Iain Macwhirter on the risks to civil liberties in Scotland


A relatively recent piece by Iain Macwhirter, worrying about the potential for the erosion of civil liberties in Scotland.

“CONSENSUAL” stop and search; gun totin’ polis appearing on Scottish streets; criminalisation of “offensive” songs at football matches, “super” identity cards.

You could be forgiven for thinking that Scotland is turning ever so slowly into a police state.


The First Minister appears to be less prone to using the law to send political messages on issues like sectarianism – though the abolition of automatic early release of prisoners perhaps indicates that she is not wholly averse to the false belief that “prison works”.

She needs to curb the enthusiasm of her ministers for banning stuff and trying to regulate our personal space. She needs to avoid being captured by victims’ groups and single-issue pressure groups. And she need to conduct a review of Police Scotland. The road to hell is paved with good intentions, and that applies in Scotland as well as Westminster.


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