Keir Hardie Society – ‘the best way to mark his birthday is to rekindle his ideas and principles in politics today’

messages of support

The Keir Hardie Society has hailed as a success its initiative to mark Keir Hardie’s birthday on the 15th of August.

As part of the #HappyBirthdayHardie campaign, tweets and photographs were sent in from across the UK and as far afield as Rhode Island in America where Hardie’s great grand-daughter Dolores May Arias lives with her family.

Meanwhile members of the Keir Hardie Society Committee teamed up with North Lanarkshire Labour MSPs Michael McMahon and Elaine Smith at the place of Keir Hardie’s birth in Legbrannock. After which they visited a number of local sites, most notably the Keir Hardie Memorial Primary School in Newarthill.

Speaking today Keir Hardie Society Secretary, Richard Leonard said
“Keir Hardie remains an inspiration to the whole labour movement. To remember his birthday is not only to celebrate the man, it is also to remember his ideas and his principles. For the Keir Hardie Society the best way to mark his birthday is to rekindle those ideas and principles in politics today. James Keir Hardie wasn’t just a socialist, he was an ethical socialist, who understood the importance of moral force in society. To visit his place of birth in Legbrannock on his 157th birthday, to meet local people who have had stories about Keir Hardie passed down from generation to generation and to be welcomed by school teachers who are now educating the next generation about the life of this great man has been inspiring.

“This was a last minute initiative, the brain child of Michael Sharpe, so we have been overwhelmed by the scale of the response. We now hope to make this a regular annual event and reach out to even more people.

Patricia Ferguson MSP for Glasgow, Maryhill and Springburn added
‘’It is always good to learn from history and there are few people more important to Labour movement history than Keir Hardie. He is, to this day, an inspiration and I am delighted that the society has decided to commemorate him in this way’’

Michael McMahon MSP for Uddingston and Bellshill said
“I take great pride in representing the birthplace of such an important historical Labour figure as James Keir Hardie so it was a pleasure for me to join with colleagues from the Keir Hardie Society in their commemoration. It is vitally important that we keep Keir Hardie’s legacy alive and I commend the Society for their efforts in doing so.”

Elaine Smith MSP for Coatbridge & Chryston said
“I was delighted to be at the launch of the Keir Hardie Society at Summerlee on the 15th August 2010. So as a founding member of the Society I was pleased to join these birthday events three years on. We should never forget Keir Hardie’s role in securing votes for women. He was the foremost supporter of women’s suffrage, as well as a great Parliamentarian and an agitator for democratic socialism. It’s right that we celebrate his life here in Lanarkshire where he came into the world.”