We thought we should post an update on the GIRFEC judicial review appeal hearing at the Court of Session in Edinburgh before judges Lord Carloway, Lord Malcolm and Lord Bracadale. It is to be hoped that three judicial heads are better than one, especially given the good Lords’ recent victory in protecting their own privacy from invasion by snoopers.
“We are asking the court to look behind the Government’s rhetoric and see how this is not about protecting vulnerable children. It is about making the state a co-parent…”
Here are some nuggets from the hearing which have been posted on our forums:
Aidan O’Neill QC, representing the campaigners, quotes Baroness Hale, The Deputy President of the Supreme Court… “Taking a child away from her family is a momentous step, not only for her, but for her whole family, and for the local authority which does so. In a totalitarian society, uniformity and conformity are valued. Hence the totalitarian state tries to separate the child from her family and mould her to its own design. Families in all their subversive variety are the breeding ground of diversity and individuality. In a free and democratic society we value diversity and individuality. Hence the family is given special protection in all the modern human rights… “The child is not the mere creature of the State”
That very same quote was used by lawyer Allan Norman in his response (commissioned by home educators) to the CHYP consultation.
Aidan goes on, brilliantly:
“There is no provision to object to the appointment of a named person. The Provision says every child needs it. That Says that parents are not capable on their own. That is Wrong. The Vast bulk of parents bring up their children perfectly well in their diversity and difference, to ensure their wellbeing.
“For the state to assume a responsibility for every child regardless of need or threat of harm, to take on rights to collate and share data about them, is to go beyond what we properly expect from a democratic society that respects families and respects diversity.”
“Gathering data on every child will lead to too much white noise. Those who do need help will get lost in the welter of data and information on every child in Scotland.”
“The Named Person is to be active in relation to every child. That is why the legislation is problematic. Allows for the state to interfere in the private life of every child and family in Scotland, even those where there is no need, no risk of harm, in relation to the child.
“There is no connection [in this law] with the protection of the vulnerable child because in most families there is no vulnerable child. In most families their wellbeing is assured within that family environment. Private family life is impacted adversely.”
“Cannot justify law with blanket coverage by reference to claim that everyone is potentially vulnerable and so the state should regulate the conduct of those who aren’t vulnerable just in case they become vulnerable.”
“The Government says Named Person is ‘being made available’ and families don’t have to avail themselves of it. That is euphemism. The law is appointing a NP, without consent, to every family in Scotland. You have no option. The NP is appointed and carries out their duties. The court should not be misled by newspeak euphemisms.”
“Securing wellbeing is a matter for the parents, not for the state. NP is predicated on the idea that those are matters for the state and that the proper relationship is for the child to be able to bypass its parents, go outside the family environment, and have a relationship with the state, and for state to bypass parents and have a direct relationship with the child.
“Subverts the family and supplants parents. That is to go too far. Not the kind of approach properly expected from a democratic society which respects the human rights of the organic societies and organisations which make up society, the fundamental one being the family.”
And what is meant by “wellbeing”?… O’Neill quotes from the Policy Memorandum to the NP legislation: “‘Wellbeing’ is a term commonly used about an individual’s development. It can mean different things, ranging from mental health to a wider vision of happiness”. Read full quote here (page 5)
“Named Persons scheme means the state is to safeguard, support and promote the wellbeing of children, from their mental health to ‘a vision of happiness’. That is not the role of the state. State should respect the family, not come in and act as if it knows best. Worse than the nanny state because the nanny at least is answerable to the parents”.
Aidan O’Neill, QC representing the campaigners opposing the Named Person scheme, tells the court that aside from not being able to opt out parents have to positively cooperate with the Named Person or risk being characterised as ‘hostile’ or ‘non-engaging’ which would lead to further state involvement.
“Most families don’t need the engagement of the state to deal with the challenges in bringing up their child.”
On day two of the hearing, it was the turn of Alistair Clark QC, an interesting choice of advocate, to put the Scottish Government’s ‘case’ for GIRFEC data theft.
Alistair Clark QC, representing the Scottish Government, has claimed in court that the Named Person scheme will not create interference in family life.
Scottish Government lawyer believes the severity of the interference would be “at most minimal.”
He says having an opt out would “defeat the purpose of the scheme.”
The Govt QC has told the court the Named Person law is not restricted to children at immediate risk of harm. He says we are “moving on” from that.
So that’s what “progressive” really means! A slide into totalitarianism.
Apparently the presence of the Named Person law on the statute book “doesn’t interfere with human rights at all.”
Spot the contradictions? Parents on Facebook and Twitter were suitably scathing.
Advantage O’Neill in the summing up statements:
Aidan O’Neill QC, for the opponents of the Named Person scheme, says the interference in private life is that there is a state functionary who has the power to interfere in the lives of every child in Scotland and in family life… the power to come between the child and their parents.
“Access to data constitutes a further interference… It is the creation of this office and the lack of provision of consent or veto that constitutes interference…” O’Neill QC
“What we have heard is that this legislation has nothing to do with the protection of vulnerable children, because every child is potentially vulnerable. The basic aim is that the wellbeing of every child is to be promoted and safeguarded. That’s what parents do, that’s what parents are for. What is the social need that requires every child to have a named person?” Aidan O’Neill, QC
During the week of the appeal hearing, a succession of government apologists took quite a pasting in the media:
Civil servant Bob Fraser (the Getting it Right for Every Child health adviser in the ‘Better Life Chances’ unit – and no, we didn’t make that up!) argued that state guardians should target parents who do not show enough “love, hope and spirituality” to their children, confirming (what we always knew) that SHANARRI wellbehaving indicators are to be extended to ensure no child escapes state indoctrination.
Then there was HampdenGate which left the National Parent Forum of Scotland (another government mouthpiece) with egg on its face as parents were denied access to a parents’ event about GIRFEC (which had earlier promised bribes of £25 gift vouchers, free childcare, travel and lunches), because they might be off-message in terms of the SHANARRI wellbehaving indicators. The rammy shows no sign of abating as disappointed parents ask embarrassing questions about why a state funded parents’ ‘forum’ can cherry pick attendees and restrict numbers to 30 after sending out mass invitations via pupil posties (in school bags).
With so much coverage in the MSM and social media, and a series of increasingly well attended NO2NP roadshows and action days across the country, parents are rapidly cottoning on to the fact that the GIRFEC legislation is based on blatant misrepresentation (some would say a pack of lies) and is really all about data theft. As a result, the professional apologists (aka vested interests), who have been pre-programmed to spout Newspeak in a desperate bid to justify the unjustifiable and stem the tide of opposition, are now seriously struggling to keep the wheels on the GIRFEC bus.
This was especially evident on BBC radio’s Call Kaye, when the clockwork Alex Cole-Hamilton (one of the most repetitious of the GIRFEC cheerleaders) floundered in the face of the stark realities of the legislation, which were described in detail by Lesley Scott of the Tymes Trust. It’s high time the victims’ stories were told and their voices listened to [Cue the National Parent Forum of Scotland? No, probably not!] rather than giving hot air time to those who deliver scripted soundbites and really haven’t got a clue (or don’t care) about the plight of those who have already fallen prey to a gung-ho gang of data thieving thugs.
Finally, a flashback to July 2014 (with thanks to NO2NP for the reminder) when BBC’s Gordon Brewer questioned Children’s Minister Aileen “Also” Campbell about the Named Person and GIRFEC data theft, asking: “Isn’t there something slightly East German about this?” Naturally, she just stuck to her pre-prepared script.