Jimmy Halliday

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For other people named James Halliday, see James Halliday (disambiguation).
James Halliday
Leader of the Scottish National Party
In office
May 1956 – May 1960
Preceded by Robert McIntyre
Succeeded by Arthur Donaldson
Personal details
Born (1927-02-27)27 February 1927
Wemyss Bay, Renfrewshire, Scotland
Died 3 January 2013(2013-01-03) (aged 85)
Dundee, Scotland
Political party Scottish National Party
Spouse(s) Olive Campbell (m. 1955-2013)
Children 2
Alma mater University of Glasgow
Profession Teacher, Lecturer (History)

James "Jimmy" Halliday (27 February 1927 - 3 January 2013) was a Scottish author, historian and politician. He was the chairman (leader) of the Scottish National Party (SNP) from 1956 to 1960.[1]

Halliday was born in Woodburn Cottage, Wemyss Bay, Renfrewshire, the son of James Wightman Halliday, an estate gardener. Halliday was educated at Skelmorlie Primary School and Greenock Academy.[2] He joined the SNP in 1943, aged 16, and also registered for military service in World War II. Halliday began studying at the University of Glasgow in 1944, joining the Glasgow University Scottish Nationalist Association and playing an active part in union debates. A few months later he was struck down with tuberculosis of the spine, and it was not until 1947 that he was able to stand again. He returned to Glasgow University in 1948 and graduated in 1952. Thereafter he taught history at Coatbridge High School, Uddingston Grammar School and Dunfermline High School.

In 1956, Halliday was elected leader of the SNP when Robert McIntyre decided to step down due to his belief that there was some opposition to him remaining leader amongst the party ranks. Although aged only 28, Halliday seemed the natural replacement as he had been the SNP parliamentary candidate for Stirling and Falkirk Burghs at the 1955 general election, and the only other SNP candidate besides McIntyre.[2] Halliday contested the Stirling and Falkirk Burghs seat again at the 1959 general election and West Fife in 1970.[2]

Halliday led the SNP for four years but felt he had to resign due to the pressures of working life. He lectured in history at Dundee College of Education from 1967 to 1988, and was later principal lecturer of history and head of department. He specialised in modern history and had a particular interest in the history, politics and constitution of the United States.[2] Halliday remained active in the SNP, and was a regular columnist for the Scots Independent newspaper and chairman of the company which publishes it.[2]

Published works[edit]


  • Scotland: A Concise History (1990)
  • 1820 Rising: The Radical War (1993)
  • Yours for Scotland - a Memoir (2011)


Political offices
Preceded by
Robert McIntyre
Chairman (Leader) of the Scottish National Party
Succeeded by
Arthur Donaldson