Freedom of expression

Scots poll in favour of free expression

The SNP’s determination to push on with its draconian Hate Crime Bill has put it on the wrong side of Scottish public opinion. A new poll indicates popular unease with plans to criminalise speech on everything from religion to ‘transgender identity’ if it is deemed ‘likely that hatred would be stirred up’. The Savanta ComRes poll of 1,008 Scottish adults found both generalised endorsement of classical liberal precepts such as free expression, open debate and the absence of a right not to be offended, as well as more specific concerns about the Bill itself. The headline findings are: 87 per cent of respondents agreed that free speech was an ‘important