Lesley Scott says the SNP government vilifies named person opponents
Government is not always synonymous with truth. In Scotland we now have a situation where government is changing the meaning of words. This has the effect of presenting a reality that does not exist.
The Deputy First Minister John Swinney recently restated that the SNP and Scottish Government are “committed” to the named person service, or state guardian scheme.
Mr Swinney will no doubt object to my use of the phrase “state guardian” claiming it is unhelpful and not true to describe this policy in such terms.
But words have meaning and in fact “state guardian” used to describe someone appointed by the state to safeguard the wellbeing of children could not be more apt.
It is not, and should never be, the place of government to dictate to parents how to raise their childrenLesley Scott
So, why the outrage? Could it be that state guardian reflects the truth about this legislation that the Scottish Government and its named person supporters would prefer not to face; that it is the authoritarian, dictatorial and illiberal intrusion in to the lives of Scottish families by the state.
As the UK Supreme Court noted in its judgment, “the first thing a totalitarian regime tries to do is to get at the children, to distance them from the subversive, varied influences of their families, and indoctrinate them in their rulers’ view of the world.”
Mr Swinney recently claimed that there had been much in this debate that had been unhelpful, something he has alluded to more than once.
But it is not debate that has been unhelpful; let’s be honest there has not been any meaningful debate, only the behind the scenes vilification of opponents by government and state guardian apologists.
Rather, the problem is the obstinate bullish attitude of a government that refuses to listen or consider any views that do not align or complement those it has already formed. People do not want this scheme; they went to court to stop it and were victorious.
The people believe that the state guardian scheme is fundamentally wrong in principle.
Wrong, because it is not, and should never be, the place of government to dictate to parents how to raise their children.
When government starts to view it as their duty to oversee, monitor, assess and judge families, forcing on parents state approved guidelines that carry swift damaging even permanent sanctions for those who do not comply, then we are staring the reality of state approved parenting in the face.
The truth in regards to the state guardian scheme is very different to the propaganda put forth by government and state agencies.
State guardians are not simply “a single point of contact”, they are the nucleus of a process that tracks and records your contact with any and all state agencies be they children or adult focused, and which has also co-opted third sector and voluntary organisations.
We are already well down the early interventionist road that puts statutory duties on practitioners to interfere in the lives of families based on nothing more than their own subjective worries. Wellbeing as a basis for intervention offers the state a pseudo-scientific authority by which to enforce actions on families against arbitrary and subjective measures that fulfil the state’s objectives regardless of personal freedoms and rights.
If the Scottish Government is being accurate in its claims of state guardians being voluntary and an entitlement then make it an opt-in service.
Better yet Mr Swinney, scrap the whole thing and show the parents of Scotland that you truly believe they are the best people to raise their own children.
Lesley Scott is Scottish officer of the Tymes Trust.