Jimmy Halliday 27 Feb 1927 – 3 Jan 2013

Jimmy Halliday was unable to remember a time when he was not a Nationalist. He used to read the Scots Independent in the Greenock Public Library on the way home from school, and he joined the SNP in 1943 when he turned 16.

He graduated in history at Glasgow University, and taught in Ardeer, Coatbridge, Uddingston and Dunfermline. In 1967 he joined the History Department of Dundee College of Education, and retired in 1988 as head of that department. He has written extensively on history and the teaching of the subject; in 1990 he wrote “Scotland – A Concise History – BC to 1990”.  He also wrote “World in Transformation – America”, “Scotland the Separate”. “The 1820 Rising – The Radical War”, and co-authored “The Story of Scotland”. His latest book published  in 2011 was “Yours for Scotland – A Memoir”.

He was the SNP Parliamentary Candidate in Stirling, Falkirk and Grangemouth Burghs in 1955, at a General Election in which there only two SNP candidates, Jimmy, and Dr Robert McIntyre in Perth, trail blazers without a doubt.   Jimmy contested the same seat in 1959, the SNP having five candidates at that election – Jimmy, Robert McIntyre, Arthur Donaldson, David Rollo and Sandy Milne.  Jimmy stood once more for Westminster in 1970, in West Fife.

In 1956 he was elected as the youngest ever Chairman of the Scottish National Party, aged 29, preceded by Dr Robert McIntyre, and succeeded in 1960 by Arthur Donaldson. He then became a Vice President of the Party for a number of years, chairing the Election Committee.

His contribution to Scotland is chronicled in Gordon Wilson’s  “SNP – The Turbulent Years 1960 – 1990”, and in more detail in Paula Somerville’s  “Through the Maelstrom – a history of the SNP 1945-1967” which will be published by the Scots Independent in the Spring.

During Jimmy’s stint as SNP Chairman the Scots Independent  (founded in 1926) was formed into a limited company by the SNP in 1957; he was one of its first Directors, and was still Chairman of the paper at the time of his death.   He is survived by his wife, Olive, two sons, David and Gavin and two granddaughters, Grace and Flora.


Electoral Commission

The Scottish Government – January 30, 2013

The Scottish Government today confirmed it will accept all of the Electoral Commission recommendations on the referendum question and campaign spending limits.

Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said she was delighted with the recommended question – ’Should Scotland be an independent country? Yes/No’ – and confirmed that it will be this question that is put before the Scottish Parliament.

The Deputy First Minister also said she was satisfied with the recommended spending limits as they provide a level playing field for both sides of the debate.

In line with established practice in referendums throughout the UK, the Scottish Parliament will take the final decision on the wording of the question and campaign spending limits as part of its consideration of the Referendum Bill, which will be introduced in March.

Ms Sturgeon also welcomed the Electoral Commission’s calls for clarity around what a ‘No’ vote will mean for Scotland and its recommendation that the Scottish and UK governments work together to give clarity to the process that will follow a ‘Yes’ vote. She called on the UK government to accept these recommendations.

Ms Sturgeon said:

“I would like to thank the Electoral Commission for the work they have done on testing our proposed referendum question and giving advice on campaign spending limits. I am pleased to confirm we will accept their recommendations in full.

“I am particularly delighted with the conclusion the Electoral Commission has reached on the question. While its view is that our proposed question was clear, simple and easy to understand, I am nevertheless happy to accept their recommended change.

“Their advice is based on rigorous testing and we will submit the Electoral Commission’s recommended question – ‘Should Scotland be an independent country?’ – to the Scottish Parliament as part of the Referendum Bill.

“I am also pleased with the spending limits proposed by the Electoral Commission – they deliver a level playing field and will allow a fair and balanced debate on both sides. I am also pleased that the Commission has modified the position set out in their response to our consultation in March, as this would have resulted in an imbalance between the two sides of the campaign.

“We have always said that Scotland’s referendum will be run to the highest international standards of fairness and transparency, and the Electoral Commission plays a vital role in that.

“The Scottish Parliament will take the final decision on the wording of the question and campaign spending limits as part of its consideration of the Referendum Bill which reinforces that this is truly a referendum made in Scotland.

“I also welcome the Electoral Commission calls for both the Scottish and UK Governments to clarify what process will follow the referendum if most voters vote ‘Yes’ or most voters vote ‘No’ vote. The Electoral Commission rightly point out this is in line with the Edinburgh Agreement.

“I have been calling for the UK Government to enter discussions to allow the voters to be better informed, but so far they have refused. This would not be pre-negotiation on the terms of independence but vital information for voters that will allow them to make an informed choice in autumn 2014. Given the Scottish Government is accepting all recommendations from the Electoral Commission I would hope that the UK Government is prepared to do the same.”


The Electoral Commission report can be found at http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/scotland


I wonder?

As many, if not all, readers are aware, I get constantly irritated by the treatment given by the media to the SNP, and the SNP Government.

The amount of misreporting, incorrect and slanted headlines is phenomenal, and shows no signs of mitigation:  viz:

Glasgow Herald Tuesday 29 Jan 13 : “Sturgeon: We will set up a spy network”   The article started “An independent Scotland would have its own security service to fight international threats such as terrorism, cyber attacks and serious organised crime”, giving a totally different slant to the article.  “Spy” is a pejorative word and is used in that context, but if we did not have plans to set up our own security service we would be pilloried for endangering the security of the state!   I am also noticing that pictures of Nicola show her scowling, and not the congenial person that she is.  I wonder why?

Scotsman  – electronic version Wednesday 30 Jan 13 before question accepted  ..

“SNP to accept defeat on independence question”.  So if the SNP agreed with the Electoral Commission that was a defeat!  Of course if they had not agreed the Scotsman would then be pilloried for not taking advice from an unprejudiced body.  The SNP has to accept that whatever they do they will not be given any credit by the English dominated media.

Incidentally, I took a brief look at the responses on the Scotsman site, and they make me shudder;  the kindest I could put it is puerile and juvenile, although juveniles might find this offensive.  What a collection of venomous bile posturing as debate.



As can be seen when watching First Minister’s Questions, Nicola is also constantly under attack;  it is FMQs after all, but the sleekit attempts to get at Nicola in a session where she cannot hit back are further examples of the opposition’s  cowardice.  With this lot, a capital letter is not justified when using the word opposition; they are not opposing, just harping and carping in character asassination, and repeating slanderous allegations.  They are abusing parliamentary privilege;  the funny thing is that their popularity is not rising.  Again, I wonder why?

I understand that Ken MacIntosh, the Labour finance person, somehow put out a wish list after John Swinney published the Budget.  I saw some brief mention of details, with a caveat that they were not meant to be published, and I have not heard anything further.  What I do know is that John asked for suggestion for Budget changes, as he was willing to listen to proposals; requests that Labour indicate what part of the Budget be cut to pay for these were ignored..

Senior members of the Labour party appear to have been caught out by Ken Macintosh’s demand that the full £331 million of capital spending that was restored to Scotland’s budget by the Autumn Budget Statement are spent on Housing.

Ken Macintosh’s demands appear to have caught his colleagues unawares and have left the party calling for the same funds to be spent multiple times.

In January 2013 alone, Labour has called for additional funding for Further Education; more money for the Coalfield Regeneration Trust; for bus services to be regulated at the cost of hundreds of millions; and for extra money for concessionary travel – despite Labour’s Cuts Commission’s threat to scrap the scheme.

Ken Macintosh’s demand for all extra money to go into housing means that not only have Labour’s calls for additional funds in recent days been rendered hollow, but the party is now also calling for cuts to the transport, education and economic development budgets amongst others.

Obviously  nobody has told Labour that Gordon Brown, aided and abetted by Alastair Darling, blew all the money.  I wonder why?




We are seeing a lot of comment  about bullying in the press these days; it seems endemic.  As someone who has been retired for some time a few thoughts have come to me.  The popularity of TV shows like Dragon’s Den, Ann Robinson (?), the Office, West Wing etc must have a negative effect.  I never set out to watch any of the above , but my perception is that they are set to demean people and thus the attitudes are to be admired and copied.

So far I have not seen anybody pointing out that bullying is a failure of management , and the emphasis is on Human Resources, rather than Personnel Management .  It’s a cruel world.


View from the South

On Tuesday night I saw a very good interview of First Minister Alex Salmond on Scotland Tonight, the STV current affairs programme.

On Wednesday there was a Member’s Debate in the Scottish Parliament on the lack of coverage by STV in the South of Scotland;  the programme featuring Alex could not be seen in a vast swathe of Southern Scotland.  Their news and current affairs comes from Gateshead, following a merger between Border TV and Tyne Tees TV some time back.  I recall at that time the news came  from Carlisle.

Joan McAlpine an SNP MSP for the South of Scotland is leading the Member’s Debate.

Obviously Westminster keeping broadcasting as a reserved issue has not helped that region at all..