RISE of the useful idiots

cat_boydThe Offensive Behaviour at Football and Threatening Communications Bill is in the news.  It’s in the news because it’s also in the cross-hairs of the opposition parties at Holyrood.

Opposition parties see the chance to score a quick win against Nicola Sturgeon’s SNP Government.   The Tories along with their Unionist sidekicks Labour and the Lib Dems are drooling at the prospect.

Doubt remains as to what Patrick Harvie’s Greens will do.  Prior to the Scottish election the Greens pledged to repeal the Act.  Political reality in the form of public opinion may force Harvie’s band of six to re-evaluate.  Successive opinion polls have indicated strong public support for the legislation, not least my own twitter poll which indicated overwhelming belief that the act had been positive.

my poll

The media though doesn’t do public support.  It has its own agenda and that agenda is to undermine the minority SNP administration.  The Offensive Behaviour at Football Act is the new Edinburgh Trams.

Useful Idiots

Two weeks before the Scottish election I wrote an article on this very site that highlighted the ego driven divisiveness of the ‘radical’ left wing group that called itself RISE.  My article contained a prediction of what might happen should the party flop in the Scottish election.

If opinion polls are replicated on polling day, there won’t be any RISE MSPs at Holyrood.  But the fallout from their idiotic and divisive election campaign will hang in the air like a bad smell.  So too will their bitterness.

They’ve tasted influence and they like it.  Pro-Union newspapers like the Record and Herald have indicated a willingness to headline any anti-SNP gripe and stand ready to accommodate more.  BBC Scotland will jump at the chance to have a predictably anti-SNP pundit review newspapers or appear on a panel.

If you want a glimpse at what RISE and its backers are on their way to becoming, you need look no further than their most high profile supporter – Jim Sillars.  The Unionist media love Jim because his bitterness towards the SNP is stronger than his ability to exercise restraint and discipline.

No sooner had the Offensive Behaviour at Football Act been targeted by the SNP’s opponents than up popped RISE co-founder Cat Boyd on the BBC.

Boyd, who owes her media celebrity to the independence referendum [and ironically to the SNP majority in 2011] popped up again the following morning on BBC Radio Scotland – albeit a recording of her comments from the previous evening.


Cat Boyd is carrying on a tradition that’s been practiced within the Unionist media for years – that of the useful idiot.  The useful idiot is usually blessed with confidence and articulacy but cursed with ego and political naivety.  They cannot resist the lure of the media spotlight and are oblivious to their being used because it suits that media’s agenda.

Had Boyd, instead of attacking the legislation with melodramatic evidence free anecdotes, highlighted Scottish Labour hypocrisy over its own stance, she wouldn’t have darkened the doorstep of the BBC building.  Below is what the Labour run Scottish Executive said about sectarianism at football back in 2002 and 2006.

labour sectarianism2

labour sectarianism

Boyd was invited into the Unionist Broadcasting Mecca precisely because she echoed what Scottish Labour is saying now.  She was useful.

Two of the most well-known useful idiots are RISE supporter Jim Sillars and former SNP leader Gordon Wilson.  The two are a godsend to a pro-Union media on the lookout for anything they can use to attack independence or the SNP.  When Wilson and Sillars speak you can guarantee a BBC reporter won’t be far away – nor will the headlines linking their damaging comments to independence or the SNP.

sillars wilson

Cat Boyd has established herself as a bit of a regular on BBC Scotland.  Her confident manner and ability to voice an opinion on anything found her fielding invites to appear on Radio Scotland as a pundit and reviewer.  BBC Scotland was so comfortable with Boyd that in August 2015 she was allowed air-time to promote her new party.


She also learned not to bite the hand that was feeding her media profile as her anodyne criticism of the BBC’s referendum coverage illustrates.


I think it’s safe to say that a lot of the ‘frustrations’ at the BBC’s coverage of the independence referendum were based on more than the broadcaster’s parochial and trivialised coverage.

The Unionist media, especially the BBC, is a devious manipulative machine.  It knows the Holyrood election left a legacy of bitter anti-SNP sentiment amongst some ‘radicals’.  This legacy presents a mouth-watering opportunity for the Unionist media that it won’t fail to exploit.

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13 thoughts on “RISE of the useful idiots

  1. Conor

    The only one with an ego is you. Your constant attacks on both RISE and Cat are ridiculous.

    We havnt “tasted influence”. We just want to see real change. Our activists are not with us because they think we will win elections, they are with us because they believe in our policies and what we can help achieve with good groundwork and grassroots politics.

    Cat has done more work for the people of Scotland than you ever will. Her constant fighting for Trade Union rights, working people, independence etc while you sit behind a computer and ridicule everyone who is not an SNP supporter.

    I have to laugh. Your ego is so big you are using the referendum to punt your book and make money.

    1. GA Ponsonby

      “Cat has done more work for the people of Scotland than you ever will. Her constant fighting for Trade Union rights, working people, independence etc while you sit behind a computer and ridicule everyone who is not an SNP supporter.”

      I’m criticising those behind RISE for the reasons I have given in my articles. I also criticise pro-Union bias in the media – particularly the BBC.

      “Your ego is so big you are using the referendum to punt your book and make money.”

      That will be the book that I have made available free here: http://ponsonbypost.com/index.php/news/56-london-calling-how-the-bbc-stole-the-referendum-read-for-free

  2. Dougie Blackwood

    The Scottish Government doesn’t get everything right and I believe this was one of their few mistakes. This act is almost impossible to police effectively as it boils down to the perceptions of someone that can be biased one way or the other.

    I’m an SNP party member and would be pleased to see it repealed. There are people that are offensive to others but they can be dealt with under the old fashioned Breach of the Peace laws.

  3. Ian MacFadyen

    A well written and accurate article, which shows that there are still a few with their finger on the pulse.

    The state of affairs is actually a brilliant excercise in finding out the weak links, before we even get to Independence, surely we are blessed.

  4. Calum

    A new radical left party is formed confident in the belief that the SNP have won and an independent Scotland is on now inevitable so all that now remains is to organise and articulate an achievable view for a fair society where all are included and empowered… but then all you can do is moan about flawed anti sectarian legislation? Let the BBC invite RISE to explain their values and policies. In fairness if they won’t do that but they will have you on to snipe at the party with the million vote mandate you might have to accept the view that you are being treated like useful idiots. The revolution will not be televised.

  5. Christian Wright

    Cat Boyd is a self-serving political dilettante. RISE, Common Space Cadets, et al – all have a grossly inflated sense of their own importance fueled by a manipulative media. They are creatures of truthiness and celebrity. All mouth and no trousers.

    Reality bit when they got royally stuffed at the ballot box, even coming behind the Jesus for Scotland moonies of the Scottish Christian Party, who unlike these RISE balloons, enjoyed zero substantive coverage in the MSM.

    GA Ponsonby has been indefatigable in exposing the jiggery-pokery of the corrupt state broadcaster. His is a fact-based pursuit of the shenanigans, political posturing, and corporate wrong-doing of the BBC. His authorship is of the highest quality.

  6. Andy Borland

    The Offensive Behaviour at Football Act is an abysmally misguided and retrograde piece of legislation.

    As an SNP member I frankly couldn’t care less about the political opportunism on display here – it’s what politicians do.

    There is an enormous disconnect between what the public think this Act does and how Police Scotland in their less than infinite wisdom seek to enforce it.

    I for one will welcome its demise.

  7. Malcolm Kerr

    We will never gain independence if we treat our opponents with this kind of disdain, let alone our allies. Do you really think we will convince a majority by throwing insults?. I liked ‘London Calling’, but you’ve gone off the rails recently.

  8. Disgusted of Tunbridge Wells

    The Offensive Behaviour at Football And Threatening Communications Act 2012 is not a perfect piece of legislation, but it is popular for attempting to do something about the cancer which is sectarianism in Scottish society. Labour danced around the issue while in power and now want to drag is back to the position we were in pre-2012.

    I’m born and brought up in West Central Scotland. I’ve known bigotry all my days, from the “whit school did ye go tae” questioning when going for a job to the full on hatred and loathing which manifests itself so well every summer. I’ve been in clubs and saw the cans being passed around to raise money for “the boys over the water”, and I’ve seen the network of fundraising for loyalist “prisoners of war” and worse.

    This is something which is passed on from generation to generation. It is imprinted, like DNA, and no amount of wishy-washy education programmes are going to solve the problem on their own.

    This needs to be tackled head on, with a combined strategy from all the parties. The SNP could do worse than convene a sectarianism summit to identify common ground and gain support across the political spectrum.

    But to rescind the OBFA would be a sign of weakness, and on that topic there should be no surrender.

  9. Disgusted of Tunbridge Wells

    As for Cat Boyd, her comments on the above clip about the BBC are pure word salad.

    RISE are the Scottish equivalent of UKIP; championed by the BBC and their press counterparts simply for being the mechanism for introducing the idea of a split in the pro-indy ranks.

    Having said that I think the term “useful idiots” only pours petrol on the argument and inflames matters where calm is required from both sides.

    I have huge respect for Mr Ponsonby, but I think it time to stop putting the boot into RISE and their ilk in such an aggressive manner.

    You’ll catch more flies with honey than vinegar, as the saying goes.

  10. Lochside

    People who see this expose of Cat Boyd and her ilk’s opportunism and downright treachery as sectarian (!) are foolish. Mr. P has clearly included similar despicable behaviour with SNP ex leaders Sillars and Wilson. So his criticism is broad an untainted by favouritism.

    I attended RIC rallies where this young lady spoke eloquently. I hoped she was honest and would prove an asset to the broad nationalist front. However, since reading her self publicising column in the ‘National’ I have lost respect for her. The much maligned Tommy Sheridan, villified by the Left for alleged personal behaviour, stood and failed with his party Solidarity in the recent elction.

    However, I have never seen Tommy on BBC sucking on the BBC SNPBAD teat. Vain and self promoting he may well be…but bitter opportunists like Cat….who appear to know nothing about the sad and violent history of sectarian behaviour in Scotland….are far worse.

    Finally: the naive and wrong observation that ‘Cat has done more for the people of Scotland than you’..is risible. Your book will stand as one of the most important and brave analysis of the BBC’s criminal and politically motivated treatment of our people. In the future your book will be on the Scottish educational curriculum..Cat Boyd will be a footnote.

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