The attack on GA Ponsonby reveals much about Common Space and Angela Haggerty

By Jason Michael McCann

We can “rest easy,” tweeted GA Ponsonby, “the Common Space article informing people of the launch of a new ‘left wing’ Scottish Labour website… is ‘flagging’ it.” This was a comment on an earlier tweet from CommonSpace editor Angela “the Tsar” Haggerty in which she claimed Alasdair Clark’s 28 February piece on the launch of the Scottish Labour website The Red Robin was intended to warn left leaning independence supporters of the new site’s agenda; to target and win back the support Labour has lost since the 2014 referendum.

There is, however, no indication of this in the CommonSpace article. Ponsonby’s analysis looks to be spot on. The language is effluviously commendatory throughout, with The Red Robin being introduced as a “distinctive voice” that will – quoting Labour’s own promotion of the site – “find the stories powerful people don’t want you to see.” It even comes complete with a roaring commendation from the new left’s man of the hour, Jeremy Corbyn:

Our party and our movement is [sic] brimming with ideas and debates about the future. It is out of these discussions that we created our manifesto for the general election last year and will find radical and effective solutions to the great challenges of our times.

Nowhere in what CommonSpace published is there even the remotest hint that this was intended as a heads-up to the independence movement. Given that it headlines Corbyn, Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard, and the droll Corbynista election slogan “Change is Coming,” it is no wonder GA Ponsonby read it as a sly pump for a Labour new media outlet in Scotland. He wasn’t alone.

In fact CommonSpace’s tweet advertising the article made no bones about this being a promotion for both Jeremy Corbyn and The Red Robin. Quoting Corbyn, it reads: “I look forward to reading what others think about how Labour can build a Scotland for the many not the few [emphasis added].” This was a Trojan horse promotion. It alerted people not to the threat of a Labour manœuvre, but to the existence of “a new Scottish alternative media outlet which aims to bring news and views from the Scottish Labour party.”

Ms Haggerty’s explicator, then – in the tweet to which GA Ponsonby responded; that The Red Robin “could indicate [Labour are] targeting the indy audience they lost,” is less of an explanation than it is a complete revision of the original intention of the article. She appears to have been attempting to address the overwhelmingly negative response Clark’s article received on social media. In the context of the frosty reception the article got online, GA Ponsonby’s not-too-subtle dig was far from being out of the ordinary.

Yet rather than perhaps addressing the valid concerns and criticisms of the hundreds of independence supporters who kicked back against this article over Twitter and Facebook, Ms Haggerty decided to go on the offensive; taking matters to a disturbing new low. Responding to Ponsonby’s remarks she tweeted:

Do you think this crazily-obsessed-with-me middle aged guy realises that: A.) That’s just fucking weird dude B.) By his *own logic*, he’s spent the last couple of days doing nothing but “promoting” me by endlessly tweeting and writing articles? Gotta love the internet.

Ponsonby was again correct in saying that he had appeared to have opened himself up to false and “very sinisterly worded” allegations. Indeed he had.

Let’s ignore the part about “doing nothing” but tweeting and writing articles. This is, after all, the sort of nothing doing by which Angela Haggerty and her comrades at CommonSpace earn their bread. In itself this is a meaningless criticism to make in the age of the internet. It is the part preceding this that we have to focus some attention on.

She frames Ponsonby in three ways; as “crazily-obsessed” with her [again, emphasis added], as a “middle aged guy,” and as a “fucking weird dude.” To describe this as “very sinisterly worded” would be an understatement. The insinuation is obvious.

She is suggesting to her over twenty-thousand followers on Twitter that GA Ponsonby is behaving in a sleazy and sexually predatory way towards her. We’re all adults; we all know what is really meant when a man is described in these terms. She is accusing him of being a stalker, a dirty old man, and a creep. Angela Haggerty has only gone and weaponised the victimhood of women to smear this man with the ugliest of muck, and for what – for daring to do nothing but tweet and write articles criticising CommonSpace?

Ponsonby’s tweet was not a criticism of Haggerty. It was a fair comment on CommonSpace’s apparent promotion of a Labour website, but Haggerty’s response was to blow the ‘stalker whistle’. Who does this? It would seem that Angela does.

Ms Haggerty has not responded to our requests for a comment, but we were fortunate enough to speak with a number of former CommonSpace writers who were quite happy to shed some light on the character of a young woman who would throw such slurs about.  “Abusive” was a word that cropped up with remarkable frequency in these discussions.

Women, we were told, suffer the most under her “amateur contrarian” yoke. “Most of us who have left hate her and the place,” said one former staffer of Haggerty and CommonSpace, “all the women who work under [her] feel under huge pressure… always aggression.” All agreed on her being “a bullying sociopath” in a new media shambles where workplace bullying is rife and where the organisation is “paralysed by her.” Angela is, another said, “a person without any consistency or principle beyond shock value.”

This certainly puts CommonSpace and its editor in a wholly different light. As more people across the independence movement begin to seriously question this group’s commitment to our cause, it is important to remind ourselves of the difference between independent or “indy” media and pro-independence media. Promoting the unionist Labour left and platforming its activists under the guise of “alternative” or “progressive” media is many things, but it is not pro-independence media.

When its editor and contributors have regular slots on the BBC – especially considering the wholesale blacklisting of more influential pro-independence writers – we have every right to be suspicious, and all the more so when Haggerty is so willing to vilify her pro-independence critics with dirty accusations. At the very least this carry on betrays the incompetence and naivety of CommonSpace as a new media and the immaturity of its Captain Haggerty. At worst… well, you can draw your own conclusions.

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27 thoughts on “The attack on GA Ponsonby reveals much about Common Space and Angela Haggerty

  1. Gordie

    You are a good writer and we have a hundred of them . I respect you for strength of your commitment to Scottish Independence. I think we are getting carried away with articles like these. There is no doubt that the Labour party in Scotland play the role of agents of the british state. They are perfectly open about it and if Angela haggerty wants to promote a labour website she is entitled to do it. If we disagree with Commonspace editorial line we can withdrawn our subs. It is as simple as that. Throwing insults at each other is pish. I am well aware that the British media in Scotland promote some pro independence and blacklist others. All of this. We need to be able sling a deaf ear to the low level stuff and avoid what is nothing more than pointless bickering.

    For the sake of our cause ignore the small time stuff and measure your criticisms of others carefully. Please.

  2. Lochside

    So Gordie, we just ignore the substance of this article…that Haggerty is an aggressive slanderer, who can only react to being called out by Mr P by framing him as a ‘weird dude’ who is ‘obsessed’ with her?

    Haggerty is, along with Cat Boyd , Johnathan Shafi, Henry McLeish et al an intellectual dimwit who hiding in Indy clothes is nothing but a SWP refugee from the 80’s. A cardboard revolutionary mouthing defunct slogans and dead ideologies. But worst of all she is a Britnat at heart..playing at politics while taking the Queen’s shilling(s) to dance at the BBC tune of SNPBAAD.

    Mr P. is ‘Throwing insults at each other’… no that’s ‘pish’. He’s calling out the 5th columnists in our midst, who like the Judas goats that they are, lead the gullible and the stupid towards another fake Labour ‘Dawn’.

    1. Jams O'Donnell

      As an “SWP refugee from the 80’s” myself, I can only agree with you.

      Furthermore, it would be stupid to assume that Westminster hasn’t got it’s glove puppets in Scottish political discourse. “By their fruits ye shall know them”

  3. Michael Cavanagh

    I long ago ceased to support CS or read its output as it very quickly emerged as a home for those aiming for the msm and specializing in churning out existing stories with a distinctly anti-snp flavour. That is all we get from the msm, so the new and independent credentials seemed to me bogus and any attraction vanished when the two journalists worth reading at CS left to continue their good work. GAP continues to be essential, CS and Haggerty never managed to achieve the status of worth a read.


      Spot on Dugless. The news that La Haggerty has just been appointed Editor of the Sunday Herald should confirm some people’s careerism, and also make us doubt for the near future that paper’s commitment to the cause.

  4. Robert Graham

    I am surprised the victim card has been played so soon by Miz Haggerty , and a strange attack on an other independence supporter .

    This strange behavour promoting a Labour party who were the only party against more powers over areas presently reserved , the same powers they demand the SNP now use .

    Labour are the main impediment to Independence , surely she must realise this , As for Labour , why target SNP seats before they even try Tory ones if they go for tory seats it could cause problems for this Tory government at Westminster , removing SNP MPs only helps the Tories .

    1. Sean Willis

      “As for Labour , why target SNP seats before they even try Tory ones if they go for tory seats it could cause problems for this Tory government at Westminster , removing SNP MPs only helps the Tories .”

      I would hazard a guess and say it is because the SNP are the only threat to their ticket on the Westminster BritNat establishment gravy train and the Tories are not, simple. Down right self centred careerism.

  5. Mark Whittet

    One has to wonder why you never read anything from this site – http://www.SIRP.Scot – Scotland’s Independence Referendum Party – on Common Space

    Time for new Scottish Independence referendum as new poll shows most Scots (60%) believe they will be worse off when UK leaves the EU

    March 14, 2018

    With six in 10 Scots (61%) fearing they will be worse off as a result of leaving the EU in a UK-led Brexit, the time is fast-approaching when a new Independence Referendum for Scotland is needed.

    Commenting on the results of the IPSOS MORI poll, Mark R Whittet, leader of Scotland’s Independence Referendum Party, said:

    “The 2014 Scottish independence referendum was based on Tory-led Brit-Govt lies that Scotland would be worse off outside the UK, and that the only way Scotland could remain in the EU was to vote ‘No’ to independence from England.

    “As recently confirmed by official Brit-Govt leaked data, the real truth is that Scotland will be worse off outside the EU – and the only way that Scotland can remain in the EU is by leaving the United Kingdom.

    “The Brexit bourach is a game-changer for Scottish independence and proves beyond reasonable doubt the grounds for a new referendum in Scotland on independence – not least because support for Scotland’s independence is growing, up to 48% now from 45% in the 2014 referendum.”


    IPSOS MORI poll results:

    Do you think that the UK’s / Scotland’s economy will be better off or worse off as a result of leaving the EU?

    UK’s Economy
    Worse off: 61%
    Better off: 14%
    No difference: 15%
    Don’t know: 10%
    Scotland’s Economy
    Worse off: 61%
    Better off: 12%
    No difference: 18%
    Don’t know: 8%
    Should Scotland be an independent country?

    YES 48%
    NO 52%
    (undecideds/refused removed)

    By Age 16-24 25-34 35-54 55+
    YES 57% 59% 48% 35%
    NO 42% 37% 46% 63%
    Undecided 1% 4% 6% 3%
    Notes to editors:
    Ipsos MORI poll for STV, 1050 Scottish adults aged 16+, Fieldwork 5-11 March 2018

    ‘Bourach’ is the Scots language word for; a muddle, mess, state of confusion, disorganised heap; eg;-

    “Brexit is a richt bourach’
    ‘Brexit will become a richt bourach’

    Scotland’s Independence Referendum Party

    The primary goal – and number one objective in the constitution of Scotland’s Independence Referendum Party – is to achieve political Independence for Scotland.

    We aim to do so by helping to bring about a new/ second Scottish Independence Referendum in light of the entirely-changed political and constitutional landscape following the UK Brexit vote.

    We shall do this by providing a meaningful, valid, SECOND choice/ chance to vote for Independence-supporting MSPs in elections to the next Scottish Parliament; ie SNP party members/ voters can vote ‘first’ choice for SNP on the ballot paper, and then vote ‘second’ choice for Scotland’s Independence Referendum Party on the ballot paper.

    This gives two choices/ chances/ votes in favour of Scotland’s Independence (instead of the present 1/ SNP – and reduces the ‘stray’/ use-less ‘second’ vote going to any other British Unionist party.

    Despite the use of the word ‘Scottish’ in front of their names, the Liberals, Tories and Labour are all single, British Unionist parties and are all controlled from, and based in, their London head offices.

    Scotland’s Independence Referendum Party is not competing with the SNP; rather, we want to work in a progressive alliance with them.

  6. Big Jock

    I heard her on Scotland Tonight yesterday. She said that the prospects of indy ref 2 were nowhere to be seen. In other words there isn’t going to be a referendum. She is trying to play the same game as the MSM and ignoring the truth. I really don’t like or trust this woman.

    This woman is obviously immune to what is happening with Brexit and the constitutional crisis. When indy ref 2 comes along it will be events that drive it not the SNP per say. Remember the single market and freedom of movement were red lines for the SNP. If they sign up to anything short of this ,without then instigating indy ref 2 ,it will be the ultimate betrayal of principals and democracy. Which is why Indy ref 2 is now an unstoppable force.

    Even if the UK agree to return all devolved EU matters back to Holyrood. It still leaves the single market issue. There will be a referendum in Autumn 2018 or early spring 19. I am now thinking it will be spring 19 due to timing. However the SNP may announce the referendum in October 18 thus allowing current EU nationals to vote.

    The EU nationals vote is the difference between success and failure. We are talking about fine lines this time. Maybe only 50,000 votes either way!

  7. Jockanese Wind Talker

    Haggerty like the others mentioned by Lochside upthread are Labour apologists at best and BritNats in Indy clothing at worst.


    Don’t support Common Space with either donations or clicks and email them to let them know why.


    Don’t vote Labour.

    Corbyn is another “jam tomorrow” charlatan who has nothing to offer Scots)

    Leonard is a BritNat Trades Unionist (who relies on UK wide donations to keep him and his ilk in the manner he has become accustomed).


    “If you support Scottish independence there is no point voting for Labour” by

    Wee Ginger Dug in The National online.


    Don’t buy the Sunday Herald as it too is anti Indy and will push a pro-BritNat Labour in Scotland and Federal UK line to protect their ‘Precious Union’

  8. alanski

    Angela Haggerty is turning out to be a deeply destructive individual. This is the person who told me, when I talked with her a couple of years ago about doing an interview for my documentary ‘London Calling’, that BBC Scotland and the BBC were not corrupt or calculated liars, and that they only suffered from a touch of ‘incompetence’ from time to time! Needless to say, that was my last contact with her. The Common Space farce and her infantile attack on G A Ponsonby is clear evidence of her poisonous attitude and serious ego problem. She deserves to be marginalised.

  9. Graham MacLure

    Scotland sits comfortably under the mantle of Social Democracy in every day life.
    I find it hard to identify any socialist or democrat in the UK Labour Party with regard to Scotland.

  10. Big Jock

    There is absolutely no doubt that the BBC are out to get the Scottish government. They are a unionist mouthpiece. I can’t remember the last time they said something positive about the SG. They couldn’t even resist inventing a story about the SNP blaming the lorry drivers for the M80 incident. It was very clear the SG blamed their employers not the HGV drivers.

  11. Dek

    Angela Haggerty’s big problem is that she lacks talent. Her utterances are tedious in the extreme ( ” Torrancesque “) and the disgraceful ad hominem attack on GA Ponsonby is the straw that broke the Camel’s back for me with the Sunday Herald. What is Neil Mackay thinking?

  12. glen

    utterly lunatic pish, you’re embarrassing yourself and everyone else who wants an independent scotland, may i recommend you log off and delete your account

  13. Kevin

    Just thought I’d add; I have the utmost respect and am a big fan of the following women;

    Nicola Sturgeon,
    Mhairi Black
    Mhari Hunter
    Leanne Wood
    Caroline Lucas etc, etc, etc..

    I’m also a big fan of gender-balanced cabinets and women in – deserving – influential positions.

    I don’t trust Angela Haggerty, not a bit.

  14. Davie Park

    Whilst we must be tolerant of diverse views within the Yes family, we should also be aware that there are some prominent figures who feel they have ‘moved on’ from the campaign and now occupy an elevated position which allows them to see the bigger picture denied to us earth-bound Indy-rats. Our unnuanced commitment is frightfully gauche to such brilliant creatures.

  15. Ian Whyte

    Trojan Horse. I was initially impressed by CS, even bought the t-shirt, but now feel that the independence movement has been obscured by a push for Labour and that doesn’t augur well given Cornyn and Leonard’s commitment to WM.

    Let issue I need resolved is…what is link with Common Weal? Is that still pro Indy??

  16. millie

    Amazed by the comments from Angela Haggerty at the beginning of the BBC Politics Scotland programme today.

    Effectively – the ‘fishing debacle’ is making Ruth Davidson’s conservatives look strong! – standing up for Scotland. Also, throughout the programme, Ms Haggerty constantly referred to the Scottish Government as ‘the SNP’.

    BBC is nurturing a new narrative on fishing – Joe/Jean Public will be conned by this new BBC narrative.

    The internet bubble reaches around 20% of the population – we really need to get back to informing the people on the street. Fishing rights ‘will’ be traded for the City of London’s benefit.

  17. An unchained Unicorn

    I do have to agree with you Lochside I’m afraid i’ve read some great articles by Mr Ponsonby and Ms Haggertys I’m not particularly enamoured with and for her colleagues yet the same again.They seem intent on causing the division they seem so vocal of.

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