Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Scotland and Indecency

Anna Raccoon brought the Sexual Offences (Scotland) Act to my attention with her usual adroitness. Due to come into force in October it contains a clause outlawing 'indecent communication'. It will become illegal to communicate with someone sexually - either in writing or verbally - without obtaining their consent.

Unrequited lust could find you behind bars - and not the type that provide refreshments. Courts throughout the land could be filled with people claiming they didn't consent to being chatted up and found lines such as: 'Nice dress. Can I talk you out of it?' offensive. A smutty text or email could land the over-exuberant in court if the recipient decided it was sent without their agreement.

How this section of the Act will be policed is anyone's guess but there will be those who think it's a nice wee earner by way of a compensation claim. Much of the Act makes sense but the indecent communication clause is an overuse of criminal law.

For those on the dating scene, I suggest you print out some forms with the question 'Do I have your permission to say something sexual?' and have it signed and dated by the recipient prior to any form of communication. After October these will be the modern versions of love letters here in Scotland.


William said...

The Communications Act 2003 already legislates for 'offensive or threatening correspondence' which can, as I know from experience (I was the recipient!), be used against someone for explicit SMS or email. So I don't really see the need for this law.

Macheath said...

'these will be the modern versions of love letters'

Surely this is the kind of retail opportunity those shopping mall card shops will jump at - they could even produce disclaimer cards positively encouraging innuendo to be sent to prospective admirers.

Harry said...

Like the rest of these hate style laws, they attempt to legislate for hurt feelings, something which "British", ie English or Scottish law, is not and never was created to do.

Elderly men evangelising for Christ in Brighton will tell you the joys of the violent assault from homosexuals, only to find themselves prosecuted for an alleged "hate crime".

We're in trouble.

RantinRab said...

It could be the end of the chat up line as we know it.

Which is probably just as well if you have listened to mine over the years...

subrosa said...

This extends it to verbal offensive or threatening behaviour as far as I understand it William.

subrosa said...

Now Macheath, that's a fine idea. Get down to your local Enterprise place and get a start-up grant. :)

subrosa said...

Rab, I've heard most of them. I prefer the direct approach. You know the one. Short and simple. "Hello, my name's whatever'. Worked every time with me. :)

Macheath said...

Re disclaimer/invitation cards; following Anna Raccoon's limerick competition, how about suggestions for a suitable verse? I'll kick off with oor ain Rabbie:

Gin a body meet a body
Comin thro' the glen,
Gin a body kiss a body,
Need the warld ken?

Gin a body meet a body
Comin thro' the grain,
Gin a body kiss a body,
The thing's a body's ain.

but I'm sure your other readers can do better...

Mrs Rigby said...

Just thinking about greetings cards.

Will it be against the law to write "Love from" and some kisses without prior agreement and written consent?

JRB said...

What utter balderdash are we to be subjected now?

Whilst there may be much to be commended in the Sexual Offences (Scotland) Act, it goes a clause too far in its inclusion of ‘sexual communication’.

Whilst my intentions may be apparent to all if I were to communicate using a string of f’ing obvious innuendo.

My intentions could remain unchanged if on the other hand I were to communicate quoting some of the finest and most beautiful poetry written, by the likes of Burns, Browning, Shelley or even Shakespeare.

My offence would not be in the words I use but why and how I use them, the offence is the intention of my mind.

So before I am arrested …

Ah, Love! could you and I with Fate conspire
To Grasp this sorry Scheme of Things entire,
Would not we shatter it to bits-and then
Remould it nearer to the heart’s desire
- Omar Khayyam

Joe Public said...

To put your mind at rest, & prevent any chance of your prosecution:-

You do have my permission to communicate matters of a sexual nature with this respondee.

No doubt others will grant you similar permission!

subrosa said...

Ah Macheath, what a great idea. Anna could be the judge. Super one to kick it off. I'll do a post for morning using it.

subrosa said...

Isn't it ludicrous Mrs R. How they're going to police it boggles the mind.

subrosa said...

Ah John, what a lovely verse. It deserves a mention in the verse competition I'll promote tomorrow.

subrosa said...

Joe, I never thought of that. I'll have to ensure people consent before they read the blog won't I?

Joe Public said...

SR 18:06

Can't you (& all Scottish Bloggers) simply put a disclaimer in the top banner of your Blog "May contain the occasional sexual innuendo"

Dark Lochnagar said...

Rosie, this is what happens when Scotland votes socialist. The SNP have seen the vote and have moved to the left. So we now have the London Labour party and the Edinburgh, SNP Labour party. I am disgusted in my countrymen!

subrosa said...

Sadly you're right DL. Very disappointing the SNP moved so far to the left though and left their principles behind.

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