FOR many years it has apparently been acceptable for the police to treat the stirring up of racial hatred as a crime and to enforce laws protecting minorities from hate crime, but the stirring up of hatred based on a person’s age, and other provisions of the Hate Crime Act as advised by Lord Bracadale, are not seemingly acceptable to some vocal critics. Worse still, according to these critics, law enforcement in Scotland will be plunged into chaos.

Certainly, as with any new laws, it will take time for the police to adapt their processes to efficiently manage ensuing accusations, but it does not appear they’ve had any major issues of concern since the UK Public Order Act was introduced in 1986. So why the sudden claims that this new law will be unworkable and that there will be an interminable flood of accusations requiring investigation by the police when most Scots would consider it wrong to stir up hatred against any minority?

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Apparently there are those who seem to care less about hatred stirred up against some of the most vulnerable and abused in our society and more about pursuing their own personal agendas, and regrettably it would appear that as well as billionaire X/Twitter owner Elon Musk, renowned author JK Rowling may fall into this category (in spite of the Scottish Government declaring that it intends to introduce a bill specifically covering misogyny).

Others appear to be despicably attempting to make political capital out of what they have stated is a controversial matter by making spurious, and in many cases ridiculous, claims about limitations on freedom of speech (which even former Tory MSP and law professor Adam Tomkins has strongly refuted) in order to advance their own interests regardless of possible harms that may be prevented.

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Given the Labour Party supported the bill and JK Rowling has been a significant donor to the Labour Party, why have we not yet heard from “Scottish Labour’s” indomitable defender of human rights, Anas Sarwar, and why has he not already stated that JK Rowling is misguided in her criticisms? Perhaps one of BBC Scotland’s squad of intrepid reporters and journalists can track him down and pose to him some pertinent questions.

Those genuinely concerned about threats to freedom of speech should be focused on thwarting the UK Government’s “extremism bill” and those genuinely concerned about threats to human rights should be focused on thwarting the Criminal Justice Bill that could make criminals out of those desperate individuals compelled to sleep on our streets.

Stan Grodynski
Longniddry, East Lothian

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SO Ally McCoist is now not going to lead 48,000 people into deliberately breaking the law by stirring up hatred for an identifiable group of people who are protected from harm by the law (Ally McCoist reveals he won’t attend Rangers vs Celtic, Apr 3). Does that mean that his unplanned, unauthorised demonstration has been called off?

The position must be clarified now, because of the seriousness of the situation that may arise if only a small fraction of the number decide to take action that will prove beyond reasonable doubt that they are breaking the new law.

John Jamieson
South Queensferry

I HAVE to say that I personally think there is no requirement for this Hate Crime Act. However, Mr McCoist’s comments really saddened me.

He was quoted as saying to Jeff Sterling of Talksport: “I can guarantee you, next Sunday at Ibrox, I along with 48,000 will be committing a breach of that hate bill in the particular Rangers vs Celtic game that we are all going to.”

READ MORE: Ally McCoist: 'I will breach Hate Crime Act at Rangers vs Celtic game'

Hopefully if Mr McCoist is involved in commentary he will let himself go, and use all the bile that he and these football Neanderthals normally enjoy, and let’s see how long he keeps his football commentary contracts.

Several years ago I attended a Rangers v Maritimo (Portuguese) game. It was a brilliant game. Rangers won on penalties. I had taken my 13-year-old nephew. Never again.

As soon as Rangers won the penalty shoot-out everyone in the family area we were in – men, woman and children – all turned to the corner where the few hundred Maritimo supporters were, bedecked in their wonderfully bright colours.

The Rangers fans then abused their Portuguese with sectarian chanting.

That’s a great football club you support, Mr McCoist.

I Archibald

THE stupid, inflammatory comments from Ally McCoist are further proof, if needed, that we absolutely need a robust Hate Crime Act!

Drew Macleod

YOU report that Police Scotland have determined that JK Rowling did not commit an offence in her tweets on Monday. Having looked in detail at what the hate crime law says, that is not a surprise. Misgendering people on social media, for example, is not in itself a crime – see for an explainer of this.

In her tweet thread, Ms Rowling posted photographs of blameless trans women, alongside those of a rapist and other sex offenders. That seems to suggest that they are all somehow similar, because they are all trans.

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For perspective, that’s like tweeting photos of gay men like me, or perhaps Graham Norton and Ian McKellen, alongside photos of murderers Stephen Port and Jeffrey Dahmer, suggesting that we are all similar because we are all gay.

JK Rowling’s tweets seemed to be designed to offend and to provoke anger and upset. They did not reach the criminal threshold, but they do not reflect well on her.

Tim Hopkins