” I am the Member of Parliament for the Rother Valley constituency in the South Yorkshire borough of Rotherham. In my role I represent the people of Rother Valley, not just those who voted for me.” So reads the first lines of the website of our Rother Valley MP, Kevin Barron. http://www.kevinbarronmp.com/
I do keep a regular check on the website to see what our MP has been up to though I have tried in vain over a number of years to sign up to his newsletter without success. I have not resorted to using a different name or email. If he doesn’t want to send me the newsletter that’s fine by me. They Speak For You tells us when he speaks and what he says in the House of Commons of course. Today the website is only showing the home page, so presumably it is being updated with the new events and “honours” that have been bestowed on him.
According to official statements, “Kevin Barron has served his Rother Valley constituency for three decades. He has a particular interest in health issues, serving as both a lay member of the General Medical Council and as Chair of the Health Select Committee. He campaigned tirelessly to restrict smoking in public places and to ensure former miners received fair compensation. He has also served as a member of the Intelligence and Security Committee and continues to chair the Standards and Privileges Committee.”
It has been interesting to see over the past few days what we, his constituents and the people he is elected to represent have to say about his knighthood and his performance over the years, especially regarding his “home town” of Maltby.
Below is a selection of comments, experiences and opinions from Maltby residents, present and past regarding the now Sir Kevin Barron. No names are necessary and I have asked permission to post here.
“Whilst nobody can deny this is a great personal achievement, there are many who would question the award when the constituency has been at the heart of so much controversy and scandal during Kevin’s years as MP and when circumstances for many of the people his party claims to represent seem to have deteriorated steadily during his time and when Kevin has rarely been seen to speak out against these things”
“You could compare Kevin’s award with that of my old teacher James Moore from Bramley. 83 years old and spent a lifetime volunteering. He still does. He’s been given a BEM , the lowest honour. Not well enough connected, I think.
” ‘Note to self’ work hard, treat people right, pay my taxes, obey the law……………or become a politician!!!! ”
“Oh for a honest politician, one who is genuinely there to represent the people, not just to have their snout in the trough.”
” After eight years of listening to Kevin Barron and other cronies supposedly battling on our behalf, I got truly sick of being scammed, so I went to my local library and read the legislation for myself. It was then that I discovered that the local labour government of the time were keeping secret the fact that the legislation had been changed by Statutory Instrument and that the buy-back price of the property had risen by several thousand pounds. Kevin Barron obviously knew that this change in legislation had occurred but had said nothing. It was clear that his intention was that the people of Maltby who were in this situation should lose this money, which would amount to a several tens of thousands of pounds gain for the local labour government. I managed to recover it for both myself and several other people who had not yet accepted the unlawfully reduced offer from the labour council. Yes, on some occasions (not just this one), I HAVE done better!! ”
“What has he actually achieved apart from taking upwards of £60k a year for more than 20 years from what is basically a part time job ?”
“Kevin is a lovely man has a great family behind him and has worked hard to achieve what he has. Arise Sir Kevin from Maltby ! ”
“They should have given a knighthood to Bruce Wilson of Victoria Street, a man that has worked hard and served the people of Maltby well over the years and never received a penny from anyone. Top man. ” (mb note: Bruce recieved the Maltby Town Council’s Person of the Year Award , a couple of years ago)
“Kevin has been an mp for 30 years and has worked very hard for the people he cares about, you can’t please everyone ”
“Jealous people will always find a way to keep people down but not this time arise Kevin and let your family be proud of you, local lad come good well done”
” How can working class people become MPs if the public expect them not to claim expenses and pay for 2 homes themselves? How can they possibly afford to be an MP?”
“He went to New Zealand to see the effects of alcohol abuse ! ”
“if your uncle cannot cope with a public slagging off of his own making then he should have become a librarian! ! ”
“What has he ever done for Maltby citizens? He’s on the gravy train with all the other greedy politicians who are ruining this country.”
“30 years as an MP half of that with his party having a large majority and what is his legacy? Stopping smoking in pubs”
“You see, that is exactly what people are complaining of “People like yourself”. Just exactly WHAT is that supposed to mean? We are people, not like something you scrape off your shoe!”
” So am I right in my understanding? Our mp for 30 years buys a property in London and claims up to £23000 a year to pay it and then when the rules change, sells the property at a half million pound profit and then claims £1500 a month to rent a property from his mate? Wouldnt the 1st property have been paid after all those years?”
“Is he wrong for doing it or is the system wrong for permitting him to do it?”
” He used a system that was flawed to claim public money. Some MPs actually claimed nothing. It may have been legally ok, but it was morally wrong. As for serving for 30 year, its a job, a well paid job, There are many out there who would love to serve for 30 years, nurses, bin men, etc. The trouble is they’re under threat of being made redundant by knights of the realm.”
And then there’s the expenses scandal where Kevin Barron claimed £1.500 a month to rent from his colleague http://www.telegraph.co.uk/…/Expenses-scandal- Sir Kevin said at the time: “The rental agreement I had with Jon Trickett has now terminated. Whilst it is within the rules, in retrospect it would have been better not to have rented off a colleague.”
and Private Eye has reported on the habit of property speculation with our money. http://rotherhampolitics.wordpress.com/…/barrons-half…
and the expulsion from the NUM – ” He was a member of the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), who later expelled him for disloyalty…” Wikipedia, paragraph 2: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kevin_Barron
and the relationship with Sigma Pharmaceuticals …Kevin Barron and Sigma! rotherhampolitics.wordpress.com
Clearly there are viewpoints on all sides and whether one outweighs the other is not the purpose of posting these views, but rather to see the variation in them.
Perhaps this comment from an ex miner and Maltby resident, says it all :
” When the pit shut and we marched up Tickhill Rd the NUM secretary Nick Harris said to Kevin Barron “you can f… off if you think you’re standing in front of the banner with us,” pointing at the press he added ” you’re only here because they are, you haven’t lifted a finger to try and save this pit, you’re a f…..g disgrace”. Now all I can say is if the Maltby branch of the NUM (the very people who paid for his education and put him in power) think of him thus, who am I to disagree ?”
So the summary of this post from Sir Kevin himself as reported in the Rotherham Advertiser :
He says that in terms of public health , the no smoking in public places is something that he is proud to have contributed towards. ( Perhaps he should take a look around the new entrance of Rotherham Hospital, next time he passes)
He says he is extremely proud of the recognition and thanks his constituents for their continued support. He has done his best, he says to give a voice to those in the Rother Valley who feel they have no voice, over the past three decades and that without them he would not be receiving this honour. He hopes his knighthood might help restore some pride in the town’s Parliamentary representatives.
“Building up the public’s trust of MPs is essential and with the support of my Rother Valley constituents that is something I hope to be doing for sometime to come”, he says.
Let’s hope that his words are honoured by his actions and that by these actions the trust he hopes for can come from us his constituents .