BY JON STEWART
An investigation conducted by HM Inspectorate of Constabulary in Scotland has apparently included a recommendation for a special department to be set up, within Police Scotland, devoted entirely to combating hate crime. However, as the SNP administration’s new ‘Justice Secretary for Scotland’ Keith Brown may discover this will be a lot harder to set up than he thinks. As all are aware, hate crimes, although very prominent online, are not primarily confined to online tweets and posts. They also exist in the real world on the streets, in the work place and have even transcended to positions within the Scottish government.
An incident, recently in the press, referred to an individual who was born in England, but lives and works here in Scotland. Weeks after starting in his new position he was subjected to abusive behaviour in his place of work by a manager who is a supposed ‘Independence Supporter’. Not long after starting, the individual was apparently subjected to vile and derogatory abuse and humiliation and racial terms in reference to his nationality. The manager also made references to having him deported by saying ‘you’ll be going back on the bus like your football team’ and that he would need to ‘go home once Scotland gained independence’. The victim was signed off with stress and after the case was referred to a tribunal the judge concluded that the victim had indeed been abused and harassed on the grounds of his nationality and unfairly dismissed. The victim was awarded a monetary settlement and although the company in question will deplore this sort of behaviour within their business and will no doubt take disciplinary action against the perpetrators who started this whole sorry and totally avoidable incident in the first place, this is by no means an isolated incident.
This sort of behaviour is totally unacceptable in Scottish society and many law-abiding people who live and work in Scotland have suffered similar abuse because of their nationality, where they were born, their accent or because they did not, and still do not, support Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon’s personal obsession and voted ‘NO’ in their 2014 Scottish independence referendum. This is primarily the reason why all this friction and hatred exists in Scotland, but it is only since the SNP assumed administrative responsibilities in Scotland that it has become more prominent.
It all began to surface during Alex Salmond’s referendum campaign and started to become public when, on the 13th of September 2014, a week before the Scottish referendum vote, former SNP deputy leader Jim Sillars thought he could influence the result by threatening Scottish based businesses saying “WE WILL GET REVENGE ON FIRMS THAT BACK ‘NO’ VOTE”. Then just over a year later, in October 2015, current SNP MSP John Mason found himself under pressure to apologise after he was involved in what was described as a heated online Twitter debate, which ended up with him being quoted in the press saying ‘MOST SCOTS HATE THE ENGLISH’.
This wasn’t true before the SNP assumed devolved administrative responsibilities in 2007 and it isn’t true today. Both Jim Sillars and John Mason, like a minority of their colleagues in Holyrood, have hit the headlines because of similar incidents, which has all but given the green light to indicate that vile, hateful and abusive behaviour like this is acceptable. However their ludicrous, ill-advised and threatening comments are not acceptable, not welcome and against the law, but to this day neither Jim Sillars nor John Mason have been arrested by the police or brought before the courts to be held accountable for their hateful, illegal, threatening and extremely aggressive comments and actions. Why?
There are many more highly derogatory public and online comments which have been either tweeted or posted by Holyrood Assembly members or their followers. Some have even been so threatening that they have, either directly or indirectly, been responsible for senseless and unprovoked attacks on people’s homes placing families and especially young children in danger or attacking fellow MSP’s places of work endangering them and their staff members whose only crime was turning up to work. Like his predecessor, instead of doing something about it and bringing the perpetrators to justice, all he, and his fellow SNP MSP’s, do is deflect the blame by criticising Police Scotland, the Scottish National Police force that Alex Salmond set up, and blaming them, unnecessarily, for having no coherent strategy on the issue, while conveniently turning a blind eye to the former and current MSP’s of the Scottish Government who are committing these crimes. The Scottish “government” says ‘the Act seeks to modernise and provide clarity on hate crime law’, but the Law Society of Scotland states that the ‘thematic inspection’, which was carried out before the passing of the Hate Crime and Public Order (Scotland) Act 2021, at the Bill stage, lacked clarity. The Scottish Police Federation has also expressed grave concerns the law will be too vague to be implemented and the people of Scotland, who you work for, are in total agreement and with good reason. They have branded it Orwellian, threatening and restrictive to our freedom of speech and way of life.
The individual who won their case against their former employer because of a few hateful and narrow-minded individuals will no doubt be the first of many such cases amidst charges for hate crimes. Perhaps the way to start earning the trust of the people would be to put your own party’s house in order first and rein in these fanatical and obviously out of control individuals within the Holyrood Parliament who seem to believe because they are either members of Parliament or have aligned themselves with the SNP, that they are above the law and can do as they please without fear of facing any sort of police or judicial punishment. They and their supporters are part of the reason all this hatred has been stirred up in the first place. This so called ‘Hate Crime Law’ was originally demanded by Brown’s predecessor, but he failed to do his job properly by not holding these individuals to account. If Brown wants to remain as the current “Justice Secretary” for Scotland then he should start working for the people for a change and not the SNP’s obsessive singular goal, which is the only reason for the SNP to exist at all and the reason behind all this hatred.