Big Brother is watching you. This time it comes in the form of a “Named Person” that will be assigned to every child under 18 in Scotland, and parents will be reported for infractions as innocent as missing and rescheduling a doctor’s appointment, under a bill recently passed by the Scottish Parliament.
No. This isn’t a satirical commentary on an imaginary dystopian society conceived by a creative novelist. This is happening right now, today, in the UK.
Parents have already begun receiving letters from National Health Service physicians, according to WND, saying, “We are now required to inform the Named Person for your child if your child fails to attend an appointment.” Parents are furious about this latest Nanny State encroachment into the lives of their families. One has called it “a monstrous invasion of family life.”
A provision of the Children and Young People Bill requires that a “named person,” a government social worker, be appointed for every child born in the nation. That person’s role would be to “promote, support and safeguard the well being” of the child according to the standards of the state, writes the Scottish Sunday Express.
Liz Smith, a spokeswoman for the Tories’ young people, expresses her concerns with the new bill: “It fundamentally undermines the role of parents and families, the vast majority of whom are doing a thoroughly good job of bringing up their children, and who have absolutely no need or any wish to have a named person.”
Although the law is not to be implemented until 2016, the named person provision, along with the intrusiveness therein, is already taking place is some areas, two years ahead of schedule.
There is much opposition to the measure. Lawyers from the Christian Institute are preparing a legal challenge to the plan. They have written to the Scottish government, stating that the “lawmakers are overstepping their authority.” Colin Hart, director of the Institute, writes:
“This is the kind of situation we have been warning about since MSPs decided to meddle with the rights of families to have a private life. The state seems intent on usurping the role of parents and reducing them to helpless spectators in the lives of their children. Mums and dads should be very afraid of this kind of Big Brother invasion into their lives and their homes.”
Schoolhouse HEA cites concerns that the term “well being” may be broadly defined, putting innocent families at risk. Clearly the reporting of parents who miss a doctor’s appointment shows how the broad language is already threatening the autonomy of parents.
The Homeschool Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) is also concerned about the ramifications for families. Michael Donnelly, HSLDA’s director of international relations, has linked the bill to a United Nations treaty that has provoked fears that it will to lead to frightening consequences. He writes, “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.”
A broad coalition of groups and individuals opposed to the Big Brother bill will convene on Monday for a “No To Named Persons” conference, as attorneys are putting the final touches on their case.
Sociologist Dr. Stuart Waiton, of Abertay University, chairs the conference. He has been a leading academic voice against the bill, reports the Scotsman. Dr. Waiton writes:
“This conference has support from a whole range of individuals and organisations from across the political spectrum who can see that the government has gone far too far here and needs to recognise that it cannot and must not interfere in people’s lives unnecessarily in this way.”
Recent years have seen the erosion of parental rights, frequently under the guise of medicine. Stories are increasing at a frightening pace, such as the Justina Pellitier case, the vaccine blackmail of Aliea Bidwell, and the CPS kidnapping of Anna and Alex Nikolayev’s baby because they took their baby for a second opinion. However, rarely has that medical tyranny been encoded into law.
The “Named Person” bill appears poised to pose a clear legal threat to parental autonomy in Scotland. Is this a case of Nanny Government and Big Brother going too far, or should parents sit back and allow this provision to erode their liberty as parents of their own children?
[images via bing and Shutterstock]