22 Facts About Arthur Donaldson


Arthur William Donaldson was a Scottish journalist and Scottish National Party politician.


Arthur Donaldson was leader of the Scottish National Party from 1960 to 1969.


Arthur Donaldson was educated at Harris Academy, leaving in 1917 with five Higher leaving certificate passes.


Arthur Donaldson did not find work as a journalist and instead found employment in Detroit, MI as secretary to the head of an engineering department in the automotive industry, then attended the Detroit Institute of Technology to study engineering.


Arthur Donaldson eventually became assistant secretary in the Chrysler Corporation's public procurement division, responsible for dealing with the United States Department of Defense.


In 1932, Arthur Donaldson married Violet "Vi" Bruce, another expatriate Scot and they set up home in Washington DC, where he continued to work for Chrysler.


Arthur Donaldson joined the Scottish National Party in 1934, and three years later returned to his native Scotland with his family, settling at Lugton, Ayrshire, where he established a poultry farm.


Arthur Donaldson came into contact with Robert McIntyre, one of the leading members of the SNP, and his involvement with the party deepened.


In May 1941, during the Second World War, Arthur Donaldson's home was raided by the police, who suspected him and a number of other SNP figures of "subversive activities", due to their support for the Scottish Neutrality League.


An informant of MI5 told the desk officer Richard Brooman-White that in the event of a German invasion of Britain, Arthur Donaldson had told him that he intended to set up a puppet government akin to that of Vidkun Quisling in Norway.


At the time, Arthur Donaldson's arrest was explained by his protests against the conscription of Scottish women for work in factories in England, and he has thus been described as a political prisoner by at least one former colleague.


Arthur Donaldson remained a member of the SNP throughout the 1940s and 1950s, when it was particularly weak and much of the focus of nationalist efforts was being invested in the Scottish Covenant of John MacCormick.


MacCormick had left the SNP in 1942, as he had been unable to persuade the party to adopt a position of supporting devolution rather than independence, a split which Arthur Donaldson himself had put down more to a personality clash than to ideological differences.


Arthur Donaldson stood as SNP candidate for Dundee at the 1945 general election, coming bottom of the poll with 7,775 votes.


Arthur Donaldson became active in local government in Angus, as a member of Forfar Town Council from 1945 to 1968, and as the town treasurer.


Arthur Donaldson served as a member of Angus County Council from 1946 to 1955.


Arthur Donaldson became SNP leader in June 1960, when he was elected unopposed, replacing James Halliday, and it was during his term as SNP leader that the party began to grow and impose itself on the Scottish political landscape.


Arthur Donaldson was the SNP candidate opposing Sir Alec Douglas-Home in the Kinross and Western Perthshire by-election in November 1963, although he lost his deposit there.


In January 1969, Arthur Donaldson announced his intention to stand down from the SNP leadership.


Arthur Donaldson stood as SNP parliamentary candidate for Galloway at the 1970 general election, coming second.


Arthur Donaldson remained active in the SNP at branch, constituency, and national level well into his eighties.


Arthur Donaldson died on 18 January 1993 at Forfar, aged 91.