Former first minister Jack McConnell has branded Scotland's new hate crime law “unworkable.”

The Labour peer compared it to the doomed Offensive Behaviour At Football Act, which was repealed six years after it was passed by MSPs.

The ex-Holyrood chief's comments came as new polling found that more Scots want to scrap the legislation than keep it. 

The survey by polling firm FindOutNow found that 45% of adults said they want to see the act repealed while 21% want to retain it.

Another 35% responded, “don’t know”.

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The Hate Crime and Public Order (Scotland) Act took effect on Easter Monday, The legislation consolidates some existing laws and creates a new offence of stirring up hatred against protected characteristics, including age, disability, religion, sexual orientation, and transgender identity.

Reports suggested that Police Scotland has received around 8,000 complaints, and there's speculation this could increase substantially after today’s Old Firm match.

The force has promised to investigate every report.

While many of the complaints have already been dismissed — including those against Harry Potter author JK Rowling and First Minister Humza Yousaf — the Scottish Police Federation has warned that could have financial consequences for the service and could even mean officers being unable to help those in need of assistance.

The Sunday Mail reports that Police Scotland’s reporting system, named Storm, had 329 calls and emails by the end of last week that were considered as potential offences under the hate crime legislation.

A senior police source confirmed 85 of those had been made anonymously.

They added: “We know the ones made­ ­anonymously are more likely to have been to further the reporter’s own agenda rather than for any other reason, whether that’s a political reason or to be vindictive.

“That’s a quarter of reports logged under HCPOA which are ­anonymous. It doesn’t account for the thousands we’ve had where more guidance is needed before they can be logged as anything.”

David Kennedy, general secretary of the Scottish Police Federation, told the paper: “There’s a ­potential that a victim who genuinely needs police assistance urgently, won’t get it. We have no problem with genuine complaints, it’s those who are just mischief-making.”

Police Scotland rejected that saying that despite the “substantial increase in the number of online reports being received since April 1” there had been no impact on frontline policing.

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The poll, commissioned by Alex Salmond’s Alba, found that almost one in three SNP voters want to abolish the act. Around three-quarters of Conservative voters and just under half of Labour voters want to see it repealed.

Ash Regan, the party’s leader at Holyrood, said: “The chilling effect of Humza Yousaf’s Hate Crime Act has already begun, and the original vision of the bill is lost.

“Today’s poll shows that an overwhelming majority of Scots want to see the Act repealed “The First Minister must listen to the views of the people of Scotland and I would call on my former colleagues in the SNP, and others across Parliament, to now side with those that want to see this Act repealed.

“The Government has either displayed incompetence in the legislative process or they have deliberately misled to enable the bill to pass through parliament seamlessly.“ “The government has either displayed incompetence in the legislative process or they have deliberately misled to enable the bill to pass through parliament seamlessly.”

Writing in the Sunday Mail, Lord McConnell said the law "might fail."

He said: “Tight budgets set by SNP/Green ministers mean Police Scotland already don’t follow up every crime.

“Now they must deal with all these potential offences, many of which are simply spurious. Instead of healing division and changing attitudes, Scottish ministers have created a law that seems unworkable.

“And on a key flashpoint with this legislation – the arguments between feminist and transgender campaigners – excluding crimes against women from the Act has inflamed the situation with many women feeling their concerns are ignored.

“This is exactly what good legislation should seek to avoid. Good political leadership should try to win the argument, build a consensus not sow division.

“The early years of the Scottish Parliament showed how to use the powers of home rule to legislate well and lead change in Scotland, but this Hate Crime Act looks like the opposite. And that is why it might fail.”

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Meanwhile, Murray Blackburn Mackenzie (MBM), policy analysts, have published a 19-page pamphlet entitled A Woman’s Guide to the Hate Crime and Public Order (Scotland) Act.

The guidebook advises women targeted over their gender-critical views to answer “no comment” in response to questions from officers.

It also says that a person being asked to attend a police station for an interview they should leave their phone at home to avoid “any risk of it being seized on the spot as evidence” and having its contents interrogated, including contacts and text messages.

MBM told the Sunday Times: “We decided the most immediate practical help we can give is to reduce the fear of the unknown by providing information on what rights we all have and what we can do to protect those, if ever the police get in contact.”

Speaking to the BBC Scotland's Sunday Show, Scottish Green co-leader Patrick Harvie said there had been a "deplorable level of misinformation" around the new legislation. 

The Minister for Zero Carbon Buildings, Active Travel and Tenants' Rights said: "If this was just about posturing and playing a political game, it would be shallow, it would be it would be trivial, and it would be dishonest.

"But this has real world consequences.

"I'm far from alone, in being subjected to the kind of abusive and threatening language that is churned up by this misinformation and this fury that has been deliberately created by people." 

He appealed to "those who are creating this misinformation, creating this wave of confusion and hostility" to "think about the real world consequences of your actions because this is emboldening not the kind of online keyboard warriors, not the people who get to write angry columns in newspapers, it is emboldening the worst elements of our society who genuinely do pose a threat of outright abuse and violence against marginalized and vulnerable people."

Speaking on the same show later, former Health Secretary Jeane Freeman agreed that there had been misinformation around the legislation. However, she was also critical of the Scottish Government's handling of the new law.

"My impression, and it’s only an impression, is that the furore and nonsense and genuine concerns – because it’s been a mix – that we’ve seen over over the past week has caught the Scottish Government by surprise,” she said.

"And I really do not think it is beyond the wit to plan for and prepare that this particular piece of legislation, coming at this particular point in the electoral cycle, will be used, if you leave loopholes in it and don't set out clearly what it does and what it doesn’t do, by those who oppose your political stance overall as a Government.”

Ms Freeman said misogyny should have been included, adding: “My own view is that was a loophole that you left in the legislation wide open to be exploited. That’s about political nous, frankly.

"So I have two sets of conflicting frustrations. One about how this has been handled, prepared for and presented, and the other being how it has been mishandled and misinformed in a lot of the presentation and comment.”

A Scottish Government spokesman said: “The hate crime act will help to tackle the harm caused by hatred and prejudice and provide greater protections for victims and communities.

"The legislation does not prevent people expressing controversial, challenging or offensive views, nor does it seek to stifle criticism or rigorous debate in any way, and the right to freedom of expression is specifically built into the act.

“The act has a high threshold for criminality. For the new offences in the legislation, it has to be proven that the behaviour is threatening or abusive and that it is intended to stir up hatred.

“We know the impact on those on the receiving end of such behaviour, whether it’s physical, verbal or online attacks, can be traumatic and life-changing and we want to protect those affected.”