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FSU Edinburgh Speakeasy: Thirty Days of Hate Crime Law

May 1 at 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm BST

FSU Edinburgh Speakeasy

Thirty Days of Hate Crime Law

Wednesday 1st May

The Counting House, 34 West Nicolson St, Newington, Edinburgh EH8 9DD.

Panel debate 7.30pm – 9.30pm, (doors open 7pm), bar open until 10.30pm.

In just the first three days since the implementation of Scotland’s Hate Crime and Public Order Act, more than 3000 ‘hate crimes’ were reported to Police Scotland. This was entirely predictable and no doubt reflected a combination of reporting by those keen to make use of the act’s censorious powers and mischievous attempts at exposing its almost comically dreadful, authoritarian intent. The problems of the law on paper were much discussed in the years it took for it to reach the statute book, but what will happen next?

Since the law came into force on April 1st, the Free Speech Union has been inundated with hundreds of new members in Scotland, a sure indication of the level of concern that exists north of the border. But it’s not just the Scots who are paying close attention — free speech supporters in the rest of the UK and internationally are watching closely, anxious to learn how to resist attempts elsewhere to impose similarly draconian measures.

On Wednesday 1st May, the FSU brings together an expert panel to discuss what we have learnt from the first thirty days under the new hate crime regime, and what can be done to mitigate its effects and hasten its demise. Speakers confirmed so far include MSP Murdo Fraser, FSU general secretary Toby Young and lawyer David McKie.

There will, of course, be plenty of time for discussion, as well as socialising with fellow free speech supporters.

Tickets are £5 for FSU members, £10 for non-members.

FSU Members can join the event online using the link supplied in FSU emails.

JOIN the FSU to get discounts at all events.

About our speakers:

Murdo Fraser is a Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party politician who has represented the Mid Scotland and Fife Region since 2001, speaking for the party on business, economy and tourism. He threatened legal action against Police Scotland after discovering that a social media post in which he criticised Scottish government gender policies had been formally recorded as a Non Crime Hate Incident without his knowledge. Before politics, Murdo Fraser grew up in Inverness and attended Inverness Royal Academy. He went on to train in Law at the University of Aberdeen before becoming a solicitor.

David McKie is senior partner in the law firm Levy McRae. He has been involved in some of the most significant cases in Scotland in the last 25 years, including representing Joanna Cherry in the case involving The Stand Comedy Club last summer and acting for the women’s group FiLiA who successfully challenged Edinburgh venue Platform when they threatened to stop their pre-booked event. He has vast experience in almost all forms of litigation including police investigations, criminal cases, civil disputes and all forms of inquiries – public, parliamentary and fatal accident inquiries. He also advises many of the major media companies in the UK, in print, broadcast and online and was head of media law at the University of Glasgow for ten years. He has authored books, legal articles and is a regular commentator on legal issues in the media.

Toby Young is founder and general secretary of the Free Speech Union, a non-partisan, mass membership public interest body that stands up for the speech rights of its members. He co-founded four schools and a multi-academy trust in West London, served as a Fulbright Commissioner and is the author of four books, the best known of which is How to Lose Friends & Alienate People (2001). He is an associate editor of the Spectator, where he’s written a weekly column since 1998, and Editor-in-Chief of the Daily Sceptic.


The Counting House
38 West Nicolson Street
Edinburgh, EH8 9DD United Kingdom
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