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Sixty pages

Tom Peterkin of The Scotsman reports:

Revealed: what can happen when a Named Person reports on your children

The Named Person scheme is to be rolled out across Scotland in August but one father’s experience of the pilot rings alarm bells for its many opponents

The handwritten note on an official form read: “Mr Smith feels it is impossible to stop his youngest son from sucking his thumb as he needs it for comfort. Did not appear to take advice on board fully.”

The words, written by the two-year-old thumbsucker’s Named Person, sent a shiver down the spine of Andrew Smith [not his real name], a father-of-two young boys and a respected academic at one of Scotland’s leading universities.

Contained within a 60-page document that had been compiled about his family, the note referred to a blister which had appeared on the toddler’s thumb as a result of the childhood habit. It also suggested Smith contact his GP if the blister became “hot to touch or very red”.

Smith, whose name has been withheld to protect the identities of his children, grew more alarmed as he leafed through the document, the vast majority of which had been redacted.

The surviving extracts appeared to indicate that the minutiae of his family life had been recorded in painstaking detail for almost two years, under a Named Person scheme which has been introduced in his part of the country ahead of its final roll-out across all of Scotland in August. A separate note made by the Named Person charged with keeping an eye on the academic’s two little boys was concerned with nappy rash.

It says elsewhere in the story that someone – exactly who was redacted – had reported this man because his kid had a snotty nose. It is a standing joke how quickly you go from tut-tutting at that sight to sympathizing with the parent once you have children yourself. As one of the commenters to this story, “Badenoch”, says,

There is a lot in this act which gives control over a child and it contain some ‘deceptive’ language with words like ‘wellbeing’. What does that mean legally?

Excerpts from the act.

“the wellbeing of a child or young person is being or would be—promoted, safeguarded, supported, affected, or subject to an effect.

“assess the wellbeing of the child or young person by reference to the extent to which the child or young person is or, as the case may be, would be—Safe, Healthy, Achieving, Nurtured, Active, Respected, Responsible, and Included.

If a child picking blackberries falls into a shallow burn and siblings, friends or parents laugh at the child’s misfortune. Has the child been placed in danger, poorly supervised, bullied and excluded? Or Has it been encouraged, active, nurtured and included? Who decides and once written down, and read by a third party, can it then change into something sinister ?

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55 comments to Sixty pages

  • Jim

    The Scots have voted overwhelmingly for a mixture of nationalistic fascism and Big Brother style boot in face socialism and now they are going to get it good and hard.

    Good. Maybe when they’ve experienced what evils the State is capable of a few times they might be slightly more inclined to voted for ‘Less State’ next time round. Some electorates have to learn the hard way.

  • llamas

    A Prodnose’s Charter.

    Of course, children whose well-being is actually at risk will not be flagged by this process. Parents who abuse or neglect their children will be overlooked, ignored or missed, for all the same ‘social justice’ reasons that cause the ‘caring services’ to overlook, ignore or miss them now. I think I’m right in saying that, in every one of the horrific, headline-grabbing child abuse or neglect cases in the UK in recent memory, the ‘social services’ were fully aware of the children involved, but did nothing, either because they were just plain incompetent, or because they feared being accused of racism, sexism, class-ism or any one of a hundred other ‘isms’. This will be no different.

    The only effects (of any sort) will be felt by white, middle-class, cis-gendered parents of fixed abode, with regular employment and ordered habits of life. These people’s children will be monitored to a fare-thee-well. All others will be given the same ‘social justice’ passes as they currently enjoy. Actual child abuse and neglect will not be diminished in the slightest.

    llater,

    llamas

  • Gene

    I’m sorry to say that those nitwits that a) are responsible for this scheme or b) support it will have to be taught a lesson the hard way. Does this system allow a mechanism for anonymous reporting of suspicions about other families?

  • Sigivald

    Tar and feather the lot of them.

  • So what happens legally if a family simply refuses to cooperate and says openly “No, we will not allow a state commissar to monitor our child”?

  • Fraser Orr

    @llamas
    > Actual child abuse and neglect will not be diminished in the slightest.

    All your other points I agree with wholeheartedly, however, this one is not strong enough. On the contrary, child abuse and neglect will no doubt be increased, because more children will be put under the terrifyingly neglectful and abusive domain of the state.

    This one law is at least one reason I will NEVER move my children back to Scotland, even though I grew up there. It is utterly terrifying, and the total benignity of the response by Scottish people is almost zombie like. I have asked relatives about it and the typical response is “Ooch, I never gave it much thought….”

    Perhaps we can make this more effective. Why not force Scottish people to install software that keeps their web cams on so that they can properly be monitored for abuse and neglect? And we can also use the same software to send useful messages about parenting and good citizenship to their computer screens? How about we call the software “telescreen”? Yup, sounds like a great name.

    I guess it is a blessing that freedom in Airstrip One lasted thirty years longer than originally predicted.

  • Alisa

    I have asked relatives about it and the typical response is “Ooch, I never gave it much thought….”

    My guess is that even that same academic in the report – or if not he, others just like him – could be one of those people who ‘never gave it much thought’. That said though, I’m not one to gloat at the misfortune of others, even though it is the result of their own ignorance, complaisance or stupidity. Malice is a different matter, but then there are children involved… Damn, this is just so depressing.

  • Ramspace

    The Named Person scheme is entirely horrifying, but consider this passage (from the Scottish government website):

    When the child or young person, their parent(s), or someone who works with them raises a concern, a Named Person will carefully consider the situation by asking five questions:

    1. What is getting in the way of this child’s or young person’s wellbeing?
    2. Do I have all the information I need to help this child or young person?
    3. What can I do now to help this child or young person?
    4. What can my agency do to help this child or young person?
    5. What additional help, if any, may be needed from others?

    Do you notice that a “concern” is assumed to be proof of harm? There is no room to consider that a “concern” may be mistaken or even deliberately false. One might quibble that “do I have all the information” could be interpreted as a call for due diligence–but the emphasis is on action. These guys sum up the dangers pretty well: NO

  • As I said over at Counting Cats yesterday, it occurred to me recently that with the lowering of the voting age in Scotland, there will be voters with assigned Named Persons. (If the “child” is in full-time education, they’ll continue to stick their noses in take an interest until the age of 18.)

    I remember some of my earliest comments here were about the proposed ID database, and how, even if the then-present government could be trusted to use it responsibly (if), putting the machinery of totalitarianism in place is always dangerous. If there’s one thing that resembles that machinery more than a national database, it’s voters with state-appointed “guardians” compiling fat dossiers on their lives.

  • Nemo

    Not surprised to see Baby P mentioned in the story, who had been involved multiple times with the venal cretins of Haringey Council prior to his death, nor that Caleb Ness, the other infanticide mentioned, was also already in the system. Funny how the public sector don’t actually address their own incompetence, but instead just seek to broaden their activities – to spy on a whole nation in this case! No doubt more children will be taken into care in Scotland because a social work graduate deems the child not to be ‘nurtured’ or ‘respected’, only to face the appalling prospects of children in care in Rotherham, etc. Still, you get the government you deserve.

  • Julie near Chicago

    Fraser, unless your children are older than you, don’t be too sanguine about the goings-on in the “Department ofChildren and Family Services” [sic!] in the ungreat State of Illinois, nor in your adoptive country more generally.

    “DCFS” — my pet name for them is DefCon. The Narc Lady next door, knowing nothing whatsoever about the facts, reported my husband and me to DefCon for possible neglect and abuse back when the Young Miss was seven or eight. A social worker/State busybody duly came around. Neighbors, schoolteachers, and the pediatrician were all interviewed, explained the circumstances, and gave us a clean bill of health.

    Nevertheless, DefCon “determined” that the neglect or abuse was “found” (government agencies in general have a real problem with English) and we were put on probation for seven years. I will spare you all a recital of the effects on our family and on the other kids’ taunting of my daughter.

    This was a bit more than thirty years ago.

    The goings-on in Scotland are frightening. And it’s all very well to say “they’re getting what they deserve, good and hard” or words to that effect, but it’s hard to believe that every single Scot to a man and woman deserves what he will get; let alone the children in general.

  • Runcie Balspune

    Not wishing to provide an excuse for this sort of behavior, but the Named Person is also under pressure as anything serious that happens to the child that was missed in their copious note taking would undoubtedly bring their own duties into question. Obviously we as libertarians can see this sort of thing happening a mile away, but it takes instances like this to get others not so intuitive to wake up. Give a government person and government job and they are virtually forced to behave in this manner, after all, they are not actually concerned with the child in question, only their own pension. Unfortunately the lesson is normally short lived, I can remember what happened in Rochdale when over zealous social workers got religion all of a sudden after watching Rosemary’s Baby.

  • Philip Scott Thomas

    So what happens legally if a family simply refuses to cooperate and says openly “No, we will not allow a state commissar to monitor our child”?

    Genuine question: does anyone know what happens in England if parents refuse to entertain the health visitor after the birth of a child? What if the new parents wanted nothing to do with the State once the child is delivered?

  • Laird

    The proper response is a series of anonymous sex offense charges being leveled against Named Persons. Not necessarily one with whom you are associated; random ones will do, and might even be preferable. It’s even better if the charges are totally false. Destroy enough of these people’s lives and you’ll soon have a shortage of candidates for the positions.

    Julie, if someone did that to me he/she would soon be filing a fire insurance claim. Arson is very difficult to prove.

  • Gene

    Runcie, a very good point about the incentives of the government worker. It reminds me of the stories I often see about the North Korean government’s response to signs of grumbling or unrest in one or another sector, or for instance the recent story about a group of NK restaurant workers (i.e., slaves) who walked off the job in their restaurant in China and across the border into South Korea. Invariably, cadres of secret police or other officials are dispatched to get to the bottom of the problem, and the one outcome you can be sure will NOT occur is that the “crime” will remain unsolved. The event WILL go on the books as a crime, even if it isn’t, and there WILL be punishment, even if the officials can’t catch and punish the actual perpetrator.

  • I am totally with Laird on this. On both counts.

  • Alisa

    I’m not sure how many of these Named Dro…sorry, Persons, have children of their own. And even then, I’m not sure I would want to punish their children for the deeds of their parents.

  • PeterT

    It is hard to see how this programme could become anything but deeply unpopular with the middle class given how intrusive it is. Well I hope so.

    One might hope that in England the presumption of innocence which is a necessary condition of lawful rule would provide some protection…

    We really need to get our own country fast. And have nukes.

  • I would have to disagree, Alisa, not because I have anything against the children of these commissars, but because in war, one should not hesitate to shoot an enemy soldier just because they might have blameless children.

    This particular war is not one in which people are being shot, but it is a war nevertheless, and one must fight with the weapons to hand. And as in all guerilla wars, those weapons are almost always taken from your enemy and then used against them. Laird’s suggestion is very much a case in point. The Named Person programme is so grotesque, so extreme, so utterly Orwellian, that frankly opposing it with any sense of restraint is unconscionable.

  • Mr Ed

    And even then, I’m not sure I would want to punish their children for the deeds of their parents.

    said Bomber Harris never.

  • Alisa

    You are not shooting at soldiers who happen to have children, but rather at a soldier who is holding his child in his hands – i.e. you are shooting at their children as much as at them.

    That said, my point was not to say that you are wrong or I am right – just that I feel that I wouldn’t do it, at least the way I see it from the comfort of my laptop right now. I might have very well felt differently if I and my children happened to have been on the receiving end of that Named Person scheme – I’d like to think that I wouldn’t, but I don’t know. I do know that I don’t wish on anyone to ever find out, and that whoever came up with this idea should burn in hell.

  • Alisa

    This particular war is not one in which people are being shot, but it is a war nevertheless

    Damn right it is.

  • Hanah Myers

    You are not shooting at soldiers who happen to have children, but rather at a soldier who is holding his child in his hands – i.e. you are shooting at their children as much as at them.

    Yeah, and the only way for them to keep their kiddies safe is to become a non-combatant by no longer threatening other people’s kiddies. Much as if you don’t want an enemy to target your kiddies, don’t build a military facility next to a school and then wail with dismay when bomb lands on them. Of course Hamas often do exactly that.

  • Alisa

    Hanah, Israel does not target their kiddies – in fact, it does its damnest to avoid hitting them. And as an Israeli, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

  • just re-watched the original Swedish version of the Millennium Trilogy. Lisbeth Salander’s fictional experiences seem to have no resonance in Scotland. OK so that’s just fiction. What can possibly go wrong with entrusting child welfare to The State and the wonderful concept of Named persons? Rotherham anyone?
    Regressive is as regressive does. There’s no sanction like unaccountable bureaucracy.

  • JohnK

    I wonder where the bullshit title of “Named Person” came from? I mean, we all have a name don’t we? You might as well have a “Named Person” to collect your rubbish.

    I suppose that the reason is that if Scottish National Socialism had decided to be honest (I am joking of course), they would have to have said that every Scottish child would have a State Guardian. They may have thought that that would be too much even for Scots, who have a strange affection for socialism, even though it has brought them nothing but economic decline for a century.

  • Fred the Fourth

    I too am on file somewhere, probably in San Mateo County in California, as a person reported as an abuser of his own child.
    This happened (c. 1990) because I made the mistake of trusting a (private) school counselor with some information about home discipline; namely, that I occasionally tapped him lightly on the cheekbone with a finger or two to regain his attention during Serious Talks. I even demonstrated this (on my own face) to the counselor. The next day I got a call from CPS (Child Protective Services (don’t you just love how many such agencies are called “services”?)). I had been reported by the counselor as a potential abuser.
    Now, this could have ended badly but didn’t. The CPS person seemed a bit bemused by the situation, as my description of things tallied exactly with the counselor’s, and were clearly below the threshold of concern from CPS. She thanked me and rang off. However, my name is undoubtedly On File Somewhere. I am In The System.
    The counselor, by law, is a Mandatory Reporter, as are (e.g.) pediatricians. This means they have to report stuff or risk their own careers. If only I had merely beat my kid and kept my mouth shut, right?

  • Fred the Fourth

    And another thing. About all the extensive records of personal & private lives that are going to be generated by the Named Persons scheme.
    Also back in the 90s, I volunteered at a public school to tutor 6-7 year olds in reading. I was called the next year by the school to see if I was still available. When I agreed, they informed me there were new vetting procedures in place for volunteers who would be in direct contact with kids.
    I would have to agree to a fairly superficial criminal and employment check. OK, no big deal, but for some reason I was feeling a bit “off” about it. So I sent them email saying I’d agree to the check if they sent me copies of their security and retention policies. (i.e. Where are my record kept, who has access, and when will they be destroyed.) I had a sneaking suspicion that the school district had no such policies. Sure enough, their reply was dead silence, which meant either they had none, or were being typically secretive about stuff.
    So 1) they lost me as a tutor, and 2) I was again reminded that public agencies (services?) cannot be trusted with private info.
    Hmm. Wasn’t there a case about ten years back where some CD-ROMS or a laptop were lost from an official’s car, said storage apparently containing personal data on something like 30% of the kids in the UK? Someone more local might refresh our memories on this.

  • Fred the Fourth

    (I promise I’ll be done after this…)
    I forgot the ironic kicker about that tutoring / vetting thing: Turns out, since I was never alone with any kid (we were always in a corner of the classroom with the teacher right there), I didn’t actually need the vetting. At all.
    SNAFU

  • Nicholas (Excentrality!) Gray

    Makes you wonder if the stasi have moved to Scotland. I remember a science fiction novel by Peter Hamilton, “Misspent Youth”, in which the inventor of a datacube (fantastic memory storage) is given a rejuvenation treatment by a Europe grateful that he gave it away (which he did to spite the woman he was divorcing, something no-one knew). In the book, it was used to destroy copyright, since it made copying so easy, but I now think that some bureaucrat would use it for purposes like this- ‘fact’-gathering, and file-filling on ordinary people!

  • Thailover

    *”Arson is very difficult to prove.”*

    Never use accelerants.
    🙂

  • Julie near Chicago

    Laird, had I but known thee at the time! With you to provide the idea and the match, and Perry the encouragement, Justice would have been done indeed.

    Thai: Excellent advice. I shall keep it in mind, just in case the remedy should be required at some future time in order to restore Order.

  • Nemo

    Laird, “Arson is very difficult to prove” – indeed, and Scotland’s vocabulary reflects that: Glasgow’s got many fine, dilapidated Victorian edifices and when authorities blocked demolition in favour of costly renovation, many of them ‘went on fire’, and the owner would then entirely coincidentally be free to demolish the smoking shell and put something else in its place.

  • Mr Ecks

    The question is–what are the useless BluLabour shite in Westminster doing about this?

    Were I PM this would be halted and the Scots Parliament dissolved if need be. Devolution was not a licence to turn Scotland into East Germany on the Clyde.

    If this leads to Scot Independence so much the better. If that is the future the Scots want then let it be as a independent socialist shithole.

  • Hanah Myers

    Hanah, Israel does not target their kiddies – in fact, it does its damnest to avoid hitting them

    And Laird wasn’t suggesting targeting the kiddies either, they’re just collateral damage when you target the commissar parents (I love the idea of calling them commissars btw). This is also where the analogy breaks down: the weapon being discussed is accusing the commissars of being abusers. That’s what makes their kiddies collateral damage, but this weapon is the one the enemy created, and that’s what needs to be used against them. The fact it also hurts children and not just parents is a feature not a bug, because that’s how THEY designed it. So I’m with laird and Perry. This is war and you’ve got to fight with the weapons available that actually work, and this would work.

  • Alisa

    Hanah, I’ll leave it to Laird to explain what he was suggesting, but my point was precisely to demonstrate that your interpretation of his suggestion was wrong. It would very much target the kids directly, because the scheme does not concern the parents alone, it concerns the kids: in a least-worse case the kids would be monitored, questioned and generally filed into the system; in a worst case they would be removed from home “just in case”.

  • *”Arson is very difficult to prove.”*

    Never use accelerates.

    Unless the accelerants are already stored on the target premises, in which case the fire should be started as near to them as possible.

    Also a slightly unscrewed top on an accelerants can allows fumes to spread without giving rise to deliberate intent, especially since the consequential explosion will destroy evidence of tampering.

  • Andrew Duffin

    @Perry:

    “So what happens legally if a family simply refuses to cooperate and says openly “No, we will not allow a state commissar to monitor our child”?”

    Then you’ll be marked (in the secret file you’re not allowed to see) as “failing to co-operate with the professionals”.

    This chilling phrase is the beginning of a process which can end in your children being forcibly removed and adopted against your will.

    There are probably other coded phrases which are used when the parents have incorrect opinions on e.g. socialism, immigration, or global warming, but those codes have yet to be deciphered. I am sure we’ll have plenty of opportunity.

  • Hanah Myers

    in a worst case they would be removed from home “just in case”.

    Yeah, that’s what the weapon’s payload does. They made it, they’re using it, and I say use it on them too. My sister lost her children for four years. Four years. Four years. All because she didn’t know how to kowtow and her ex was a bitter shit. And that’s why I hate them even more than I fear them.

    If you’re too squeamish to fight to war with the weapons we have, then its not a war because they’ve won. I have a child too, and I’ve trained her what to do and say if that ever happens to us, and believe me, its not playing along with them because that doesn’t work. It is a name, rank and serial number approach, and some other things I’m not going to say. And bless her, she’s harder than I am and totally “gets it”.

  • Alisa

    If you’re too squeamish to fight to war with the weapons we have, then its not a war because they’ve won.

    You are being presumptuous, so hence this conversation is over – other than adding my sympathies to your sister.

  • Mr Ed

    Mr Ecks asks

    The question is–what are the useless BluLabour shite in Westminster doing about this?

    Nothing, it is a devolved matter and they can do nothing without primary legislation unraveling the Devolution of power to Scotland.

    And it’s not as if they care about freedom anyway, they could probably be talked into this by a couple of Harpy NGOs in an afternoon.

  • Cristina

    What is a young person? Is not a child a person? Is not a child young? Just curious.

  • What is a young person? Is not a child a person? Is not a child young? Just curious.

    Given the recent change in the law “Voter” would be one thing you could call the ward subject the In Loco Parentis provisions of the Named Person Scheme.

    May other names could suggest themselves, perhaps:
    – Victim
    – Abusee
    – Prey
    – Chicken (as per the prey of Chicken-hawks)
    – Target
    – Fresh Meat
    – Fair Game
    – Sacrifice
    – Offering

    …the list goes on…

  • Mr Ed

    Cristina,

    In law a ‘young person’ used to be anyone under 18. A child is and remains the same, although you can be a child if over 18 if claiming maintenance off a parent (e.g. to pay for University). But in Scotland, you are a ‘young person’ and subject to the Named Person if still in school education over 18. (Scottish education is quite distinct from the systems England, Wales and N. Ireland).

  • Jerry

    ‘My sister lost her children for four years….’
    Had someone taken my children from me, at that point I have nothing left and nothing left to lose.
    A man with nothing and nothing to lose can be extremely dangerous depending on what he has been taught and what he has been taught how to do. Just sayin’

  • Cristina

    In that case if a neighbor complains that the son of that 16-year-old mom next door misbehaves and mistreats her, she can be assigned a Named Person, right?

  • In that case if a neighbor complains that the son of that 16-year-old mom next door misbehaves and mistreats her, she can be assigned a Named Person, right?

    We both know that “Named Persons” will only be appointed from within the collective.

    This is just an excuse to massively increase surveillance and the size of government.

    The only way to opt-out is to leave the country or stop having kids/sex.

  • Alisa

    Indeed, Jerry.

  • Natalie Solent (Essex)

    Cristina and Mr Ed, the SNP government gave the 16 and 17 year olds a vote in the independence referendum and have advocated that the voting age generally be lowered to 16. Yet these same 16 year old voters can also be subject to a state guardian. I think I see a pattern.

  • Deep Lurker

    Is not a child a person?

    I have long held that there are two fundamental views of children: That they are pets who can talk, or that they are small people who do not yet know very much. The wrong one is winning.

    David Friedman

  • Paul Marks

    Very disturbing.

  • Duncan S

    “Yet these same 16 year old voters can also be subject to a state guardian.”

    Not CAN; WILL.

  • Cristina

    They ARE, Duncan S

  • Mr Ed

    Well the SNP are now set with 63 seats with a majority being 65 for the Scottish Parliament, so it may be a an ‘SNP-Green’ pact or the like for the minority government or some form of confidence agreement, to ensure continued vileness. One might hope that this might lead them to moderating their sinister Named Person project, but I doubt that a “Yellow-Green” or ‘Vomit’ pact would mean that any change was on the cards.