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MSPs must challenge "stifling atmosphere" in Scotland's institutions — charity

Freedom of Speech
23 August 2023
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Political leaders in Scotland should decry a “stifling atmosphere” in the arts and other institutions and work to reduce it, CARE has said.

CARE for Scotland condemned “Stasiesque” behaviour at Edinburgh’s Fringe Festival last week and pointed to other, censorious incidents in recent years

Michael Veitch, Scottish Parliamentary Officer, said:

“Events at the Fringe last week cast a shadow over the festival. Whatever one thinks of Graham Linehan’s views, a free society should afford individuals the right to lawful speech, and access to public venues without discrimination. His being denied these things reflects poorly on Scotland.

"We were also troubled to read about a Stasiesque incident involving a theatre director being targeted, and forced to apologise, for liking gender critical Tweets. The arts should be a hub of free thought and expression, not an oppressive arena policed by political activists.

“A stifling atmosphere can be seen more widely in Scotland. In 2020, a Christian evangelist was discriminated against by a council. Women have been repeatedly prevented from meeting to discuss sex-based rights. And Scots report feeling unable to speak their minds on some issues.

“Our country is built on free speech, expression, and conscience. These liberties have their origin in the Christian understanding that human beings are God’s image bearers, imbued with inherent dignity, and have been central in social and civil rights movements throughout history.

“It is important for political leaders of all colours to condemn censorious incidents like those at the Fringe and defend vital freedoms. They need to challenge those seeking to perpetuate a stifling culture in Scotland’s institutions, before this becomes normalised.”


Notes for Editors

CARE for Scotland is a social policy charity, providing analysis of culture and politics from a Christian perspective. To get in touch contact:

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