Keir Hardie
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Born as an illegitimate, virtually uneducated young Scots miner. Had an evangelical background in the Scots Morrisonian sect and remained committed to temperance and a highly religious perspective which allied social justice with a kind of nascent environmentalism. Hardie inspired great personal loyalty, to the extent that children are still being named after him almost 100 years later.

Acquired the skills of Pitman's shorthand down a pit, by scratching the characters on a blackened slate with miners lamp- wire. Was to become a prolific and powerful writer. An orator of some stature, he was not a great parliamentarian. A rebel in the Scottish mining unions and the TUC in the 1880s, he played a large part in moving the trade unions away from Lib-Labbism.

He became West Ham's MP in 1892, now attracting national attention after arriving at the Palace of Westminster in a horse-drawn carriage escorted by a crowd of dockers. He set up the Independent Labour Party in 1893 and was the prime mover behind the LRC.

"a latter-day Jesus...the man and his gospel were indivisible"
Wil Jon Edwards

"the leader who never won a strike, never organised a Union, governed a parish or passed a bill - Barren Cumnock in the Duchy of Doctrinaire"
John Burns

1900-1906 Projected idea of 'a distinct Labour Group in Parliament who shall have their own Whips and agree upon their policy.'

Internal disputes in 1904 related to sale of shares in his newspaper the 'Labour Leader' and a personal bequest from the Kippens ladies. He had an ambiguous relationship with middle-class London society, particularly the female members.

In 1904/5 he worked tirelessly on a massive campaign on behalf of the jobless, speaking in Parliament and writing extensively. With Joseph Els, a Jewish-American soap millionaire, he organised and participated in the first of the 'hunger marches,' suffering some pretty rough treatment from the Manchester police along the way.

Remained physically distinctive as an MP due to style of dress which was unusually proletarian, particularly for the snobbish Edwardian era.
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