Abolish the Hate Crime Act
'I disapprove of what you say, but will defend to the death your right to say it.' *
WALL OF FAME
It is worth noting straight away that the only major political party that voted against this bill was the Conservative Party. Michelle Ballantyne of Reform UK, formerly the Brexit Party, also voted against the bill. Labour’s Neil Findlay, who has opposed past oppressive legislation like the Offensive Behaviour at Football Act, abstained.
That we have parties that see themselves as being liberal or on the left supporting this repressive legislation is a serious problem. In that respect, at least All For Unity have come out in opposition to the bill. However, as this bill demonstrates, what it means to be liberal or on the left or the right is largly meaningless, as many of the most illiberal, authoritarian ideas and laws are promoted by people who self-describe as liberal, left-wing, or ‘progressive’. This confusion in politics might help to explain the proliferation of new political parties.
We suspect history will treat these so-called liberals and progressives harshly because there is absolutely nothing liberal or progressive about arresting people for saying things we might hate. The views of the passionate free speech advocate and Enlightenment thinker Voltaire are summed up by the idea that, ‘I may disapprove of what you say but will defend to the death your right to say it’. It was an idea that was fundamental to the development of democracy. It is a defining democratic principle that is being destroyed by Holyrood.
This liberal and tolerant idea that we 'will defend to the death' everyone’s right to speak their mind is the founding principle of this site. To defeat reactionary ideas, we need more freedom not less, more speaking and arguing, more debate and contestation, not more laws or more police invasion of people’s thoughts and ideas.
Here are some of the individuals and parties standing in the Scottish Parliament election
2021 who oppose the Hate Crime bill.
Leo Kearse Reclaim Party, the party set up by actor Lawrence Fox, is one of the most vocal opponents of the Hate Bill.
Dr. Catherine C. McCall All For Unity argues that the very idea of ‘stirring’ up hate is problematic, imprecise, based on an attempt to identify an emotion and in the end amounts to a thought crime.
Michelle Ballantyne Reform UK says, ‘This is one of the most dangerous bills that I have ever seen pass through Holyrood… This law will now bring a staggeringly loose definition of hate crime into the home and it is no exaggeration to say that dinner table conversation may now be criminalised.’
Here, Leo Kearse interviews Michelle Ballantyne about the bill
Ewan Gurr Restore Scotland, is a member of a Scottish independence party that opposes the authoritarianism of the SNP including the Hate bill. Gurr believes that, ‘The Hate Crime and Public Order Act is one of the most odious and pernicious pieces of authoritarian legislation to have ever sought Royal Assent in a civilised and democratic society, which has placed such a historic value on robust public and private discourse.’
The Scottish Family Party and their leader, Richard Lucas, take a principled position in their opposition to a law that they see as divisive and undermining the principle of equal treatment before the law.
The Scottish Libertarian Party, usefully note that the bill undermines Scots law by ‘removing the need for corroboration’ when prosecuting offences aggravated by prejudice, meaning that the alleged victim potentially only needs to claim ‘hate’ for it to be so.
Mark Meechan, famed for his arrest after posting a comedy YouTube video with his ‘Nazi Pug’ is standing for The Scottish Libertarian Party in Motherwell and Wishaw constituency.
The Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party are the only major party that opposed the bill, they also pledge to repeal the legislation to, ‘overturn the dangerous threat to freedom of speech’, says party leader Douglas Ross. Unfortunately, the Conservatives appear to support aspects of the bill, including the section on aggravated offenses that create a list of ‘protected characteristics’ and punish crimes of ‘hate’ more severely, thus undermining the universal nature of law. But at least they voted against the bill which is a start. Here MSP Liam Kerr explains his opposition to the law.
Janice Mackay says that UKIP are 100 percent behind the principle of free speech, with
opposition to the bill being one of the top three planks of her manifesto.
Independence for Scotland Party oppose the bill, partly because they are concerned that it excludes sex as a protected characteristic. This concern is understandable given the debate about transgender rights and the potential for criminalising those who defend women’s rights. However, this approach risks further escalating the number of ‘vulnerable groups’ in society and the further undermining of what should be a legal system based on the principle that we are all treated equally before the law.
For Britain oppose the bill, although they do this in part because of their anti-Islam stance. It seems unlikely that this group would support freedom of speech for groups they see as anti-British.
Andy Doig of Scotia Future opposed aspects of the bill, including the original intention to criminalise ‘stirring up’ hatred even when there was no intention to do so. He also defends satire which is also threatened under the bill.
Send us your nominations for polititians and punters who should be added here for their committment to Freedom and Equality.