Crook OBE (born 18 December 1952) is the director of the Howard League for Penal Reform.
Appointed in 1986, she has been responsible for research programmes and campaigns to raise public concern about suicides in prison, the over-use of custody, poor conditions in prison, young people in trouble and mothers in prison. She writes articles for the national media, and frequently does interviews on radio and television news.
Frances Crook was the campaigns co-coordinator at the British Section of Amnesty International from 1980 to 1985.
After taking a history degree at Liverpool University she qualified as a teacher, working in secondary schools in Liverpool and London until 1980. She was twice elected as a Labour Councillor for East Finchley in the London Borough of Barnet, serving from 1982 to 1990. She was a Governor of the University of Greenwich for 6 years and chaired the Staff and General Committee, retiring in 2002. She was awarded the Freedom of the City of London in 1997.
Jewish by birth, she lives in London with her daughter Sarah.
Crook was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2010 New Year Honours.
So, ex-Labour councillor who gets a salary from a Primary Care Trust (PCT) doesnâ€™t like Tory health reforms which will see the back of PCTs. Big surprise. Shame on the BBC for passing off a Labour politician who is already bought and paid for as an independent voice. Typical.
No doubt the BBC spotted Crook as a result of her article in the New Statesman earlier this year.