Critical Comment

20. Nov, 2020

Yes I am angry. I am extremely angry at the forthcoming war crime show trials of some Australian troops that served in Afghanistan. This essay is not a considered legal or even moral discourse – those are complicated subjects and the details are not yet at hand. This essay is rather an expression of my disgust at the failure of the chain of command centring at the top.

Why am I angry? For one, that the Chief of Defence Staff, dressed in all the beribboned finery appropriate for a Canberra warrior, should stand in front of the national press and apologise for the actions of the army under his control all the while passing the buck.

I understand that the 465-page Brereton Report details an allegedly toxic culture in Australia’s Special Forces and lists a series of ‘credible’ war crimes committed by same.  

My primary questions are: Who was responsible for allowing this culture into the Australian Army? Who were the senior officers, the commanders and the instructors that inculcated this culture in the first place? What were the senior ranking officers, the chiefs of staff doing whilst this culture was spreading?

I can answer this last question myself - they were preoccupied with their own programmes of social engineering to create a politically correct, ideal, case-normative, culturally diverse, egalitarian, homosexual friendly and non-gender specific military – a military well marinated in the sauce of peace, love and happiness. Yet, whilst they so fiddled, at the sharp-end of the organisation they were being paid to administer – remember we’re talking about soldiering - there existed a cohort of supposedly unreconstructed barbarians running amok. Who was in charge?

Why am I angry? Because I have served in the Australian army, in combat and I have witnessed and been subject to some of the vicissitudes consequent to decisions made. I am proud of having once been called ‘Digger’. I am angry because the limp-wristed management of today’s General Staff has effectively tarnished this tradition. I am angry for my younger colleagues that have served, proudly and without blemish, in Afghanistan. 

To this end, it is my firm view that the present chief of staff should resign. He should resign for two reasons: Firstly and foremostly, because he is the Chief of Staff and the buck stops with him. Secondly and significantly, he should resign because of his failure to sort this mess out before it entered the public arena.

Further to this, I consider his predecessors should be sanctioned and their medals should be taken away. Following on from this an investigation should be commissioned into the promotion processes and placement of all senior staff officers.

I am angry at a system that has allowed this mud to be thrown around for so long. This matter should have been resolved immediately. It should have been addressed at the first sniff of impropriety. From experience I can testify to the fact that handwritten reports are prepared by the lowest non-commissioned- officer after every operation. These are handed in and passed up the chain of command. They are thoroughly vetted by intelligence and so forth and so on. Today’s reports are enhanced by modern technology, real time reporting through cameras and personal speaker phones. Only a few short years ago the world was treated to real time footage and audio of the killing of Bin Laden.

In this current context it is inconceivable that there was no indication of impropriety at the outset.  The officer in charge should have called this out. His superior should have made the inquiries ‘who why when’ at the time, right down the chain. The officer most directly in charge of those particular troops should have been sacked, forthwith. His commander should have been reprimanded and the troops involved should have been advised to pack their bongos, go home never to be heard from or seen again. This is how the matter should have been dealt with.  

Instead, because of the sheer stupidity of Australian military and political leaders this country will be international stage centre for a whole new media extravaganza show-trial. This will be ably scripted and supported by the self-loathing national broadcaster and its tribes of sycophantic progressives who pursued the matter in the first place. These show-trails will well and truly overshadow the Breaker Morant controversy – although they cover the same issue. 

What is a war crime? This is Pandora’s Box of legal and moral nightmares. Although international law has grappled with the matter for over a century and it has made many determinations on the subject, it remains a highly subjective question. It is not my intent to drive down this road. I shall however make a few pointed observations.

The war in Afghanistan was a war that nobody wanted and nobody really understood. This is hardly surprising given its senseless nature. The Prime Minister and Cabinet who committed this country to that war need severe sanction. There were many that argued against it - I was one of them.

Like every war it had its active ‘secret war’. In this instance the prominent players of the war were those that played the game of secret war. Any investigation into any previous ‘secret wars’ will find equally abhorrent acts from all protagonists - that is the nature of such war. One tries to keep a level of humanity in the conduct of war generally, to keep to some balance, certainty and rules and regulations – the Geneva Conventions are testament to that. But sometimes, humans being as they are, these conventions are overlooked. Regrettably we have to live with those consequences. 

To conduct irregular warfare we employ Special Forces – they are called Special Forces for a reason - they do the work that other people are unable, untrained or simply don’t want to do. It is a thankless job, living and operating in the silent, netherworld. To large extent their identity remains secret, they can’t tell anyone what they do, they get very few public kudos and generally they are disavowed by their superiors – especially so when something goes wrong!  They get paid well – they are held in high esteem by their fellow servicemen and many get their jollies by getting drunk, being violent and, regrettably, on occasions by being excessive in their zeal. We create such a force - who are we then to blame them?

Let me discuss briefly one aspect of the war-crime debate: the notion of command culpability. The Brereton report largely absolves senior military officers and officials. It found ‘no evidence’ that high ranking officers had knowledge of the alleged ‘unlawful killings’. The blame is squarely placed on the lower level patrol commanders.

What sheer rot! Yet again the Top Brass hides in its comfortable chateaus well behind the trenches and gets away un-besmirched with hands oh-so lily pink. My question: If they didn’t know why didn’t they know?

Contrast the foregoing with one General Tomoyuki Yamashita – the WWII commander of the Japanese Imperial Troops in the South East Asia and Pacific arena. He deservedly earned the sobriquet ‘The Tiger of Malaya’ for his brilliant campaign culminating in the British disgrace that was the Fall of Singapore. In 1945, after the Japanese surrender, Yamashita was arraigned for alleged war crimes committed by his troops in their defence of the Philippines. Although it was accepted that Japanese communications and effective military control had broken down at that late stage of the war, the War Crimes Tribunal nonetheless held him to be accountable. On the 23rd of February 1946 he was hanged.

The Yamashita Standard has now formally entered the lexicon on the international law of war. It is my hope, in the context of the current debate, that this standard is applied to the cringing dogs that call themselves the Australian Chiefs of Staff.

I am angry: I am angry at a report that absolves our High Command of any wrongdoing. Unlike Yamashita who had hundreds of thousands of troops spread across South East Asia and Pacific under his command, these politically correct tools had a miniscule force and a piddly guerrilla war in Afghanistan to run - with modern communications in real time. Yamashita was not only a general that could wipe his arse with these tools, unlike them he was an honourable man. And look was happened to him in February '46.

I look forward to seeing these pathetic, politically correct creatures squirm when the broader ramifications of this matter become fully evident to the public. They chose to throw soldiers under the bus – good – go follow them.

I am also angry at two modern aspects of Australian culture that are directly germane to this debate.

Firstly I refer to Australia’s modern ‘cultural cringe’. The national self-loathing propagated by academic institutions; schools; the national broadcaster; the arts and farts and so on is simply astounding. Australians go berserk about their football teams but will sit by complacently whilst their history, heritage and culture – their very identity - is daily ridiculed, contorted and redesigned before their very eyes.

I have subtitled this essay ‘Show Trial’.  It is a show trial in accordance with our cringe inasmuch Australians want all the world to like us and to let the world know that we good moral, empathetic  people – to show our politically correct uprightness. Never mind that the rest of world doesn’t discuss the operations of its special forces, we are different. We are stupid Australians. If you consider me to be intemperate, I beg you to follow certain sections of our media that are going to be in joyous rapture over the prospect of Australians being subject to war crime trials. This will provide yet further opportunity to tear down another Australian icon– the Anzac Tradition.

Secondly and related to this I refer to the utterly disgraceful trend amongst our leaders of not accepting the consequences of their actions and decisions. I am angry at these leaders – across the full gamut of society - who refuse to resign because they didn’t recognise the point of principle they just tripped over: they think it perfectly acceptable to just hang in there, tough it out and pass the buck.

If he was that sorry – General Angus Campbell would resign. Given the same circumstances General Yamashita might have disembowelled himself. But unlike Campbell, Yamashita was an honourable man.

………

Ends

Words: 1,725

6. Nov, 2020

On 3 November 2020, the Republican candidate Mr David Andahl was elected to the North Dakota House of Representatives with some 36 percent pf the vote: ironical really, given that Mr Andahl died of complications from Covie-19 the previous month. This embarrassment was blamed on early voting which, beginning weeks before his death resulted in his posthumous election.  

I consider this Gothic story as symbolising the sometime vagaries and shortcomings of any electoral system. Every electoral system has its inadequacies. Libraries are stacked with books about the efficacy of varying models of democratic process. What works in one society often appears unusual or inadequate to another. However, in any democracy - by definition - the political process works through discussion, compromise and resolution.

For the United States this has been a robust election. It has been an election perhaps not all about Trump or Biden but about competing views of what America should be. That was a discussion that the United States had to have. Trump’s lasting legacy might well be that he forced the question. Love him or loath him, he shook the country out of its political torpor. He demonstrated that the profession of politics does not belong to the cosy political class and middle class liberal elites. He provided the working classes – the world ‘class’ is used deliberately in this context - with a voice and with hope. He demonstrated to the elites that huge numbers of ordinary American citizens were not happy with the way their country had been run.

Over the past summer months the eruption of the maleficent cancel culture, the thuggery of Antifa and the highly organised and centrally controlled ‘disorganised mayhem’ of the Black Lives Matter group have amply testified to another under-estimated constituency of discontent.

My great concern is that the brouhaha of the election temporarily extinguished the detail of many election promises – explicit or implicit. I am concerned that many of those that voted specifically ‘against’ Trump overlooked the fact that they voted instead for the entire baggage and expectations of the Democrat left. I am also concerned that for many on the left these expectations are not going to be met – as Obama’s election failed to provide a chicken in every oven and a shiny new automobile outside. Thus the cycle of radical complaint will continue.

However, the judges, being the people, have handed down their judgement. It might have been a strained, indeed an unexpected and complex judgement, but judgement it is. Unlike my political opponents of the left four years ago, I respect that judgement. Should he confirmed, I wish Joe Biden and his Vice President well. I wish America well. I shall continue to respect the office of the President of the United States and I shall continue to respect and hold in esteem the great people of that generous country – to whom the world owes so much. 

............

9. Aug, 2020

For those of you that haven’t yet grasped the fact that our society is in serious decay – and I mean serious decay - allow me to lead you through a story I have been following since it first broke early last week. It sickened me as I followed its development.

I first heard about it on NCA NewsWire at 1635 hrs on Monday 3 August when Court Reporter, Heath Parkes-Hupton, described:

‘A man lay unconscious while a private schoolboy allegedly “carved up” his face with a knife, leaving him with permanent injuries so severe he lost an eye, a court has heard.

‘The teenager, who police allege was wearing a mask and gloves as he slashed at the man‘s face in a “sadistic” torture in inner-city Sydney on Friday night, was refused bail at a children’s court after being on the run for two days.

‘He faces a maximum 25 years in jail if found guilty of a charge of wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.’

The Australian picked up the story the following day [Tuesday 4th]   Man loses eye after teen allegedly ‘carved up’ his face in Pyrmont stabbing[1].

‘Five teenagers have now been arrested over the incident after the alleged stabber and a 16-year-old boy were arrested at a house in the Ryde area on Sunday.

‘Magistrate Michael Love described police facts tendered to court on Monday as “quite disturbing”, saying much of the incident had been caught on mobile phone footage.

‘The court was told up to 10 young people were staying in an Airbnb in Pyrmont when about seven of them ran outside, allegedly set upon the man and beat him unconscious.

‘Witnesses reported seeing one of the youths with a “silver object” in his left hand before he allegedly started slashing and “slowly carved up” the man’s face, the court was told.

‘A co-accused had identified the boy, who attends “prestigious” Sydney private school Barker College in Hornsby, as the one wielding the knife in mobile phone footage, the court was told.

The ABC weighed in the following day [5th]:

‘Nine schoolboys charged over "a vile, horrific" attack of a man in inner Sydney last week allegedly "gloated" about the crime in a WhatsApp group chat, a court has heard.

The court heard the victim's eye will likely need to be removed; Police prosecutor Kai Jiang said the "complainant will be traumatised for life". It's alleged the group also discussed plans to avoid arrest on WhatsApp

‘Magistrate Jeffrey Hogg said the alleged stabbing in Pyrmont on Friday had left the 36-year-old victim, Brett Halcro, with "injuries that are extraordinarily severe and life-changing".[2]

The story continued the following day [6th] with Aneeka Simonis, of the Herald Sun, writing:

‘The family of a Melbourne dad left blinded and in a coma after he was allegedly stabbed by a gang of boastful private school boys say he was “completely innocent”.

‘Brett Halcro, 36, was in Sydney helping renovate his father’s home when he was stabbed in the eye and had his face slashed open at least seven times in Pyrmont on Friday night.

‘Nine teenagers from some of Sydney’s most elite private schools have been arrested over what police believe was a “planned and targeted attack”.[3]

Now this by any measure is a vicious, maniacal attack. I want to make the point that this was not committed by low life trash, it was not committed by immigrants, it was not committed by a single crazed over the top prime-nutter. This was committed by a gang of relatively affluent private school boys who for whatever reasons decided to get their jollies by carving up an innocent passer-by.

Do you still remain unconvinced that our society is becoming increasingly dysfunctional? So do you really think it is going to get any better of its own accord? Do you, in your advancing years, consider yourself to be totally safe in public, or come to that, at home?

Well, what are you going to do about it? Buy yourself another set of Laura Ashley curtains so you can’t see what’s going on outside! Yeah – that’ll fix it!

You, Me, We – all of us - have a civic duty to stand up and say NO!

We have a civic duty to stand up and say: We’ve had a Curly Gutful of this Bloody Nonsense. We have to stand up to our damn politicians, tell them – remember they’re dumb lazy bastards, that we want action on drugs, we want schools to provide a safe environment wherein children are taught properly;  that we want safety in our  streets and we want consistency in our laws and sentencing. Oh! The idea of Justice would be nice too!

Above all, we need to let the police know that we support them.

Now, here’s the rub - if You, Me, We don’t do this – then we are the problem. We are as guilty as the knife-wielding nutter because we kept our silence….!



[1] https://www.theaustralian.com.au/breaking-news/man-loses-eye-after-horrific-stabbing-in-sydney/news-story/5bb48368bda06dcc576fc7bb8114ca15

[2] https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-08-05/boys-allegedly-gloated-about-pyrmont-attack/12526806

[3] https://www.heraldsun.com.au/truecrimeaustralia/police-courts/melbourne-dad-brett-halcro-completely-innocent-in-horrific-pyrmont-attack/news-story/3b2f88d8f6e014bace8e9e6025a510f6

 

4. Aug, 2020

I have, at the best of times, a jaundiced view of boof-headed footballers, egotistical tennis players and other assorted strokers who get paid to hop-skip and jump for entertainment. I consider such in the same context as I would any other public performer. I might or I might not pay to see them perform their tricks: period. What I do not do is to consider them to be great intellectual, literary or moral luminaries. Moreover, I most certainly do not consider them as role models.

To this end, I am increasingly tired at being hectored at by sports associations and their performing seals by blatant on-field agitprop [political propaganda] acts of patronising virtue signalling. The only signal these send to me is that the poor dumb swine are being fed something decidedly mind-numbing in their collective swill.

I was therefore delighted to receive by e.mail the other morning an open letter to the National Football League in America purportedly sent by one Therese M LeMay. To date I have been unsuccessful in my searches to authenticate it. Not that it particularly matters because it is the content and the principles contained in the letter that are important. These principles are equally important to Australians and Britons – indeed, to all peoples who inject unrealistic expectations of their sports ‘stars’.

We would do well to remember that most of our sportsmen and women have been sucking on the teat of public largesse most of their lives and most do very well indeed out of their careers.

Having said thus, competence on field or track does not qualify them as credible social commentators. Do not let them presume to lecture us on matters of politics or moral rectitude. The vast majority are unqualified, untrained and just too damn stupid to do so.  

As for ‘Taking the Knee’ – what utter and complete bollocks! It’s up those that pay to watch this nonsense to speak up and say so.

On that note I append the ‘Open Letter’:

Open Letter to NFL Players. The Boycott is coming

You graduated high school in 2011. Your teenage years were a struggle.

 You grew up on the wrong side of the tracks. Your mother was the leader of the family and worked tirelessly to keep a roof over your head and food on your plate.

 Academics were a struggle for you and your grades were mediocre at best. The only thing that made you stand out is you weighed 225 lbs and could run 40 yards in 4.2 seconds while carrying a football. Your best friend was just like you, except he didn’t play football. Instead of going to football practice after school, he went to work at McDonalds for minimum wage.

 You were recruited by all the big colleges and spent every weekend of your senior year making visits to universities where coaches and boosters tried to convince you their school was best. They laid out the red carpet for you. Your best friend worked double shifts at Mickey Ds. College was not an option for him. 

 On the day you signed with Big State University, your best friend signed paperwork with his Army recruiter. You went to summer workouts. 

He went to basic training.

 You spent the next four years living in the athletic dorm, eating at the training table. You spent your Saturdays on the football field, cheered on by adoring fans. Tutors attended to your every academic need. 

 You attended class when you felt like it. Sure, you worked hard. You lifted weights, ran sprints, studied plays, and soon became one of the top football players in the country.

 Your best friend was assigned to the 101st Airborne Division. While you were in college, he deployed to Iraq once and Afghanistan twice. He became a Sergeant and led a squad of 19 year-old soldiers who grew up just like he did. He shed his blood in Afghanistan and watched young American's give their lives, limbs, and innocence for the US.

 You went to the NFL combine and scored off the charts. You hired an agent and waited for draft day. You were drafted in the first round and your agent immediately went to work, ensuring that you received the most money possible. You signed for $16 million although you had never played a single down of professional football. 

 Your best friend re-enlisted in the Army for four more years. As a combat tested sergeant, he will be paid $32,000 per year.

 You will drive a Ferrari on the streets of South Beach. He will ride in the back of a Blackhawk helicopter with 10 other combat loaded soldiers. 

You will sleep at the Ritz. He will dig a hole in the ground and try to sleep. You will “make it rain” in the club. He will pray for rain as the temperature reaches 120 degrees.

On Sunday, you will run into a stadium as tens of thousands of fans cheer and yell your name. 

For your best friend, there is little difference between Sunday and any other day of the week. There are no adoring fans. There are only people trying to kill him and his soldiers. Every now and then, he and his soldiers leave the front lines and “go to the rear” to rest. He might be lucky enough to catch an NFL game on TV.

When the National Anthem plays and you take a knee, he will jump to his feet and salute the television. While you protest the unfairness of life in the United States, he will give thanks to God that he has the honor of defending his great country.

 To the players of the NFL: We are the people who buy your tickets, watch you on TV, and wear your jerseys. We anxiously wait for Sundays so we can cheer for you and marvel at your athleticism. Although we love to watch you play, we care little about your opinions until you offend us.

You have the absolute right to express yourselves, but we have the absolute right to boycott you.

 We have tolerated your drug use and DUIs, your domestic violence, and your vulgar displays of wealth. We should be ashamed for putting our admiration of your physical skills before what is morally right. 

But now you have gone too far. You have insulted our flag, our country, our soldiers, our police officers, and our veterans. You are living the American dream, yet you disparage our great country. I encourage all like minded Americans to boycott the NFL.

National boycott of the NFL for Sunday November 11, 2020 “Veterans Day“ Weekend. Boycott all football telecast, all fans, all ticket holders, stay away from attending any games, let them play to empty stadiums.

Pass this post along to all your friends and family. Honor our military, some of whom come home with the American Flag draped over their coffin.

 Therese M LeMay

ENDS

31. Jul, 2020

Suppressing Faith and Free Speech: A Lesson from Scotland


Millenarianism: [Latin: ‘mīllēnārius’ - containing a thousand.] Originally, the doctrine of or belief in a future (and typically imminent) thousand-year age of blessedness, beginning with or culminating in the Second Coming of Christ. In socio-political terms used to denote the belief by a religious, social, or political group or movement in a coming fundamental transformation of society of which they are in the vanguard.  Also Utopianism.

 

The problem with millenarians of any shade is that they are, necessarily, possessed with the ‘Truth’: they have seen the vision; they have spoken with the Great Panjandrum and they know; they have the answers and, if we would only do as they tell us, we will all be saved from damnation.

Such possessed souls, dare I call them zealots, are always a potential danger to society. They are impossible to reason with – because they alone are possessed of the Truth – and any questioning of their credentials is beyond the shadow of reasonableness. How can you doubt them? ‘Believe me’ is their watchword.

Should enough of these souls gather together to press the matter the rest of us are in for a hard-time.    

Thus, we face a societal crisis of culture and identity largely brought about by contemporary social engineering driven by sufficient numbers of socio-political millenarians who are totally possessed with the truth of their societal ideal. Should we disagree with them - well one such previous group of gentle souls, some eighty years ago, consigned such doubters to gas chambers; another group of splendid idealists either shot or despatched to Siberia their own Doubting Toms, whilst another Asiatic Great Leader simply shot any perverse souls who doubted his vision. More modern history remains replete with examples of the exercise of power by those so fortunately are possessed of the Truth.

In our own various Western societies those fortunate few so blessed know how to put the screws on us, rather dimmer souls, who need leading into the nourishing and nurturing uplands of their salvation. They brand us as bigots, far-rightists, racists, privileged, sexists, carnivores, trouser-wearers, misogynists, males, possessors of false consciousness and, the most damning of all epithets – Christians.  

To this end, my attention was drawn to a news headline this week to which I reacted with weary despair: Now loving Jesus IN YOUR OWN HOME could be a 'hate crime'. [1]

I will spare you the details of my research into the origins of this story but I finally ascertained, from the Scottish Parliament website:

Hate Crime and Public Order (Scotland) Bill

The Bill is a response to the recommendations made in Lord Bracadale’s independent review of hate crime laws.

The Bill has been created to make sure that the groups covered by the Bill are protected from hate crimes. It also makes sure that the laws that provide that protection are fit for the 21st century.

Crimes motivated by prejudice will be treated more seriously and will not be tolerated by society. The Bill has been created to make this clear to victims, those who commit hate crimes, and the wider society.

You can find out more in the Policy Memorandum document that explains the Bill.[2]

This is of course all most innocuous sounding and surely people of good faith could find no fault with its intent. As ever the devil is in the detail.

The vagueness of the Bill should be subject to intense question lest it criminalize something people do, albeit unwittingly, in their homes.

The Christian Institute [UK] warns that the Bill could restrict Christians' freedom to proclaim Jesus Christ as the only way of salvation or to call people to repent of sin, "even in church" because it could offend irreligious or anti-religious people.[3]

"Conduct need not be threatening or even intended to stir up hatred for an offense to be committed. Instead, the bill captures any abusive behaviour deemed likely to stir up hatred. An offense could even be unwittingly committed in the privacy of your own home," the Christian Institute said.

"And there is not nearly enough protection for free speech," it continued. Indeed, the proposal could be used as a weapon against people of faith.

"Many who oppose biblical truth claim that disagreeing with them amounts to hatred. The proposed 'stirring up hatred' offenses would give those hostile to Christianity a new tool to try to close down debate and silence Christians."

The government's Justice Committee recently accepted comments on the idea of expanding the existing law, which covers race. Lawmakers have proposed adding other "protected" characteristics, such as sexual orientation and transgender identity.

"While Christians would never support genuinely threatening or abusive behaviour, it is difficult to approve of this bill because of some of the things it includes – not least the new 'stirring up hatred’ offenses," the report said.

The bill also lacks key safeguards that appeared in similar legislation in England and Wales.

"Such laws, especially in today’s climate, would undoubtedly have a chilling effect on free speech. Think of how it could impact student evangelism, a church’s outreach work or Christians seeking to debate moral and ethical issues," the Institute said.

Especially in the bull's-eye would be churches, it said.

"We know the gospel will be offensive to many. It tells people they are sinful, that their conduct separates them from God, and that there is no way to heaven except through Jesus. And what’s more, Christians can’t shy away from saying that. Romans 1:16 says 'I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes,'" the report said.

"This means if Christians stick to their convictions, standing by the gospel and continuing to explain to people what the Bible says about matters such as sexuality and diversity of religions, then they will inevitably offend. Unfortunately, in a culture where people seem increasingly unable to shrug off that with which they disagree, it is only a matter of time before the police are dragged into the matter."

The new plan does not exclude even church services from the ire of antagonists.

"A Sunday morning sermon where Christ is preached as the only saviour and all religions are said to be false, or where homosexual behaviour is said to be sinful, could see the preacher prosecuted for stirring up hatred," the Institute warned.

Following this story I was alerted to an article by a Katrine Bussey in The Scotsman yesterday [30 July 2020]: Bishops fear owning a Bible could be hate crime offence under new Scots law.[4]

She observed that Scotland’s Catholic bishops have raised concerns that possessing the Bible could become an offence under proposed new hate crime legislation.

Indeed, the Catholic Church has become the latest organisation to raise its concerns about the controversial Bill

The Church made a submission to the parliamentary Justice Committee, who are scrutinising the reforms. The Bishops’ Conference of Scotland said: “Any new law must be carefully weighed against fundamental freedoms, such as the right to free speech, freedom of expression and freedom of thought, conscience and religion.” With section five of the legislation creating an offence of possessing inflammatory material, they fear the “low threshold” in the proposed new laws “could render material such as the Bible ... as being inflammatory under the new provision”.[5]

The new Hate Crime and Public Order (Scotland) Bill will, if passed, also create an offence of “stirring up hatred” against a protected group, expanding on existing laws protecting racial groups.

The bishops warned “how hatred is defined is not clear which leaves it open to wide interpretation”, adding this “could lead to vexatious claims having to be dealt with by police”. In their submission they also stressed “criminalising conduct is a serious step that should not be taken lightly”. They argued rights to freedom of expression “must be robust enough to protect the freedom to disagree”.

The bishops highlighted their belief, published in response to the Scottish Government’s proposed reforms of gender recognition, that a person’s sex and gender are “not fluid and changeable”. Anthony Horan, director of the Catholic parliamentary office, said: “Whilst acknowledging that stirring up of hatred is morally wrong and supporting moves to discourage and condemn such behaviour, the bishops have expressed concerns about the lack of clarity around definitions.” Its submission comes after The Law Society of Scotland said it had “significant reservations regarding a number of the Bill’s provisions and the lack of clarity”.

It is significant to note that opposition to the Bill has been expressed by other than Christian organisations. The Scottish Police Federation has also claimed the Bill “appears to paralyse freedom of speech in Scotland”.

The Federation said the Bill could mean officers "determining free speech".

Quite obviously the policing of what Scots "think or feel" and criminalising private conversation has left the Federation most uneasy.[6]

Amanda Millar, president of the Law Society of Scotland, said: "We have significant reservations regarding a number of the Bill's provisions and the lack of clarity, which could in effect lead to restrictions in freedom of expression, one of the foundations of a democratic society.”[7]

This egregious Bill was introduced into parliament by the Scottish National Party’s Justice Minister, Humza Haroon Yousaf SMP, on 23 April 2020. It is currently at stage one of three before it is enacted as law.

How such a rebellious, irascible and freedom loving peoples as the Scots actually countenanced the idea, let alone the reality, of such Draconian legislation beggars belief. Moreover, it says much about the Scottish National Party that sought fit to introduce it – Scottish nationalism in chains to millenarian and authoritarian Diktat. Good one Nicola Sturgeon.     

………