Equality Justice Politics Scotland

The New Scottish Blasphemy Law

The New Scottish Blasphemy Law

 You would think that with the current Covid crisis the Scottish government would have enough to do without adding to its workload. They seem to agree – after all they are unable to publish the report into the state of Scottish education until after the next Scottish election – because of the Covid crisis.  However they still have time to remove the centuries old blasphemy law and replace it with a hate speech law – i.e. another blasphemy law.

The Hate Crime and Public Order (Scotland) bill is to be put before the Scottish parliament.   It will abolish the offence of blasphemy but will add age (and eventually sex) to the protected characteristics of disability, race, religion, sexual orientation and transgender identity.

Abolishing the blasphemy law means nothing.   It is many years (178 to be precise) since it was last used and is in effect a non law.

Absolute Baloney

Does it make any difference if it is removed? Not really. But what is it being replaced with?   The Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf reacted fiercely when he was accused of introducing a new blasphemy law.

Screenshot 2020-05-05 11.51.44

I find his tweet one of the most disturbing that I have read from a politician in a long time. He accuses a Glasgow women’s group of ‘absolute baloney’ when they suggested this could lead to their views on the Gender Recognition Act being criminalized.   And then goes on to make the incredible remark that as long as we don’t ‘behave in a threatening and abusive manner that will stir up hatred’ we won’t be breaking the law. He is apparently unaware of two key implications of his statement.

Who Defines Hatred?

Firstly who defines what a ‘statement that stirs up hatred is’? I think Mr. Yousaf’s accusation against the Glasgow women is abusive and stirs up hatred (cue the Cybernats pile on with their abuse) – does that mean it should be banned under the new blasphemy law? Of course not –because a High Priest of the State cannot blaspheme against it!

Secondly his law is so vague (at least the blasphemy law it replaces was quite specific) that it will be used by the governing elites to protect the views they want protected and to silence those who disagree with them.   Will the Justice Secretary prosecute the nationalist supporters who carried a banner urging that all Tories be booted out of Scotland? Is that not stirring up hatred against a group?   What about militant atheist groups – such as this beauty that was posted in public from the Scottish Secular Society – “I hate organised religion, but boy, I sure do hate you more!” Garry Otton – Founder of the Scottish Secular Society.   Does that not constitute hate speech? And would it be prosecuted? What about comedians like Billy Connolly mocking religion? Or does that only apply if he dared to mock Islam?

Let me demonstrate the lie behind Humza’s tweet that it is absolute baloney to say that if you disagree with the GRA you will end up being criminalized. I can offer direct proof of the opposite. I was asked by the Scottish government to give evidence to two civil servants who were drawing up the legislation on the GRA. After attempting to persuade me to change my mind and to accept it they then changed direction and asked ‘what are you looking for in this?’ I said that I knew that the ‘consultation’ was a sham because the government were going to pass it anyway, but I wanted three things – 1) for it not to be taught in schools; 2) For there to be protected characteristics for women (including sport, refugees and prisons) and 3) That I wouldn’t go to jail for saying that men cannot become women.   What astounded me was that it was the third one that they took most seriously and said would be most difficult. If the law said that a man who said he was a woman was a woman, then for me to deny that he was would be a crime.   I would be required to deny, not my faith, but science and biology, because the law says that to affirm biology would be a crime.

Ludicrous

And then Mr. Yousaf posted this.

Screenshot 2020-05-05 12.21.20

So I went and read the tweets he said justified his new law.  Most were fine. Some were dumb. And some were abusive – (but far less so than many tweets I have received from militant secularists and cybernats and not a few ‘Christians!). But were any of them illegal? Were any inciting violence? It may not be true, but is it a crime to state that Islam bans criticism of Islam? It’s an ignorant and dumb comment to say that London is a Muslim caliphate but should it be a crime? What if someone complained about the Tartan Taliban and suggested that Lewis was run by a Calvinist Caliphate – should that be a crime? Will SNP MP  John Nicholson  who argued that Lewis was run by a Tartan Taleban be prosecuted?  I had ma doots!

The New State Doctrines

What if I want to argue that gender is not a social construct and being a woman actually has something to do with biology; that the Koran is not the Word of God and its ok to critique Mohammed; that abortion is taking a human life; that marriage between a man and a man is not real marriage?   Will I be breaking the new blasphemy laws in making any of those comments?

The fact is that the law is generally not needed in any of those instances – the Twitter mob, the mainstream media, the Corporate moralists and the State thought police will usually ensure that you are banned anyway. – And in this Brave New World that even applies to historic ‘hate speech’.  Witness the news this week that Oxford University Students Union passed a motionasking the University to reject any ‘hateful’ material being used in academic courses.   And again we are back to who gets to define what is ‘hateful’? It will inevitably be the middle class elites from the elite Universities and the politicians who will do that on behalf of the rest of us.

The Race to the Bottom

Humza Yousaf is just taking this one chilling step further. Whilst it is true that this is going on in the rest of the UK, it appears that the Scottish Government are determined to win the race to the bottom that our increasingly illiberal ‘Progressives’ are taking us.

Welcome to the secular Nirvana of ‘Progressive’ Scotland. It will not be long before witch-hunts against those who oppose the State ideology are set in place.   I think of the church that has been banned from meeting in its premises because of political pressure – simply because they hold to a Christian view of marriage. Or the time I was banned from the BBC for using the phrase ‘Britain’s Christian traditions’ because the producer was concerned that someone somewhere would find it offensive. Or the threats to charities that don’t sign up to the States new morality. Or the hints made to a leading Scottish newspaper by an activist threatening government defunding if they did not post his line.  Or the debacle and intolerance surrounding the banning of Destiny church. And numerous more examples.

The Blasphemy Prosecutions

And let’s ask Humza Yousaf one more simple question. The last person to be prosecuted (178 years ago) under the old blasphemy law was an Edinburgh bookseller Thomas Paterson who advertised amongst other things ‘that the Bible and other obscene works not sold at this shop’.   Lets bring this up to today. Under the new law would an Edinburgh bookseller be free to advertise ‘the Koran and other obscene works not sold at this shop’?   I think Paterson was wrong then and a bookseller would be wrong and unwise to do that today – but if Mr. Yousaf’s law means that such a bookseller would be prosecuted then we have ended up in a far worse situation now than we have been for the past 178 years. Because we now have a blasphemy law which will be enforced. And the blasphemy is not against God, but against the Holy State and whatever it decides is ‘hateful’ (i.e. against their values). The SNP have form on this.Ian Blackford once declared on Radio 4 that true Scots were those who accepted Scottish (i.e. Scottish Government) values. The rest of us are excommunicated Ron our Scottish citizenship.

The North Korea of Europe?

Mr. Yousaf greatly puzzles me. From what I know he seems a perfectly reasonable and humane individual.   But he either does not have the intelligence to work out where his new law will lead, or he does and is deliberately leading us down this authoritarian rabbit hole?

Scotland is heading towards becoming the North Korea of Europe – with a state propaganda system, educational indoctrination, an economy where many of the top jobs EXA5pfjX0AAP_E2are dependent on the State, a largely subservient acquiescent populace,  a one nation State police determined to police thought and social engineering as well as the law, and a legal system enacting blasphemy laws against those who go against the State ideology.

Of course it’s an exaggeration to claim that Scotland is becoming North Korea but like all caricatures there is a disturbing element of truth within it. Only the handful of politicians who see the danger and are prepared to stand up to it, a few free thinkers (including secularists); and above all a free press (for how long) and the churches (at least those that have not sold their soul and become the de facto secular priests of the new State) stand between freedom and the Progressive’s dream of an authoritarian state made in their own image.  Those who do not cherish and defend their liberty will lose it.

David Robertson

These articles are below are an example of an earlier encounter with how the Scottish police enforce hate speech laws.

The Political Police and the Slide to an Authoritarian State

I Hate ‘Hate Speech’

 

 

 

 

 

 

20 comments

  1. Indeed, David! Thank you for expressing your indignation so well! May the Lord give us all understanding of what is happening to Western nations!

  2. Thanks, David, very clear and helpful as it may affect more of us in the future.
    As an outsider, I am puzzled as to why polls show the Scottish population are oftentimes opposed to these social changes yet they keep voting the SNP in!

  3. Very scary and troubling times. Thank you for taking the time to explain to us what this Bill really means – I doubt many people will be aware, or really care. Thank the Lord we are not independent at the moment. I fear for my children’s future if this ever happens.

  4. You raise the question of whether Yousaf is lacking intelligence it doing this deliberately.
    I think we must be careful not to underestimate the intelligence (even cunning) of the liberal elite.
    I wrote to Sturgeon complaining about Nicholson’s “Tartan Taliban” comments. She replied that of course he wouldn’t engage in such derogatory language, he was merely saying that some people call the residents of Lewis that. I listened to his comments again and she was technically right. But he made it patently clear that he agreed with the people he was supposedly only quoting.
    Don’t underestimate your enemies. They know how to avoid being caught out.

  5. Thank you for this post.

    As reciprocity is a time – honoured principle governing relations between peoples , can Rev Robertson please preach some sermons in Pakistan?

    He will, I am sure, promise not to alter Pakistan’s laws.

  6. “As an outsider, I am puzzled as to why polls show the Scottish population are oftentimes opposed to these social changes yet they keep voting the SNP in!”
    Peter, You only have to look on any local Facebook page and you will see much of what makes up the Scottish electorate . The greatest difficulty that they have is confusing what is patriotism and what is nationalism .

    They have no idea of their Governments assault on the law . Neither are they aware of the number of times bad Bills have failed to succeed , thankfully. I hope that this proposal falls also.

  7. If a Scottish Minister preached the Christian Gospel. Said that Jesus was Lord overall and that he died on a cross for our sins and that we needed to accept this from him and ask Jesus to be our Saviour and Friend – Would that be offensive and would that land someone in jail for their beliefs. In the matter before the Supreme court in 2018. NGole V Sheffield University. The judge determined that Sheffield University lacked insight into the difference between a comment that is hateful and in this case, homophobic, and a genuinely held theological conviction

  8. Your comment on incitement is the most important thing regarding this law.
    We already have crimes by inciting hatred, a deliberate act, whereas stirring up is the effective removal of the need to prove intent – nullifying the old concept of “mens rea”.

    1. Mens rea (criminal intent) is not an “old concept”: without it, there is no crime unless it is a strict liability offence, which are largely in place to order society, such as much of road traffic offences, as opposed to offences against the person.
      I’m not sure whether “stirring up” will be a matter of (criminal) intent by the alleged “stirrer” as opposed to the subjective response of the one being “stirred.
      What David sets out, would not be a crime, in circumstances where he’d be seeking to discuss, as opposed to stirring up. Circumstances would be taken into account to seek to determine intent, and in the usual course of a crime would have to be proved to a standard where a judge/jury was sure ie beyond a reasonable doubt.
      There may be degrees of stirring up such as stirring a crowd to go on a rampage, but that would likely fall within existing laws.
      I’m speaking here about criminal law in England and Wales and I don’t know the details of the proposed law.

    2. Mens rea? What about “women’s rea”? (Wouldn’t want to be open to accusations of misogyny …)

  9. I think the race to the bottom has already been won by us uns over here. Who would have thought as recently as 5 years ago here in Ulster, the land of St Patrick, the land that brought the gospel to dark ages Europe, that today we would see probably some of the most liberal laws passed which allows the killing of a baby with no questions asked up to 12 weeks and abortion to almost birth in certain circumstances? Who would have thought that as recently as 5 years ago we would see a man marrying another man or a woman marrying another woman? I believe Scotland and Ulster have both departed from their Christian heritage a long time ago and what we are seeing today is the fruits of abandoning our Creator. I look forward to the future with Jesus as my Saviour. Without Him I don’t know how I would fare. Even so come quickly Lord Jesus.

  10. The Welsh Government (Labour, with Plaid Cymru collusion) are being more subtle – introduce it in the school syllabus and require teachers to teach to it. Fortunately, we have an international ban on indoctrination in schools. The Welsh Education Minister, the one-time liberal Kirsty Williams, doubtless has the intelligence, but is on a Stonewall-inspired mission, concerned only to steamroller the religious (and humanist) opposition.

  11. Fine article, sir, and one which should chill anyone who believes in the basic concept of liberty to the bone.

    Alas, the Scottish population is now so dumb as a result of the education system having been run down by Marxism over the last half century, that no one knows or cares about this stuff. I mean, when was the last time Magna Carta, the Bill of Rights, the US Constitution, or John Locke or John Stuart Mill were ever on the curriculum? I did higher history, for example, in the late 80s, and I left school never having heard of any of this (although I did come away knowing bits about Napoleon III, and how beastly the First World War was – which was practically useless. The kids doing higher history today are doing the suffragettes – which, although fine and dandy and perhaps worth reading about in one’s spare time, is simply a sideshow).

  12. The thing that makes it all so dangerous is the label ‘stirring up hatred’. It is so nebulous and imprecise that it could mean anything (which is probably the point).

    In fact, given that the phrase is a metaphor, I thought that it must surely be being used as shorthand for whatever was actually in the Bill – but, no, ‘Offences related to stirring up hatred’ is actually one of the Bill’s sections!!! It’s almost unbelievable that a potential Act of parliament would contain a colloquialism such as this, and it just demonstrates the rot that has set in in our society goes all the way to the top. If this language remains in the final Act, if the Queen were doing her job property she would refuse to pass it into law, and tell the Scottish Parliament – and by extension the Scottish people – to sort themselves out.

  13. Further thoughts:
    1 “Stirring- up” a substantive offence, sounds very much like smuggling in the inchoate offence of “incitement” which was abolished in 2008 in England and Wales.
    2 “The prosecution must show that the person accused of incitement intended or believed that the person incited would, if acted as incited to do so, do so with the mens rea appropriate to the offence.”
    3 From Crown Prosecution Site: https://www.cps.gov.uk/legal-guidance/inchoate-offences
    4 Great concerns would be ,
    4.1 to have vigilance over the drafting of any legislation as it would reveal the intention of the MSP’s , could be so sloppily, widely drawn up that the points made by David could fall within its ambit, and bring much into the realm of criminal law as opposed to civil law.
    4.2 the whole state, state funded, apparatus in regard to criminal law would be available against an individual, who who likely have to be self funded.
    4.3 As a former legal aid solicitor (who also, on occasion, prosecuted as agent for the CPS) on the duty solicitor schemes for police stations and magistrates courts, being arrested and interviewed at the police station, being deprived of liberty even if it is for a short while, can be extremely harrowing for the detainee, not knowing (and even knowing) the system.

  14. This is where our societies go, having jettisoned any idea of our bedrock being God, many decades ago. And history is littered with the wreckage of our human attempts to establish utopia. So will this attempt to police ‘hate’.

    I still have in mind unwins study that showed a direct causal link between a society breaking all sexual restraint and its inevitable collapse three generations later.

  15. omg what is this all about ,I was always taught that Scottish people did not give a shit about any one ,and said what they thought ,a nd awearing ,was part of it ,now I read that an snp member is trying to reteach us sccotts ,who is this man ,def not Scottish born and bred ,why does he not go to india or where ever and teach them , I will no longer vote snp ,as I am old and prefere the traditional Scottish ways ,I may be wrong ,but I believe in the old saying Scotland the brave ,which I now believe does not exist ,does anyone agree or am I just a crazy old traditional scot I think if my gran saw the photo of this man and heard his comments ,she would turn in her grave ,as would Robert the bruce ,if I hav misenterpretend his words then I am sorry ,

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