Scottish Identity, Free Speech, and the Road Ahead with Jamie Gillies and Hardeep Singh

In the heart of every democratic society lies the sacred cornerstone of free speech. Yet, as we traverse the landscape of legislation, we find ourselves at a crossroads where the very essence of our freedoms is threatened. Scotland, a bastion of history and culture, recently saw the enactment of the Hate Crime and Public Order (Scotland) Act 2021, a legislative move purportedly aimed at combating hate speech. But at what cost?

April 1st, 2024, marked not only the dawn of a new month but also the ominous implementation of this act. While proponents argue it is a shield against bigotry, dissenters warn of its chilling effect on the very freedom it claims to protect. The line between criminal speech and the unfettered exchange of ideas blurs beneath the weight of subjectivity.

In the latest episode of “Topical,” Jamie Gillies and Hardeep Singh navigate the treacherous waters of this legislation. They unveil the unsettling reality where the mere perception of hate could condemn individuals to the label of societal pariahs. The sword of censorship hangs precariously over those who dare to voice dissenting views, stifling the robust dialogue essential for progress.

The Scottish identity, steeped in resilience and defiance, stands at a pivotal juncture. As government surveillance encroaches upon the sanctity of private discourse, the very fabric of democracy is at risk of unravelling. In their pursuit of safeguarding, authorities threaten to trample upon the very liberties entrusted to them by the people.

Tune in as “Topical” delves deep into the soul of Scotland, where the clash between governmental overreach and individual autonomy ignites a fiery debate. For in this struggle lies not only the essence of Scottish identity but the very soul of democracy itself.

Produced by Global Indian Series for the Global Indian Network.

Script by Rajan Nazran
original idea: Rajan Nazran

Introduction music: (

About Jamie Gillies

Jamie Gillies is a campaigner, freelance journalist, and spokesman for Free to Disagree – a diverse group of individuals and organisations that opposed Scotland’s Hate Crime legislation.

About Hardeep Singh

Hardeep Singh is a senior journalist and activist. As a freelance journalist and Deputy Director for the Network of Sikh Organisations, he’s been at the forefront of important initiatives. Hardeep played a significant role in the Libel Reform Campaign, advocating for fairness and justice.

Beyond journalism, Hardeep is an assistant editor of the Sikh Messenger and co-author of the enlightening volume “Racialization, Islamophobia and Mistaken Identity: The Sikh Experience.” His writings have graced esteemed publications like the Telegraph, Telegraph Magazine, the Spectator, Quillette, Index on Censorship, and The Guardian.

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