Will Ballantine – trade unionist and socialist

William Ballantine (b. 1905) was due to stand in the 1932 council elections in Perth for the Independent Labour Party (ILP), which had split from the Labour Party a short time earlier. He stood outside ILP policy in doing this and received criticism for his actions. 

Born into a rural life, Ballantine’s early life was defined by farm work. Ballantine soon tired of farm work and joined the railways wherein he would steadily rise through the ranks of the National Union of Railwaymen (NUR) and be active in the ILP. By 1937, he was on the NUR Executive (Locomotive Group, Area No 1); in 1946, he became a full-time official for the union (organiser); and in 1958, Assistant General Secretary. He took retirement in 1965.

As a high-ranking trade unionist within the ILP, Ballantine was elected to the party’s National Administrative Committee serving between 1939 and 1950.

As an electoral candidate for the ILP, Ballantine secured just under 15 per cent of the vote in Bradford East in the 1945 general election.