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Yousaf receives more hate complaints than JK Rowling

Is Humza Yousaf politicising the police force? Credit: Getty

April 4, 2024 - 2:00pm

In normal circumstances, people tend to know whether or not they’ve committed a crime. That’s no longer the case in Scotland, however, where the effects of a poorly-drafted piece of legislation are already being felt. Since Monday — April Fools’ Day, appropriately enough — no one can say with any certainty whether they’ve committed an offence under the SNP’s new hate crime law. They don’t even know whether a “non-crime hate incident” (NCHI) has been recorded against them, affecting their chances of future employment or their ability to volunteer for a good cause.

The Hate Crime and Public Order Act has created a vague criminal offence of “stirring up of hatred”, with stiffer sentences if the offence involves prejudice on the basis of age, disability, religion, sexual orientation or transgender identity. Earlier this week the First Minister, Humza Yousaf, claimed it was needed to deal with a “rising tide of hatred” in Scotland and across the world, although the latter regrettably falls outside his remit. Ministers often cite “hate crimes” against trans people as a reason why the new law is needed, yet Scotland’s official figures tell a different story. Recorded hate crimes in this category have decreased dramatically, from a high of 86 in 2021/22 to 55 the following year.

What the Act has done is create opportunities for anyone who wants to settle a score or make trouble for a public figure. Almost 4,000 complaints were received by the police in the first 24 hours, many of them targeting the novelist J.K. Rowling, who challenged the legislation with a thread on X describing 10 trans women as men. The Scottish Tories estimate that 1.4 million complaints could be made under the new Act in the next 12 months, many of them anonymous.

In a rather delicious development, complaints about Rowling were outnumbered by complaints against Yousaf — who steered the legislation through Holyrood when he was Justice Minister — in relation to a speech he made about race in 2020. Police Scotland swiftly announced that Rowling’s posts on X did not meet the criminal threshold under the new Act, while it said that complaints against Yousaf had been investigated at the time and dismissed.

But their acknowledgement that an NCHI has not been recorded in either case exposes glaring inconsistencies — and apparent political bias — in the way the law is applied. A Conservative MSP, Murdo Fraser, is threatening legal action against Police Scotland after discovering the force has logged an NCHI against him.

Fraser’s “offence” was sharing a post on X that ridiculed the Scottish government’s “non-binary action plan”, suggesting that “identifying” as non-binary is “as valid as choosing to identify as a cat”. The discrepancy has prompted an accusation by the SNP MP, Joanna Cherry KC, that Police Scotland is revising policy “on the hoof” to avoid the embarrassment of recording an NCHI against a famous author and philanthropist.

The police says every report will be investigated, taking up time that could be devoted to actual crimes. In Edinburgh 80% of burglaries are unsolved, while rape reports reached a new high in Scotland in 2022/23, yet officers are now apparently expected to respond to every complaint about  hurt feelings. This looks very much like a politicised police force, forced into a position where it has to pander to the demands of busybodies and extremists. The only answer is to repeal.


Joan Smith is a novelist and columnist. She has been Chair of the Mayor of London’s Violence Against Women and Girls Board since 2013. Her book Homegrown: How Domestic Violence Turns Men Into Terrorists was published in 2019.

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Adoptive Loiner
Adoptive Loiner
2 months ago

I wonder, would saying Hamza Yusuf is a jumped-up, nasty little tyrant with a chip on his shoulder the size of Skye be considered hateful or just a statement of fact? Just a thought.

Gordon Black
Gordon Black
2 months ago

Hate alert! … McStasi informed … the BarL for you! …

Katharine Eyre
Katharine Eyre
2 months ago

I’d say the chip on his shoulder was at least as big as Scotland.

Peter B
Peter B
2 months ago

Opinion with some possible factual content.
The absurdity of this new “law” is that it will be possible for stating facts to be classified as “hate speech” (or “thought crime”).
I always go back to Adlai Stevenson’s definition of a free society as one in which it’s safe to be unpopular. Any move away from that is – in my view – very bad news. People need to be able to say unpopular things – whether true or not. And in many cases, it can’t be known at the time whether or not they are true.
Never thought we’d be advising the Scots to “man up” (probably no longer allowed, but I’m saying it anyway) and deal with their hurt feelings. Always thought they had more sense. But there we are.

Graham Bennett
Graham Bennett
2 months ago
Reply to  Peter B

They do! Every person, to a man and woman, that I have spoken to about this does not like and did not want this law, and wishes for it to be repealed. I bet if a referendum was held on the topic tomorrow, it would be trounced with an 80% majority. SMPs only voted it through because most are gutless, running scared of the tiny woke mob that might sully their reputations online. It’s a silly law, that has now clearly backfired, and which ought to be repealed immediately.

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
2 months ago
Reply to  Peter B

We already have the same issue in England through the backdoor, the prosecution of Samuel Melia and the arrest of Isabel Vaughan-Spruce being cases in point

0 0
0 0
2 months ago

Politicians often have chip on their shoulders, it’s why they get into politics, they’re overcompensating for something.

Lennon Ó Náraigh
Lennon Ó Náraigh
2 months ago

I tried stirring up hatred today at work but I found I didn’t have a spoon to hand… or even a spork. Then I realised that the “stirring up” is a metaphor. Any crime that can’t be defined without recourse to metaphor is not really a crime at all.

Adrian Smith
Adrian Smith
2 months ago

Whilst the SNP will doubtless pay the price for this and its other “progressive” follies at the next election, the irony is that that price will only help Labour get in with an even bigger majority to commit the same if not worse follies on the whole of UK.

Rob N
Rob N
2 months ago
Reply to  Adrian Smith

The SNP should ‘pay the price’ for their evil and incompetent rule but I fear they won’t.

The last 10 years or so have made clear the failings of party politics and the electorate’s inability to vote rationally rather than tribally.

David Morley
David Morley
2 months ago
Reply to  Adrian Smith

Or perhaps this will give Labour reason to back off from such legislation. I’m hoping that fear of losing a voice on the trans issue might make feminists reluctant to pass a law to silence critique of feminism or of female behaviour.

In a sense carte blanch anti free speech legislation is preferable – it unites different and opposing groups in opposition to it. Whereas legislation which focuses on “misogyny” or “Islamophobia” alone might easily get a free pass.

Citizen Diversity
Citizen Diversity
2 months ago

If not repealed, get your denunciation in first.
Now that dissent turns people into maniacs, it has also turned the law into an ass.

Lancashire Lad
Lancashire Lad
2 months ago

Given his previous role as Justice Minister, one could also claim that an ass has been turned into the law.

AC Harper
AC Harper
2 months ago

Perhaps everybody should denounce themselves (‘I am Spartacus’) because if everyone is investigated then no-one attracts any stigma.
Just be careful not to exceed the limit of constrained speech enough to be prosecuted.

Katharine Eyre
Katharine Eyre
2 months ago

Several observations:
(1) I’m rather enjoying the irony of the SNP, a party whose politics are based around a hatred of England and the English, enacting such a strict and controversial anti-hatred law.
(2) I do not think that Bonnie Prince Useless is going to stay First Minister for long, this farcical law is going to be his undoing.
(3) And because I’m going through a bit of an Emily Dickinson phase and this seemed apropos: https://allpoetry.com/I-had-no-time-to-hate,-because

Shelley Ann
Shelley Ann
2 months ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

Wonderful. Perhaps you could mail Humza that link !

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
2 months ago

The irony is delicious.

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
2 months ago

Yousaf and this ridiculous law cannot be mocked and ridiculed often enough or loudly enough.

Mike Downing
Mike Downing
2 months ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

It takes me back to my Kings and Queen’s…

Edward the Confessor
Ethelred the Unready
Yousaf the Useless.

Andrew Dalton
Andrew Dalton
2 months ago

They don’t even know whether a “non-crime hate incident” (NCHI) has been recorded against them,

Wouldn’t that be a GDPR violation, making it a real crime? Or are the police exempt from that legislation?

2 plus 2 equals 4
2 plus 2 equals 4
2 months ago
Reply to  Andrew Dalton

It’s a bit complicated.

GDPR doesn’t apply for law enforcement purposes. That’s governed by the Data Protection Act which provides a disclosure exemption to police for processing personal data for the preventing, investigating and prosecuting crimes.

So the question is whether processing personal data relating to “non crime hate incidents” falls within the letter and spirit of the DPA.

The police would no doubt argue that it is necessary for understanding patterns of behaviour which might lead to – and thereby prdventing – actual crimes.

I would argue this is horseshit. This is a massive overreach of unaccountable state power which uses secretive processing to harass and punish non-compliant individuals who have not broken any laws.

I’m not aware whether this has been tested in court.

Andrew Dalton
Andrew Dalton
2 months ago

Sorry, missed your reply – in the slim chance that you ever see this, thanks for the clarification.

Martin Bollis
Martin Bollis
2 months ago

Nice touch setting up the false target of Trans. When this fuss dies down, Yousef can get on with real objective of shutting down any criticism of Islam.

Samir Iker
Samir Iker
2 months ago
Reply to  Martin Bollis

Bingo.
People don’t realise the mindset of the followers of the one true prophet.
Only one thing, one objective matters. When everything settles down, you will still find hateful utterances against Jews, “idol worshipping” Hindus, gays, etc, on a regular basis in their mosques, as always, but any criticism of their religion will be shut down.

ChilblainEdwardOlmos
ChilblainEdwardOlmos
2 months ago
Reply to  Martin Bollis

Blasphemy! Heretic! Insightful.

Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
2 months ago
Reply to  Martin Bollis

Yes, this exactly. I’ve often wondered if LGBQT lifestyles are being pushed upon the people in order to soften us up for invasion.

Alison Wren
Alison Wren
2 months ago
Reply to  Julian Farrows

No such thing as an “LGBTQ lifestyle”. LGB people are more and more resisting their forced teaming with the TQ+. Transideology is sterilising young people who would 90% grow up to be gay or lesbian. The Q includes all kinds of strange behaviours, and spare lecturing me on the +!!

David Morley
David Morley
2 months ago
Reply to  Martin Bollis

Yes – it’s a smokescreen.

Anthony Brewer
Anthony Brewer
2 months ago
Reply to  Martin Bollis

Why, why, why can’t right-leaning Americans and Brits see the long game being played out with imposters like “Scottish” Hamza Yousef, “British” Rishi Sunak, and all of the other pet “Conservatives” like Suella Braverman, Priti Patel, “Nikki”(Nimrata) Haley, and Vivek Ramaswany?
We’ve been colonized, softly but actively. These outlanders have no flesh in the game. No heritage or shared mythos. No nationality. No allegiance to anything but their desire to pluck the low-hanging fruits of the post-industrial West.
Asians think they’re gracing us with their presence, and have nothing but contempt for our culture. Unfortunately, too many white Christians think that these colonizers are “ideal immigrants” when, in fact, these Brahmins despise us and have no agenda that will benefit our working and middle classes.

Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
2 months ago
Reply to  Anthony Brewer

I’ve noticed the exact same.

2 plus 2 equals 4
2 plus 2 equals 4
2 months ago

JK Rowling has done everyone in Scotland and beyond an immense service by smoking this perniciously bad law out into the harsh daylight from the get go.
But let’s not forget that actual convictions aren’t the main threat here. The process is the punishment and for ordinary people the consequences of having their lives turned upside down, their personal data trawled through, and an unaccountable “non crime hate incident” recorded against them can be terrifying.

laurence scaduto
laurence scaduto
2 months ago

Or a back door way to introduce a social credit system like in China? Paranoid about their own records, people demand a means of easy access. From that point the usual mission creep starts us down the road; first government agencies are granted a peek, then banks, then potential employers, etc.

Paul Devlin
Paul Devlin
2 months ago

Not really because she apparently only cares about this ridiculous ‘trans’ sideshow. The real intent of this law is Islam and immigration. I’d say she is well aware of this

John Tyler
John Tyler
2 months ago

The “hate crime etc” law is just the latest piece of doublespeak, and in case of using NCHIs punishment for not applying doublethink.

Samir Iker
Samir Iker
2 months ago

The funniest part was the Indian council of Scotland logging a hate crime report to Scotland police against Scotland police itself, for posting a notice on their own website regarding the hate crime bill, that targeted “18-30 year old” white men, forcing them to pull it down.

Of course, this was genuine hate and racism, but it was against white men, so allowed until some pesky, annoying, Tory scum Indians decided to cause trouble.

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
2 months ago
Reply to  Samir Iker

I was going to do exactly the same thing

David Morley
David Morley
2 months ago
Reply to  Samir Iker

Do you have a link to this news item. If true, all credit to the Indian council of Scotand.

Jeremy Bray
Jeremy Bray
2 months ago

“In normal circumstances, people tend to know whether or not they’ve committed a crime.”

Not necessarily so. In England there is a wretched autistic woman who shouted at an elderly woman on a bicycle to get off the pavement only for the woman to swerve into oncoming traffic and die who now languishes in prison having been convicted of manslaughter. I bet she didn’t know she was committing a crime and frankly nor do I think so despite the tragic outcome for the bicyclist.

Nor I think did the woman silently praying near an abortion clinic think she was committing a crime. The law has been so perverted that it is often a lottery as to whether your actions are crimes or not. Most of us would think smashing windows a crime even if it is done for environmental motives but legislation has been needed to clarify the point.

Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
2 months ago
Reply to  Jeremy Bray

I would say that is the entire purpose of these new hate crime laws.

Harry Child
Harry Child
2 months ago
Reply to  Jeremy Bray

“In normal circumstances, people tend to know whether or not they’ve committed a crime.” Are you joking – Blair’s lot passed over 127,500 new pieces of legislation in their 10 years and it has not let up since. A judge was reported as saying in 2010 that it would take years for the working out of these laws. How are these laws passed ? mainly by negative statutory instruments, laid on a table in Parliament and passed if nobody reacts against.

Lynette McDougall
Lynette McDougall
2 months ago
Reply to  Jeremy Bray

Then there’s the autistic teenage girl being arrested for telling a lesbian policewoman that she looked like the girl’s grandmother – who was also a lesbian.

Victor James
Victor James
2 months ago

The instinct of all crumbling fascist regimes is ‘hate crime’ laws. Over the millennia, these fascistic laws have been called different things, of course.

Catherine Conroy
Catherine Conroy
2 months ago

Perhaps Scottish women could identify as transmen and complain every time they get misgendered.

Victor James
Victor James
2 months ago

‘hate Speech’ laws are about criminalising the noticing of leftist hatred.

Kirk Susong
Kirk Susong
2 months ago

I still can’t get over the fact that the political leader of Scotland is named Humza Yousaf.
Wonder if we could get a Robbie Mc-something in as head of Palestine? The mind reels…

Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
2 months ago
Reply to  Kirk Susong

Especially the leader of the Nationalist party.

David Morley
David Morley
2 months ago
Reply to  Julian Farrows

At least it’s not an English name.

David Morley
David Morley
2 months ago

The thing I’m curious about is this: what would be the feminist reaction if, instead of generalised hate legislation, the Scottish parliament had enacted anti misogyny legislation? That is, materially the same legislation but only protecting one specific group, not a range of groups?

And if the legislation as it stands had focussed on women and not become tied up with the trans issue, would they still be criticising it in the name of free speech? I honestly doubt it.

Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
2 months ago
Reply to  David Morley

I wonder that too. And would jaded wives/exes etc. report their partners for crimes of a misogynistic nature every time they fall out?

Simon Templar
Simon Templar
2 months ago

What is needed is lawfare. Anyone accused should bring a civil counter-suit against Humza Yousaf (and any politician who voted for this odious law) for promoting civil unrest. It’s practically treasonous.

C C
C C
2 months ago

Is no coincidence that foreign rulers are trying to pass laws to destroy the country

Alan Gore
Alan Gore
2 months ago

The absolute last thing a politician would want to do in the UK is criminalize humor. Let the revolution start now.