In this country, we have a system whereby certain crimes, usually involving violence or disorder, are held to be more serious offences if there is a manifest element of religious or racial bigotry involved in their commission.
I am uneasy about this. If someone were to injure or kill me simply because he didn't like pompous old gits, I really don't see why this should be regarded as vastly less serious than a similar offence perpetrated out of racial or religious hatred.
When I worked in London, I had the privilege of taking part, vested, in Orthodox Liturgies at the Cypriot Orthodox Church along the Camberwell New Road (Proprietor: the Bishop of Telmissos), and I became very fond of the Church and its congregation. One Monday, the Church was broken into and the resident monk was kicked to death because he wouldn't tell the thugs where the money was. I'm obviously missing something, because that still seems to me every bit as horrific as kicking somebody to death because you don't like their race or religion.
Similarly -- when (to give an example) someone drives a van into pedestrians on a pavement and kills them, the only thing the Meejah seem to want to know is: was this "terrorist-related"? When it becomes clear that a particular example cannot be assigned to this category, you can hear the relief in the news-reader's voice as he/she says "It is not thought that the incident was terrorist-related". Oh good. Thank goodness for that. So that's OK, then. Well, not actually OK, of course, but nothing like as serious and newsworthy as if it were done by somebody with a dark skin who shouted Allahu Akbar.
I think I dislike the dragging of ideological preoccupations into criminal law.