Stay away from tables

I’m wondering about the logistics.

Conversations over the dinner table that incite hatred must be prosecuted under Scotland’s hate crime law, the justice secretary has said.

Journalists and theatre directors should also face the courts if their work is deemed to deliberately stoke up prejudice, Humza Yousaf said.

When he says “the dinner table”…does he mean strictly dinner with the family? Or does he mean any dinner table? If you have friends over for pizza, does that count? If you go out for a hamburger with one or more other person(s) does that count? How about the lunch table? Breakfast? How about if no one ever sits down – how about if all the people eating the dinner or the meal does so standing at a kitchen counter – are they safe?

The BBC did an explainer on the bill last month.

A hate crime is a criminal offence that is based on prejudice against a specific group of people – for example attacking someone because of their religion or the colour of their skin.

Scotland already has various laws in place that offer additional protection to people from crimes based on their disability, race, religion, sexual orientation and transgender identity.

But not sex. Did you notice? Not sex. How odd that is. Religion, yes, but sex, no. Women just have to take it, I guess.

It means that crimes can be treated more seriously by the courts if the offender has shown “malice and ill-will” towards the victim based on their membership – or association with – one of the protected groups.

Cool that beating up women is a freeby on this one. No extra points because of misogyny!

The bill adds hate crime based on a person’s age to the list of protected groups, with hatred based on someone’s sex potentially to be added in the future.

Potentially. In the future. Don’t hold your breath.

It aims to simplify and clarify the law by bringing together the various existing hate crime laws into a single piece of legislation.

And it creates a new crime of “stirring up hatred” against the protected groups – which is defined as “behaving in a threatening or abusive manner, or communicating threatening or abusive material to another person”.

Including at the dinner table…but perhaps not the breakfast table. Here’s your out: just stir up hatred against women at the breakfast table and you’re doubly protected; you should be golden.

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