Kevin Barron’s mini manifesto

I’ve only just found this, from the Rotherham Advertiser:

Labour Manifesto for Rotherham
Labour Kevin Barron (Rother Valley), John Healey (Wentworth and Dearne), Denis MacShane (Labour).
Statement (issued jointly): We are proud to stand on our record as candidates for the Labour Party whose values and work have served Rotherham well.
We want to continue the work of investing in Rotherham’s economic future.
Under Conservatives in the 1980s and 1990s, Rotherham jobs disappeared, poverty increased, schools were left without repairs and pensioners had to choose between eating and heating.
We say NEVER AGAIN!
The candidates standing against Labour represent a return to the past and the bad old days.
The Tories voted against the winter fuel allowance which benefits thousands of pensioners in Rotherham.
Both Conservatives and Lib-Dems want to see cuts to the child tax credits which benefits thousands of families in Rotherham.
Other parties want to cut links with the outside world where we send the steel and engineered goods we make in Rotherham as well as prevent free travel, investment, and study in other European countries.
We stand for a new approach to politics.
We pledge to publish all our pay and expenses and allowances as MPs.
We believe that those earning £3000 a week and more should pay fair tax. The Conservatives say they want to take £6 billion pounds out of the economy to protect inheritance tax cuts for the 3,000 richest families in Britain.
That will mean cuts in contracts for firms in Rotherham that depend on public contracts as well a reduction in public service employment and the quality of public service.
We will continue to fight for social justice like the over £120m paid out to ex-miners and their families in Rotherham under the Coal Health Compensation Scheme, set up in 1998 by the Labour Government.
We share concerns about major new house building on rural spaces but we do want to be able to answer the appeals of our constituents for homes to live in and for jobs for Rotherham construction workers. Nearly 20,000 homes in Rotherham are upgraded and cheaper to run thanks to Labour’s Decent Homes scheme. Labour will complete everyone’s Decent Homes work and start building new council homes for working class families.
We welcome Labour’s new points systems for immigration to limit workers coming here and to make sure we only have the skills we need. We believe that all who want to live and work in Britain must learn English, pay tax and obey the law
We have said that asylum seekers should now return to their countries where normal conditions have been established and the dictatorships that forced people to become refugees are now abolished.
We oppose David Cameron’s promise to have a Commons vote on fox-hunting with a view to repeal the ban on dogs being used to kill other animals in a hunt. We support fishing and other countryside sports.
We oppose David Cameron’s desire to attack Rotherham workers and their trade unions by removing the protection of European social rights.
We know that tough decisions lie ahead to get the economy going and to get the country’s finances back in shape. That requires support for not destruction of public services. We are confident that Labour’s values of fairness and social justice are worth working for and we ask for your support to continue working for Rotherham with these guarantees

If your GP suspects you have cancer you will see a specialist within two weeks and have your test results back within a week
– One-to-one teaching if your child falls behind at school and a college or training place for all 16 and 17-year-olds
– Long-term investment in new skills, new jobs and new industries
– Increase pensions every year and bring in a National Care Service so people can stay in their own homes longer
– A local police team in every neighbourhood and we will protect your frontline police

That last bit about GPs and so-on sounds tacked on, like the rest of it might have come from party headquarters, don’t you think? Of course that wouldn’t be surprising as it seems Kevin Barron is happiest when the Labour Party is telling him what to think, rather than having to think for himself.

The bits I would like Kevin Barron to explain in more detail are:

We pledge to publish all our pay and expenses and allowances as MPs.
Hmm. You are legally obliged to do this. Why did you support attempts to block the publication of expenses details in the first place, a stance which led to expensive legal action against the government which we all had to pay for? When will the mortgage statements you are obliged to make public be in the public domain?

We believe that those earning £3000 a week and more should pay fair tax.
This seems weirdly specific, but I assume you mean £3,000 and more? What do you mean by ‘fair’? And if the amount of tax paid by people earning this amount isn’t ‘fair’ now, then why have you not addressed it in the 13 years you have had?

Labour will complete everyone’s Decent Homes work and start building new council homes for working class families.
How many council houses have been built in the last 13 years?

We welcome Labour’s new points systems for immigration to limit workers coming here and to make sure we only have the skills we need. We believe that all who want to live and work in Britain must learn English, pay tax and obey the law

How are you going to monitor this? Particularly the learning English bit? Is there no room for the partners and children of workers who come here – they won’t pay tax. I’d rather taken it as a given that everyone had to obey the law – are you suggesting that immigrant workers did not have to do so previously?

We oppose David Cameron’s promise to have a Commons vote on fox-hunting with a view to repeal the ban on dogs being used to kill other animals in a hunt. We support fishing and other countryside sports.
How do you make an ethical distinction between fox hunting with dogs and, say, fishing, or the hunting of rabbits with dogs, which is legal? Hunting rabbits with dogs is using dogs to kill other animals, but is a legal countryside sport, so I’m not sure if you are for it or against it. Can you clarify where you stand, with an ethical justification?

One-to-one teaching if your child falls behind at school
You need to define ‘falls behind’ – one to one tuition is expensive, and is not always necessary. Be careful you don’t pledge to provide something that might not be needed in all cases, and is expensive. Oh.

a college or training place for all 16 and 17-year-olds
How are you going to create the training places needed, what are you going to train people to do, and how are you going to pay for it? What sense is there in paying for people to attend college and gain qualifications that will not help them, or the country? How many media graduates do we need?

Increase pensions every year
Would you care to put a figure on this, or explain how raising the amount pensioners receive will be sustainable as the number of pensioners rises and the number of workers falls? It’s a fine idea, but if we can’t afford it, it is a silly one.

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8 responses to “Kevin Barron’s mini manifesto

  1. I doubt if it does come from Party HQ, it is very poorly written, and google could only find this copy of selected text from within it.
    The text I searched on was:
    “We have said that asylum seekers should now return to their countries where normal conditions have been established and the dictatorships that forced people to become refugees are now abolished. ”
    Party HQ wouldn’t write such poor English.

  2. Fair point – it is pretty badly written. The end bit definitely sounds like an after thought though. Perhaps one or two of them wrote the main bit, and one of them gracelessly tacked on the end bit?

  3. Denis McShane was probably the author of this:
    “Other parties want to cut links with the outside world where we send the steel and engineered goods we make in Rotherham as well as prevent free travel, investment, and study in other European countries. ”
    He is the only one that knows anything about Europe.
    Does he mean “free travel” in the sense of the Europe-wide over-60’s bus pass?
    I’d like that!
    My son studied for a year in Germany as part of his first degree; it is a really good EU scheme, but uptake in UK is low, probably because so few of our kids are taught foreign language skills.

  4. I wonder what they mean by ‘other parties’? Not seen any mainstream parties wishing to cut any links.

    A pan-European free bus pass would be a marvellous thing – like inter-railing for the old 🙂

    I would imagine the lack of language skills is a major reason why our students don’t go abroad as much – on a slightly related note I wonder what language I should recommend my child to learn?

  5. Your question should be “which languages… ?

    Young kids easily accumulate languages when given the opportunity and need.

  6. True enough – I though that when she gets to an age where we let her watch some TV I could buy DVDs of kids cartoons in other languages, rather than letting her watch in English. Dunno if it’d work though.

  7. It does help. Lots of kids all round the world learn English through watching the Cartoon Channel; having someone to play with whose first language is the target language is the best way. (IMHO).

  8. I’ll give it a go – I used to work with a Norwegian who learned English from MTV, which left him with some peculiar but entertaining idioms 🙂

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