A letter to Kevin Barron

Hi Kevin

It was good to talk to you, although via phone is, as I told Matthew at least twice before he passed the phone to you, not ideal. It suits neither my job nor my thought processes.

email is much better as I can reply between customers, and you can reply between your many commitments. I know you read your emails as you have just told me of a constituent who emailed you about one of the issues we were discussing.

You intimated in our conversation that you no longer reply to any communication from me because I have in the past blogged your responses without asking you first. You then said that I’d never explained why I had begun to blog your answers to my questions – but I blogged an explanation and an apology in May 2009. https://rothervalley.wordpress.com/2009/05/11/kevin-barron-mp-an-apology/ I know you and your staff read my blog as you have all mentioned it, so I cannot imagine you missed this post.

The reason I’d like to use your responses on my blog are because I want to ask you about the issues you represent us on, and as far as I can tell there is no way of knowing what you think – and lets face it you are going to get re-elected, so although you’re not our MP, you will be. We’ve just had an interesting discussion about ID cards, for example, in which you have defended the scheme. I suspect a very small precentage of the people you represent know what your views are on this issue, or how you have arrived at them. The same is true of any issue – car scrappage is another, the digital economy bill – I could go on. There is no way to find out what you think about the issues that affect us all, and no way to discuss what we – the people you represent – think.

The point is I’m not asking you about small issues like Mrs Miggins’ planning permission or complaining about my neighbours – I’m asking you about the major issues that you represent us on, and yet that we, the people you represent, know nothing about your views on. That is why I want to blog about them – because you are paid by the public to represent us, and we therefore need to know what your views are.

Do you not think it part of your role to communicate about what you think on political issues? I can only conclude not as your website only really tells us which park you’ve opened, and you are very hard to pin down – but I’d suggest that telling people who you represent how and why you form your views is an essential part of your job.

I’d be interested to hear on what basis you can possibly disagree with this.

For your information, I will post a copy of this email, and any reply from you, on my blog.

I look forward to communicating on the record with you via email, or in person soon – preferably before polling day. The parliament in which you seek to serve is going to have some massive decisions to make, and we need to know what your views are.

Regards

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11 responses to “A letter to Kevin Barron

  1. Thanks for sending the mail to Kevin Barron making it clear to him (surely) what a lot of us, the general public are thinking and wanting answers about. His reluctance to email mystifies me – but then again, this scenario reminds me of the time not so very long ago when he told me he would not discuss politics with me. I never quite got over that one …
    Come on Kevin – get yourself stood on the Queens Corner at Maltby, the market at Dinnington and all the other prominent places in your constituency where the people who put you where you are can find out what your policies really are.

  2. Sorry – it’s taken me all night to process part of your post.

    Our elected Member of Parliament, as was and probably will be, says he won’t discuss politics?

    Have I got that right?

    If that is the case one wonders what on earth he does with his time at Westminster …

    Kevin, is this true? Do you refuse to discuss politics with all your constituents, or just some of them?

  3. Yes this is perfectly true that he said this to me (currently trying to find my blog on it then will post here)
    Have a feeling that it’s not ALL constituents…. 🙂

  4. Well, I don’t know if I am lucky,unlucky or wht,but so far I now have leaflest from all the national ones (except Wesley) and all the local ones..except Will Blair’s prodigy. I have mailed him to ask about this and havent got a reply yet. I don;t fancy phoning him otherwise my phone will will go up 200% while he tells me about indigenous folks blsh blah blah Understand the guys name is Burke, but of course this could be pure rumour.
    (will atempt to update on MTC now – this might take some time)

  5. I’ve had a reply from Kevin Barron, shown below:

    Note he doesn’t explain why he will not discuss political matters with his constituents. As ever he avoids the question, having decided to get upset instead by my post explaining why I won’t be voting for an MP who ignores me.

    Email:

    I have indeed had chance to read your earlier e-mails and have also recently seen what you have put about me on your blog. This is just a note to say in my 27 years of being an MP nobody has ever made personal remarks about me in the way that you have. You are wrong in most comments about my political career, have you ever considered that the reason I have not been a Minister is because I do have a mind of my own and do not always agree with my party. My stance on smoking in public places in 2006 made this clear.

    Having reflected on the last two telephone conversations I have had with you I feel there is nothing to be gained by carrying on this dialogue. Of course if I am re-elected on Thursday feel free to contact me on any matters that you require personal assistance with.

    Could I also say that the website that you say does not have many political comments on was originally funded through the Communications Allowance and therefore putting party political comments on would have been against the rules. I don’t know if you have noticed but a message went on the website earlier this year saying that I am personally funding it and therefore there will be no recall to public money. Consequently the content may possibly change in the coming weeks and months if I am re-elected.

    I should also say to you that the content of blogs are not immune from the law. I would not hesitate to take appropriate action if the law is breached.

    Regards

    Kevin Barron

  6. OOPs ! Is this the point where I keep my mouth shut (no money for law suits and stuff) OR is it the point I open it even more and get the discussion going without being threatened with legal things ? I await your sound advice bloggers….

  7. I think the fact that our elected representative refuses to elaborate on his views online, but is prepared to make legal threats toward those who are frustrated at his refusal to discuss politics says a lot about the man.

  8. Yep – and not a very complimentary view !

    What you rckon to Micahel Conlon ? (I am clutching at starws now…..) Will Blair has just ignored me,,, again

  9. As with all the independents who stand for Maltby Council, I have no idea who Michael Conlon is, or what his policies are …

    As a result I will be unable to vote in the council elections as I would essentially be playing a game of electoral pin the tail on the donkey.

  10. Bless him! The icy blast of legal chill once more howls round the blogosphere.

    I don’t know if you followed the libel case brought by the British Chiropractic Association against Simon Singh but it should give you some comfort. (http://jackofkent.blogspot.com/ is the best place to read up on it and of the current state of UK Libel Law in general.)

    You may also wish to check out the signatories of this Early Day Motion:
    http://edmi.parliament.uk/EDMi/EDMDetails.aspx?EDMID=39987&SESSION=903

    But most of all read this judgement – it is a great read:
    http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWHC/QB/2010/924.html

    Nothing in Mr Barron’s Wikipedia entry even hints at his having “a mind of his own”, nor his “sometime disagreement with his party”.
    Is he really hinting that his career was thwarted by others due to his independence of mind?

    I do applaud Mr Barron’s independent stance on smoking, but I would have more strongly applauded a independent stance on several other matters.

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