We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

The Hate Crime (Scotland) Bill is due to pass tonight

In the (Glasgow) Herald, Scottish Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf writes,

New Hate Crime Bill extends protection of people

Odd headline. Make that some people.

This week Parliament will consider further amendments to the Hate Crime Bill before a final vote on our proposed reforms

By “Parliament” Mr Yousaf means the one with him in it, i.e. the Scottish Parliament. The SNP love this rhetorical trick of pretending the Scottish Parliament is the only one of any relevance to Scotland. Wishing this to be so is a perfectly legitimate goal, but pretending it is already so is premature. Of course all the Scottish people have to do to ensure that the Parliament with Mr Yousaf in it becomes the sole decider of what laws they live under is carry on voting for Mr Yousaf’s party in the numbers they now do.

The new Bill will modernise and consolidate hate crime law and provide clarity. It brings together various piecemeal additions and changes to the law made over time, while also recognising the need to clamp down further on this all too pervasive, damaging behaviour.

As a person of colour the law has protected me, for the last 35 years, from anyone stirring up hatred against me due to my race.

The law cannot have done a very good job of protection, given that he said in the previous paragraph that hate crime was “pervasive”, and that he complains a few paras down about all the hate he receives.

This Bill now extends that protection to people in relation to their age, disability, religion, sexual orientation, transgender identity or variation of sex characteristics (previously known as intersex).

The legislation has come a long way. As Parliament has been considering the detail of the Bill the Government has listened – making changes and reflecting on concerns to improve a piece of powerful legislation that I believe is fitting of the Scotland we live in.

That being the Scotland where race hate crime is pervasive.

Robust Parliamentary scrutiny has been essential to the process.

Concerns over the impact that stirring up hatred offences could have on freedom of expression were raised. And these have been listened to and are being acting upon. We have made a number of significant changes already, including ensuring that any successful prosecution for the new offences must prove that the person intended to stir up hatred. We have also inserted a “reasonable person test” to clarify that when determining if behaviour is “threatening or abusive” an objective test is applied.

By “we” Mr Yousaf means that the SNP reluctantly accepted one amendment from the Scottish Conservative MSP Adam Tomkins. That link takes you to a Guardian article that also notes that “Tomkins and fellow Conservative Liam Kerr failed to secure an amendment that they argued would protect disagreements, for example, at the family dinner table.”

Mr Yousaf continues,

The Justice Committee has offered critical scrutiny and recently held constructive discussions on a freedom of expression clause that would further protect everyone’s right to freedom of speech.

You don’t say whether these discussions led to any action, Mr Yousaf. Hint: they didn’t. His only reason for cooing about how constructive the discussions were is to conceal the fact that the this clause that would theoretically further protect everyone’s right to freedom of speech was not actually constructed, just talked about.

I am confident that our proposed amendment on this now strikes the right balance between protecting groups targeted by hate crime and respecting people’s rights to free speech.

A number of national Women’s Organisations, such as Scottish Women’s Aid, Engender and Rape Crisis Scotland have raised concerns over the inclusion of a Sex Aggravator.

I’m not surprised. They should never have let a Sex Aggravator sit on a parliamentary committee.

Oh, sorry, I may have misunderstood. Stories in the press like this, this, this and this led me to conflate the concepts of “sexual aggravation” and “being a Scottish National Party politician” for some strange reason. In truth a Sex Aggravator is something about the addition of femaleness to the long list of protected characteristics in this Bill. I think the real reason the SNP has not done this is because if they did there would be more “protected” people than “unprotected” people and it would become rather obvious who the unprotected people were. But Mr Yousaf thinks differently:

The Working Group on Misogyny, chaired by lifelong feminist and human rights lawyer Baroness Helena Kennedy, will explore whether or not a Sex Aggravator should be added to the Bill, and have agreed to report within 12 months. If they recommend its inclusion we will accept their recommendation and will bring forward the necessary draft Order within a month.

Tireless work done at stage two of the Bill’s rigorous scrutiny process has helped build sustantive support as we enter the finishing straight towards it being passed and then becoming law. It is a testament to how the Bill has developed to see the vast majority of equality stakeholders backing the Bill.

Who are these “equality stakeholders”? Who elects them? If the answer to that is “no one”, who appoints them? Is it by any chance, you?

I am grateful to convener Adam Tomkins for leading the Justice Committee’s important work.

In recent weeks we were served a timely reminder that hate crime is all too common an occurrence in Scotland’s communities, with a devastating impact on those who experience it.

A report published 2 weeks ago found an average of 18 hate crime offences are committed every day in Scotland. That is 18 too many – every single day.

What’s the threshold for an offence?

It is shocking that visible minority ethnic groups, which represent 4% of the population, experience two-thirds of all race-related hate crimes.

OK, so that means that the other one-third of race-related hate crimes are experienced either by non-visible minority ethnic groups or by the majority ethnic group. Since Mr Yousaf had the figures handy, it would have been no trouble for him to tell us something about the racial breakdown of those who commit these crimes, but he did not do so.

Victims of hate crime face both mental and physical harm.

The consequences are destructive and lasting – taking away the fundamental freedoms and rights we should all enjoy.

How dare these criminals take away people’s fundamental freedoms and rights! Only we are allowed to do that.

To be attacked or targeted simply because of who you are is a horrifying, nightmarish experience.

No one should have vile slurs hurled at them for walking down the street wearing a hijab.

Fine words, but why are you talking about what happens on the street when your law is set to criminalise what people say in their own homes?

No one should face threats of violence because of how their wheelchair takes up space on a bus.

Indeed they should not, but threats of violence are already illegal.

No one should be targeted because of who they love, their skin colour, or if they are transgender.

If he meant that no one should be threatened, harassed or assaulted for these reasons I would, of course, agree with him. But the word “targeted” on the lips of a politician of the Scottish National Party can have a variety of definitions. For instance the SNP MP for Aberdeen North, Kirsty Blackman, has expressed outrage over the recent “targeting” of her office. Very upset she was. The link takes you to a post by the vehemently pro-independence blogger Stuart Campbell called “The Great Ribbon Terror” wherein you can read the gory detail of what the targeting entailed.

Back to Humza Yousaf:

These crimes do not reflect the inclusive, progressive society that the vast majority of people living in Scotland I know aspire to.

Does he refer to the vast majority of people in Scotland that he knows, in which case he might try going outside his bubble sometimes, or does the “I know” refer to his certainty that the vast majority of people living in Scotland aspire to his definition of an “inclusive, progressive society”, in which case he might try going outside his bubble sometimes.

I seriously considered giving up politics after receiving racist and Islamaphobic abuse threatening me and my family.

These weren’t merely offensive words but threats to firebomb my home, and violently attack me, all because of my colour of skin and the religion I belong to.

That Mr Yousaf received threats of violence is terrible. I hope the criminals who did this are caught and punished. No one needs a Hate Crime Bill to define them as criminals, because to make threats of violence has always been a crime. I note he felt the need to specify that the abuse he was justifiably angry about was more than just words. The issue with the Bill is the criminalisation of words alone, and words said in private which would never even reach the ears of those being insulted without the aid of an informer.

I did not let hatred defeat me, affording me the opportunity to bring this Bill forward for Parliament’s consideration.

A new day beckons for the progressive Scotland we all love and aspire to – I call on all of Scotland’s elected representatives to come together and back this legislative milestone.

With many denigrating Scotland’s institutions in recent weeks, I truly believe the period of Parliamentary scrutiny the bill has undergone has shown Holyrood at its very best – a collaborative, diverse and determined Parliament which we should all be proud of.

And suddenly my energy for dealing with this guff line by line has gone. This often used to happen to my fiskings in the good old days, too. I shall hand the task of summing up to Lucy Hunter Blackburn, writing in the Scottish political magazine Holyrood. Her article is called, “Chilling effect: how the Hate Crime Bill threatens free speech”.

Read it. If living in Scotland, read it while you still can.

16 comments to The Hate Crime (Scotland) Bill is due to pass tonight

  • Schill McGuffin

    My impression is that a lot less harassment is directed at women wearing hijab on the street than is directed at women who don’t do so, by people whose medieval faith demands that they do.

  • Raymond

    In a properly functioning democracy, the government fears the will of the people. Under authoritarian regimes, the people are trained to fear the government. Lavrentiy Beria put it quite simply: “Show me the man and I’ll find you the crime”

  • That UK does not have a constitutional check against this kind of Orwellian law means UK is not fit-for-purpose as a serious ‘liberal’ state (liberal in the non-US meaning, because over there it means utterly illiberal). Parliaments, be they in Westminster or Scotland, should not be ‘supreme’ and able to do what they want just because the government commands a majority in them.

    We don’t need better governments within the same systems, we need revolutions that re-establish customary common law rights as being beyond abridgement at the whim of thugs like Humza Yousaf. An elected thug is still a thug.

  • Stonyground

    There seem to be some contradictions here. Is hating on people for their race, sexual preferences or religion totally rife, or are Scots totally in favour of a lovingly inclusive society? I suspect that there is a small minority of nasty racists but identifying them and prosecuting them for doing stuff that is already illegal is so much more difficult than imposing blanket restrictions on what ordinary people are allowed to say.

  • The Jannie

    Jimmy and Mary, hen: you keep voting for these bolsheviks – suck it up. Despite – or perhaps because of – having been born and raised there, I have never seen them as anything other than a destructive force: I’m so glad I left when I did.

  • Raymond

    I don’t think the Natz are that smart, but if they were that smart, this is the sort of thing they might push in order to bring about a constitutional crisis. Doing stuff like this could conceivably provoke Westminster into saying “enough already – we’re shutting you down until you clean up your act.” Which would, of course, further enrage the SNP’s support base, a constituency not entirely unfamiliar with the dynamics of enragement.

  • anon

    >>18 hate crime offences are committed every day in Scotland

    >>visible minority ethnic groups, which represent 4% of the population, experience two-thirds of all race-related hate crimes.

    6570 offences (approximately) per year. If (big if) all these were racially-motivated (clearly they aren’t, given the number of other prejudices which are cited in Mr Yousaf’s examples), then two-thirds of that is 4380. The population of Scotland is 5.46 million; 4% constitutes more than 218000.

    That means that annually, at most roughly 1 in 50 people in a visible ethnic minority would suffer a hate offence. Or put another way, in the average lifetime there will be one or possibly two occasions that an individual would experience such an offence. The examples given of hate crimes don’t give any indication how many are acts of physical violence versus how many are merely verbal abuse. If most of these offences are verbal abuse, the implication is that such abuse is something which such minority groups experience as a once-in-a-lifetime event.

    Growing up in Scotland, not being a part of any of the groups this legislation would consider protected, I can recall dozens of occasions when I was verbally abused in the street. How would one differentiate such casual abuse from the “hate”?

  • Raymond

    If this law actually gets Royal assent, a reasonably well-organised campaign of slavish obedience (not disobedience) could render it inoperable within a couple of weeks. Concerned citizens could simply overwhelm the police with ‘hate crime’ accusations against all and sundry. Go through people’s Twitter and Facebook feeds and there will be countless examples of potential ‘hate crime’ to bring to the attention of the authorities. Off the top of my head, I can recall being called a ‘libertarian cunt’, ‘Tory scum’, a ‘Daily Mail-reading wanker’ and a ‘fucking Quisling’ at various points over the last few years. None of that bothered me in the slightest, but this spiffing new law opens up all kinds of possibilities for ‘justice’. It doesn’t matter that ‘libertarian cunts’ aren’t a protected species; the system could simply be clogged up by the sheer volume of claims.

  • staghounds

    “How would one differentiate such casual abuse from the “hate”?”

    There’s a checklist right in the law.

    By looking at you, and then by asking where you go to church and whom you’d like to f@ck.

    All people are no longer, even in pretense, equal before Scotch law.

  • Try being a nerd in school. Urkel aside, being a nerd is white supremacy; so why do nerds get beat up so often?

  • Diogenese2

    Raymond , I regret to inform you that NONE of those comments offer you any possibility of action under this statute. It DOES matter that “libertarian cunts” are not a protected group! The, poorly defined, concept of “stirring up hatred” section 4 and 4A reverse the burden of proof in respect of an accusation. You have to prove innocence and can only refer to the European Convention of Human Rights Article 10 for defence. This has 110 pages of convoluted rhetoric so good luck with that!
    However, your basic strategy of civil “obedience” is very fertile and could well be a potent weapon.
    In passing, a quick search finds a precedent for the oppressive potential of this bill in the Enabling Act of 1933.

  • bobby b

    March 12, 2021 at 7:59 am

    “In a properly functioning democracy, the government fears the will of the people.”

    At least we in the US have razor wire and fences surrounding the White House, and a minority of people fighting to divest the majority of guns. I’ll take these as a positive on the “fear” front.

  • Katy Hibbert

    So one cretinous Muslim gets to overturn centuries of Scottish enlightenment? With no awareness of the very real, violent misogyny and Jew-hatred in the Koran? And the Scots are stupid enough to let him and Krankie McFishface go ahead?

    People get the governments they deserve. The Scots with any gumption and hard-earned money will flee to England, to our advantage. Let them have their referendum. Build that wall and let them rot.

  • Paul Marks

    Well Hello establishment – is this what you want?

    For the Hate Crimes (Scotland) Bill is the logical next step of the Frankfurt School doctrines that you yourselves go along with – and it is tyrannical, EVIL.

    You do not like me pointing out that Critical Theory, “Diversity and Inclusion – death to Hate Speech” is from the Frankfurt School Marxism – well IT IS.

    If you do not want to end up like the SNP in get off this road – for what the SNP are doing is the logical consequence of what you, dear international establishment, are pushing.

    But perhaps they already know all this.

    After all the Economist magazine (the house journal of the “liberal” international establishment) endorsed HR1 today – the House Bill that would RIG every election in every State in the United States (unlimited mail-in ballot, no real I.D. checks) so why not the Hate Crimes (Scotland) Bill as well?

    If you are going to support totalitarianism (such as Puppet Biden’s acceptance of Frankfurt School of Marxism indoctrination of the United States Armed Forces), why not the total extermination of what is left of Freedom of Speech as well.

    The Scottish people still have a choice – the election in May will NOT be rigged.

    The Scottish people can still say “no” to tyranny.

  • Paul Marks

    bobby b – they will not take the firearms all at once, it will be a increase of regulations (and Tort Law) over time, as it was here.

    And all the while they continue with the Frankfurt School indoctrination of the United States Armed Forces – and the purging of members of the military who believe in “extreme – Fascist – white Supremacist” documents such as the Bill of Rights.

    After all James Madison was white and a slave owner – so the Bill of Rights (which he complied) must be evil.

    The Corporations have decided that it is so. And they also decide who wins elections – regardless of how people vote (as was seen last November).

  • Raymond (March 12, 2021 at 2:17 pm), while Diogenese2 (March 12, 2021 at 8:08 pm) has a point, it is possible that Humza has not been able to exclude all expressions of hostility to the English from the formal purview of his law. It might be difficult for him to smile when an insufficiently natz-supporting Englishwoman was told to

    “get back tae England”

    while saying it would be hateful for any Scots to suggest Scotland would benefit if Humza himself were to “get back tae” some locale they thought appropriate to him. Similarly, though he is clearly all for silencing debate, he might find it hard to cheer in public such natz supporters as say

    “Are yu English? Then keep yer opinions tae yersel”

    while being PC about anyone who offered Humza himself an appropriately-altered ethnic justification for why he should keep to himself his opinions about the laws Scotland needs.

    However, I suspect Humza hopes for much prosecutorial discretion in enforcement.