Readers' Letters: JK Rowling and the half-baked law?

Scotland has a new hero. A fearless woman who has principles and stands up for truth and honesty.
Author JK Rowling has challenged authorities to use the new hate crimes legislation to arrest over her online comments (Picture: Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images)Author JK Rowling has challenged authorities to use the new hate crimes legislation to arrest over her online comments (Picture: Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images)
Author JK Rowling has challenged authorities to use the new hate crimes legislation to arrest over her online comments (Picture: Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images)

A tough but fair woman who has the courage to say unequivocally neither the emperor nor empress is wearing clothes. She has challenged Police Scotland to arrest her for stating entirely inarguable facts.

If the authorities did choose to do so, they would be making the biggest mistake they have ever made. Scotland would become an international pariah as well as a laughing stock, even banana republics would have a giggle. How could we ever have reached such an impasse? How could the majority of this country's electorate have chosen such utter incompetents to run our affairs?

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Perhaps this will be the catalyst desperately needed for change. I am sure I speak for the majority of Scots when I say: Thank you, JK Rowling.

Alexander McKay, Edinburgh

Hate to say...

Had Humza Yousaf’s recent emphatic plea “to rid Scotland of all Tories” been made post 1 April, would this not be read as “divisive”, with the potential of generating “hate”, resulting in the police knocking on the door of Holyrood?

One can only applaud JK Rowling daring the police to arrest her on account of her views. Hopefully at this year’s Fringe there will many similar taunts, testing this ridiculous law to the full. Is it too much to hope there will be a dawning of a realisation that our inept government has managed yet again to concoct another massive and expensive piece of misguided legislation. Have they forgotten already about the abandoned “law” to ban sectarian singing at football matches ?

“Hate” is such a harsh word with disagreeable inferences, and should not be condoned in any circumstances. Encouraging simple common decency and tolerance with education is surely the way to proceed.

James C Orr, Pathhead, Midlothian

Tables may turn

From 1789 the phrase “J’accuse” was the accepted phrase for sending one’s fellow countrymen merrily on their way to the guillotine. What is the Scottish Government’s preferred phraseology for “dobbing in” our fellow Scots?Is there not a great risk of the Scottish Government and supporters suffering great embarrassment or worse, given that they are the principal source of bile, vitriol, aggression and hate in Scotland!

John Marsh, Firthmuir of Boysack, Angus


There has rightly been a clarion call against the Hate Crime Act being the most preposterous and downright dangerous piece of legislation ever enacted in Scotland since Devolution. It is the most blatant attack on free speech and one’s entitlement to express an opinion even in your own home without fear of, for example, the police arriving at your home to investigate.

However, we would do well to remember that this Act was also supported by Scottish Labour, the Liberal Democrats and the SNP poodle otherwise known as the Greens. Their relevant silence on the matter actually speaks volumes and they are at least as culpable as this utterly hapless SNP administration.

Richard Allison, Edinburgh

Crowded cells

I look forward to Police Scotland charging and arresting half the Old Firm crowd under the Hate Crime Act.

John V Lloyd, Inverkeithing, Fife


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If I am understanding the new hate crime bill properly I could be prosecuted for, lets say, having a discussion with a female and if at any point I say, “You’re only saying that because you are a white/black/brown woman” I’ve committed an offence… However, if I say, “You’re only saying that because you’re a woman” it will not be an offence.

Absolutely bonkers. I am sure woman everywhere would be equally offended whichever way the comment was said to them

J Moore, Glasgow

Society doomed

The SNPs new hate law is using exactly the same tactics the Gestapo used in the 1930s Germany – anonymously report your friends, or even family, or send your neighbours, or anyone you dislike, to the gallows. This is deliberately divisive and will lead to the destruction of society in Scotland.

Paul Ballard-Whyte, Oxford

Beats me

Difficult to tell which article in the Scotsman yesterday was the April Fool: the one about Glen Sannox bringing the Scots football team back from the Euros, or the one about the Hate Crime Act...

Allan R Woods, Edinburgh

Bitter irony

The Named Person Scheme. Merging British Transport Police with Police Scotland. The Ferry fiasco. The Gender Recognition Act. Highly Protected Marine Areas. The Deposit Return Scheme.

All SNP/Green failures, and now the Hate Crime Act, to be followed by jury-free trials and the destructive Land Reform Bill.

With this April Fool’s Day legislation now in force, should those of us who express “robust” disagreement with the Scottish Government be expecting knocks on the door from Thought Police Scotland? What bitter irony that George Orwell’s 1984 novel was written on the Hebridean Isle of Jura!

Martin O’Gorman, Edinburgh


There has been much speculation in the press regarding Michael Matheson and his iPad but much remains unexplained.

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Hopefully the full release of the enquiry report will clarify one aspect that has puzzled me, namely passwords.

My understanding is that the iPad in question is one supplied by the Scottish Government for government business. As such, it will be properly passworded. This raises the question of how the iPad was utilised in order to watch a football match without Mr Matheson's knowledge.

Philip Ewart, Edinburgh

Unfit to govern

A rebellion is looming in the Conservative Party over plans to criminalise homelessness. But, who are the rebels and where have they been hiding? Tory MPs who plan to rebel should have been rebelling at the policies the Conservatives in Government have implemented that have exacerbated homelessness in society. Benefit cuts, austerity and the largest welfare cuts since the 1940s... those policies are still on the Conservatives’ agenda, and shamefully they are also on Labour’s agenda. The Conservatives are now targeting welfare cuts to finance tax cuts; where are those rebels on this matter ?

We all remember at the end of last year the ex-Home Secretary Suella Braverman claiming homelessness was a lifestyle choice, an outrageous suggestion that should convince any wavering voters that the Conservatives are not fit to govern.

Catriona C Clark, Banknock, Falkirk

Swearing off TV

I recently viewed two TV programmes. One was listed as a comedy/drama, the other as a criminal gang drama. In both the use of obscene language was prolific. I wondered what the dramatists of yesteryear would think of this “literary device” as a means of progressing the narrative, adding emotion or colour, emphasis, etc. I cannot see Shaw, Rattigan, the kitchen sink dramatists or Chekov resorting to these practices!

Do the writers of these programmes believe that this kind of foul language is common currency among viewers? Do editors consider that revising this content in a programme is outwith their remit?

Part of the problem is that many such programmes are streamed before being broadcast on terrestrial channels: with streaming being available to view at any time of day or night, the 9pm watershed becomes irrelevant. Are we in need of a reincarnated Mary Whitehouse to safeguard standards?

Or should we introduce yet another compulsory subject into the school curriculum – the appropriate use of Anglo-Saxon swear words?

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Having said all that, no number of swear words could possibly improve the latest television commercial for Andrex toilet paper.

Brian P Donaldson, Stirling

Football focus

The First Minister's focus on Scotland football matches being shown on Freeview is an own goal (Scotsman, 2 April).

What we may need the video assistant referee to look at is whether or not his error is deliberate. It could be just to stoke up another populist grievance against Westminster when none of the other home nations qualifiers are on the “Crown Jewels” TV list. Alternatively, it may be simply to divert attention from far more pressing issues, such as the state of public services under his control.

Either way, highlights of all Scotland Men's A matches are already on Freeview. Surely it's simple for viewers to avoid the score and watch those a couple of hours later? Or club together with friends and get Viaplay for a few quid between you?

This simply doesn't feel like the most pressing matter for Humza Yousaf to be focused on with a health service and other public priorities in crisis. Please, focus on scoring goals at the right end on far more important things, First Minister.

J Lewis, Edinburgh

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