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Samizdata quote of the day

Due to come into force in August 2016, the Named Person initiative is truly dystopian. Once, it was only abandoned or orphaned children who became charges of the state; now, all Scottish children will effectively be wards of the state under a new, vast system of, in essence, shadow parenting. In an expression of alarming distrust in parents, and utter contempt for the idea of familial sovereignty and privacy, the state in Scotland wants to attach an official to every kid and to keep tabs on said kid’s physical and moral wellbeing.

There’ll be a state spy in every family. In Scotland, Big Brother is not only watching you (it was recently revealed that Scotland has 4,114 public-space CCTV cameras and “camera vans,” which drive through towns filming the allegedly suspect populace); he’s also watching your kids.

Brendan O’Neill

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49 comments to Samizdata quote of the day

  • John Galt III

    The Economist this week displays in total ignorance why we love our guns:

    In Scotland you belong to the state. So do your kids as this story suggests.

    In Scotland you can’t just walk into a store and buy (4) 30 round banana clips, ammo and an AR-15. I can and I have.

    Did it ever occur to you ignorant pussies at the Economist that in 1776 we defeated the greatest power in the world. We had our muskets in our houses and your ‘lobsterback’ red coats made you easy targets? You then hired German mercenaries and we killed them too. Then we won at Saratoga and only then did the French help us. We don’t have guns just to shoot varmints and put meat on our dinner tables. We have them to cause a shitload of problems when you come for our children.

    So when your government or their Muslim immigrant helpers(that they protect)come for you just bend over and surrender.

    I will die before you take away my rifles and pistols, but I will die a free man.

    http://www.economist.com/news/united-states/21647627-prevent-gun-deaths-politicians-offermore-guns-why-gun-lobby-winning

  • the other rob

    Blige, John Galt III! An old boss of mine used to say “If you’re determined to die in a ditch, then a ditch is where you will die”. Sounds like you’ve got that part figured out, anyway.

  • lucklucky

    What you’ll expect from the Economist? It is a Statist newspaper, it exists to extend Political power to curtail Freedom.

  • Lee Moore

    What you’ll expect from the Economist? It is a Statist newspaper, it exists to extend Political power to curtail Freedom.

    But strangely, it was not always thus. I can’t date it precisely, but there was a time, long after the FT had already become the statist EU’s house newspaper, when you could pick up the Economist and read articles which indicated that the journalist had some real understanding of microeconomics. Even as late as the 1990s. So if it’s now full bore orthodox progressive – I don’t read it these days – one must assume that the long progressive march through the institutions has taken another hill.

  • Mr Ed

    Does Magna Carta mean nothing to you? Did she die in vain? This thread is wildly OT, even without an elipitical comment from the Sage of Kettering, we have lurched onto the Economist. Our only duty is to not read it, and for sport ridicule it from time to time.

    The Scots government is clearly interested in freedom from English oppression, and perhaps a UK Supreme Court that just might hold back on the power of the State.

  • Raymond

    A depressing (but accurate) piece by Brendan O’Neill. A charitable interpretation would have it that the SNP government is like a bunch of boring school prefects that have been given too much authority and let loose to police the school disco. But when you add their tax-and-spend, chip-on-the-shoulder nationalism to the mix, you’ve got something that is really quite hideous.
    For the first time in my life, I’m considering a tactical vote just to keep them out.

  • Paul Marks

    I commented on the pathetic “Economist” article (that John Galt mentions) when it came out.

    Like everything I write against the “Economist” my comment attracted plenty of attacks from the “liberal” good squad, but I no longer bother to reply to those university types.

    I read this Keynesian rag – so other people do not have to.

    And I would not bother if it was not for its endless lying – presenting itself as a “Classical Liberal” (rather than “New Liberal”) publication – out to roll back the state (the exact opposite of what it normally tries to do).

  • This is a wonderful policy.

    How do you expect government to be able to improve your quality of life if it doesn’t know anything about you? The more it knows about you, the better it can tailor its actions suit your needs; and this is no less true when it comes to children. As every parent wants the best for their child, and as government will inevitably be providing various goods and services to children throughout their entire lives, it follows that the more the government knows about your child’s personality, likes, dislikes, etc, the better. The NPI is the most effective way of achieving that goal, and every parent should support its introduction in Scotland and, looking forward, the rest of the UK.

  • Paul Marks

    Now let us get on to Perry’s actual post – please.

    Mr O’Neil may or may no work for the Economist magazine (I do no know and I do not care), but what he says here is correct.

    “Devolution” in Scotland is shown to have been more of
    a terrible blunder with each passing day.

    Scots Law was, in some ways, superior to English Law – before the new “Scottish Parliament” was created and started to mess it up.

    Law is not there to make people “just and good” (sorry Plato and Aristotle you were just wrong) – it is there to punish aggressions against the bodies and goods of others (individuals and associations – clubs, churches, trading companies and so on).

    It is not the business of the criminal law to do anything else apart from punish the violators. And it is not the business of the civil law to do anything else but to uphold voluntary contracts and award damages for damages done to bodies and goods.

    Period.

  • Mr Ed

    As an aside, should not ‘the Economist’ magazine be renamed ‘the Bureaucrat’?

    I don’t recall reading about even East Germany having such an overt system as is coming in in Scotland.

  • Mr Ed

    When this all goes horrible (it is already wrong), the cry will go up ‘More funding is needed‘, every statist wishes to re-inforce failure and to penalise success, that is the whole purpose of politics. If politics did not reward failure and punish success, it would have no purpose whatsoever.

  • JohnK

    I am afraid that if you vote for a national socialist government, you will end up with national socialist policies. The only surprise is that people do not realise that this is what will happen.

  • The only surprise is that people do not realise that this is what will happen.

    Of course they realise it, that is why they vote for it. The SNP is an overt national socialist party.

  • Mr Ecks

    Large numbers of Scots are poisoned with socialism. If we had a non-socialist govt in Westminster they would be told to drop this policy along with their anti-football chants bollocks and their attempts to revive the ID card database up there. Or lose every penny of central cash until they do. Then if they want UDI–they lose the cash for good and the Scots will go in knowing the kind of tyranny the SNP will bring them.

  • Mr Ed

    Perry, I would like to hope that they do not realise what they are voting for, as JohnK says. They are just too dumb or careless to realise that WYSIWYG.

    Of course the SNP is an overt national socialist party, but they put their nationalism second to statism, by insisting on subordination to the EU. From what the leader of that party has said, if Scotland voted (at present) to leave the EU, then she would not, were it her choice, allow it to unless the entire UK agreed. (I infer from her saying that if England voted to leave the EU, that would not be permissible unless all parts of the UK also so voted). So Scotland may leave the UK, but not the EU whilst in the UK. (Presumably the question would not be asked of a ‘free’ Scotland).

    In brief, the SNP’s dislike of the UK is more that the UK might be a brake on their statism than anything else. Hatred of the English is actually hatred of the (vestigial) freedom that England represents.

  • Andrew Duffin

    It’s already started actually.

    They have begun calling schoolchildren out of class for a “little chat with the school nurse” – who turns out to be not the school nurse at all, but some total stranger – presumably a Scottish Parliament apparatchik of some sort – who proceeds to ask the child all sorts of intrusive and highly personal questions. When parents later ask why their permission was not sought, what was asked, what was said, and where are the notes of the meeting, they are told it’s all confidential under “Data Protection” and they are not allowed to know anything about it.

    One must assume that the records of these “little chats” will be available in some database somewhere for any other statist satrap who wants to go fishing at some point in the future.

    To call this Stalinist is an under-statement; it’s Stalinist philosophy overlaid with “it’s all for your own good” and supported by modern technology.

    Is there any other supposedly modern allegedly democratic country where such stuff would be quietly nodded through and aquiesced to with no protests and not much comment?

  • My other half (SWMBO) grew up in Communist Czechoslovakia and told me that as a child, it was quite common for members of staff or ‘official strangers’ to ask children about their home life, and ask the class to draw what their house looked like from the inside, just as a harmless art project. What they were looking for was things like crosses on the wall in households not known to be overtly religious (the Czech dissidents tended to be secular but the Slovak ones were mostly Catholics).

    As she came from a dissident family, she was trained from a very early age how to respond to any ‘innocent’ questions from anyone who was not a family member, as so not to attract any suspicion.

    I imagine such parenting skills will soon be found in Scotland in the very near future, at least amongst any less than thrilled with the New Socialist Utopia.

  • Is there any other supposedly modern allegedly democratic country where such stuff would be quietly nodded through and aquiesced to with no protests and not much comment?

    Because it is perfectly democratic. Voters voted the people driving this shit into power. That is what happens in unrestrained democracies.

  • Raymond: I quite agree. I’ve always felt it would take a hell of a lot to induce me to even thinking about voting Labour, to the extent that I thought it was more or less impossible. But they’ve gone and done it. Politics in Scotland has swung so far towards the authoritarian Left that the party that brought Britain to the brink of ruin – twice – seems like vastly the lesser evil. Even without the looming threat of Balkanisation, I’d want rid of this dangerous and ugly mob. Their success genuinely scares me. See also this, and recall that we have a man in jail for singing songs.

    “In brief, the SNP’s dislike of the UK is more that the UK might be a brake on their statism than anything else. Hatred of the English is actually hatred of the (vestigial) freedom that England represents.”

    If I were in charge, that would be QOTD.

    “Scots Law was, in some ways, superior to English Law – before the new ‘Scottish Parliament’ was created and started to mess it up.”

    Or maybe that. One of the curious aspects of national socialism is that its followers believe that any superiority displayed by their nation is inherent, and can survive whatever they do to it. See also Scottish education.

  • AKM

    I live in a green and leafy part of mid Sussex, so my personal experience of what is going on in Scotland is inevitably limited. However thanks to the wonders of the internet I do have some acquaintances north of the border. What I understand from them is that Scottish voters as a whole are motivated by raw tribalism rather than belief in socialism. If the hated English tended towards socialism, the Scots would probably be voting classic liberal (“FREEDOM!”) just to spite us.

    To add to that I get the impression that more than a few English socialists are moving to Scotland to try to build their utopia and they undoubtedly add fuel to fire by regaling their comrades with tales about how horrible we are. We may be seeing is a degree of self sorting, with English socialists moving north and Scottish conservatives/libertarians moving south.

  • John Galt III

    “English Socialists are moving to Scotland to try to build their utopia…..”

    Why not move to Cuba. Their utopia exists right now, beloved by the left and great news too: its gulags are already built and occupied.

  • Perry,

    Outside the Kafka museum in Prague is a mobile statue of two blokes urinating on a map of Czechoslovakia. It amused me. I think the Czechs get statism. In fact I think they got it good and hard and behind the arras and elsewise.

    I love Prague. I must dig out my piccies of the Charles Bridge “Rodent balancer”.

  • Yes Prague is great and I even like Bratislava in small doses.

  • Mr Ed

    This quote from Ludwig von Mises in his book Omnipotent Government, written in 1944, came to mind contemplating Scotland, mutatis mutandis:

    The chiefs of the Nazi party and their Storm Troopers are sadistic gangsters. But the German intellectuals and German labor tolerated their rule because they agreed with the basic social, economic, and political doctrines of Nazism. Whoever wanted to fight Nazism as such, before the outbreak of the present war and in order to avoid it (and not merely to oust the scum which happens to hold office in present-day Germany), would have had to change the minds of the German people. This was beyond the power of the supporters of étatism.

  • John Mann

    For the first time in my life, I’m considering a tactical vote just to keep them out.

    Yes, Raymond. I’m considering voting for the party of Arthur Seldon this time.

    “Devolution” in Scotland is shown to have been more of a terrible blunder with each passing day.

    On the day of the vote, I voted “No” and “No”.

    “In brief, the SNP’s dislike of the UK is more that the UK might be a brake on their statism than anything else. Hatred of the English is actually hatred of the (vestigial) freedom that England represents.”

    If I were in charge, that would be QOTD.

    Seconded.

    What I find fascinating (and depressing) is that there has been almost no publicity about or opposition to NPI. I suspect that my neighbours love Big Brother.

  • AKM

    “Why not move to Cuba. Their utopia exists right now, beloved by the left and great news too: its gulags are already built and occupied.”

    Or Venezuela for that matter. Some of them might even prefer North Korea. I guess they like the idea that a socialist utopia should be cold and miserable like Russia rather than hot and miserable like the others.

  • Raymond

    One of the most troubling aspects of political discourse in Scotland is the way in which many nationalists now seem unable (or, as is more likely, unwilling) to differentiate between the interests of their political party and the interests of their country. I’m astonished and dismayed at the way that criticism of a political party is now routinely conflated with criticism of Scotland as a whole. That’s not an accident; that climate has been created by cynical, unscrupulous politicians and their thuggish lickspittles.
    If you’re not part of it, the whole thing looks more than a little bit cult-ish. You could say, in fact, that the SNP are a shower of cults.

  • Jaded Voluntaryist

    I’d started a job up here in Scotland the Brave New World (ht Brendan N’Neill) and had put all this out my mind. You’ve reminded me to resume looking for work outside Scotland. If I stay here they’ll make a criminal out of me. I value both my freedom and my privacy, and if some aparatchik comes round trying to deprive me of either, I can see myself going to town with my baseball bat.

    In a free society that would be called self defense. In Scotland I’d probably get life in prison. On the plus side, a life sentence up here is often only about 8 years……

  • andy

    I live in Scotland, it is slumping towards being the most fascist state in Europe. I plan to leave soon.

  • Thailover

    The thing about paternalistic church and state is that they want EVERYONE to be wards of the state. And they’re always going to frame it in a context of “it’s for the welfare of the kids”. Even Hitler did that.

  • Thailover

    AKM wrote: “Scottish voters as a whole are motivated by raw tribalism rather than belief in socialism”.

    There’s no difference between the two. Socialism can have a tribal chief or it can be mob rule (democracy). The same is true for tribes.

  • Thailover

    Perry wrote: “That is what happens in unrestrained democracies.”

    Indeed. It’s an unfortunate fact that most people are fearful sheep, (sheeple). Offer them the (false) security of a gilded pen and most people will hop at the chance. That sounds cynical I know, but I’m not cynical at all. It’s to be expected that people with courage and noble qualities will constitute a minority of the masses. It’s also unfortuate that Hellen Keller was right, security is an illusion. It doesn’t exist in nature. If you have “protectors” to protect you from reality, then who will protect you from the “protetors”?

  • Thailover

    Rocco: I’m assuming you’re trolling with irony, right?

  • Rocco: I’m assuming you’re trolling with irony, right?

    That is a very safe bet 😉

  • Midges and Mozzies,

    I have wondered Perry if you were related to Geoffrey.

  • NickM: Good point. The Nats actually like to cite Czechoslovakia as an example of the peaceful dissolution of a political union. But they miss two very important points. First, the Communist Czechoslovak state had all but collapsed, so something had to be put in its place anyway, and it might as well be two states as one. And second, it was a bleedin’ Communist dictatorship. Even though they kept the flag, the Czechs weren’t exactly weeping for its loss either. Everybody wanted less state power, not more.

    (They also, even more absurdly, point to the independence of the Baltic states from the collapsing USSR. To which I can only say ditto, with bells on.)

  • Quite Sam, such analogies are almost beyond parody.

  • Thailover, yeah… However the serious point is that this policy is simply the logical endpoint of, and absolutely consistent with, the belief that the state is there to improve your quality of life.

  • Well, yeah. If the Jocklanders wanna go all Braveheart on us then so be it. I couldn’t give a fucking toss. All I worry about is the future of our nuclear capacity. We mate nukes with air-launched Storm Shadow, with Type-45 destroyers and Astute class subs. Full spectrum. The French have SCALP-EG (basically Storm Shadow) on their ships that have the same VLS so why not? OK, the Astute is a fixer-upper because it is attempting to put the power of Lewis Hamilton’s Merc through the transmission of an Allegro. But get more (and better) and have a quiet word with Germany and the Israelis over the U-212/Dolphin subs. They are stunning.

  • AKM

    I’ve seen a quote of £12 billion for shifting the nuclear bases in Scotland to elsewhere. If that’s true it’s equal to less than 1 year of our gross contributions to the EU. These days the British Govt. can lose that much down the back of sofa without noticing and without anyone losing their jobs*.

    Shifting to nuclear Stormshadow is a bad idea though;
    >Much easier to intercept cruise missiles than ballistic missiles; lots of small and medium sized nations have the ability to spot and shoot them down with aircraft or low level air defenses which significantly reduces our deterrent. Very few nations have anti-ballistic missiles.
    >Very short range compared to SLBM so the launching platform is at increased risk and it may take much longer to get it to a launch position, with increased risk that it will be detected and sunk before it can complete its’ mission.
    >When we launch conventional Stormshadows, our adversary might wonder if we’re firing the nuclear ones and react accordingly (the same problem exists with conventional ballistic missiles, which is why nuclear powers don’t normally use them).
    >Less flexible to use; Ballistic missiles usually air burst over the target to maximize the area of effect, conveniently this also reduces radioactive contamination. Unless you want to loft the cruise missile to a few hundred meters of altitude before detonation (with increased risk of detection and being shot down when it leaves ground cover) cruise missiles are basically limited to ground burst only.

    Take all these things together and it means you need a LOT more cruise missiles to achieve the same effect as we do with a few SLBMs. I very much doubt that this vast stockpile will be cheaper than Trident in practice. However if you’re looking to save money on defence; it might be worth considering the option to scrap Trident and replace it with a state of the art national anti-ballistic missile shield. Ideally we’d have both of them of course, but if we can only have one then the ballistic missile shield is the cheaper of the two.

  • Julie near Chicago

    “If you knew Rocco / Like I know Rocco …” there could be no question in your mind. *g*

    Perry. Your posting really is sickening. I would like to say “I hope you are happy,” but I suspect that actually your own kidney basin is quite full.

    I always thought of Scotland as part of Britain, the Mother Country. Sic transit gloria, I guess.

    Of course, it’s happening to all of us. And that only makes it worse.

  • Mr Ed

    Julie Scotland joined England and Wales as a bailout, it has carried on recenly as it started, and the more it gets, the more it hates England.

  • Nick (Self-Sovereignty) Gray

    Let’s just call the poor place ‘Scotopia’, and be done with it!

  • Julie near Chicago

    Thanks for the link, John Galt III; and thanks, Paul, for your remarks on Page 6. Today there are 1475 comments. Some people get it and some don’t.

    I especially liked the comments from “guest-oinonii” on P. 6 ( have to Expand Replies under Paul’s comment to read them). A few leads to writings by people like Judge Joseph Story in the 19th Cent. and St. George Tucker.

  • Julie near Chicago

    Well it shouldn’t “hate England,” Mr Ed. Tell it I said so. And what about the Scottish Enlightenment, none of this Continental nonsense!

  • […] with Scotland now setting up a truly Stalinist system of shadow parenting by state officials (H/T Samizdata) it would take a brave soul to try to win over a Muslim by pointing to our principles in the field […]

  • Thailover

    Nick,
    What a coicedence. All I care about is apple pie, as apple pie is about as relevant to hedgemonic socialism as nuclear subs are.