Don’t Panic! Your Named Person won’t be a Stasi State Snooper
And the award for emotive, reactionary, swivel-eyed, ridiculously long clickbait headline of the year goes to…
The Stasi spying on children: It’s an Orwellian new scheme – a State snooper for EVERY child in Scotland compiling a dossier on their family life… and it has chilling implications for us all.
The Daily Mail
who, given their historic open support for fascism, should not be taking the moral high ground. The Daily Mail is to George Orwell what Fred West was to landscape gardening. For an idea of how much they care about the privacy of the family then just click on the archived link of the article. Behold the sheer number of clickbait reports in the sidebar featuring paparazzi shots of celebrities with their newborn babies.
Not that the Named Person legislation is without dangers, however currently it must be one of the most misrepresented and badly reported on laws in history, and this Daily Mail article is a prime example.
Just imagine that you are a parent and one of your daughters cuts the hair off the Barbie dolls belonging to her younger sister. Cue screaming, shouting and tears before bedtime. But it’s the kind of thing that happens in families, isn’t it?In later years the crew-cut Barbies will be chuckled about over Sunday lunch. ‘Do you remember when . . .’But now imagine someone else learns about the Barbie incident — during a seemingly casual conversation with that hurt younger sister, say.This person is not a relative or friend but an official appointed by the state, without your permission, and allowed to gather information about you and your children — in secret, if it is deemed necessary — and circulate it among other state agencies such as the police and social services. It so happens that this snooper doesn’t possess the sense of proportion or humour that is essential when addressing the issue of warring children. This hacking-off of synthetic blonde locks appears a bit odd to our ‘state guardian’. Disturbing, in fact. So, this government-appointed busybody opens a file on you and your family and enters a remark: ‘Older girl exhibiting signs of aggression against younger. Doll disfigurement may indicate deeper issues of anger management within family unit.’
Just imagine… because lets face it, you will have to, as the Named Person isn’t going to open any file about a sister cutting a doll’s hair. The Named Person will not be a raving lunatic. The Named Person scheme is a way of streamlining existing services by having one point of contact for every child, making it easier to spot and deal with actual abuse involving scissors in the home. The vast majority of people will have no more contact with the Named Person than they currently have contact with their health visitor or teachers as that is who the Named Person will be: a professional with neither the time nor inclination to start files on people for normal behaviour.
George Orwell understood this kind of thing: how the state, always wary, always contemptuous of the people it claims to represent, forever seeks to exercise control over them. Knowledge is power — and what better knowledge can one have of a person than that pertaining to the inner workings of their family?
@BBCScot2016 Liam Fee had a named person under the Fife pilot of the scheme.
— Ruth Davidson (@RuthDavidsonMSP) 31 May 2016
It just so happens that Nicola Sturgeon cut the hair off her sister’s Barbies during a childhood spat, according to that sibling, Gillian. The First Minister of Scotland denies the allegation but adds that if she did it — ‘and it’s an “if” ’ — she would have had ‘provocation’. ‘She (Gillian) behaved the way younger sisters tend to behave, but I love her dearly,’ said Miss Sturgeon. Being British, and lovers of liberty and privacy, we are all glad that Miss Sturgeon never merited a mention in some state dossier for her alleged Barbie-barbering.
So “private” you think this information should be printed it in a national newspaper.
Incredible as it seems, the government she leads — newly re-elected, though short of an overall majority in the Scottish Parliament — has introduced a law that indeed creates a state guardian for every one of Scotland’s one million young people under the age of 18.
The Children and Young People (Scotland) Bill was passed with 103 MSPs voting for it and with 15 abstentions. Some of last parliament’s 69 SNP MSPs must have voted twice then, the evil Stasi bastards. Either that or some of the people now against the law actually voted for it.
Intelligence-gatherers, imposed on each and every family by the State, they are able to mould perceptions — often in secret — of the families allotted to them.
“Hello, I’m Janis, your intelligence gather……sorry Healthcare worker. So, little Farquhar has a spot of cradle cap has he. Better report this to Mein Fuhrer.”
There is no right of appeal against their findings — indeed, no automatic right to know what those findings are — and no way to prevent their judgments spreading out into the state bureaucracy via a soon-to-be-created mass database.
If you think Janis has started a file on you just because you are building a chemtrail resistant, tinfoil lined shelter 6 feet under your back garden you will be covered by existing data protection laws, as will the sharing of that data.
Among others, doctors and dentists will be compelled to surrender information on youngsters in a move that tears down the concept of patient confidentiality.
I think you’ll find they already do this if they think the child has been abused. Although, in the future the process will be more streamlined as the doctor will know who to contact. Under data protection laws the information shared will need to be relevant to protect well-being, and the information shared needs to be discussed with the child/family unless there is a good reason not to do so.
This SNP-inspired ‘McStasi’ is not there simply to stop harm coming to children. Its remit, according to the legislation that has given it life, is to promote child ‘wellbeing’.
Look they added “Mc” to “Stasi” to make a hilarious new word. Guy who wrote this is the new Mark McTwain, that’s why he knows better than mere mortals that the opposite of well-being is negative and something to be discouraged.
In that single, elastic word lies the danger of this project. Because when a Named Person is looking to improve the life of a child, as opposed to saving him or her from abuse and death, there is no end to how he or she may interfere in family life.Instead of focusing on a few exceptionally vulnerable children, the ‘wellbeing’ test will make every child in Scotland a potential target for official intervention.
I think you will find that the state is already involved in the life of every child. That school/preschool your kids go to all day, the doctors you take them to, the vaccines they get, the child benefit they receive – that is state involvement.
That said, there is an end to the interference. The state has neither the inclination nor the resources to take over the whole job. The Named Person is about making the best use of limited resources to reduce the number that are let down. It’s about streamlining the system, not making it more bureaucratic. I take the point that there is potential for abuse and in some cases the Named Person may get a bit authoritarian and overstep the mark. However, most won’t. Even if they had that temperament there just isn’t enough manpower, resources, or hours in the day for the state to bring up your children. They will be too busy dealing with the many kids who have problems, and the Named Person makes those kids easier to identify.
‘The Named Person scheme shows how government has lost any sense of the family as an important private institution,’ says Stuart Waiton, a lecturer at Abertay University
Stuart Waiton – a lecturer of Sociology and key member of the campaign group “No to The Named Person”. Contrast that with the many experts and organisations who work in child protection who support the scheme.
Named Persons will inquire into how children’s bedrooms are decorated, how much television they watch and whether they can ride a bicycle at a certain age. It is a bureaucrat’s dream, with its own brand of patronising jargon, such as its goal of GIRFEC (Getting It Right For Every Child) so that every child is SHANARRI — ‘Safe, Healthy, Achieving, Nurtured, Active, Respected, Responsible, Included’.
What disgusting goals: Safe, Healthy, Achieving, Nurtured, Active, Respected, Responsible and Included children. We live in barbaric times.
There is even a SHANARRI song to be sung by Scotland’s hapless youth — one that would make Chairman Mao proud. ‘Hello sunshine, hello blue sky / ‘S-H-A-N-A-R-R-I (repeat) / We’re safe and we’re happy and achieving . . .’ And on and on.
Kids singing silly children’s songs about being happy? What next, “If You’re Happy and You Know it Clap Your Hands”?
Take Michael (not his real name), an academic at a Scottish university. His two youngest children were removed from his home after his estranged wife claimed she had suffered domestic abuse at his hands.
Seems like a reasonable precaution. Not sure what this has to do with the Named Person though. The crime here is the wife lying and this sort of thing happened long before there were Named Persons.
But the boys were later returned to him by a court. ‘Once a stain is made you can’t erase it and these mechanisms begin,’ says the foreign-born lecturer.Unbeknown to him, a ‘family record’ was kept by his children’s health visitor, a Named Person, for 18 months. It chronicled every minor issue, from runny noses to thumb-sucking. There were 70 pages of comments, but when Michael finally discovered its existence and won his battle to get hold of a copy, much of it was redacted.
Health visitors keep those kind of notes as a matter of course, regardless of whether or not they are the Named Person. Maybe they are asking too much info, it is a hard balance to strike. Here is a link to what they do, decide for yourself.
The Mail goes on:
Rebecca Cheeseman collided with the Named Person scheme when her daughter became an alleged victim of a crime and a social worker called at her home. It was concluded that her daughter had made up the allegation and there must be some underlying reason, possibly affecting her ‘wellbeing’.‘We discovered that medical details about my daughter, my husband and me had been shared with the social worker by way of a health visitor,’ she says.‘The health visitor was the Named Person for my sons and had recorded, among other things, that I had suffered from postnatal depression following the birth of my daughter in 1998, which was wholly irrelevant, as was a remark about my husband’s current health condition.’The Cheesemans made a complaint and were later vindicated by a council tribunal.
Rebecca Cheeseman, so annoyed that a social worker knew about her previous health condition, that she is willing to share it with the whole nation. Reading what is written here it is hard to know how Cheeseman was actually wronged and I can’t find any more details on the story.
So how did the Scots — inheritors of the Enlightenment — come up with this dystopian nightmare?Well, it was given to them by the English. And in particular those arch-meddlers in New Labour.Social engineering was the order of the day in the Blair era, and the idea — expressed in its policy Every Child Matters — was that if you intervened early in a child’s life, you could stop it ending up jobless, or in prison, or dead at the hands of an abusive parent. Even the Conservatives are prone to a bit of social engineering; witness David Cameron’s argument that every aspiring parent should attend parenting classes.
I think this is what Better Together referred to as “pooling and sharing” resources. Notice how the journalist describes children as “it”.
But SNP policymakers developed this philosophy into an even more invasive policy. It’s Every Child Matters on steroids.
Children on steriods? I’m going to have to report this to the Named Person.
Scotland’s Faculty of Advocates, the equivalent of the Bar Council in England, argues that in passing the Act the government at Holyrood has confused a policy with a law. You can’t legislate for a child’s happiness, it says, and you shouldn’t try.
Not really the main thing they did say. They were concerned about how it may be a breach of human rights legislation which is related to:
continuing legal challenge by a coalition of church and other groups called No2NP. The Supreme Court in London is being asked to rule the legislation unlawful on grounds that the Scottish Parliament has exceeded its powers and contravened the European Human Rights provision protecting the right to private and family life.
The author doesn’t mention that it is at the Supreme Court because a Scottish High Court judge already found against the claims of No2NP and the Faculty of Advocates.
Experts such as veteran social worker Maggie Mellon point out that the scheme hinders rather than helps the cause of child welfare.
I raise you Barnados, the Scottish Secondary School Teachers Association and Action for Children who all disagree with Mellon.
Jenny Cunningham, a paediatrician working in Glasgow, reinforces the point, saying: ‘There is a world of difference between parental behaviour that puts children at serious risk of abuse or neglect and behaviour that does not match up to the state’s expectations.’
Surely that all depends on the expectations, which should be a reflection of society’s expectations and can be adjusted? The NSPCC, Social Work Scotland and Children’s Hearing Scotland all support the Named Person scheme.
Even proposed Named Persons are unhappy. Teachers have said they will not act as such during holidays, and more than half of health visitors surveyed by Unison are opposed to the scheme.These professionals are being asked to take on what is potentially a huge extra workload for no extra money. Head teachers in particular could find themselves swamped by multiple demands for information from agencies and parents.
This is a fair criticism although slightly off on a tangent from the Stasi rhetoric. Of course the scheme should be properly resourced and it is a concern that it isn’t.
One teacher tells me: ‘It is absolutely essential that we forge close working relationships with parents. If we start contacting them to say we have heard their child has missed an appointment at the dentist, that relationship will immediately break down
They undoubtedly would think you were a fanny in that circumstance so it is lucky this scenario is not going to happen.
‘This policy is widely supported by leading children’s charities and welfare organisations, as well as by the Scottish Police Federation,’ says a Holyrood spokesman. ‘It is a policy which is aimed at protecting children’s wellbeing, and is about supporting, not diminishing, the role of parents.’Rachel McIntyre begs to differ.On a wet evening this week, the child carer attended an anti-Named Person roadshow in Kilmarnock with her six-year-old son Calvin. Miss McIntyre, 29, is a single parent — a category that tends to attract attention from Named Persons.‘Calvin and I might be a small unit but we’re a strong one,’ she says. ‘To find out that somebody could be making decisions about Calvin without me knowing, I don’t like that.‘This is like “Big Brother is watching you”.’
Well that’s Sturgeon, leading welfare organisations, leading children’s charities and the police told.
Simon Calvert of the Christian Institute, a main backer of No2NP, puts it simply: ‘The Named Person scheme is a Civil Service tick-box approach to family life, patronising parents, over-assessing children and trampling on people’s right to confidentiality.‘Do these “experts” ever stop to ask themselves how the family has managed to function for millennia without them?‘Just who do these people think they are?’
Although he has no problem indoctrinating children into believing in a homophobic genocidal sky faerie.
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