It is one of two things, either Scotland has lost the plot or the problem rests with the plot, irrespective, Scottish lawmakers have scandalously distinguished their nation by being the first to criminalize dinner talk under new proposed hate speech laws.
Those rambunctious political fights around the family dinner table will soon be a thing of the past for Scots if they can’t be sure there’s not a spy in their midst who will rat on them to police for offensive dinner comments.
“Conversations over the dinner table that incite hatred must be prosecuted under Scotland’s hate crime law,” reports the Times.
Such conversations once protected under the Public Order Act 1986, which includes a “dwelling defense” that shields conversations that take place in private homes from being prosecuted, however that would be removed under the new law.
The new bill would add an additional crime of “stirring up hate” against a protected group by “behaving in a threatening or abusive manner, or communicating threatening or abusive material to another person,” as well as the crime of possessing “inflammatory material.”
Critics have argued that the vague term “stirring up hate” could be broadly interpreted and lead to people like JK Rowling facing criminal charges with up to seven years in prison for expressing views about transgender issues.
The country’s proposed Hate Crime and Public Order (Scotland) Bill has received condemnation from critics across the board, including the Scottish Catholic Church, academics, entertainers, and police.
If it becomes law, the bill will make it an offense to express criticisms against people with “protected” attributes like disability, gender identification, and sexual orientation.
It also has dire implications for comedy and freedom of speech, given that anyone could choose to take offense to anything and complain that they experienced hate.
Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf justifies such fears by saying; “journalists, writers and theater directors could also be dragged into the courts if their work is deemed to have stirred up “prejudice.”
Yousaf just recently gave a speech to the Scottish Parliament complaining the vast majority of senior positions in Scottish authorities are filled by white people, even though Scotland is demographically 96% white.
He has bluntly said; “Hate talk in homes must be prosecuted”
For the first time this hate crime bill makes it illegal for private citizens to have conversations in their own homes that are deemed to stir up prejudice.
In addition, those who publicly broadcast problematic views on social media or are found to be in possession of materials like images, emails, and memes deemed offensive would be prosecuted.
Speaking to the Scottish parliament’s justice committee, Yousaf said there must be no “dwelling defense” as part of his hate crime bill, which allows those who share their views privately to be protected. Instead, he said children, family, and house-guests must all be protected from hate speech.
According to The Times, Yousaf said, “Are we comfortable giving a defense to somebody whose behavior is threatening or abusive which is intentionally stirring up hatred against, for example, Muslims? Are we saying that that is justified because that is in the home? . . . If your intention was to stir up hatred against Jews . . . then I think that deserves criminal sanction.”
So there you have it, from spies posted on street corners to record negative remarks about the state to spies in the home to pick up negative remarks about government sanctioned protected groups we have come a long way, or maybe not.