Sing it, Robbie! But times have changed in Bonnie Scotland…
…with this legislation police are unlikely to have to go looking for cases because it opens up a whole new avenue for complaints and is a golden opportunity for political activists to use its terms to close down opponents.
This is the new ‘hate crime’ legislation north of the border, where proportionality long ago departed.
The legislation clearly states that it would be an offence if “the person intends to stir up hatred”, and, going further, if “it is likely that hatred will be stirred up”. It is therefore possible that even if it wasn’t the intention, a subjective judgement of likelihood could lead to charges.
‘Will lead to…’ I think you’ll find!
But who’d be ignorant or malicious enough to push for this legislation?
Justice minister Humza Yousaf’s liberal aim is to finally abolish the common law of blasphemy, the last conviction for which was in 1843.
If you think that’s his real aim, I’ve a bridge to sell you!
It is one of the most common criticisms of the UK’s Press regulation system that hundreds of third party complaints from pressure groups and campaigns about the views of columnists are dismissed every year because the regulator regards adjudicating on taste and decency as counter to freedom of expression, yet the legislation would take these complaints out of the hands of a non-statutory regulator into those of the police.
Specifically, Police Scotland, whose sterling record doesn’t bode well (not that the farces this side of the border are any better)…
The irony is that the Scottish Government has brought forward the Defamation and Malicious Publications Bill which is designed to remove the chilling effect of potentially ruinous defamation action against publications large and small, so as one illiberal legal door is closing another potentially more dangerous one is opening.
Well, if you will elect Wee Jimmie Krankie up there, what do you expect?