Hate Crime Bill is no friend of women - your views

"In the interests of the women in Scotland this bill should be repealed or amended”

Monday, 22nd March 2021, 7:00 am
The Hate Crime Bill has passed its Stage 1 hurdle in the Scottish Parliament.

Hate Crime Bill is no friend of women

The new Hate Crime Bill has left women in Scotland deeply disappointed and angry. The equality and freedoms we enjoy were hard won, yet we still suffer hate, abuse and violence just because of our sex.

The bill protects people with defined characteristics from hate crime: age, disability, ethnicity/nationality, religion, sexual orientation, transgender identity. Inexplicably sex as an aggravator has been omitted, leaving women without the same protection as other groups.

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In my lifetime I have experienced verbal abuse, even minor physical assaults. None of the protected characteristics listed made me an obvious target. The perpetrators were men and they only saw me for what I am - a woman. Sadly too many women suffer far worse attacks for the same reason.

Yet an amendment to include sex as a protected characteristic was refused with the votes of 26 women MSPs. Later the bill was passed with 34 female votes. Had they voted in the interest of fellow women, this bill would have fallen.

The European Convention on Human Rights states that rights and freedoms "shall be secured without discrimination on any ground such as sex, race, colour, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, association with a national minority, property, birth or other status."

Omitting sex in the Hate Crime Bill is a significant departure from international consensus on human rights. In the interest of the women in Scotland this bill should be repealed or amended.

Regina Erich, Willow Row, Stonehaven.

Covid recovery v indy is a false choice, Ian

Ian Murray (News, 18 March) says Scots must choose between Covid recovery and independence. This is a false choice. The two are inextricably linked.

Despite devolution’s constraints, the Scottish government is investing a record £16b in health, a 5.3% increase on last year, including a £1.6b increase in primary care and, recognising the pandemic’s toll on mental health, £1.1b in mental health services.

Council tax is frozen and for the fourth year running, more than half of Scottish taxpayers will pay less income tax than anywhere else in the UK and continue to benefit from free tuition, personal care and prescriptions.

An independent Scotland would facilitate pandemic recovery by joining EFTA to restore free trade with the EU, supporting our people and economy with our own currency and central bank, investing directly in green industries, raising pensions and eliminating poverty.

The choice is between remaining part of a diminished, meaner post-Brexit Britain or building a progressive, fairer, sustainable and outward-looking nation.

Leah Gunn Barrett, Merchiston Crescent, Edinburgh.

Cut greenhouse gas – lower population

Scientists have claimed that feeding cows seaweed reduces the methane emitted when they pass wind. Do these UK scientists think that other countries are interested?

There are 9.46 million cattle, 35 million sheep and 4.7 million pigs in the UK. In the world there are 1.47 billion cattle, 1.17 billion sheep and 680 million pigs so lots of greenhouse gases

Why do climate scientists never point the finger at the growing human population which emits greenhouse gases methane and carbon dioxide?

The world population of 7.9 billion is projected to be 10.9 billion by 2100. Seaweed will not "save the planet" but birth control might.

Clark Cross, Springfield Road, Linlithgow.