THE Scottish Police Federation is rightly concerned that the proposed new hate crime legislation would destroy public trust in the police service (Hate Crime Bill: Scottish Police Federation launches fierce attack,, July 28).

The police must not become the arbiters of subjective concepts such as “ill will” and “insult”, especially where the bill gives overriding precedent of the complainant’s perception over the accused’s defence of having not intended to cause offence.

Someone can report a crime on behalf of a whole community even if they weren’t the victim or even of that characteristic. The police must not spend their time responding to people being potentially performatively virtuous and creating crime reports as a social justice hobby.

READ MORE: Hate Crime Bill: Scottish Police Federation launches fierce attack

The power to complain of a crime and have your opinion be the primary evidence of criminality occurring gives malicious people immense power to bully acquaintances, competitors or neighbours who may have slipped up and written or said something that subjectively could be “insulting”. The threshold for insult can be very low for the very sensitive.

The police are needed to tackle serious crime, not to become the new weapon in petty disputes and online spats made into criminal cases.

B Blackadder

WHILE I take Humza Yousaf’s point that the Hate Crime & Public Order (Scotland) Bill is not intended to prevent an individual’s “expressing controversial or offensive views”, just so long as they don’t do it in “a threatening or abusive way that is likely or intended to stir up hatred”, it is nevertheless scarily open to bias in interpretation.

Seems like an SNP suicide note to me. It will certainly put me off voting for them.

How, for instance, would it involve people in the arts or journalism? If, say, one created a fictional character who spoke in a hateful and misogynistic manner, would the author, as creator of that character, be held legally accountable under such new law?

READ MORE: Will new Hate Crime Bill require the police to read our books?

Most powerful drama is about people who say contentious things. Could not this decimate any Edinburgh Fringe programme should it ever return to full strength?

And how would it affect those regular writers of letters to newspapers who can make some very strong and unpleasant political points? But such opposing powerful voices are what make newspapers interesting.

How are newspaper editors, in the deadline business, to draw the line? Could this be absolutely the final curtain for newspapers?

C Lincoln

SURELY if a public body such as the Scottish Qualifications Authority is questioned by a Member of the Scottish Parliament over a legitimate concern, we should expect it to be open and helpful rather than defensive.

Suggesting that Ross Greer’s comments about their approach to this year’s exam grades are “speculative and unhelpful” is simply not good enough when most headteachers, teachers, pupils and parents are also concerned that the SQA’s methodology is not open and transparent. It is simply unacceptable that the SQA has been allowed to publish its report on the day that exam results are made public.

READ MORE: Fear ‘unfair’ system will hit pupil grades in poorest areas

These are unprecedented times and in the interest of transparency their Equalities Impact Assessment should have been published, along with the methodology, as soon it was ready.

In many respects traditional exams, undertaken in large halls, under timed conditions with emphasis on memory and recall of facts, surely have no place in a modern education system. Our emphasis should be on creativity, critical thinking and problem-solving.

I hope the SQA listens and publishes its methodology before results day and I look forward to a root-and-branch review of the examination system once the pandemic is under control.

Professor Brian Boyd
South Lanarkshire

CAN someone please explain why we can’t have our own central bank and currency?

As a layman, it seems to me we won’t achieve independence without these two components of government. We want to shape our country to make it fairer and more inclusive. To do this we need to have control of our economy. Without that control, Kate Forbes will still be asking someone else’s permission before she can borrow.

Is this what we really want? I don’t call this independence.

If we can nudge the 54% higher to take us clearly beyond the margin of error, we can win the next independence referendum. At that point we’ll need a full toolbox to control our economy. Independence isn’t just won in the heart but is achieved by having control of our economy. Can someone please explain why we’re not taking this more seriously?

Catriona Grigg