JK Rowling is 'spreading disinformation' about Scotland's new hate crime laws says Scottish First Minister after Harry Potter author slammed his 'bumbling incompetence and illiberal authoritarianism'

As ever, the Devil is in the detail.  What consitutes "stirring up hatred"? Does any criticism count?  Leftists are prone to claim that it does.  So critics of the law have good reason to be suspicious of it.

And the Scottish First Minister is therefore in full damage-control mode, pushing a very narrow definition of "stirring up hatred".  It does seem that his very narrow definition is being adopted by Police Scotland so the actual effect of the law may be small

Harry Potter author JK Rowling and other critics of Scotland's new hate crime laws must stop 'peddling misinformation', Scotland's First Minister has said.

Humza Yousaf strongly defended the Hate Crime and Public Order (Scotland) Act against claims it would hamper freedom of speech after it was introduced earlier this week. 

JK Rowling criticised the Scottish Government's hate laws while posting pictures of 10 high-profile trans people and ridiculed their claims to be women.

Speaking at Glasgow's Prestwick Airport on Saturday, Mr Yousaf said: 'There's deliberate misinformation being peddled by some bad actors across Scotland - it's hardly surprising the Opposition seek to do that.

'What we've got is a piece of legislation that in the actual Act itself, explicitly in black and white, protects freedom of expression, freedom of speech.'

The SNP leader went on: 'At the same time, it makes sure that it protects people from hatred being stirred up against them, and that is really important when we have far too many incidents of hatred that can be because of their age, disability, sexuality or religion.'

'There's no place for that in Scotland, and you have to send a really strong signal that the law will protect you.'

Rowling's comments were reported to Police Scotland as alleged hate crimes. 

The force found she had committed no crime and also said it would not record a 'non-crime hate incident' against her.

She also said that most Scots were 'upset and offended by Yousaf 's bumbling incompetence and illiberal authoritarianism', following the introduction of the legislation on Monday.

Rowling wrote on X/Twitter: 'Most of Scotland is upset and offended by Yousaf's bumbling incompetence and illiberal authoritarianism, but we aren't lobbying to have him locked up for it.'

Asked what his message to critics such as JK Rowling would be, the Nationalist MSP said: 'I would tell them to stop spreading disinformation. It isn't going to help anybody. 

 'This is a piece of legislation that was passed by every single political party in Scotland, minus the Conservatives.'

He said: 'It's a ludicrous suggestion. Actually JK Rowling's tweets are a perfect example of how the law actually works.

'JK Rowling produced some tweets that were offensive, that were insulting - but of course the law does not deal with offensive. 

'The law is dealing with new offences, criminal behaviour that has to be threatening or abusive, intent to stir up hatred. Hence why she was not arrested.

'That's not a surprise. Anybody who actually read the Bill will not be surprised that she did not get arrested. The threshold for criminality is extremely high.

'So anybody suggesting that the Bill deals with simply people having their feelings hurt, being offended, being insulted, I'm afraid that is not what the new offences are concerned with.

'There are very explicit in black and white protections for people's freedom of expression and indeed of freedom of speech. 

'The Bill has got the balance right between protecting people from hatred and protecting people's fundamental freedoms.'

Mr Yousaf also shared his views in an opinion article in The Courier newspaper, urging politicians and public figures to create a debate rooted in 'reality'.

He said false claims the law makes it a criminal offence to make 'derogatory comments' based on the characteristics covered in the Act was 'simply untrue'.

The First Minister wrote: 'As a father of two girls, and blessed with a baby on the way, I feel an even greater obligation to work as First Minister to help make Scotland even better for the next generation.

'Critics of this law shouldn't exaggerate its impact with false fears. Equally, its proponents shouldn't pretend that it can of itself eradicate hatred and prejudice from our society.'

Yousaf was also reported to police about an alleged hate crime over a speech he made at the Scottish Parliament four years ago.

Like Rowling, police confirmed it was not a hate crime and said no 'non-crime hate incident' would be recorded against his name.

Adam Tomkins, a law professor and a former Scottish Tory MSP who voted against the Hate Crime Act, previously told STV News that 'misgendering' someone was not a crime under the law.

The Hate Crime and Public Order (Scotland) Act consolidates existing hate crime legislation and creating a new offence of stirring up hatred against protected characteristics.

Those characteristics are disability, religion, sexual orientation, age, transgender identity and variations in sex characteristics.



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