Free Speech gone in Scotland

Discussion in 'Western Europe' started by kazenatsu, Mar 20, 2024.

  1. kazenatsu

    kazenatsu Well-Known Member Past Donor

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    Next month, the infamous Hate Crime and Public Order (Scotland) Act finally comes into force. Essentially, it allows the courts to jail individuals for up to seven years for saying, writing or posting any comment that is deemed to "stir up hatred" against a protected group, including disability, race, religion and, inevitably, transgender identity.

    While the Bill was making its way through the Scottish Parliament, the then Justice minister, one Humza Yousaf, amended the draft legislation to remove the risk that directors or promoters of performances could be charged with an offence.
    Despite this, leaked training material produced from Police Scotland suggests the force will specifically target performers, with officers advised that offending material could be communicated "through public performance of a play".

    J.K. Rowling was recently reported to Northumbria Police by trans activist India Willoughby after the TV presenter was allegedly "misgendered" by the Harry Potter author, who referred to Willoughby as "he". Perhaps surprisingly, officers in Northumbria chose not to act, but activists have already been encouraging each other to make full use of the SNP’s new legislation to bring Rowling, who is a resident of Edinburgh, to heel.

    The threshold that complaints must meet is that anything said by the accused would be deemed "by a reasonable person" to be threatening or inciting of hatred. But in today's culture wars, "reasonable people" are hard to identify. The judgment, ultimately, becomes a subjective one, and any law that hinges on anyone’s, even a judge's, subjectivity, is a bad law.

    The Edinburgh Festival Fringe, once at the cutting edge of risqué and, yes, offensive drama and humour, has already started to suffer from the disapproval of our hypersensitive cultural overlords.

    George Orwell has been cited too often whenever governments are deemed to have gone too far on restricting civil rights, including the right to freedom of expression. Scotland has created a dystopia in which true freedom of speech can now only be practiced at the cost of one's career and even one's freedom.

    Scotland is no longer a free country, by Tom Harris, The Telegraph, 20 March 2024

    Back in 1997, it was argued extending semi-autonomy to a new Scottish Parliament could allow the experimentation with innovative new legislation which would show the rest of the United Kingdom how things could be done. The British government in Westminster, with its backwardness and institutional conservatism, would be exposed as the dinosaur it was, the reasoning went. Scotland, in particular, would lead the way.

    Well, now we are seeing the results of this.

    Rather than creating more freedom for Scotland, just the opposite has happened.

    As Cicero stated, "The more laws, the less justice."
    And Parliaments seem to have nothing better to do than to think up more laws and new freedoms to take away.
     

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