Although I am a veteran SNP member, I write to endorse much of Christine Jardine’s Liberal Democratic critique of the Scottish Government’s Children and Young People (Scotland) Bill (Perspective, 24 August). As a parent myself, I particularly support Ms Jardine’s opposition to the bill’s proposal to appoint “a named person for every child from birth [or sometimes before] until they reach 18”.
However well-intentioned this proposal is, it seems to be founded on the astonishingly patronising view that we ordinary Scottish parents are largely incapable of bringing up our own children without the intervention of the state. I would point out, moreover, that from the standpoint of the young people themselves, it is by no means clear that the state’s appointment of a “named person” to supervise their lives up until the age of 18 would be universally popular. After all, they are still allowed to marry without their parents’ consent at the age of 16 – unless the government intends to alter that legislation, too.
As a septuagenarian who fully intends to vote Yes in next year’s referendum, I am also concerned about the mixed messages this proposed legislation seems to be sending out to the Scottish electorate. On the one hand, the Scottish Government seems to be telling us that we poor Scots are uniquely incapable of raising our own children without the (however well-intentioned) intervention of state apparatchiks, while on the other urging us to take on the full responsibility of running our own affairs.
But if we can’t bring up our own children properly, how can we be expected to acquire the confidence to vote next year in favour of the wider responsibility of acquiring full self- government?
IAN O BAYNE