The Hate Crime Bill will create more hate, not less

The Hate Crime Bill will create more hate, not less

by Stuart Waiton
article from Tuesday 28, July, 2020

THE LATEST attack on freedoms in Scotland comes in the form of the newly proposed Hate Crime and Public Order (Scotland) Bill. 

It is no exaggeration to say the bill, if passed in its current form, will be one of the most – and possibly the most – authoritarian act in any liberal democracy across the world.

It brings together much of the existing legislation in this area and adds the 'elderly' to the categories of 'protected characteristics'. The list of 'hate' protected groups relate also to race, disability, religion, sexual orientation, transgender identity and variations in sex characteristics, with the intention of adding sex or gender to this list in future (something that will potentially be more damaging and destructive than all of the other 'hate crimes' put together).

Additionally, and this is the focus of much of the opposition, it makes 'abusive' speech a crime in an of itself, when applied to any of the protected groups. It also, incredibly, criminalises abusive speech or materials in private dwellings – in your home. It specifically targets the arts, plays are named as something that will be targeted, where even actors could face prosecution. Organisations (potentially news organisations or universities) will also come under scrutiny and face police action.

All of this is protected by the idea of 'reasonableness', meaning that it will now be a judge who decides what we are reasonably allowed to discuss, even in the privacy of our own home.

It is worth noting that despite the fact that laws should ultimately be about individual behaviour, this bill is not really about individual crimes but about the desire to change the culture of the Scottish people – it is a form of cultural engineering.

Search the Scottish Parliament website and you will find it is increasingly being filled with categories used by social justice warriors. Ideas of 'Islamophobia', 'transphobia', 'white privilege', or 'toxic masculinity' in our 'patriarchal society', trip, largely unchallenged, from the tongues of politicians, 'experts' and the myriad activists and professionals who fill the parliamentary committees.

These categories, or ideologies, have not been voted for, nor do they represent the views of the majority of people in Scotland. But they sit behind the new hate crime bill and reflect a deep seated level of anxiety, animosity, prejudice and even hate, that exists among the new elites towards the public who they falsely believe are a bigoted, toxic mass.

Ironically, for a bill that aims to bring people together it will do the opposite, by creating separate groups in society and encouraging a sense of hatred between them.

But will it pass?

There are many who oppose this bill but it will be interesting to see if the art world comes out fighting or remains entrenched in its woke rabbit hole. Some journalists are speaking out and some of the old guard from various political parties. I have no doubt the public, if and when they hear about it, will think it outrageous, but their voices need to be heard. To this end the Free to Disagree campaign has been set up in an attempt to stop the attack on freedom of speech. 

Visit its website here and look at some of the scenarios.

The Scottish Parliament is dominated by politicians who take the knee at every opportunity to show their virtue. This makes stopping a bill like this very difficult. It can only be done if there is mass pressure brought to bear upon them and if people of influence, who run newspaper and universities, and in the arts, take a stand. 

This bill politicises the law, undermines further the universality of law and creates an authoritarian framework for policing ideas in society. If there is justice in Scotland it will never see the light of day.

Stuart Waiton is a criminologist at Abertay University and champion of free speech. 


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