Scottish National Party, Children and Young People Bill
In Scotland, Big Brother now plans to monitor your child
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The Scottish provincial government, led by the secession seeking Scottish National Party, has introduced legislation that will see the State provide a personal guardian for each child, regardless of need, at a cost of over £120 per child per year.
The government’s plan has met fierce opposition from a number of fronts including The Law Society of Scotland, The Schoolhouse Home Education Association, and sections of the media but party officials are doubling down on their plans.
First Minister Alex Salmond’s SNP administration wants every child to have a ‘Named Person’ with the legal authority to ensure they are raised in a government-approved manner. There will be a database where children’s personal details can be recorded, stored and shared, and the act named the Children and Young People Bill would permit children who are angry with their parents to report them to their named person.
It literally is something out of Orwell’s 1984 where parents constantly had to be mindful of what they did, since children were encouraged to report them to the authorities for the tiniest infractions of party policy.
Alison Preuss, secretary of the Schoolhouse Home Education Association, said the Bill as it stood would place a state agent at the very heart of the family and added: “It is obvious many MSPs (Member of Scottish Parliament) are not aware of the more sinister aspects of this legislation. It is open to abuse and misinterpretation and many parents could fall foul of overzealous agents of the state or people who are just plain busybodies.”
The Scottish Daily Express warned: “If this sinister aspect of the Bill were to be passed, the guardian could take official action if the child was not being raised in government-approved fashion.” And that is the most troubling part! As the system became established, the state would begin to determine what government -approved fashion is and squash alternative views with threats of removal of custody”.
How the proposal is workable is highly questionable. The legislation suggests that each child will be assigned a guardian that is a health care or education professional. With education though it would not be teachers but School Heads and Deputies only! This would put the child-guardian ratio something in the region of 100:1
Subsequently a Primary School Headmaster/Mistress with 300 children to watch would also have another 100 aged up to 18 for whom they are the guardian (the child has the same guardian for 18 years). Brilliantly of course the legislation doesn’t cover how all the extra work will be done by the guardians in addition to their existing duties.
The SNP led government has hit back at critics saying:
“The protection and promotion of the well-being of Scotland’s children and our aim of making our nation the best place for children to grow up are at heart of the Children and Young People Bill. Our focus is on the safety and protection of children. The named person, who is likely to be a health visitor, head or deputy head teacher and will usually already know the child, will be a first point of contact if help is needed. This is formalising what should already happen and there is evidence it is working well in many areas. We are confident it is compliant with European law.”
The idea that this is ‘what should already happen’ is very alarming. Clearly the SNP sees the state, rather than the family as the appropriate and best positioned to decide the welfare of a Scottish child. There may be instances where a child needs a person they can go to, but its better in those exceptional circumstances that a team approach is employed with children being taught that they can share with teachers and doctors who can act if the circumstances warrant.
This all encompassing method is a typical governmental blanket approach that is wide-open to abuse as activist types try to wrest decision making from parents under the guise that the state knows what’s best.
On the Scottish Law Society’s website Morag Driscoll said:
“The policy aims behind this legislation are admirable and we recognise the genuine effort to improve the lives of children and young people in Scotland. However, we are not convinced that this legislation achieves those aims. The proposals could interfere with Article 8 of ECHR (European Court of Human Rights), the right to respect for private and family life, as there is scope for interference between the role of the ‘named person’ and the exercise of a parent’s rights and responsibilities. It could be interpreted as disproportionate state interference. We are also unclear about how this legislation will work in practice and in particular, the resources required to administer the ‘named person’ scheme. We all want law that is clear, proportionate and enforceable. It is still early in the parliamentary process for this legislation so we hope the Scottish Government and MSPs will be able to reflect on these points.”
And the process will take time as all parliamentary legislation in the UK does. We can only pray that less controlling heads will prevail and a majority of parliamentary members will see this as a massive, intrusive and unnecessary over-step.