Kevin Barron, remember him? Readers rarely hear about him on Rotherham Politics. He is the MP for Rother Valley and normally absent from Rotherham’s very own newspaper of record, the Advertiser. Outside of election periods, that is? Clearly irritated, Kevin wrote an ill tempered letter of response published in this weeks edition, a rarity indeed!
What can have aroused him to the extent that he breaks his normal vow of silence? A letter the previous week, authored by Dave Smith, who resides in Dinnington and a constituent of Kevin, was the catalyst. I quote:
“Back the strikers
Sir – I for one will be standing four square behind the public sector workers when they strike at the end of this month. Also I would urge the private sector workers to do the same.
Do not fall for the Government propaganda that the public sector have a far better pension scheme than the rest of us. It is an old trick used by politicians, including Hitler.
They point the finger at others and blame them for the ills visited on the rest of us by these same politicians.
These MPs who would have us believe that we the taxpayers are footing the bill for the public sector’s “wonderful” pension and that we need to attack them in order for the country to save money, should come clean about the millions we are paying for them to have a far superior pension than the ordinary worker.
Plus, we are paying full prime ministerial salaries to at least five ex-prime ministers.
Let’s just take one small section of these MPs’ pension scheme, ill health retirement. Well, it is a very hard job you know.
It is paid based on final salary and paid as if the person had paid full contributions until the age of 65, no matter how young they are when they take it.
How many are their out there, public or private, have that provision in your pension scheme? We miners certainly did not.
I would say to the public sector workers don’t be surprised that the leader of the Parliamentary Labour Party won’t support you.
They do not have the political will to defend the people whose ancestors risked everything to not only build the trade union movement but also the Labour Party.
Without these brave people Miliband and his cohorts would not be sitting in their cushy jobs and luxury life style.You only have to look at recent history to know how these people think about us.
Take Neil Kinnock and his Parliamentary secretary, Kevin Barron, and their performance during the miners’ strike.
Kinnock comes from a mining background and Barron was a miner, but that didn’t stop them spending more time attacking us than defending us.
So, private sector, do not be conned and public sector stay strong.
Dave Smith, Dinnington“
Dave Smith offered Kevin, not a delicate dry fly, presented carefully to a wary Trout, but a whacking great lure, huge and gaudy and presented with no finesse at all and he got the arm twisting take, that Trout fishermen everywhere dream of. I had Kevin figured, as a member of the ‘wary old’ category myself but nothing surprises me any more.
In colloquial speak, he seems to have, ‘gone off like a Muppet’!
From Kevin Barron’s letter, I quote:
“Stood up for miners“
“I would firstly like to point out that I was not Neil Kinnock’s Parliamentary Private Secretary during the miners’ strike”
“my analysis of what happened in the strike is not clouded by involvement with Trotskyist organisations.”
“I have always stood up for coal miners and coal mining communities. I was active in the cause of keeping Dinnington Colliery open many months after Mr Smith had taken his redundancy money and run.”
It is true, that Kevin did not achieve the lofty title of bag carrier to the Leader of the Opposition, Neil Kinnock, until 1985, safely after the strike was over. Paltry reward, you might think?
Kevin it should not be forgotten was a fully paid up ‘Scargillite’, a true believer! At least, that is, until his election in 1983. Which was accomplished it is said, with the personal help of Arthur, no less! That might alone explain the enmity expressed as Stalinists/Leninists and Trotskyists have not got on since the unfortunate incident with an ice pick!
In the early days, he was happy spouting ultra leftist propaganda at every meeting he went to and he used to turn up at an awful lot of meetings. I rather naively thought this indicated keenness until I was told, by a Trot as it happens, that NUM members were likely getting paid for their attendance at the meetings they went to. They never did ‘owt for nowt’.
The NUM also practised a form of ‘working class democracy’ known as democratic centralism, which when explained to me once by an old trade unionist, Greg Douglas, an authority on such matters, means you do as your are told and vote as you are told! No questions! Presumably, believe what you are told! Should be added to this list as well, for the sake of completeness. Total loyalty then, is the most prized asset of an apparatchik and Kevin Barron appeared to be no exception to this rule.
I notice the use of the terms, “I have always stood up for coal miners and coal mining communities.” No one accused him, of not standing up for miners nor coal mining communities, so why the weasel words? That’s where we will leave this trip down memory lane for now, until the next time.