Who has trodden on Kevin’s corns?

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.

23 thoughts on “Who has trodden on Kevin’s corns?

    • Ah! You’ve woken up. I thought you had gone into hibernation?

      You are a bit young to be able to understand this one, try holding your opinions back until more information is available upon which to base an opinion.
      Anyone born after 1979 will not, perhaps? Understand what our communities experienced during the strike.


  1. Due to you not wanting any objection on here I did kind of let it slip.

    After all, I don’t want to mess around with the back-slappers and big hitters.

    I am a little bemused by your offensive and extremely patronising tone…you slate Mr Barron for being Labour and for fighting for miners rights…then you slate me for asking why…then further slate me as I was born in 1985 and another year.

    How confusing and quite perplexing.

    Furthermore, my brother marched back to work with my Granfather and doesn’t see what all the fuss is about.

    Maybe the author should start looking at ROTHERHAM POLITICS and not other issues. Title is in the name, like the “Ron Seal Effect”…do what it says on the tin…?


    • Patrick,

      Politics in many parts of Rotherham Borough are still heavily influenced by the events of the eighties, none more so than politics in Rother Valley. In some areas, the years may pass, but the anger and resentments remain. Kevin’s letter is evidence itself.

      It is important to explore this part of our history, in order to properly gain some understanding of the current situation.

      Rotherham Politics is therefore fully entitled to play a part in this review! Historians have only just started making their voices heard on the miners’ strike. Papers released so far will be of interest but the most important papers to pour over will not become available until 2014 and 2015 and some, presumably, not until the 75 year mark!

      You also seem to have a misunderstanding of Rotherham Politics editorial policy regarding comments. The presumption is that all comments will be published, yours included.

      I would be grateful if you could explain your latest comment which appears below?


  2. I made a typing error and decided to include the correct word with an asterisk to make that clear.

    The second half of my comment was a sarcastic dig at you following our latest conversation in which you told me my comments hadn’t been published. I assume because it challenges and sets the record straight about what appears on here?


  3. As the author of the letter that brought forth such a vitriolic reply from Kevin Barron I think certain facts should be made clear. One, I did not say he was Kinnock’s secretary during the miners strike. Two, and the most important, I did not take redundancy, in fact I turned it down twice on principle. I had to take ill health retirement due to developing epilepsy, this was in 1987. I eagerly await Barrons public apology.

    Dave Smith


  4. I’m not arguing with you Rik – that’s what you said. People can read it for themselves and they can judge.

    I would ask if you want an apology from Mr Barron why not ask him? Why write about it on here? The mind boggles.


    • It is not I that has requested an apology from Kevin Barron. As far as the exploration of events that still have great influence to this day, it is far from complete. Now, might be a good time to get your own relatives recollections, they may alter your perspective somewhat.


    • I am too long in the tooth to not follow the correct procedures, I sent Barron an email requesting an apology and a withdrawal of his false statement. He has not even got the guts to reply to that.


  5. If you want an apology, or in fact, if anyone wants an apology, why write about it on here and create all this hot air and fluster.

    Do what I have done and have been doing for years, allow your views to be scrutinised by the people, in the local press or even in the street, but hiding it away on here wanting Mr Baron to do battle with you in public isn’t going to ever get a response.

    This means you look like a Good Old Chap for banging the drum about the “Labour Lot” at Town Hall, they look bad for not responding and so the issues snow ball and carry on and on and on…whereas what a proper man would do is to go and see Mr Baron and tell him.

    Dave Smith, and others, you included, can find his contact details on the internet. I look forward to hearing about the event.


    • Having some difficulty responding to you on this one as there seems to be a bit of confusion.

      The internet is as much a part of the public sphere as the ‘Tiser and certainly more than the ‘street’ so, ‘hiding it away on here’ and ‘in public’ in the same sentence are most perplexing. We are not ‘hiding away’, quite the reverse.

      For the record, Rotherham Politics is not trying to ‘do battle in public’ with anyone, least of all Kevin Barron. Responses, while welcome, are not expected as the Labour Party boycott of the ‘Tiser, seems to have been extended to Rotherham Politics. This self denying ordinance, has resulted in there having been no contributions from any Rotherham Labour member. Any impression that follows as a consequence is down to Labour and not this blog.

      As for arranging a meeting to discuss these issues with Kevin, I am not a constituent, therefore I would seriously doubt that he would meet with me, as constituents have enough trouble as it is meeting with him.

      What not being a ‘proper man’ has to do with it, I am not sure, but gratuitously offensive it certainly is!


  6. Read the above, I stood for the council in Dinnington this year. I attend all the town council meetings. I stood on the streets of Dinnington with a megaphone whilst my opponents got other people to post their leaflets. How much more public than that do you want?


  7. I titter with laughter reading some of the above. Community Champion does seem to get his facts mixed up! I was involved in Kevin Baron’s very first election. I was dismayed he was the candidate but wanted a Labour victory. My fears were well founded – once elected Kevin Baron stopped being the Red Baron of Maltby Pit and became a member of the old boys club in the House of Clowns. He was initially mates with the beast of Bolsover Dennis Skinner but soon saw that that wasn’t the way to ‘promotion’ . Kevin Baron never truly supported the miners, you can’t serve two masters and Kevin made a choice. Rothpol is correct he is not very visible in his constituency and is difficult to get hold of. Even when written to he acts as ‘postman’ with any letters and just passes them on to the relevant department. We needed a campaigning MP one willing to fight for the. Working class of Rother Valley, we got a careerist!


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