Ed Miliband has "urged Labour voters … to remain loyal to the party's traditions and vote No".

He does not appear to know much about the main founder of the Labour Party, the Scot Keir Hardie.

His first parliamentary by-election was in 1888 in Mid Lanark. His advocacy for Scottish home rule (or independence) drew the backing of the newly formed Scottish Home Rule Association. Its secretary was Ramsay MacDonald, who was associated with Hardie for the rest of the latter's life. In 1898, the two went to Birmingham to cheer for Scotland as its football team beat England. More importantly, MacDonald was to become the first Labour Prime Minister. They made a formidable pair in regard to home rule.

Hardie wrote in 1889: "I believe the people of Scotland desire a Parliament of their own and it will be for them to send to the House of Commons a body of men pledged to obtain it." The following month he called a meeting in Glasgow that went on to form the Scottish Labour Party, which soon merged into the Independent Labour Party.

Hardie believed that the Labour Party should serve working-class people and argued it required a majority of working-class MPs. In 1895 he visited Oxford and Cambridge universities, where access was largely restricted to those from public (private) schools. At Oxford he noted that graduates had easy access to the Commons, but wrote: "They will go out into the great world as unfitted for the task ... Most of them will know as little of the real life and feelings of the common people as if they did not exist." At Cambridge, he recorded that there was "a student who wanted to know whether I desired to see more working-men than middle and upper-class persons in Parliament, and seemed considerably astonished at my temerity and perversity in saying that I did. "

Today the number of MPs from public schools and Oxbridge is far in excess of their proportion in the population. One-third of MPs are drawn from public schools (the Cabinet full of them). The inbalance applies to the Labour Party, with the number from working-class backgrounds very small. During the last vote for the Labour leader, ordinary members had a vote. But the panel of six candidates all came from Oxbridge.

This is not only undemocratic; it also means many MPs have little understanding of the life of ordinary people. I reckon that, if alive today, Hardie would back Scottish independence. If its parliament reflected the present Holyrood it would not be dominated by those from elitist backgrounds. It would be more representative of the public. And with more women than the Commons, Hardie, one of the strongest supporters of the women's suffrage movement, would be pleased. He argued for the abolition of an undemocratic House of Lords.

Further, Hardie's political manifestos advocated more public control. He wanted the nation to run the services essential to health and social wellbeing. His manifestos included the nationalisation of railways, mines, land, banks and pensions; plus free education. An independent Scottish government would be more sympathetic to Hardie's policies. Britain's declaration of war on Germany in 1914 was opposed by Hardie. As war hysteria mounted, he was savagely attacked by politicians and the press. By September, he and his family were being abused in the streets. But he continued to condemn the leaders who wanted war and the armament firms that profited from it. He would have been heartened by the prospect of a Scotland without Trident.

He died in September, 1915, heartbroken by a war that wantonly brought about the slaughter of thousands of young, working-class Scots (and others). At his funeral in Glasgow, nobody represented the House of Commons. But multitudes of working-class men and women lined the streets. He died believing that most of the objectives he had campaigned for were lost. Some (greater democracy, more equality, peace, the advancement of public services to serve people not financiers) could be advanced in an independent Scotland; the Scottish home rule he desired.