Letters to the editor – 8.10.20

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Arrogance over Hate Crime Bill

How arrogant and aloof the Scottish Government is when it brazenly perseveres with its deeply flawed and hated Hate Crime Bill.

Yes, they have agreed to ‘slightly amend’ the Bill – after mounting pressure by hordes of public agencies, community groups and a train of individual (including academics, respected lawyers, playwrights, newspaper columnists etc) – but lawmakers at Holyrood still can’t hear the loud thunderclap of judgement. The masses across Scotland still don’t want this insulting and offensive Bill foisted on them.

Not only is it flawed, the proposed legislation has more holes than Swiss cheese, just like the ludicrous Named Persons scheme.

On this occasion their ill-thought-out scheme threatens to undermine freedom of expression, while debate on controversial issues would also be seriously affected. We remind the government what Mr Alistair Bonnington, a former Honorary Professor of Law at the University of Glasgow who taught the First Minister, said: ‘This is yet another example of the SNP failing to understand fundamental principles of Scots law.

They have shown an embarrassing level of ignorance as to how we do things in our Scottish system.’

While Holyrood politicians claim hate crime is sadly on the increase in Scotland, the Scottish Police Federation (SPF) has said there is nothing to be gained in implementing new legislation. The laws already in force can deal with the increase.

The General Secretary of SPF has said: ‘We do not for one second suggest that prejudice, racism or discrimination are desirable qualities in our society but the need to address those matters when they reach a criminal level is met by laws already in place and the cost to free speech of going further with this bill is too high a price to pay for very little gain!’

With SPF confirming that training alone would cost up to a mindboggling £4 million, surely the sanest and wisest course of action for the Scottish Government would be to do what they did with the Named Persons Bill – scrap it altogether.
Mr Donald J Morrison
Inverness.

It is the unfairness…

Churches and their congregations in Scotland have been especially hard done by in these virus times. Services were only allowed to be held long after pubs were up and running again. A maximum of 50 parishioners allowed even in vast cathedrals, and only a few applicants allowed to attend Catholic mass where I attend. Even singing with masks on, which is uplifting and fantastic for morale is banned.

Churches have been unable to access the Governments various financial support schemes and of course the plate has a fraction of its normal collection, yet building maintenance, insurance and clerics basic costs remain.

I wrote to Aileen Campbell, the Scottish Government Minister for ‘Faith and Belief’. She will have presided over a period that has seen church attendee numbers collapse and quite possibly not return, and given no financial support. She must have just told her assistants to ‘send him the church letter’ as not one of my points was addressed. She should be renamed Minister for ‘No faith nor belief.’
Angus MacDonald, Lochailort.

Motorhomes

Ms Sheeran is horrified by the proposal to cater for motorhomes at Ganavan Sands (Letters, 24 September). But Oban needs to catch up with the shifting patterns of holiday-making brought about by the increase in pandemic-related ‘staycationing’ and rapidly make provisions for overnighting, or residents will be increasingly anxious.

It is obvious that the number of motorhomes on Argyll roads has increased markedly and this pattern looks likely to persist for years to come. Without overnight parking provision, all roads that have no parking restriction will be used, even the narrow streets in the town.
Ian Reid,
Oban.