Hate is a horrible word. I remember as a child (circa 1960s) my mother telling me, ‘Never use that word, Louise’.
It’s easy to get into unintended provocative speech habits without noticing it, so she had a good point. For example, ‘You don’t hate carrots, you just don’t like them.’
But can you make the emotion of hatred into a violation of the law and is it even wise to do so?
Hate Crime has been around in the UK since the Public Order Act of 1986. But the Racial and Religious Hatred Act of 2006, which seemed a reasonable idea to trial, is when it really took off. But has it worked in getting us to respect one another well enough to consider extending it even further?
Critics of Hate Crime argue that legislation has done the opposite of what designed to do. They claim anti-hate laws have provoked a culture of victimhood, damaged freedom of speech, wasted police time, and created massive confusion. It has done little more than to make us all into a bunch of hypocrites: thinking something, saying another, and even led to a more divided society than before.
I cover these issues in my novels. In my book The Missing Activist Met Detective ‘Quacker’ Partridge is dead set against extending hate crime to misogyny. The Killing of the Cherrywood MP covers hate crime generated by growing local tensions between two diametrically opposed societies: The Far Right and the Muslim extremists.
As a crime novelist, writing about two-faced smiling assassin characters is part of the stock in trade. Like the owl, Machiavellians probe beneath the surface, manipulating the art of hate. Thoughts, please.