State ‘Nanny’ Plan Described as ‘Sinister’

Proposal might even violate human rights laws on privacy,  family

nanny-stateFrom, Bob  Unruh, 08/10/13 –  A bill in Scotland that would assign every minor a government “nanny” with  the legal authority to ensure they are raised in a government-approved manner  has faced headwinds from family and homeschool organizations, and now the  lawyers are lining up against it.

WND reported earlier that parents in  Scotland are fighting the “anti-parent” proposal. According to the Home  School Legal Defense Association, the measure would assign a government  social worker, or “named person, to ‘[promote, support or safeguard the  well-being” of every child from birth.

The government worker would have considerable authority to order what the  child and parents must do regarding matters such as schooling, health and social  activities.

It’s part of an initiative that calls for “Getting it Right for Every  Child.”

But now the Scottish  Express reports the Law Society of Scotland has warned that the plan could  violate European human rights laws, and one expert described the idea as  “sinister.”

“The proposals could interfere with Article 8 of ECHR, the right to respect  for private and family life, as there is scope for interference between the role  of the ‘named person’ and the exercise of a parent’s rights and  responsibilities,” said the Law Society’s Morag Driscoll.

“It could be interpreted as disproportionate state interference,” she  said.

The nation’s Schoolhouse Home Education Association said the legislation “is  open to abuse and misinterpretation and many parents could fall foul of  overzealous agents of the state or people who are just plain busybodies.”

It  was First Minister Alex Salmond who recently called the plan “sinister.”

The Children and Young People Bill, the Scottish Express said, also would  mean children’s personal details can be recorded, stored and shared through a  central database.

“The legislation would also allow children who are angry with their parents  to report them to their named person, with potentially devastating  consequences,” the report said. “Hundreds of parents have already signed an  online petition demanding the Big Brother-style proposals are ditched.”

It was an unidentified spokeswoman for the Scottish government who explained  the idea.

“The protection and promotion of the well-being of Scotland’s children and  our aim of making our nation the best place for children to grow up are at heart  of the Children and Young People Bill,” she said. “Our focus is on the safety  and protection of children. The named person, who is likely to be a health  visitor, head or deputy head teacher and will usually already know the child,  will be a first point of contact if help is needed. This is formalizing what  should already happen and there is evidence it is working well in many areas. We  are confident it is compliant with European law.”

However, the  Law Society raised questions.

Driscoll said the policy aims behind the legislation “are admirable and we  recognize the genuine effort to improve the lives of children and young people  in Scotland.”

“However, we are not convinced that this legislation achieves those aims,”  she said.

“We are also unclear about how this legislation will work in practice and in  particular, the resources required to administer the ‘named person’ scheme.”

WND reported that Will Estrada,  director of federal relations for the HSLDA, believes the idea is an outgrowth  of the general belief held by organizations such as the United Nations that  government knows best for everyone.

“This is an example of why HSLDA opposes ratification of [various] U.N.  treaties,” Estrada said. “The argument that these treaties are mere altruistic  expressions melts away when you look at what is happening in the legislatures of  countries who ratify the treaties and try to live up to their treaty  obligations. A ‘named-person’ for every child and national databases? No  thanks.”

When WND reported earlier on the  issue, it was noted that while the number of child-abuse cases in Scotland  has remained about the same over the last five years, the incidents that do  occur have received more media attention.

The new  bill that came as a response has been praised by Aileen Campbell, the  nation’s minister for children and young people.

“This government’s vision for children and young people is clear: We want  Scotland to be the best place in the world for them to grow up,” she said.

The proposal outlines that a social worker will look after and monitor the  child to be certain the child’s rights are not being violated based upon the  standards of the United Nations Conference on the Rights of the Child.

“A local authority is to make arrangements for the provision of a named  person service in relation to each child residing in its area,” the new proposal  explains.

author-imageBob Unruh joined WND in 2006 after nearly  three decades with the Associated Press, as well as several Upper Midwest  newspapers, where he covered everything from legislative battles and sports to  tornadoes and homicidal survivalists. He is also a photographer whose scenic  work has been used commercially.


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