Fans Against Criminalisation are happy to announce that our submission to the Scottish Parliament Justice Committee’s call for evidence regarding the bill in motion for the repeal of the Offensive Behaviour at Football and Threatening Communications (Scotland) Act 2012 has now been published on the Parliament’s website.
We would like to thank the organisations who have responded to this consultation with honesty and integrity. The evidence provided is clear. The Law Society and the Glasgow Bar Association are adamant that this is poorly drafted legislation and that the repeal of it would leave no gap in law. BEMIS, a foremost advocate of ethnic minority rights in Scotland make it clear that this Act represents a risk to ethnic minority rights. CRER, a prominent race equality group have advanced similar views. Liberty, the UK’s most reputable civil liberties advocacy group have been damning in their indictment of this law as being a grave threat to civil liberties in Scotland. The figures cited by Supporters Direct Scotland unequivocally demonstrates that football supporters are vastly opposed to this Act. Individual responses from academics highlight the theoretical problems with the legislation whilst submissions from normal fans have indicated the real life impact that this has had. Numerous individual responses from football fans give powerful testimony to the impact of this badly thought out, poorly implemented and wholly unnecessary Act.
This law is illiberal, irresponsible and irredeemable. People’s lives have been ruined as a result of it.
On the side of the Scottish Government in defending this Act are several government-funded groups who have opted to weigh in on the debate despite a clear lack of understanding of the impact that this legislation has had. Their minimal, or total lack of, engagement with the community who are impacted by this Act is obvious in the quality of their submissions. Furthermore, we are not in the least bit surprised that the Government has once again sought to mislead the public in their defence of this law, this time by misrepresenting the views of several quoted figures. They have simply no credibility left on this issue. It is time for them to accept the will of the Scottish people and the will of the Scottish Parliament and withdraw their opposition to this bill.
It is time to axe the Act.