Derek Mackay has done exactly what wrong?

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Jackson Carlaw read out the definition of grooming in parliament amid the fallout of the Derek Mackay text scandal.

The Scottish Tory interim leader referred to child abuse charity NSPCC’s interpretation while putting questions to First Minister Nicola Sturgeon in the Scottish Parliament.

The site makes reference to an “authority figure” using “social media networks and text messaging” to “give attention” to young people by taking them “on trips, outings or holidays”.

His comments came after the SNP leader confirmed in Holyrood that her former finance secretary had stepped down amid claims he was messaging a 16-year-old boy.

The Scottish Sun reported that the 42-year-old MSP for Renfrewshire North and West sent a series of messages to the teen on social media.

In the online messages, it is alleged he invited the boy to dinner and to attend a rugby event, as well as calling him “cute”.

Can someone explain exactly what Derek Mackay has done wrong here? Other than being a member of the SNP?

The law around homosexuality is that a 16 year old can consent to have sex with any other male of 16 or older, barring a few exceptions around people with power over you, like school teachers. We’ve decided that at that age, people are mature enough to make decisions about who they bang or get banged by. You therefore can’t be “groomed” at 16.

I don’t know how it works with gays. I know that a 42 year old man hitting on a 16 year old girl would be classed as ick, hugely failing the “half your age plus 7” rule, but ick isn’t the same as morally wrong. If you think it is, you have to raise the age of consent, to say that actually, we don’t think that 16 year olds are capable of dealing with the advances of middle-aged men.

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Sam Vara
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Sam Vara

It depends on what you mean by “wrong”, doesn’t it? Even if we think that what Mackay did was morally justifiable, he could still – in the world of politics – have transgressed a rule which governs what is politically acceptable. For example, he could have done something which a lot of other people think is wrong, even if we don’t. That’s why politicians don’t usually brag about their past sexual conquests, their drug-taking, their wealth, or their grouse shooting. We might not think there is anything morally reprehensible about any of these, but sufficient numbers of people do think… Read more »

Spike
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Spike

You’re both right. The unseemly ought not be illegal, and we (everywhere) are inconsistent on what is unseemly.

However, yes Sam, a politician (and staffers) have a duty not just to avoid illegality but unseemliness. And anyone is able to call you unseemly, and there are no consequences if they are wrong. See: Impeachment.

Clem Fandango
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Clem Fandango

If a 16 year old is wise enough to know whom to bang then surely they’re wise enough to know whom to vote for, which we know they’re not from our own lived experiences. Yes, add nuisance to the age of consent but I think we can all agree that while legally he’s broken no law he has proven himself to be a creep.

David Morris
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David Morris

How old was the boy when Mackay first started to text/groom him ?

How many other children has Mackay been hitting on, & what age are/were they ??

Agammamon
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Agammamon

“but ick isn’t the same as morally wrong.”

Well, yes, it kind of is. At the same time ‘its legal’ is not the same as ‘its morally ok’.

Sure, they guy didn’t commit a crime – fine. But he violated social norms. And those come with their own consequences. A free society means that other people are free to disapprove of your actions and choose to not associate with you, and that also includes not working with you.

Chester Draws
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Chester Draws

Is it illegal for teachers to have sex with 16 year olds? In New Zealand a teacher is banned from teaching if they do, but charges cannot be pressed. I know this because a colleague was in that situation.

Spike
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Spike

I think Tim was saying it is, when he wrote that the consent law applies “barring a few exceptions around people with power over you, like school teachers.” I like the NZ rule; if you use a pupil for personal gratification, you have a problem with the profession. Whether you have a problem with society and the judiciary should depend on the actual harm caused in that case, and not just “harm” to the possibility of experiencing a perfect adolescence.

Esteban
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Esteban

Not being familiar with the SNP, where do they stand on the political spectrum? In the U.S. the political fallout from tacky, icky, borderline illegal sexual escapades varies dramatically depending on whether the politician in question is left-of-center, as well as a few other variables (official victim group status, importance to the party, distance to the next election, etc.).

bloke in Germany
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bloke in Germany

Well generally nationalists are lambasted as far-right. The SNP is unabashedly socialist. They really should rename as the Scottish National Socialist Party.

Quentin Vole
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Quentin Vole

… and get Hugo Boss to design some uniforms for them …

Tristram Fuller
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Tristram Fuller

Person who founded the SNP also had a hand founding the Labour Party.