I have emailed this letter to our local paper:
I want to make the readers aware of one of the most pernicious pieces of legislation I can remember in my lifetime and there is little time left to act. Every child in Scotland will be affected.
We have until 30th to email the Scottish Government with our objections to the ‘Named Person’ legislation.
To believe that this idea is being implemented to safeguard Scotland’s children is naive in the extreme. This is not just about abuse, which of course is repugnant, it concerns every aspect of a child’s life from their birth to 18th birthday (or even after that if still at school).
There follows some examples of what your child’s Named Person (i.e. State guardian) is to be involved with and how parents, other family members and school friends could be dragged into conflict with the State.
Children’s ‘wellbeing’ will be monitored. An ‘Easy to Read Guide’ to the plans describes wellbeing as “another word for how happy you are” and says that a Named Person will check that a child is respected, which includes being given a say in what they watch on TV and how their room is decorated.
Can you see already how this is not about wellbeing, but about control? Control is at the centre of this scheme. If your child wants to plaster his bedroom walls with death metal posters and you disapprove, he can have a word with his Named Person (probably a teacher or health worker).
In other words, your children, your home and your beliefs will become the property of the State. The State will be using children to modify (read: coerce; bully; threaten) how parents act and undermine their beliefs and diminish parental responsibility and authority, weakening the family.
Many professionals have spoken out about the scheme’s potential dangers.
Carole Ford, former President of ‘School Leaders Scotland’, wrote to The Scotsman criticising the scheme.
She wrote that whilst a single point of contact is welcome, appointing a named person for every child is a “completely unnecessary interference with parental rights” which actually “diminishes parental responsibility”.
She said that this is “a direction of travel no sensible society would follow”.
She also stressed that implementing the scheme for all children, rather than those who are specifically identified as vulnerable, would make its impact “so thin as to be negligible”.
The full statutory scheme is scheduled for next August, but pilot schemes are already operating in many areas.
A senior teacher in a Moray secondary school has been convicted of sending grossly offensive or indecent images of children; she had been the ‘Named Person’ for 200 pupils!
Simon Calvert, NO2NP spokesman, said: “It has to be hoped that the local authority has begun an internal inquiry into how such a person could ever have been given such a powerful role in the lives of children.
“The Scottish Government must tell parents what additional steps it is taking to vet Named Persons. Given their greatly increased involvement in the personal lives of children, there clearly ought to be greatly increased background checks to make sure they cannot abuse that position of trust.”
I contacted our new MP, Richard Arkless, about a separate matter. He was very helpful, so I told him of my concerns about the ‘Named Persons’ scheme. He supports the plans and replied that, “I think we have to agree to disagree on this”.
I reminded him that he is entitled to his opinion, but that he is employed to represent us, regardless of his own views, unless these conflict with his conscience. I await his reply to my last email with interest, especially his views on this question:
“Some people say they will refuse to accept a Named Person for their children.
“What will happen to them? Will their children be removed in dawn raids by social workers accompanied by police?”
That might sound like fantasy, but in the past, families in Glasgow whose asylum applications were rejected have been subjected to dawn raids and sent back to the likes of Kosovo and Albania with nothing more than the clothes they were wearing. Where was the concern for children’s “wellbeing” then?
The ‘Named Person’ scheme is part of GIRFEC (Getting It Right For Every Child). According to the Scottish Government’s website,
“The Wellbeing Indicators are used to record observations, events and concerns and as an aid in putting together a child’s plan – if one is needed. The My World Triangle and the Resilience Matrix are used to gather, structure and help with assessing and analysing information.”
This sounds like ‘1984’ meets ‘Brave New World’ to me; as I wrote earlier, I believe this is all about control.
I have read that some pupils have been grilled by their Named Persons into divulging information about their classmates, such as whether they smoke or drink. No doubt, their political and religious views will also be of interest, like how non-PC they are so that they can be enrolled in re-education classes.
Whatever happened to privacy and trust? These cannot be permitted when a government is so out of control. Information gathered from children will be shared, i.e. made available, for many people to access. The dangers are obvious.
The Scottish Government tries to insist that parental rights will not be undermined in any way, but children are already encouraged to seek confidential NHS treatment with neither the knowledge nor the consent of their parents.
Some parents say they are not prepared to cooperate, but as Aidan O’Neill QC says, “Not only can you not opt out of the scheme you have to positively co-operate with the Named Person otherwise you could be characterised as ‘hostile’ or ‘non-engaging’ which leads to further state involvement.”
I encourage everyone to contact our South of Scotland MSPs of all parties urgently. You might also like to tell our MP, Richard Arkless, how you feel. His party is imposing this gross infringement on freedom and privacy. What they are saying is that no parent in Scotland can be trusted to raise their own children.
The unfortunate fact is that politicians will mostly toe the party line and will refuse to acknowledge reason or try to constructively deal with concerns. They must be made to – they work for us!
The independence of the family is at stake as is the safety of children, both at the hands of possible unscrupulous ‘Named Persons’ and by creating so much ‘noise’ in the system that genuine cases of abuse and neglect could fail to be noticed because the attention has been diverted towards little Johnny or Jenny’s bedrooms not being decorated quite as they would have liked.
Spiked has tried to understand why the Scottish Government and Welsh and London assemblies are more authoritarian than Westminster:
“The trouble here, though, is that ministers in the Welsh Assembly or the Scottish Parliament instinctively understand that the devolved assemblies aren’t powerhouses of decision-making. Local assemblies may be able to make decisions on collecting the bins, sorting out street lighting or tinkering with transport, but they’re not in a position to make a substantial difference to a region’s economy. They’re not in a position to implement changes that can improve infrastructure or affect the lives of people in any meaningful way. Instead, they have the power to meddle, interfere and restrict ordinary people’s day-to-day behaviour. They’re meaningless institutions desperately in search of meaning. So, in order to create a sense of purpose, to show they’re more than just talking shops, the devolved assemblies introduce fresh bans, new laws and more red tape. Yes, banning e-cigarettes in public places or placing all children under state surveillance doesn’t make much rational sense. But for a minister seeking to justify their existence, such policies make perfect sense.” ”
“…activists are more likely to defend all sorts of authoritarian measures that they would object to if Westminster had introduced them. The SNP congratulates itself for demolishing the Labour Party’s support in Scotland, only to introduce controls and bans that make New Labour appear like a collection of commune-dwelling anarchists. As anyone who has argued with SNP members will know, they’re bizarrely incapable of making any critical judgements about their party’s poisonous authoritarianism. The centrality of Scottish identity is a way through which politics is now suspended north of the border.”