I started out actively disliking Martin Parr's work, because I perceived his stance as somewhat arrogant, and even cruel at times. Then I tried to have an open mind and looked at more of his work, which is something I try to do anyway with most photographers and artistis before coming to a final opinion. I began to see merit in his work and I liked some of it.
But overall my opinion has not shifted from my first impressions, although I admire his use of colour, and the way he made certain subject-matter suitable for serious (albeit ironic) consideration.
He is an ambiguous photographer - although he appears to have a democratic kind of approach to what a photograph is, he has been deemed 'successful' and is good at interviews and talking to young aspiring photographers, who generally seem to want to become him. He is definitely a self-confessed 'photographic artist' (trying to avoid that term 'fine artist' from another thread! It's different, anyway), rather than a documentary photographer in that his intent and yes, "ego" govern the work he comes up with, rather than, I think, the subjects and scenes, who sometimes become parodies of themselves (intentional, of course). The empathy bit that HC-B found lacking would not be paramount, but would take second place to his own artistic intentions.
I think his work is O.K. and has been important in various ways - but I think it's way past time other photographers were given a share of the limelight. Not altogether his fault, of course.