The government in Scotland is putting cab drivers through a new training course in which they are told they must spy on children they drive to schools – even getting out of the cab and going in to talk with teachers in the schools if they hear something that is concerning.
It’s all part of the nation’s “named person” program that, although challenged in court, is moving forward with implementation. It assigns an adult – who is not the child’s mother or father – to every youngster in the nation. That person is assigned to watch out for perceived educational, social, even spiritual deficiencies, and have them addressed even if parents object to the course of action demanded.
The newest page in the government spying program was uncovered by an organized campaign that is opposing the moves.
The group, called No2NP, or No to Named Persons, revealed a recording of a government official, Jim Terras, a Scottish Borders Child Protection Committee training officer, speaking about the new requirements for cab drivers, who often are contracted to take children to schools.
His comments came during a training day for volunteers under the GIRFEC, Getting It Right For Every Child, program.
“You will have a duty, a legal duty, to assist the named person. Right,” he said. “Now you can imagine the conversations I’ve been having whilst I’ve been doing taxi driver training. Right.
“We have over 600 taxi drivers, okay, are contracted to … transport young children, adults at risk of harm, you know to various places, and I have to explain to them that if they’re covered by the GIRFEC system…. they as taxi drivers also have a duty to tell us what’s been happening.
“This idea of what happens in the taxi stays in the taxi doesn’t exist anymore, you’ve got to tell us ’cause it’s a legal duty.”
He said the drivers have said, “It’s not our job.”
“Now we’re saying ‘well it is now. If you’ve got a contract for the council.”
He explained how far drivers must go.
“If a child tells you something in the actual front seat of the car, okay, or behind you, that this happened last night, and all the rest of it … and you’re concerned about it …. A lot of them didn’t think to get out of the car at the school and go in and speak to the teachers. I had to explain to them that that was the step that they should take.”
Hear the instructions:
Officials with the Christian Institute, which has been opposing the invasive program, said a spokesman for opponents, Simon Calvert, had described the move as “Stasi-like,” referring to the once-powerful secret police of the former East Germany.
Calvert accused the government of “bullying 600 hard-working taxi drivers in the Borders to inform on their passengers.”
“Cabbies are being told that it is their legal duty to routinely disclose the details of passengers’ ordinary family life. This is not about reporting abuse or neglect. It’s about passing on information to the state about the day to day happiness of young people,” he said. “The people enforcing this sinister scheme seem to have no concept of respecting privacy. For them, it’s all about the power to snoop.”
The Institute is among those fighting the plan in court, with its case now pending before the UK Supreme Court. It also could end up before the courts in Europe.
The Scottish Daily Mail called the move “chilling” and WND previously reported that the program also includes procedures for reporting parents to authorities for not giving a child enough “love, hope and spirituality.”
Government health adviser Bob Fraser said last year at a conference for childcare workers in Edinburgh that the “named person” program is about ensuring “positive well-being” for all children, not just for those identified as “in need.”
A spokesman for a campaign opposing the law, No to Named Persons, at the time called Fraser’s stated intentions for the law a “dark, deeply worrying and insidious development.”
“Apparently, the named person will police family life according to some ever-shifting ‘happiness index.’ It’s an impossible standard for parents to measure up to,” the spokesman said, according to the Scottish Daily Mail.
Liz Smith, Scottish Conservative party spokeswoman, said it’s “exactly the sort of nonsense which critics of the named person scheme feared would happen.”
“Parents will be horrified at the suggestion of being targeted because a state guardian doesn’t regard their home as sufficiently spiritual,” she said, according to the Scottish Press.
WND has reported extensively on Scotland’s “named person” plan, which requires that a government worker be named to oversee the development of every child under age 18.
Under the program, the government worker would have the authority to make decisions for the child that the parents might oppose.
Queen’s Counsel Aidan O’Neill explained the case.
“[It’s a] Big Brother law which threatens every family in the land and diminishes the rights and responsibilities of mums and dads to look after their children as they see fit,” he said.
A social worker, Maggie Mellon, has spoken out against the plan.
See her statement:
The law, she said, would “bring about the end of family life as we know it.”
WND has reported the concept of a government watchdog for each child comes from the philosophy of the United Nations.
“This law shows the natural progression for a country that has ratified the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child and attempts to live up to its treaty provisions,” said Michael Donnelly, director of international relations for Home School Legal Defense Association.