James Keir Hardie, Labour lovie or anti-immigration hard man?
Gordon Brown recently did a BBC Radio 4 documentary with much fanfare about one of the principal founders of the Labour Party, James Keir Hardie. Gordon Brown says that fellow Scot Keir Hardie is his hero and inspiration but his narrative had a Soviet style airbrushing out of Keir Hardie’s views on immigration. Here is a link to the programme >>> ? BBC Radio 4 - Keir Hardie: Labour's First Leader
Here is an unexpurgated sample of some of Mr Keir Hardie’s views on immigrants:-
Speaking of the incoming Polish (actually Lithuanians) miners, he said “their habits are very filthy, six or seven males occupying a one-roomed house, and having women to cook for them”
As early as 1887 the Ayrshire Miners Union led by Keir Hardie demanded their removal on the grounds that “their presence is a menace to the health and morality of the place and is, besides, being used to reduce the already too low wages earned by the workmen”.
In his evidence to the 1899 House of Commons Select Committee on emigration and immigration, he argued that the Scots resented immigrants greatly and that they would want a total immigration ban. When it was pointed out to him that more people left Scotland than entered it, he replied:
“It would be much better for Scotland if those 1,500 (Scots emigrants) were compelled to remain there and let the foreigners be kept out… Dr Johnson said God made Scotland for Scotchmen, and I would keep it so”.
He suggested that the employment of foreigners by British employers should be prohibited, unless they were political exiles or had fled from religious persecution or if they came from countries where the wage rates were the same as in Britain.
Writing in his paper the Miner, he stated that: “For this second time in their history, Messrs. Merry and Cunninghame have introduced a number of Russian Poles to Glengarnock Ironworks. What object they have in doing so is beyond human ken unless it is, as stated by a speaker at Irvine, to teach men how to live on garlic and oil, or introduce the Black Death, so as to get rid of the surplus labourers.
I wonder if Keir Hardie's views would now qualify as "British Values" as redefined by this "Conservative" Government now that 'Extremism' is to be redefined as any opposition to the Establishment's revisionist "British values" eg compulsory "respect and tolerance of different faiths and beliefs”
What do you think?