Scottish Greens criticise cynical Tory games on Hate Crimes Act

There is no place for hate in a progressive Scotland.

The Hate Crimes Act is a simple and necessary piece of legislation that has been cynically misrepresented, says the Scottish Greens equalities spokesperson Maggie Chapman MSP.

Ms Chapman said: “There are few pieces of legislation that have been as cynically misrepresented as the Hate Crime Act. We have seen scaremongering and misinformation fuelled by the Tories’ game playing and pathetic stunts.

“It is a simple and important Act that gives extra protections to people who are on the receiving end of harassment, abuse and hate. What it does mean is that people in marginalised or minority communities will have more protection from the kind of bigotry and prejudice that ruins lives.

“There have been protections against the stirring up of racial hate for decades. This legislation provides similar protections to disabled people who have been subjected to abuse, and people facing hate because of their age, as well as other groups. Such protections are common in other legislatures.

“This Act has been introduced at a time when hate crimes are rising. In the last decade alone we have seen big increases in hate crimes on the basis of sexual orientation, transgender identity and disability, as well as increasing islamophobia and antisemitism. 

“Almost every single piece of pro-equality or anti-discrimination legislation has been met with hyperbole from the Tories and their friends telling us that it will destroy free speech while gleefully ignoring the bile and hatred they have been instrumental in stoking against minority groups.

“The reality is that the vast majority of us will never be affected because we do not use threatening behaviour or the kind of language that this Act seeks to tackle. The Tories know this but have acted to undermine the Act and its implementation right from the start.

“Everyone should be able to live without discrimination and harassment. The Hate Crime Act has taken us closer to making that a reality.”