Scotland’s new hate crime bill is regressive and divisive. It must be repealed

John Wight
6 min readMar 28, 2024

Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities. Voltaire

On April 1st 2024 Scottish society will be taken off a cliff into uncharted territory on the back of the devolved Scottish Government’s new hate crime bill. Enshrined within it are the out-of-touch hobby horses of a clutch of middle class extremists, people who by some quirk of the country’s clearly flawed system have found themselves propelled into positions of political authority for which they are clearly and woefully ill-equipped.

Take First Minister Humza Yousaf, for example.

Mr Yousaf is the product of a private and elite education as a pupil of Hutchesons’ Grammar School in Glasgow. He then went on to study politics at Glasgow University, and from there almost straight into service as a Scottish National Party (SNP) functionary.

His rise to the office of First Minister, given his demonstrable failure and incompetence in the roles of Secretary for Transport, Justice, and Health is redolent of the failing upwards that so exemplifies today’s public life — a delinquent culture wherein connection is deemed more important than performance.

Widely considered the political placeman of Scotland’s previous and now compromised first minister, Nicola Sturgeon, Yousaf first stirred the pot of this writer’s ire when upon assuming the office of First Minister of Scotland, he saw fit to make public a picture of himself and family members engaged in Muslim prayer in the official residence of same, otherwise known as Bute House in the centre of Edinburgh.

Mr Yousaf is entirely entitled to his beliefs and Islam and Muslims entirely deserving of respect in any multi-faith society worthy of the name. But democracy and secularism are two sides of the same coin, and so for Scotland’s First Minister to choose to make public his personal religious beliefs in the setting of his official residence, funded by taxpayers of every religious persuasion and none, was both wrong and wrongheaded.

As for the Scottish Green Party, who form part of the SNP’s governing coalition, this is the political wing of abject lunacy in our time.

Said abject madness was made most manifest with the railroading into Scots law of self-identification legislation (2023), which allows for men to be transformed into women by nothing more than a personal declaration and thus be allowed access to female bathrooms, changing rooms, and other previously inviolate safe spaces for women.

The ideology driving such counter-Enlightenment anti-science nonsense has clearly been fashioned in a laboratory of late capitalism chaos, wherein anything goes even if it involves the denial of the evidence of your own bleeding eyes. Gender presented as a social construct is akin to reality being presented as same. Gender is informed by biological sex it is not and can never be divorced from it, else it is reduced to a garb to be worn and discarded at will as the mood takes.

Women’s campaign groups such as Women Won’t Wheesht have been tireless in raising legitimate concerns and opposing self-identification, arguing on their website that “We know that there are only 2 (sic) human sexes, that sex is not a choice, nor can it be changed.”

Here, let us be crystal clear. Men who decide for whatever reason to adopt a female persona and dress in women’s clothes are perfectly entitled to do so. They should be treated with the same respect as all of us would expect and are deserving of the full protection of the law. What they cannot expect, however, is for the rest of us to accept the turning of reality on its head.

Moving swiftly on, perhaps the most grievous aspect of this new legislation is the central place granted to the ‘perception’ of a given complainant in determining whether a hate crime or incident has occurred. In other words, under the new legislation ‘hurt feelings’ are to drive the actions of an already understaffed and overworked Police Scotland.

What this does is turn the police in Scotland into an instrument of personal grudge, ensuring that there will be a deluge of frivolous and vexatious complaints to be investigated under pressure from Mr Yousaf and his Green Party coalition chums. Many of those complaints will result in charges being brought and most of those charges will quite rightly be quickly shot down by any self-respecting judge or sheriff for lack of credible evidence.

But here’s the thing though; this is legislation designed to make the very process the punishment. In other words, the stress and anxiety of the police arriving unannounced at your home, arresting you and taking you to the nearest station to formally bring criminal charges, will be significant.

The police may well also as part of this process seize your phone and other devices, without which in today’s world you will suffer significant disruption to your work and social life. Then you have the pressure of securing the services of a lawyer, costing you a significant sum if you don’t happen qualify for legal aid. Then, as you wait for your day in court to arrive, you have the added worry of being found guilty and the reputational harm that will follow in the event.

Yes, the process will for most be the punishment.

Police Scotland, in advance of the new legislation, produced an outline of what constitutes a hate crime on their website. That they did so accompanied by a cartoon character named the ‘Hate Monster’ was as offensive as it was insulting to the nation’s collective intelligence.

Included within said outline is the following revelatory passage:

We know that young men aged 18–30 are most likely to commit hate crime, particularly those from socially excluded communities who are heavily influenced by their peers.

They may have deep-rooted feelings of being socially and economically disadvantaged, combined with ideas about white-male entitlement.

Reading the above, a key question immediately presents: ‘socially-excluded’ and ‘economically disadvantaged’ by whom? By the man on the moon? By the tooth fairy? No, under the auspices of an economic and value system that has condemned them to such and which is the real hate crime. In other words, the soul and spirit crushing poverty of their condition is the real and pressing issue that needs to be addressed, not its inevitable symptoms.

As to ‘white-male entitlement’, this particular notion when applied to the above-referenced poverty-stricken demographic is nothing but an exercise in enhanced demonisation. It seeks to replace the issue of economic class as the true source of division within society and replace it with the issue of race. In other words it seeks to mystify rather than clarify, confuse rather than enlighten, and thereby perpetuate a status quo rooted in class oppression.

Scotland’s new hate crime bill is not fit for purpose. It is the very epitome of a bad law, divisive and regressive at the same time. Placing an Orwellian chill on free speech and legitimate dissent, it is clearly open to abuse. As such its repeal is already long overdue and its authors deserving of the deep disdain of all in Scotland who are still in possession of a rational mind.


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John Wight

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