Named Person scheme – ‘Stalinist blueprint for a happy childhood’

Graham Grant, Home Affairs Editor for the Scottish Daily Mail has written a stark warning against the Named Person scheme, branding it a “Stalinist blueprint for a happy childhood”.

Commenting on recent remarks by Bob Fraser, the civil servant driving forward the Named Person scheme, he said: “It may have sounded at first like a calm explanation of a sensible policy. But, in reality, what was presented was a chilling manifesto for effectively outsourcing parenting to the state and to its legion of officials”.

He continued: “In essence, government officials have been quietly drawing up guidelines for a happy childhood – a kind of Stalinist, state-endorsed blueprint for a healthy and contented upbringing, which must be adhered to at all costs.

“This idea of compulsory compliance with a set of government-imposed ideals is, of course, a facet of totalitarian states, which rely on the micromanagement and strict regulation of private and family life.

“The ‘enforcers’ are the named persons themselves – mainly health visitors and head teachers – who will log perceived deficiencies in the child, perhaps demanding confidential medical records to back up their concerns”.

Fraser, the Getting it Right for Every Child health adviser in the Scottish Government’s Better Life Chances unit, suggested parents could be judged on how much they show their child ‘love, hope and spirituality’.

Grant commented on this point stating: “By setting arbitrary yardsticks based on ‘love, hope and spirituality’ – which, in any event, may seem more appropriate for a New Age commune – the named persons hope to uncover ‘problems’ that previously did not exist.

“Parents may soon be asked imponderable questions such as: ‘Have you thought about imbuing your child with more hope?’ Or: ‘Did you realise your child was falling short on the “spirituality” index?’

“Hope is a subjective concept and once the state is in charge of its definition, the scope for its abuse becomes clear. Ultimately, why should the state have a clearer idea of what hope and happiness mean than parents, or anyone else?”

Grant also commented on the “scale of intrusion” the Named Person scheme poses warning that it is “far greater than most people realise”.

He writes: “Pivotal to the smooth operation of the system is the free flow of personal information between public bodies. The named person can demand sensitive personal information, for example, from the NHS, if they believe the circumstances demand it.

“In fact, the named person will be assigned to children while they are still in the womb. Yet how many prospective parents are aware of this horrifying detail – an act of antenatal appropriation by state officials?”

Source: The Scottish Daily Mail, 02 June 2015

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