Yet again the UK Supreme Court was obliged to analyse and correct an example of untenable, bewildering reasoning by a coterie of Scotland’s “top” judges (your report, 29 July).
Armed with the firepower of a Scots law degree and years of tedious experience on the frontline of legal conflicts, Scotland’s judges abysmally failed to see the fundamental flaws that distinguish the Scottish Government’s cherished legislation: the “Named Person” scheme. Ergo, the judges rejected the submissions of those who opposed the law – hence the appeal to the Supreme Court.
Some would contend that a semi-conscious layman could have spotted what Scotland’s myopic judges failed to see: the fact that the law breached people’s rights to privacy and a family life under the European Convention on Human Rights.
We should therefore be very alarmed by the failure of Scotland’s judges to conquer the peaks of elementary reasoning. But for the assistance of the Supreme Court, Scotland’s legal landscape would be littered with more than a handful of laws and court decisions that polluted fundamental rights – thereby creating ample opportunities for miscarriages of justice.
Dundas Street, Edinburgh
Apart from the embarrassment of having certain provisions of the Named Persons legislation being declared illegal, the Scottish Government has suffered the humiliation of the Supreme Court finding it necessary to draw attention in its judgement to the characteristics of totalitarian regimes, especially in relation to children. Moreover, the definition of “wellbeing” and the criteria to be applied when assessing it have been judged to be impossibly vague.
As if these criticisms were not enough, there remain practical aspects of the scheme which defy common sense. Teachers will be Named Persons only during termtime. Named Persons may provide a single point of contact but without training how will they know to which agencies to make a referral? They will add an extra tier to an already complex range of childrens’ services.They will be amateurs engaging in sensitive social and domestic issues that professionals might find daunting. And if they are no longer to share information with other agencies without first obtaining parents’ and childrens’ consent, then getting help for vulnerable children will be slowed and less effective than direct contact with professional services. Furthermore, and most importantly, the imposition of this cumbersome legislation on all children, regardless of need, will dilute the attention that can be given to genuinely deserving and urgent cases of child abuse.
There is need for a rethink on more than data sharing.
Glebe Cottage, Newtyle, Angus
I refer to Mary Thomas’s letter of 30 July regarding the Named Person scheme.
The point I would like to raise is the Nationalists’ attitude to religion. Ms Thomas, in her final paragraph, containing the all now too predictable name calling, accuses me and others critical of the SNP and their plan of being, amongst other things, “self righteous religious fundamentalists”. During the proposals for the plan, the infamous cybernats – always yowling reliably in support of the plan and monstering anyone who dared to object to it – kept using the same taunt: “religionists”. What next? Persecution of the clergy and bible burning?
If I, through no fault of my own, at some point in the future find my needs met by state benefits, I shall be grateful. Partly I would know that I am getting back what I have paid in, but I’d also appreciate the willingness of taxpayers to help me in my hour of need.
The SNP, however, wishes to banish this entirely appropriate gratitude by renaming benefits, “payments”. “Payment” has connotations of earning, and, in this context, is intended to obscure the real nature of the transaction taking place.
A sense of gratitude that one’s needs are being willingly supplied by taxpayers has an even more important corollary: that one should make every effort to return to self sufficiency as soon as possible, so as not to impose on their generosity unnecessarily.
Broomyknowe, Colinton, Edinburgh
Woolfe at door?
Paris Gourtsoyannis says UKIP leadership frontrunner Steven Woolfe’s appeal to traditional Labour voters is obvious (Perspective, 23 July).
What does he think would attract them? His lucrative career as a barrister in the City of London, representing hedge funds? He sounds more like one of the 1 per cent at the top rather than a representative of the struggling majority.
Or perhaps it would be UKIP’s support for flat rate taxes – so there would be tax cuts for the richest (like himself) and tax increases for everyone else to fill the hole.
Or perhaps it’s UKIP’s well-established hostility to the NHS, and their current leader Nigel Farage’s dismissal of the Brexit campaign’s slogan of giving the NHS the money supposedly freed up by leaving the EU – the mythical £350 million a week which even Leave politicians now admit was a lie. Now the Leave side has won the vote, the NHS won’t get anything from UKIP.
Or by going back to the days when 20 per cent of children, overwhelmingly from middle class homes despite the myths, went to grammar schools and 80 per cent were labelled failures and dumped in Secondary Moderns?
Or perhaps Labour voters would be attracted by UKIP politicians’ repeated calls for workers to have fewer rights at work? So far, so right wing – no wonder UKIP is packed with former Tories, their only MP is a former Tory, and Steven Woolfe lists three Tory politicians as people he trusts.
Craiglockhart Road, Edinburgh
Honour and obey
In much the same way as they did for Sean Connery a number of years ago, the former leader of the SNP, and presumably the party hierarchy, are now campaigning for a knighthood for Andy Murray in David Cameron’s final honours list.
What is it about the SNP and British honours? Much the same applies to their attitude to monarchy.
Their stated aim is the break-up of the UK and all that entails and yet so many in the SNP are enthralled, no, hypnotised, by these outdated trinkets of a bygone era and the forelock-tugging involved therein.
This is another example of having your cake and eating it and the rank hypocrisy endemic in Scottish Nationalism. They well know that whatever they do, their obedient followers will toe the line.
New Cut Rigg. Edinburgh
Twitter ye not
Once again we are subjected to the breathtaking arrogance of the SNP, this time in the person of Paul Monaghan, MP for Caithness and Sutherland.
Regarding the Supreme Court decision to block the ill-thought-out Named Person Act he resorts to Twitter to vent his Nationalist spleen on the verdict. He tweets that “… Scotland’s High Court has been overruled by the UK’s Supreme Court”, resorting to the usual divisive SNP strategy that the UK is subverting the “will of the Scottish people”. Significantly, his leader Nicola Sturgeon, a trained lawyer, accepted the verdict.
Depressingly, Mr Monaghan is just one of many SNP politicians resorting to social media to provoke dissent regarding Scotland’s relationship with UK, all in the interests of their narrow independence agenda.
Campbell Drive, Troon , Ayrshire
The demands by Nicola Sturgeon get more extreme and bizarre with each day that passes in the full knowledge they cannot possibly be met by the UK Government. They range from somehow retaining EU membership in spite of Brexit, unilateral disarmament, immigration policy and so on. However, we are no further on in terms of what interim currency we would use if we became independent, other than some incoherent mutterings about using a Scottish pound, before having to adopt the euro. Only the UK and Denmark have opt-out clauses.
Then there is the matter of trade, whereby we would be putting up barriers to businesses by giving up the rest of the UK internal market which buys four times the total of the EU combined. In addition there would be transaction costs, road tolls, border restrictions to control immigration and unlawful trading of goods between the north and south to consider.
However, the biggest challenge for the SNP to overcome is to explain to the Scottish people how they could even begin serious discussions about rejoining the EU when our fiscal deficit is three times the requirement for full membership. Anyone doubting the resolve of the EU for strict monetary policy should hardly need reminding of what happened to Greece and the latest outburst by the European Commission that it wished to “punish” Spain and Portugal for breaching the deficit rules.
Rather than making more silly demands, Ms Sturgeon should address these basic questions.
Murtle Den Road, Milltimber, Aberdeen
Vote or shut up
We have heard a lot over the last couple of years about “the will of the Scottish people” and “the will of the British people”.
Let us be clear. In the 2014 Scottish independence referendum, 47 per cent of the Scottish electorate voted No, 38 per cent voted Yes”. In the recent European referendum, 37 per cent of the British electorate voted “Brexit”, 35 per cent voted Remain (with the Scottish electorate voting 25 per cent and 42 per cent respectively). Notice something? Not one of these percentages is over 50! Each “result” represented the will of a minority of the people.
This is simply not good enough and future “once in a generation” referenda must be made to reflect the views of all of the people. Mandatory voting, perhaps, or a clearly communicated rule that if you don’t vote, you are presumed to be satisfied with the status quo and your “vote” counted accordingly.
Vale of Bonnyview, Bonnybridge