Friday 30 October 2015

Sudden death of Cllr Dan Filson, Chair of Brent Scrutiny Committee

Dan Filson's Twitter profile
Labour councillors have been expressing their shock on Twitter this evening following the sudden death of Dan Filson, Chair of Brent Scrutiny Committee and a councillor for Kensal Green ward.  Warm tributes have been paid to an independent man who was a real character.  Readers will be familiar with his attempt to sharpen up the role of the Scrutiny Committee when he took over as Chair.

Dan had a combative presence on Twitter so it is fitting that colleagues and friends used the medium to pay tribute:
Cllr Shama Tatler:  There are few people in the world who truly live their principles. @Dan_Filson was a decent, honourable gentleman. RIP comrade@BrentLabour

Cllr Sam Stopp:  .@BrentLabour has lost its most decent and principled councillor with @Dan_Filson 's passing. Totally irreplaceable. We are in shock.

Dawn Butler:  R.I.P Brent's very special Cllr Dan Filson. A lover of fine wine. I will so miss your naughty sense of humour 
Cllr Matthew Kelcher: Terrible news today at the passing of @Dan_Filson - he was a great friend, mentor and comrade and always put #kensalgreen first. Will miss you.
For my part we had many political differences and crossed swords a number of times but shared a commitment to effective scrutiny and transparency. He was always civil when we met personally and good fun to sit next to in the public gallery during council or committee meetings - his dry wit commentary was always entertaining.

He will be missed both politically and personally.


Anonymous said...

This is a real shame. Dan was the conscience of the Labour group. There's noone else that comes close to his level of integrity.

Philip Grant said...

I would like to add my condolences on the loss of Dan Filson. Others have already said it, but I too am shocked by his death at the early age of 67, and saddened that a person of such principle will no longer be contributing his good sense to the affairs of Brent Council.

Although we were never close friends, we worked together for a number of years in the 1980's at an Inland Revenue office in Central London. I quickly learned to respect the integrity and attention to detail that Dan applied to his work.

Our paths crossed again in the early 2000's, when we were both working at a large Inland Revenue office at West Kensington. I remember coming back to the building from a meeting one afternoon, to see a large limousine parked outside, and passing Dan in the lobby, being helped into his robe and chain of office, as he went off to fulfil his duties as Mayor of Hammersmith and Fulham!

I was delighted when I learned that he had been elected to Brent Council in 2014. In the past year, we exchanged ideas privately on various matters, and although we did not always agree, his views were always worth consideration. I am sorry that he was not able to do more through Scrutiny Committee, but he had made a very good start, and I hope that the Committee, and whoever takes over from Dan as its Chair, will continue to live up to the standards he set.

Rest in peace, Dan - you will definitely be missed.

Philip Grant.

Mike Phipps said...

I first met Dan 34 years ago in Hammersmith Labour Party. In those days, he would probably have been regarded as something of a moderate politically comapred to the rest of us. Over the next decades the Labour Party changed dramatically, moving decisively to the right under Neil Kinnock and even more so with the proclamation of New Labour by Tony Bair. Dan's politics probably didn't change much in the meantime, which meant that by the time he moved to Brent a few years ago he was probably firmly on the left compared to much of the parliamentary party. But actually it wasn't left or right politics that really defined Dan. He was tribally Labour through and through. He had great integrity, speaking his mind without worrying about pleasing the right people, a quality often lacking in local councillors. And he had encyclopaedic knowledge of the processes of local government. Of course this mastery of detail could seem a bit relentless in meetings but again we could probably do with a few more councillors in Brent who really know their stuff. Many comrades inside and outside the Party had high hopes for his leadership of the Council's Scrutiny Committee and it is here that his expertise will be sorely missed. Farewell to Dan, a real intellect and a tireless campaigner - you will be missed.

Mike Phipps
Chair, Kensal Green Branch Labour Party