A former deputy leader of the SNP has blasted the Scottish Government over its controversial hate crime legislation.
Jim Sillars accused Holyrood of “virtue signalling” and “punishing any who assert biological fact”.
The Hate Crime and Public Order (Scotland) Bill seeks to extend the law on ‘hate crime’ against particular groups. The Bill lists these as age, race, disability, religion, sexual orientation, transgender identity and variations in sexual characteristics.
Writing in The Spectator, Sillars said Scotland’s political leaders had abandoned “intellectual rigour” in favour of pursuing people through the courts.
He wrote: “Scots are now locked in a woke chamber: virtue signalling, pandering to perceived victimhood, punishing any who assert biological fact, placing a halter of criminality on free thought when articulated by speech, abandoning common sense.”
“It is all there in the Scottish government’s hate crime and public order bill”.
The proposals have met with fierce criticism since being announced, with politicians and academics concerned about the implications for free speech.
Recently, a Scottish law lecturer said the legislation could do serious social harm.
Dr Andrew Tickell, of Glasgow Caledonian University, questioned the plans to criminalise “stirring up hatred” on these grounds, even if there is no intent, which he said risks “serious injustice and social harm”.