Opponents of a Scottish government plan to assign a state guardian to every child from birth until the age of 18 are appealing a judge’s rejection of their legal challenge.
Three judges will be asked to reconsider the impact of the mandatory nanny-type monitors for every child after Judge Lord Pentland dismissed the case last year without acting on the claim made in Edinbugh’s Court of Session that it violates human rights, according to the Christian Institute, which advocates for religious and family rights in the United Kingdom.
The institute explained that under the plan, a so-called “named person” will be given the authority to share information with a wide range of public authorities and intervene without parental consent.
It’s scheduled to be fully implemented a little more than a year from now.
When it was announced, Scottish opponents created the No To Named Persons campaign.
“We are now more convinced than ever that this legislation is wrong for children, wrong for families and wrong for Scotland,” a campaign spokesman said.
The government recently released details of the program, described by the opponents’ spokesman as “109 pages of impenetrable, incoherent and incomprehensible politically correct double speak.”
The opponents warn that while “the views of the child and parents are valued,” it should be made clear that “their consent is not being sought, and the Named Person may, where appropriate, share information without consent.”
The institute, which was part of the team that brought the challenge to the court, quoted its legal representative, Queen’s Counsel Aidan O’Neill.
“We have the opinion of one judge on this matter, but it is often the case that when such important and fundamental issues are being considered the matter goes before a bench of three or more,” he said.
O’Neill described the plan, which apparently is intended to satisfy the state’s demand for monitoring of children and families, as 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.”
In his ruling, Pentland concluded it’s “a matter for the legislature to decide whether the wellbeing of children is likely to be promoted by having a near-universal system for appointing Named Persons.”
Among issues that already have developed with the government plan, teachers are being encouraged to contact the appointed government official with any concerns about sex education, rather than a child’s parents.
“It beggars belief that a teacher with concerns about the wellbeing of a child – including underage sexual activity, which is a serious criminal offense – should be told by the government to pass on those concerns to the Named Person and not the child’s parents,” the campaign said in a statement.
WND reported the institute’s director, Colin Hart, who serves with the No 2 Named Persons campaign, said the “blanket nature of this law degrades the image of the family and derides the work of the vast majority of parents.”
“It also encourages suspicion among professionals about the dangers parents represent to their children,” he said.
The government guardian for each child would have access to all information about the child, whether the parents allow it or not, and could make recommendations and suggestions about the child’s upbringing.
Parents would be allowed to decline the guardian’s advice, but the guardian would “be able to share information with a wide range of public authorities and may intervene without parental consent.”
Along with the Christian Institute, the case was brought by the Christian charity CARE, Tymes Trust and the Family Education Trust.
The institute said parents James and Rhianwen McIntosh and Deborah Thomas are also part of the legal proceedings, because they were told their child’s private medical reports would be given to a state agent.
A social worker, Maggie Mellon, has spoken out against the plan, too.
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.