Island Life Magazine Ltd February/March 2007 - Page 28

life - JOHN HANNAM Morris Barton in action at an Isle of Wight Council meeting Will Morris come dancing back? John Hannam discovers just what Morris Barton is doing today ten years after he left the most important job in local Island politics. Does he regret it? Why didn’t he become the Island’s prospective Liberal parliamentary candidate after Steve Ross retired? Its ten years since Morris Barton was the Leader of the Island’s Unitary Council and now many people are beginning to question whether he might just have been less of an ogre than his reputation suggested. He’s now continually asked as to why he doesn’t make a comeback. This is 28 not out of the question and would be welcomed by many locals. How times have changed! For many, Morris Barton would have been the perfect choice to have followed Stephen Ross as the Island MP and it would have been an ambition fulfilled. “I was all set to be the Liberal candidate to follow Steve Ross but I walked away when asked how much of my own money I was going to put into the campaign. I didn’t have any money to put in,” said Morris. I can remember being at the ferry terminal on the actual day the imported mainland Liberal candidate, eventually chosen to replace the retiring Steve Ross, arrived for his adoption meeting. I can remember thinking, as a person with no allegiance to any party, that the mere fact that he arrived from the mainland was the kiss of death – and so it proved. There might have been mixed feelings as to whether Morris Barton would have been a good MP for the Island but the thousands of floating voters may well have gone for a local man, after the success of Steve Ross. Not having that opportunity to try may still be a bitter memory for Morris but the boy from a council house on Pan Estate rose to become the most powerful man in Island political circles. This was a success story anyone would have been proud of. Amazingly, a boy from two doors up, Terry Perkins went on to become world famous pop star Island Life - www.isleofwight.net