Scotland: Less Than One Per Cent of Hate Speech Reports Deemed Legitimate

DUMFRIES, SCOTLAND - MARCH 06: Scotland's Health Minister and SNP MSP Humza Yousaf speaks
Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

A little over one-half of one per cent of all hate crime reports made since the introduction of new draconian speech codes in Scotland have been found to be legitimate as chaos continues to engulf First Minister Humza Yousaf’s big-ticket legislation.

On April 1st, the Hate Crime and Public Order (Scotland) Act 2021 came into force, criminalising vaguely worded “stirring up hatred” against several protected classes of people such as the elderly, disabled, LGBT people and racial minorities with up to seven years in prison. The draconian measures apply to comments even made in the privacy of one’s home and do not consider the speaker’s intent, but merely whether the statements may stir up hatred.

Since coming into effect three weeks ago, there have been 9,400 complaints filed with Police Scotland, swamping the already struggling law enforcement force dealing with a rise in thefts and continues to flounder in the face of a Europe-leading drug epidemic.

However, just 0.6 per cent of hate speech reports have been deemed to be legitimate, according to The Times, meaning that valuable man-power hours were squandered on investigating nearly all complaints lodged with the police, who vowed to consider every report made to them under the law.

Critics of the speech restrictions including senior members of the police, such as the head of the Scottish Police Federation David Threadgold, have warned that the new law would easily be weaponised by activists for political purposes or merely by members of the public seeking revenge over personal grudges.

Embarrassingly for First Minister Humza Yousaf, Scotland’s first Muslim leader and champion of the speech restrictions, this vexatious use of the law was turned against him, with numerous reports flooding into the police against Yousaf for his infamous 2020 rant in which he decried how many white people were in positions of authority in Scotland — a 96 per cent white country.

The deluge of reports against Yousaf were so numerous, that Police Scotland was said to have given a script for officers to explain why the First Minister’s comments did not breach the hate speech law.

The chaotic rollout of the legislation has compounded the political issues facing Yousaf — who was already under fire for the faltering state of the socialised healthcare system in Scotland — with reports emerging suggesting that the leftist-separatist Scottish National Party (SNP) may seek to replace him before the upcoming general election.

The reported effort to oust Yousaf was bolstered by his declining approval rating, with even members of his own party turning against the controversial leader. A poll this month found that just 29 per cent of SNP voters felt that Yousaf was doing a good job as First Minister.

Meanwhile, his flagship hate speech law is also fairing poorly, with just 21 per cent of Scotts supporting the law, compared to 45 per cent in favour of repealing the speech codes.

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