Allan Macartney

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Dr Allan Macartney
Depute Leader of the Scottish National Party
In office
25 September 1992 – 25 August 1998
LeaderAlex Salmond
Preceded byJim Sillars
Succeeded byJohn Swinney
Member of the European Parliament
for North East Scotland
In office
9 June 1994 – 25 August 1998
Preceded byHenry McCubbin
Succeeded byIan Hudghton
Personal details
Born17 February 1941
Accra, Gold Coast (now Ghana)
Died25 August 1998(1998-08-25) (aged 57)
Aberdeen, Scotland
Political partyScottish National Party
Spouse(s)Anne Forsyth (m. 1963-1998)
Alma materUniversity of Tübingen
University of Marburg
University of Edinburgh
University of Glasgow

Dr William John Allan Macartney (17 February 1941 – 25 August 1998) was a Scottish politician who served as a Scottish National Party MEP for the North East Scotland constituency between the 1994 European Parliament election and his sudden death from a heart attack in 1998.

Early life[edit]

Macartney was born in Accra, Gold Coast.[1] He was the son of a Church of Scotland minister, his family soon returned to Scotland and he was schooled in Elgin, Moray. He studied at the universities of Tübingen and Marburg in Germany, and then at the universities of Edinburgh (graduating in Economic Science in 1962) and Glasgow.

Upon completing his studies he returned to Africa as a voluntary secondary schoolteacher in eastern Nigeria (1963−1964). He then worked as a lecturer in government and administration at the University of Botswana, Lesotho and Swaziland from 1966 to 1974. He completed a PhD on the politics of Botswana, supervised by John Mackintosh.[2]

Upon returning to Scotland, he continued his academic career, serving as Staff Tutor in Politics at the Open University from 1975 to 1994. He founded the Unit for the Study of Government in Scotland at the University of Edinburgh, and was elected Rector of the University of Aberdeen.

Political career[edit]

While at the University of Glasgow, he was a founder of the Federation of Student Nationalists in 1961.[2] He was also the founder and Provost of the Scottish Self-Government College.

In 1989 he stood as the SNP candidate for North East Scotland in the 1989 European Parliament election where, despite a large increase in the share of the vote, he lost to Labour's Henry McCubbin.[3] After this he was selected as a prospective candidate for the Westminster elections.[4] He was unsuccessful in the 1991 Kincardine and Deeside by-election and at the same seat in the 1992 election.

He was elected SNP depute leader in 1992. In 1994 Macartney was elected as the MEP for North East Scotland gaining the seat with a swing from Labour to the SNP of 7.6%.[5]

Macartney was elected Rector of the University of Aberdeen in 1996.[6]

In August 1998 Macartney was unanimously re-selected as the SNP's candidate for the 1999 European Parliament elections.[1]

Death and legacy[edit]

Macartney collapsed and died on 25 August 1998 at his home in Aberdeen.[1] A service of thanksgiving was held in St Machar's Cathedral.[7]

At the 1998 North East Scotland by-election, caused by Allan Macartney's death, Ian Hudghton held the seat for the SNP with a substantially increased majority.[8]

In 2000, the University of Aberdeen introduced a new scholarship in his honour.[9] In 2006, an internship was launched by the SNP named after Dr. Macartney. Its aims are to encourage young people to take an interest in European and Scottish Politics. Applicants do not have to be members of the SNP. (Source)


  1. ^ a b c "SNP deputy leader dies". BBC News. 25 August 1998. Retrieved 14 April 2019.
  2. ^ a b MacCormick, Neil (26 August 1998). "Obituary: Allan Macartney". The Independent. Retrieved 1 June 2016.
  3. ^ Clark, William; Ross, David; Smith, Graeme (19 June 1989). "Victory in North East is the icing on the cake for Labour". The Glasgow Herald. Retrieved 1 June 2016.
  4. ^ "SNP Choice". The Glasgow Herald. 3 October 1989. p. 3. Retrieved 14 April 2019.
  5. ^ "United Kingdom European Parliamentary Election results 1979-99: Scotland". Retrieved 18 August 2018.
  6. ^ Tait, Mike (9 August 2000). "In Memory of Dr Allan Macartney". (Press release). Retrieved 18 August 2018.
  7. ^ Sinclair, Keith (31 August 1998). "Colleagues and rivals pay tribute". The Herald. Retrieved 14 April 2019.
  8. ^ "House of Commons Library Research Paper 99/57" (PDF).
  9. ^ "In Memory of Dr Allan Macartney" (Press release). University of Aberdeen. 9 August 2000. Retrieved 1 June 2016.

External links[edit]

Party political offices
Preceded by
Jim Sillars
Senior Vice Convener (Depute Leader) of the Scottish National Party
Succeeded by
John Swinney
Academic offices
Preceded by
Ian Hamilton
Rector of the University of Aberdeen
Succeeded by
Clarissa Dickson Wright