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The Scottish Hate Crime Act has descended into farce

Scottish Police are already overwhelmed with bogus complaints of ‘hate’.

Thomas Osborne

Topics Free Speech Politics UK

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Scotland’s Hate Crime Act has only been in force since Monday, and already the situation has descended into farce.

Police Scotland have been deluged with reports of alleged acts of hatred. In the first 24 hours alone, an astonishing 3,800 so-called hate crimes were reported to the police – at a rate of around 60 complaints per hour. This is well above the 790 daily crime reports of all types that police in Scotland had to deal with last year. Given that Police Scotland have pledged to investigate every single report of hate, it is surely only a matter of time before they are completely overwhelmed.

So who exactly is responsible for ‘stirring up’ all this alleged hatred? A police insider has told the Sun that one of the most complained about ‘hate criminals’ so far has been none other than Humza Yousaf, the first minister of Scotland himself. Scots have clearly had a great deal of fun alerting police to an infamous speech he gave to the Scottish parliament in 2020, in which he ranted angrily about Scotland being too ‘white’.

Yousaf is not the only SNP figure to have been tangled up in the new hate-crime law. Earlier today, Siobhian Brown, the community-safety minister in charge of the Hate Crime Act’s rollout, told BBC Radio’s Good Morning Scotland that someone had made a fake hate-crime report under her name. She was ‘surprised’, she said, to get a call from the police, who were obliged to follow up on it.

Brown has blamed a flood of ‘fake and vexatious complaints’ on ‘misinformation’ and ‘hysteria’ coming from opponents of the law. But what else did she expect? The wording of the Hate Crime Act is so vague and subjective that it is clearly open to abuse, trolling or plain old misunderstanding. As of this week, most Scots have no idea what speech could fall foul of the law. It hasn’t helped that Police Scotland’s own publicity states that deciding what is hateful comes down to an individual’s perception. Who is Siobhian Brown to say that Yousaf’s rant against white Scots was not ‘hateful’?

Indeed, just yesterday, Brown was unable to say with any great certainty whether JK Rowling would be prosecuted for ‘misgendering’ trans people under the Hate Crime Act. It took Police Scotland the best part of two days to confirm that the Harry Potter author would in fact not be dragged away in handcuffs for expressing her belief in biological sex. The fact that this was even a possibility should be enough to expose the insanity of this law.

Let’s hope the SNP comes to regret this mad experiment in thoughtpolicing.

Thomas Osborne is an editorial assistant at spiked.

Picture by: Getty.

To enquire about republishing spiked’s content, a right to reply or to request a correction, please contact the managing editor, Viv Regan.

Topics Free Speech Politics UK

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