Jimmy Halliday: First Minister leads tributes to former leader


First Minister Alex Salmond today led tributes to former party Chairman Jimmy Halliday who died this morning.

Jimmy Halliday led the SNP from 1956 to 1960 and was chair of the Scots Independent.

Paying tribute to Jimmy and offering his condolences to his family Mr Salmond said;

“Jimmy Halliday became leader of the SNP whilst still in his 20s in 1956 and guided the party through four crucial years preparing for the expansion of the 1960s.

“When he became chairman in 1956 the SNP had had only two candidates in the 1955 election of which he was one. A few years later the party was contesting every seat in Scotland and winning by-elections.

“He has played a crucial role as the guiding hand of the Scots Independent newspaper which has been the only journal advocating the cause of independence for Scotland.

“Jimmy’s wit and wisdom will be much missed across the ranks of the wider national movement.  My thoughts are with his wife Olive, his sons and family.”

Dundee politicians, where Mr Halliday lived, taught and was an active member of the party, extended their condolences

Dundee City East MSP Shona Robison said today: “I was sad to hear of Jimmy’s death.  He was a veteran of the party and an inspiration to many.  He had a wry sense of humour and was well-grounded.  Our condolences go to Olive and to his sons Gavin and David.

“His humanitarian outlook and his wide range of interests made him a pleasant companion and an able speaker.  We will all miss him at our gatherings but reflect on what he has given our party and his decades of service to the cause of independence.”

Stewart Hosie MP for Dundee East said: “Jimmy was a positive influence on Scottish politics both through his early leadership of the SNP and his significant role with the SI newspaper and through his own personal life as a teacher, author and elder-statesman.

“He continued to give key-note speeches to gatherings such as the Alexander III Commemoration at Kinghorn and the 1820 Martyrs Society Rallies at Strathaven.

‘Locally, his ‘Address to the Haggis’ recited entirely from memory, was a feature at our annual Dundee SNP Burns’ Suppers.  Jimmy’s legacy to the party in terms of his vision and his commitment is incalculable.”

Dundee City West MSP Joe FitzPatrick said: “Jimmy was a marvellous man of good humour and common sense. He was always interesting to talk to and had keen insight.

“His interests covered many subjects including American politics and he was warm, witty and companionable. He seemed ageless and we are all saddened at his death.

‘He will be greatly missed by all in the party nationally and by all of us in Dundee SNP and we send our condolences to Olive and his family.”


James Halliday was the Chairman of the Scottish National Party between 1956 and 1960.  He was born in Wemyss Bay in 1927 and was educated at Greenock High School and Glasgow University.

He was a candidate for the SNP in Stirling and Falkirk in 1955 and 1959 and also for West Fife in 1970.

He was Chairman of Scots Independent Newspapers.
He taught in many schools across the country including Uddingston Grammar School and Dunfermline High School before  becoming Lecturer in History at Dundee College of Education in 1967.  In 1979 he became the Principal Lecturer in History, a post he occupied until 1987 .

His publications include a ‘Concise History of Scotland’; ‘1820 :The Radical War’ and ‘Yours for Scotland – A Memoir’.