The Supreme Court has done every parent and every child in Scotland a great favour by striking down the “Named Person” scheme the SNP pushed through. To its shame, Labour supported it, but it is now dead.
It is telling that, in their verdict, the judges said: “The first thing that a totalitarian regime tries to do is to get to the children, to distance them from the subversive, varied influences of their families, and indoctrinate them in their rulers’ view of the world. Within limits, families must be left to bring up their children in their own way.”
Not only that, but it breaches article 8 of the European Convention of Human Rights, which guarantees everyone’s “right to a private and family life” and is “not within the legislative competence of the Parliament ... [and] ... cannot be brought into force.”
This is a vindication of the campaign by so many people to have this Big Brother legislation struck down.
Our next task will be to have the SNP and Nicola Sturgeon forced to do the job of running affairs in Scotland instead of trying to break up the UK again and to overturn not one but two democratic decisions.
It is a shame and an indictment of the current Scottish administration that it has to be forced before a court to recognise good sense.
Andrew HN Gray
Craiglea Drive, Edinburgh
As expected, the Supreme Court ruled that the SNP’s Named Person scheme breached the rights to privacy and family life enshrined in the European Convention on Human Rights.
It said the legislation made it “perfectly possible” for confidential information about a child to be disclosed to a “wide range of public authorities without the child or parents being aware”.
This fiasco again underlines the weakness of our unicameral parliament – its impotent committee system which limply waves through nationalist legislation which is plainly incompetent.
It is a national embarrassment that Holyrood should so often require the Supreme Court in London to act as a revising chamber for our devolved Scottish Government.
Rev Dr John Cameron
Howard Place, St Andrews, Fife
The most telling part of the Supreme Court ruling on the Named Person plan was the paragraph which said: “The first thing that a totalitarian regime tries to do is get at the children ...”
It started with the cynical lowering of the voting age followed up with Nicola Sturgeon love-bombing schools and getting primary children to paint SNP logos on mugs. It is sinister and must be resisted.
If my children were still of an age to fall under this iniquitous scheme I would certainly not co-operate in any way and no named person would cross my threshold.
Gifford, East Lothan
Thank goodness we are part of the UK, so that the Supreme Court can protect the rights of the Scottish families against the increasingly totalitarian SNP government.
It should be noted that much of the impetus behind the No to Named Person campaign came from Christian organisations. Though opposition to the scheme became very widespread, it was the particular emphasis on the centrality of family life found in Christian teaching that sparked resistance to this unwarranted intrusion of the state into family affairs.
While we may rejoice that the SNP’s wings have been clipped in this case, its damaging philosophies of education and childhood will continue to harm children and family life. The incessant emphasis in schools on children’s rights will still tend to produce selfish and demanding young people, primed with latent victimhood awaiting expression.
The government campaign to remove punishments from schools will continue apace, leading to ever declining standards of discipline. The bizarre notion that children should not be punished will have a knock-on effect in families, undermining parental authority. What happens when a parent punishes a child who has been taught at school that punishments are ineffective and counterproductive?
Sadly, the Named Person scheme will probably return in a new guise, because the SNP does not understand the proper limits of the state.
The Scottish Government should avoid the temptation to take the narrowest view of the Supreme Court decision on the Named Person scheme.
Simply making the amendments to get round this ruling would be very short-sighted. Instead this should be viewed as an opportunity to address some of the fundamental concerns that have troubled so many parents across Scotland.
The First Minister has often said that the Named Person scheme is a right not an obligation, implying an opt-out which experts say does not exist in the way that it is currently written. So clarifying this would help, as would new wording to ensure that the emphasis of the scheme is to be targeting resources towards those who most need help, not blanket interference.
With these changes the Supreme Court view that the purpose of the scheme is “unquestionably legitimate and benign” could go on to be shared in practice by all involved with its subsequent implementation.
West Linton, Peeblesshire
Days ago Nicola Sturgeon braved yet another photo opportunity to outline the five key interests that her government would seek to protect in the Brexit negotiations. One was “social protection”.
The Supreme Court ruling must therefore come as a hammer blow. It may be a UK ruling – which she would love to ignore, no doubt – but it is an interpretation of the ECHR to which she would be equally keen to sign up to. What next for this controversial scheme?
Liberton Drive, Edinburgh