As a reviled piece of legislation, it would be hard, one might think, to top the “Bedroom Tax” in pre-referendum Scottish politics.
However, by some extraordinary quirk of fate, the current SNP administration at Holyrood has actually managed to create legislation which exceeds even that in its intrusion and Orwellian overtones (your report, 20 February).
No doubt those who voted for the imposition of a “Named Person”, otherwise called a “guardian”, for every child in Scotland up to the age of 18, did so because they thought it would save lives, or intervene in cases of child abuse or child neglect etc.
However, there is already a social work structure for such matters and people whose entire energies are devoted to the care and protection of children.
These wonderful people are all over Scotland and they are unpaid. The are also undervalued, over-taxed and very worried at the moment.
These terrific people are called parents and their role in life is to bring up their own children without extra busybodies sticking their noses into their lives. For every family that has abused their children, there must be at least one public servant who has taken children away from their family, often in instances that take the breath away.
The South Ronaldsay case is a salutary lesson in trusting to publicly appointed figures supposedly looking after the best instances of children.
This law must be stopped.
Andrew HN Gray
The Christian Institute is right to challenge the “social worker for every child” law just passed by Holyrood, as it has no place in a free society. That it has come to this tells you everything you need to know about politics in Scotland.
The SNP government puts a totalitarian proposal before Holyrood and the vast majority of our MSPs are happy to go along with it.
Fifteen are brave enough to abstain. Not one MSP was willing to stand resolutely against this to the end and articulate why freedom is preferable to universal supervision.
No doubt the “nothing to hide, nothing to fear” brigade will be out in force to explain why we should welcome this new law.
They completely forget that false positives in child protection are just as much miscarriages of justice as anything that happens in the criminal courts. Has no-one in Scotland heard of Cleveland?
Nor can we be confident that human rights will lead to this law being struck down. The whole ethos of human rights is social democratic and comfortable with a Leviathan state.
By contrast, you could never imagine such a law standing up to the scrutiny of the US Supreme Court.
I tremble to think what revolutionary and illiberal policy the SNP will come up with next, especially if it gets a Yes vote in September.
The latest edict from our “leaders”, that each child is to have a minder up to the age of 18, is an insult to the millions of competent and caring parents living in this country.
This latest example of control freakery surely plumbs new depths.
Charles JH Brown
As the Children and Young People Bill is passed by the Scottish Parliament (20 February) the impact that this will have on care leavers, some of the most vulnerable young people in our society, is immeasurable.
Currently most young people in care leave the system aged 16 or 18 and face very bleak futures due to the lack of consistent and appropriate “aftercare” support they have access to.
This means many of them face young lives dogged by homelessness, unemployment, mental health issues, a lack of education options and then time in prison.
However, Scotland is set to be a world leader in the way it assists young people in care after amendments to the bill were lodged following extensive lobbying, ensuring Scotland’s most vulnerable children and young people will be able to stay in care to 21 years old as part of a “continuing care” package.
There is also a commitment from the Scottish Government to allow young people from care to return to a care placement between 16 and 21 years old after they leave and find that they hit problems or issues which they can’t cope with.
This bill is a life-saver, literally, for many young people in care – who together represent some of the most marginalised young people in our society – and its passage will demonstrate that Scotland truly is a world leader when it comes to addressing the challenges faced by many young care leavers.
The Scottish Children’s Services Coalition comprising:
Spark of Genius
Falkland House School
The allocation of a “Named Person” to every child in Scotland may have some benefits and noble motivations, but there are also dangers.
Firstly, a person not adhering strictly to liberal orthodoxy in their parenting style, personal philosophy and moral standards is already likely to be deemed unsuitable to adopt or foster.
Logically, if the state regards a couple as unsuitable to look after other people’s children, surely there must be reservations about their ability to look after their own in accordance with the state sanctioned philosophy. Would “Named Persons” begin to raise such concerns and take the necessary action?
Secondly, the current emphasis on giving children channels through which they can express concerns could encourage a system where children are urged to contact their “Named Person” when they are not satisfied with the service being offered by their parents. The “Named Person” would then step in as a mediator, dignifying trivial or even vindictive complaints, thus undermining parental authority and democratising the family.
These excesses are not explicitly countenanced in the bill, but extrapolation from current attitudes and priorities justify concern.
State guardians for every child in Scotland could have a dramatic effect on child abuse such as female genital mutilation (FGM).
FGM is illegal in Scotland, yet there have been no prosecutions although thousands of girls in Scotland have been subjected to this barbaric procedure.
We are persuaded by recent evidence that FGM predates both Christianity and Islam and thus it is not necessarily a faith problem.
Although FGM is practised by Christian and Islamic communities, FGM is more of a cultural issue.
We urge atheists, sceptics and non-believers to get involved as state guardians, especially with regard to children from communities which practise FGM.
Atheists as state guardians who uncover evidence of FGM will present their findings to Police Scotland and hopefully we will get a criminal prosecution for a serious crime against females which shames Scotland.
Ian Stewart Atheist Scotland