By Oliver James Pike
Humza Yusuf's hate crime bill is still in the works and becomes more concerning by the day. It was recently announced that even private conversations would not be exempt from prosecution. How such measures would be enforced is a mystery. It could be suggested that the named person scheme which aimed to impact a social worker into every home, only to fall in the courts, would have complemented this bill perfectly as pushy, butch lanyard bearing, clipboard clutching busybodies could interrogate kids to see if grandad ever said coloured people instead of people of colour. In reality this bill will destroy our social lives as people can now have those they disagree with arrested and investigated. Prepare for your campus or office to become a lot more toxic if this disgraceful bill ever gets passed.
There is then the issue of subjectivity which is the main fault within the bill. There is no legal definition for hate or hate speech therefore there is no way for citizens to know what would constitute a crime. We can all cite examples of things that might fall foul of the law but in 2020 where everything can offend it is unclear where the line is drawn. The answer is to base it on the opinion of the person alleging hate speech. If someone thinks something is hate speech then hate speech it becomes. Homosexuals may be offended at Christians handing out the bible. Is this hate speech? Muslims get offended at cartoons of Mohammed. Is this hate speech? The answer is likely yes. We have already seen arrests in Scotland on the back of spurious and baseless claims of bigotry against comedians. Youtuber CountDankula was charged and is still in the midst of a legal battle over a comedy video with his dog where he trains it to be a nazi. Most people enjoyed the video but it took only one person to complain for the police and state to disrupt someone's life and drag them through the expensive and tasking legal system. This bill will throw journalists into jail cells for asking tough questions, comedians into solitary for musing on female drivers and everyday people into court for speaking like everyday people.
In Scotland the home of radical political discourse, crass comedy and the enlightenment we do not want this authoritarian bill. Perhaps the citizens of North Korea might be more receptive to the idea. The police federation, swathes of lawyers, judges, journalists and comedians have all come out in opposition of this bill and it was even suggested by the police federation that the bill would result in them policing minds.
If the SNP will not listen to the overwhelming opposition to this bill then Boris should step in and protect the freedom of British citizens. The Sewel convention now implemented into legislation states that the UK government will not legislate on matters devolved to the Scottish Parliament without consent. Boris should simply disregard this and legislate the bill out of existence if it is ever passed. While such a move would be politically contentious the freedoms of British citizens are not something that politics should come before. It would also be hard for anyone to call the PM authoritarian for forcing people to have a right to free speech.
The SNP government is the most twisted, incompetent and authoritarian grouping of mediocre politicians I have ever seen. They are not qualified to manage a country and do not have the moral integrity to lecture me or anyone else on how we should conduct our private affairs. Boris should keep an eye on these ideological state fanatics and take the necessary actions if they decide to cross the Rubicon.