James Keir Hardie was born on 15 August 1856 in North Lankarkshire. He moved to Govan with his family soon after. From a young age he worked in the shipyards and then in the mines until at the age of 23 he started to become more involved with Union activities. This continued until August 1886 when Hardie was named Organising Secretary of the Ayrshire Miners Union.
Initially supporting the Liberal Party, Hardie became increasingly disillusioned by their economic policies and began to feel that the Liberals neither desired to, nor were in a position to represent ordinary working people. Hardie came to the conclusion that the Liberal Party would accept the votes of working people but that the party would never provide the radical reform believed by Hardie to be required. Hardie then decided to run for Parliament.
After an initial disappointment at being elected to Parliament he was finally elected as MP for the constituency of West Ham South in 1892 and his political journey continued until in 1900, Hardie organised a meeting of various trade unions and socialist groups and they agreed to form a Labour Representation Committee and so the Labour Party was born.
In 1900, Hardie, representing Labour, was elected as the junior MP for the dual-member constituency of Merthyr Tydfil and Aberdare in South Wales, which he would represent for the remainder of his life. He continued to campaigned on many social issues until his death in 1915.
He is remembered within the Labour movement as a founder and inspiration.
Which makes it all the more bizarre that a Neo Liberal following career politician should attempt to inherit the mantle of the great man. I’m talking, of course, about Douglas Alexander MP.
You see, when it comes to name dropping and comparisons, Douglas Alexander is greatly fond of quoting the life and times of Keir Hardie in his speeches. It would appear that Alexander either sees himself as the inheritor, or wants to convince the weak minded that he is cut from the same cloth.
This is complete nonsense.
A brief potted history of some of his career highlights will suffice to convey the point.
He didn’t turn up for the vote to scrap the Bedroom Tax.
He supported Tony Blair’s motion for war with Iraq and then voted against an investigation into the war.
Very close to Gordon Brown and therefore an architect of the disasterous economic policies that saw the UK’s economy ruined. This saw the austerity measures adopted by the successor administration, austerity measures that Alexander’s party continues to rally around.
He supports the overblown and mind numbing expense of the replacing of Trident.
Alexander has voted against measures to reduce tax avoidance.
And what of his thoughts on the Independence debate?
To quote from Douglas Alexander’s speech on Scottish independence at the beginning of March 2014:
“As Scottish Labour, to be that voice of hope in the Scottish conversation means talking honestly about what kind of nation we are, and what kind of nation we want to become.
It means being open both on the identity that shapes us and the ideals that drive us.”
I would welcome some honesty, we all would, but it hasn’t exactly been forthcoming from Labour and their Tory bosses of Better Together. Alexander appears to be able to throw words around without much thought for a polished end product.
And what of the legacy of Keir Hardie that Alexander is fond of talking about?
I find it ironic that by looking at Alexander you can again witness the experience of Hardie, who, during his time, came to the conclusion that the then Liberal Party would accept the votes of working people but that the party would never provide the radical reform believed by Hardie to be required. I see parallels with the modern day Labour Party of Alexander. It can’t deliver, won’t deliver and patently doesn’t want to deliver. The answer to that riddle is simple; Alexander and his Labour colleagues have embraced a Right Wing ideology. So much for Alexander’s “talking honesty.”
It is clearly obvious to those who would open their eyes that Douglas is a career politician that grasps the moment of opportunity and hangs on the coat tails of others. A Right Wing neo Thatcherite who has abandoned all socialist principles. A fraud, who would sell his own sister down the river for self gain. Alexander is one of the breed of New Labour professional politician that effectively hijacked the hopes and aspirations of millions of voters throughout the UK and continues to deceive Scotland.
His words are empty, meaningless and designed to buy time to save his precious Union, a Union which provides him with a career and all the personal benefits that it brings him as an individual. A man who actively participates in politics designed to target the vulnerable in society does not have the best interests of Scotland at heart. Listen to him at your peril.