Ron was born in London in 1966 to show-business parents and raised in a Council flat in Fulham. His Dad a comedian and compere from Newcastle, his Mum a Circus acrobat whose family originate from Hungary, neither had attend school regularly due to the show-business lifestyle so they settled in London to give Ron the education they had missed. Ron attended state schools ending up at Westminster City, a comprehensive in Victoria and is intensely proud of his show-business roots
Ron’s Dad was the union branch Secretary and ultimately a Trustee of the PCS trade union, his Dad’s activism was key to Ron’s political development and he has always been a union member himself. Ron joined the Labour Party at 15 having read ‘The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists’ and finding parallels between that socialist classic and his own experience as a part-time shop worker. He became Secretary of Fulham Labour Party Young Socialists and the Hammersmith and Fulham Fabian Society he also worked as Parliamentary Research Assistant to Nick Raynsford, MP for Fulham.
Ron studied at the London School of Economics, serving on the Student Union Executive as External Affairs Officer and in various roles for the LSE Labour Group. He also travelled between London and Yorkshire where the LSE Student Union had twinned with the Ferrymoor Ridings (South Yorkshire) Branch of the National Union of Mineworkers during the 1984-85 strike. Ron raised money and campaigned for sacked print workers in their dispute with Rupert Murdoch following the move of News International’s press to Wapping and was a regular on the picket lines outside South Africa House during the campaign against Apartheid. He left LSE with a First in Government and History and returned to take a Master’s (with Distinction) in Industrial Relations and Personnel Management, he was chair of LSE Student Union.
Ron joined the Liberal Democrats because “I felt there were a number of issues where Labour simply didn’t stand up for people or principle, such as for LGBT people in respect of section 28 and the right of abode for Hong Kong citizens. I had also learned from the Miners’ strike that the State is as much an enemy of radical change as private corporations. When the Lib Dems were formed in 1987, a friend of mine gave me a copy of their new constitution. It opens:
“The Liberal Democrats exist to build and safeguard a fair, free and open society in which none are enslaved by poverty, ignorance or conformity.”
He said that he thought that that was far closer to my beliefs than socialism and he was right. I also realised I had spent years in the Labour Party fighting the far left Militant Tendency and felt I would far rather spend my political life campaigning than fighting with people in my own party, it appears not much has changed since I left. I have since stood (and lost!) at five general elections.”
Moving to Gateshead in 1989 Ron worked for British Gas as a Graduate Trainee and then in Personnel. Ron says: “My Dad was raised in Benton and we used to come here on holiday. Although I was brought up in London I decided when I was a child that I would spend my life in the North East. Mum and Dad moved here after their retirement, sadly we have lost them both in recent years and they are laid to rest in Saltwell Cemetery.”
In 1992, Ron was appointed as a Lecturer in HRM by Northumbria University and appointed Professor of Organisation and Business Ethics in 2013. Ron lectures nationally and internationally and is a highly cited academic in his field. Ron was elected Councillor for Low Fell taking the last Tory seat on Gateshead Council in 1996 and has been re-elected seven times; since 2007 he has written a regular column for The Journal newspaper and since 2017 he has been Deputy Leader of the Opposition on the Council.
Much more importantly he married Shakuntala in 2000 and they have two children, both attended Kells Lane Primary and Emmanuel College, their eldest is now studying at Southampton University.
Ron says: “I have been privileged to serve Low Fell and to have worked with some fantastic colleagues-Frank Hindle, Charles Jevon, Susan Craig and Daniel Duggan-and with excellent officers who do all they can to promote the common good. Britain remains a deeply unjust society but I wouldn’t still be involved in politics if I didn’t think that that could change, if I didn’t think that power could be spread, that public services could be properly resourced and our environment restored. I know that so many people in Low Fell and across Gateshead believe this too, you only have to look at the volunteers who run the Library, the Gardeners, all the people working for local charities and all of our faith communities to see how much people do to enhance our common life. Community doesn’t just happen; it must be built and maintained and our job as Councillors is to help people work together, to represent them by ‘speaking truth to power’ and to build a place where people know that much more unites us than divides us.”
Ron's ward surgery is held between 6-7pm, on the 3rd Tuesday of every month at Kells Lane Primary School and residents are encouraged to come along to raise and discuss any issues with him, which they either need his help with or they feel need addressing within Low Fell.
Ron can also be contacted at: [email protected]