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Cat Boyd – Justifiable criticisms and justifiable questions – Towards Indyref2…

Cat Boyd – Justifiable criticisms and justifiable questions

Just over a year ago I wrote an article entitled ‘RISE – Deluded, doomed and divisive’.

The article followed a three day push from Scotland’s main stream media for a party created from the embers of the 2014 independence referendum campaign by some members of the so-called ‘radical left’.

The article contained the following paragraphs.

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.

I was reminded of the article last week when, turning on Sunday Politics Scotland, I was confronted with the co-founder of the aforementioned party proclaiming how proud she was that she had voted for Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour party in June’s general election.

Accompanying Cat Boyd on the programme was Jim Sillars. Not surprisingly, both were less than complimentary about the SNP.

Boyd’s revelation was met with a mixture of ridicule, criticism and abuse on social media from Yes supporters angry at her pro-Labour stance. Her more eloquent critics pointed out that Corbyn’s party supports the renewal of Trident, wants a hard Brexit and backs Tory welfare cuts. Hardly radical left policies. More significantly, Labour is also against Scottish independence and another independence referendum.

Boyd’s supporters argued that we are all entitled to vote as we wish and that the criticism/abuse being heaped upon the RISE co-founder was unwarranted. Some asked how the Yes movement hoped to persuade No voters to switch if it treats one of its own in this fashion. The thrust was that her critics should leave Cat be.

To date I haven’t commented on the episode save for a few tweets that have poked fun at the former RISE candidate [I found the ‘Proud to be Yes … Proud to vote Labour’ stance worthy of ridicule].  I assumed as the week progressed the issue would fade.  Boyd had clearly chosen the BBC to make her announcement in order to generate controversy.  She succeeded.  I had no intention of adding to it.

But on Saturday I tuned into the weekend Good Morning Scotland to find none other than Cat Boyd on the programme. She was pushing the ‘vote Labour’ line again.


Boyd’s contribution, as you can hear from the clip above, was meandering and difficult to comprehend at times. But the essence of her argument was that radical socialists should vote Labour in any forthcoming general election.

So, here we had a leading light in the independence campaign invited onto BBC Scotland two weekends in a row to punt the same ‘vote Labour’ line.

The day after Boyd’s encore performance the Sunday Herald published an article by Angela Haggerty entitled ‘Crying “traitor” at Yessers who vote Labour won’t help the independence movement’.  The article was a response to those who had criticised and/or abused Cat Boyd.

Angela Haggerty probably didn’t actually write the headline, although few would argue with it.  The article contained the following:

“The apparent impossible contradiction between being a passionate Yes campaigner and voting for a unionist party is not all that impossible. It reflects a dominant feature of the indy campaign: it wasn’t about nationalism for nationalism’s sake, it had to offer more than that.

And that’s where Boyd and others like her have the upper hand on the common ground.

“Her motivations are clear and consistent when put under the spotlight, and that gives her pro-indy analysis far more credibility with potential Yes voters than those who exude a more nationalist mindset, simply becomes it becomes hard to believe she would sacrifice the bigger picture for the sake of winning one vote.”

Although there were Labour members and voters who campaigned for Yes during the last referendum, [think Labour for Independence] I don’t think it was a ‘dominant theme’.  Besides, a significant number of former Labour people moved over to pro-Indy parties immediately after the indyref, not the other way.

Also, I’m not so sure Cat Boyd’s motivations are all that clear and consistent.  In the run-up to June’s general election she wrote an article in The National where she appeared to rule out voting for Corbyn.  See below.

But technically I’m not electing a Prime Minister, in the way one would elect a president. And, likely, I would end up using my constituency vote for a narrow-minded careerist who will use every opportunity to plot against Corbyn regardless of the country’s or the Labour Party’s democratic wishes. Likely, I’d be electing another Ian Murray, and, if you’ll forgive the expression, with MPs like these, who needs enemies?

Before going any further it’s necessary to have a closer look at what prompted this whole sorry episode.

Cat Boyd voted Labour in the general election, a party opposed to independence and a second independence referendum.  In doing so she exercised her democratic right.  However she then used an appearance on the BBC in order to tell of her pride in having voted Labour.  Not content with that, she publicly criticised the SNP as not radical enough, and added: “I would also like to see a plurality for independence where the SNP are not the sole voice for independence.”

We can see immediately there is far more to this episode than someone merely deciding to vote Labour.  Most Labour voters aren’t high-profile Yes activists.  Most Labour voters don’t get to appear on the BBC to tell of their pride in having voted for the party.

Cat Boyd is of course no average voter. She enjoys a near celebrity profile amongst the Yes movement.  Boyd, like scores of other people, contributed to the success of the Yes campaign.  However unlike most, she has benefited enormously from its aftermath.  A column in The National and numerous TV and radio appearances have allowed her to push her radical agenda further than she otherwise would have been able.


Less than a week after the 2014 referendum, Cat Boyd wrote an article for Bella Caledonia in which she spoke of plans for a new party – A Scottish Podemos.  In the article, Boyd railed against the Labour party, writing: “We won the traditional Labour Heartlands, and we’re not going to give them back to Labour without a fight. The battle for ‘Red Clydeside’ has only just begun.”

Not long afterwards the radical independence party RISE was born.

The birth of RISE is the key to where we are now and fuels much of the anger currently directed at Boyd.

Cat Boyd co-founded RISE which wasn’t just a radical left party, it was portrayed as a party of independence.  References to and imagery of the indyref Yes movement peppered its campaign videos.

The party promised to table a motion calling for Holyrood to be able to call a second independence referendum at a time of its choosing.  RISE relied on its Yes credentials in order to attract funding. It launched a £100,000 appeal which specifically targeted Yes supporters.

A key campaign message was that Labour had to be replaced as the main opposition to the SNP, that more pro-indy voices would increase calls for a second independence referendum. It specifically promised not more socialist MSPs, but more pro-independence MSPs.

To now find the lead voice in this campaign claiming she is proud to have voted Labour is a slap in the face for many who were swept along by the RISE rhetoric.  They have a right to be angry.

The indifference shown by those who promoted RISE and its leading lights is sadly not surprising.

The episode leaves some questions unanswered.  For example, is Cat Boyd still a member of the party she co-founded?  If so, did she discuss her decision to vote for a Unionist party with anyone from RISE?

If she is still a member, does RISE allow its senior members to vote for and endorse Unionist parties?

Crucially, with Jeremy Corbyn about to embark on a tour of SNP held constituencies, will RISE activists and officials now join its co-founder and argue that Yes supporters who are socialists should vote for Labour in the next general election?

These are all highly relevant questions, yet nobody seems interested in asking them.  In writing this article I happened across a promotional video created by RISE activists that may give other Yessers cause for concern.

The aftermath of the general election witnessed an attack on the SNP and its mandate to hold a second independence referendum.  Running in parallel with this attack is a false narrative that seeks to present Jeremy Corbyn as making inroads in Scotland at the expense of the SNP.  There is a danger that this becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy if young Yes supporters are influenced by the actions of radical, and sadly self-indulgent, Yes activists like Ms Boyd.

If we are to achieve independence, then to paraphrase Peter A. Bell, the Yes movement has to marry discipline and solidarity with the diversity that exists within its ranks. That means not voting Labour … ever … Well not until we are independent.

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29 thoughts on “Cat Boyd – Justifiable criticisms and justifiable questions

  1. East Neuker

    I wholly agree with what you have said in this post. Voting for a party which is virulently anti Scottish independence, indeed even against ever asking the question again, a party which supports the renewal of Trident, and has colluded in the anti poor and disabled people agenda that is the current benefits policy, is neither supportive of independence nor a left wing gesture.

    Cat Boyd has the right to vote for whoever she wants, and the right to say so, but if she wants to make her “pride” in her actions known in such high profile ways then it is legitimate to comment, disagree, or even sternly criticise those actions and that stance.
    It is not legitimate to personally abuse her.

    What the whole episode feels like to me is self promotion by Ms Boyd which damages the cause of independence. She is a publicity junkie, and Angela Haggerty, fine journalist though she sometimes can be, is acting as her apologist. Self styled radical independence supporter says “vote Unionist” and expects no comeback? Give us a break.

    To the Indy Trolls who chuck about abuse or veiled threats, I say stop it, you are damaging the cause even more. To Ms Boyd I say simply that she is wrong, and that her motivations are deeply questionable.

  2. Alex Beveridge

    ” If we do not hang together, we will surely hang separately”. Benjamin Franklin.
    This is exactly the divisive rhetoric those who never want us to be an independent country thrive on, exploited to the full by the unionist media.
    Every utterance by these individuals, or organisations, is latched onto like a drowning person grabbing a lifebelt, and used to promote an S.N.P bad agenda.
    What motivates these people? Do they think it’s their opportunity to claim their fifteen minutes of fame, or is it more sinister than that? Are they fifth columnists, who, while pretending to support independence, In reality want us to remain subservient to Westminster.
    Without the S.N.P, and the inspiring leadership of Alex and Nicola, we wouldn’t be within touching distance of being an independent nation once again, and they can put that in their pipe and smoke it.

  3. Robert Graham

    As usual “divide and rule” -works every time ,
    Useful Idiots doing untold damage ,
    Lots of people warned of the danger before the Holyrood elections , simply because of who were giving space to Rise , and who were pushing a vote for them , we now see the result of this push , but fool us once etc , this wont work twice .

  4. Big Jock

    A vote for a unionist party = a vote against independence. Cat voted for the union. That’s a fact that she can’t squirm her way out of. Every vote not for the SNP is a portrayed as a vote against independence by the MSM and the State. Cat has neither the wit nor the wisdom to understand the consequences of her messages.

    There is a reason the SNP has been in existence for 70 years and has been the government for a decade. They understand politics in Scotland and the UK. They know a thing or two about the independence movement. Cat is a newbie pseudo intellectual socialist. They are always on the fringes trying to interrupt the movement with their personal platitudes.

    Our movement can do without her. She has proven that she hasn’t the first clue about how the state operates and how to beat it.

    Night , night Cat.

  5. Jockanese Wind Talker

    Cat Boyd Labour Election Candidate in next U.K. GE.

    She hitched herself to the Indy Band wagon for self gain (as you point out above) and will now do the same with Corbyn.

    The old adage “The working class can kiss my ass, I’ve got the foremans job at last” comes to mind with mind

  6. Big Jock

    Yes I often question these type of individuals commitment to independence. Independence is not and never was a mono-cultural journey. Independence is for the nation , left , right and all shades in-between. I am left leaning but smart enough to understand that my personal views are political opinions not national narratives.

    Salmond got us to within a whisker of independence by offloading trouble makers like Sillars. Boyd is just a younger version of Sillars. They want everything on their terms and present themselves as the great mystics of the movement. Would anyone care to imagine where the SNP would be if Sillars had been the leader instead of Salmond!

    Independence is not a party, it’s not a socialist vision and it’s not a narrow personal hobby horse of a narcissistic two bit publicity seeker.

    People like me and others who have believed in independence since their mid teens ,are what has kept the dream alive through the wilderness years. New members are always welcome but they must respect the vision that got us here in the first place. No-one owns independence!

    1. grizebard

      True all that. The “independence but only on my terms” virtue-signalling never-never Nirvana believers have been poor advocates, as likely to have deterred more people from “yes” than they have ever converted from “no”.

      The independence movement is big enough to encompass all political beliefs and none. Vive la difference, I say. But even it isn’t big enough to accommodate BritNat entryists flying under false flags.

  7. bringiton

    This individual,as an individual has the democratic right to vote for which ever party she likes.
    However…….as an aspiring political leader,consistency is paramount and voting for a party diametrically opposed to some of the main planks of her previously held position,is not the way to do things.
    I am afraid that her credibilty has taken a big hit from which it will be difficult to recover.
    The far left in all parts of the world has a history of fracture,dissent and lack of cohesiveness and RISE have proved to be no different.
    She should stick to the day job,I don’t think politics is her forte.

    1. grizebard

      I can only agree. Makes one suspect that independence was just a handy bandwagon for some opportunists to climb aboard, but only for just as long as was convenient for them, and easily ditchable when not.

      Reminds me of Jack Straw, radical student lefty turned into arch-reactionary Blairite occupant of the Home Office.

      To mangle an old footie quote, independence isn’t about party politics, it’s much more important than that.

  8. Big Jock

    Not sure what’s radical about voting for a unionist, anti EU, pro Trident guy like Corbyn…but there you go that’s her slogan.

    1. manandboy

      To be radical in politics today, you have to tell the truth – otherwise you’re just like the rest of the liars.

      1. K.A.Mylchreest

        Tell the truth, M&B? Now that would be wildly radical, the end of politics as we know it for sure 😉

  9. Lochside

    I saw through Cat Boyd a long time ago. I supported the RIC and attended the meetings. She spoke well. But, like all ‘socialist’ identifying parties they all appear to have a British Unionist streak running through them. I never bought into international socialism any more than the brotherhood of man/woman. It’s an aspiration, but reality starts here in Scotland, and Ive always sided with the national coalition before narrow interest ..no matter how much I want many socialist actions.

    Cat is a careerist…and we’re loaded down with them. She is incoherent, contradictory, and ultimately a shallow self seeking charlatan who is willing to collaborate knowingly with the BBC and their anti-Scottish and anti-working class narrative.. Let her disappear like the Rosie Kanes of this world , someone that she resembles so sadly.

    1. Sweep

      I agree, but not so much a “British Unionist” streak as a whopping great wide stripe of “entitlement”, regardless of party politics.

      In view of that, I’d suggest Ms Boyd voting Scottish Labour is indicative of where she truly belongs.

      1. gordoz

        Regret to say thought Cat was the real deal in early days, how wrong I was.
        So disappointed in Ms Boyd, shes a real let down in all kinds of ways and agree career & TV hits come first for her views.

        Would keep her likes at a real arms length in future.

        After this could she really be trusted with anything of value within the YES movement.

        Perhaps federal YES, or YES light, YES diet, The Corbyn YES Vow.

        No I’ve got it, Nearly YES, Wuz YES (but hate Salmond).

        Cat Boyd = Waste of space, (move on)

  10. twathater

    After listening to Boyd’s assertions in the interview above where she keeps saying about Corbyn’s RADICAL manifesto , I ask what radical manifesto, the SNP who she obviously cannot bring herself to vote for or praise already has introduced the majority of these policies they are here , Corbyn meanwhile has already started back peddaling on his promises as liebour always do

    It defies any kind of logic or reason that a vote for any Britnat unionist party vehemently opposed to independence for Scotland will benefit the independence cause , if ms Boyd could not stomach the assault on her socialist principles by voting SNP she could of course have voted for the independence supporting green party
    Which brings me to the same conclusion as other posters that Ms Boyd has an alternative agenda or is a self serving wannabe

  11. K.A.Mylchreest

    What this episode brings out for me is the tricky position the SNP find themselves in.

    On the one hand they are the mainstay of the drive for Indy, which to succeed needs to gain majority support in a referendum, ideally a very good majority to be credible. This requires a broad-based movement able to accommodate a wide spread of views across the political spectrum. Indy First, Politics Afterwards — well almost.

    OTOH though, the SNP are in the driving seat as the Scottish Government, a job they’re doing rather well in the circumstances, IMO. But that does mean they have to take very many day-to-day decisions, have detailed policies on down-to-earth matters, make practical compromises within the limits of the resources available, and so quite obviously as someone once said, in government “you can’t please all of the people all the time”.

    In short to carry on the ‘day job’ they have necessarily to tie down their policies, whereas to front the Indy movement they need to keep it all a bit vague. Squaring this viscous circle is no mean feat. The very fact that they’ve survived and thrived for so long is really little short of a miracle. You simply don’t know how lucky you are!

    So let’s just hope that they can keep up the balancing act for just a little longer, despite all the forces intent on knocking them off their perch.

  12. Jas

    One small step towards becoming Baroness Boyd.

    If ermine looks good wrapped around “Socialist Republican” Flipper, then Cat will look positively pomp sitting next to the likes of Michelle Mone – both of them draped in all that finery.

  13. Big Jock

    As others have said. She jumped on indi movement as a vehicle for her socialism. She easily slid back to the union when sold a vision by a unionist party.

    So it’s Cat and socialism first and Scotland second. They are all alike in lambing. For us its independence first and the shape of a nation after.

    Cat has fallen into the trap of believing that somehow England can be redefined along Scotlands lines. But it can’t and won’t ever change. The machinery always spits out radicals and socialists.

    Scotland is doomed if it stays in the UK. It’s shackled to an abusive partner who always get their way.

    Independence is above all else. It’s not an option it’s a necessity. We are nothing without it.

  14. Dave

    Didn’t Boyd pull a similar wheeze on Question Time a while back when, to howls of derision from the audience, she admitted that she didn’t vote in the EU referendum.

    There’s no such thing as bad publicity and yet again she’s in the spotlight. In a political climate where politicians habitually make screaming u turns, I’m thinking Davidson and Dugdale in particular, to no apparent detriment, Cat Boyd is keeping herself in the public view. She’s sold out the independence movement and she’ll sell out her socialist principles as soon as it suits her. They are after all the most routinely sold out principles in politics anyway.

    Her supporters can intellectualise, twist and positively spin her actions to defend her till they are blue in the face but a vote for labour, to support what has been said earlier is a vote against independence. No ifs, buts or maybes. The SNP is the only vehicle that has the critical mass to achieve a Yes vote. Cat Boyd has only scratched the paintwork and she has nailed her colours to, what I’m sure, will be the first of many other masts. We don’t need her or her divisive shit, good riddance.

  15. Ottomanboi

    Scotland is too important to England’s prestige to be allowed ‘to go’. The hand of the British secret services cannot be discounted in these organisations. The so-called left is riddled with ad hoc, on trend factions offering easy entry to mischief-makers.

  16. David MacGille-Mhuire

    Boyd another BritNatTrot and trolling imperialist plant like Haggerty et al?

    A bone-idle hack garnering her dosh from the BriNat state and pontificating to all and sundry?

    Trust the citizenry of Scotland have moved well beyond her drivelsome output.

  17. Toby Lerone

    Is Cat Boyd going down the same path, from socialist republican to arch Tory, as prof Adam Tomkins?
    Time will tell 🙂

  18. Brian Powell

    I spoke to a friend who voted for Ind and SNP but said she wished the SNP was Labour.
    However Cat Boyd is a fake and carries no intellectual or political credibility. If she wants Labour she should stop hiding in the Yes movement.
    Jim Sillars should leave the SNP.

    1. Brian Powell

      I should add I think the National is operating the Nudge principle, with Henry McLeish, Cat Boyd, Kevin McKenna. Bit by bit actually pushing a move to Labour.

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