Five years ago the UK Supreme Court ruled that the key tenets of the Scottish Government’s Named Person scheme were unlawful. In a series of video interviews, members and supporters of the NO2NP team have taken time to share their memories of the campaign trail and that historic legal victory.
Long before the Children & Young People (Scotland) Bill was even drafted, home educators had recognised the dangers of, and become active in, the push-back against the Scottish Government’s plans to dictate and enforce ‘wellbeing’ outcomes for every child through its controversial state guardian or ‘named person’ scheme
They had, after all, seen it all before with Every Child Matters (or more accurately, Every Child Monitored) in England and foresaw what it would entail: universal data mining and sharing, surveillance and profiling of children and families. In short, GIRFEC meant Getting Information Recorded for Every Child (with Every Citizen and Community to follow), whereby every service provider was expected to snoop on families and share their personal information with state-appointed strangers. What could possibly go wrong?
The top-down approach to steamrollering through legislation by pointedly ignoring and dismissing the concerns of parents, young people and (unfunded) grass-roots organisations (that their policy-based evidence contravened children’s and families’ civil liberties) was shamefully aided and abetted by ‘captured’ institutions, including local government, the NHS, state-funded charities and Police Scotland. Most worryingly, the ICO, whose Scottish branch officers spectacularly failed to apply the data protection principles they were appointed to uphold, claimed that the government’s proposed measures would not interfere with citizens’ rights under the Data Protection Act or Human Rights Act. They even made videos about it!
Our forum co-ordinator, who is featured in Episode 4, has painstakingly documented the ‘Chronology of significant events on the road to hellbeing’, which can be found and searched for key events in our GIRFEC Files. A significant amount of research was undertaken by stalwart members of the Home Education Forums and we are grateful for their efforts in exposing the nefarious agenda while waiting impatiently for others to catch up! Special thanks are owed to intrepid investigators Mayfly, Sheila and Elaine.
Thanks also to the Christian Institute for bringing together such a diverse coalition of interests to fight for every family in Scotland and beyond (for the judgment has far-reaching implications for other jurisdictions) and for marking the fifth anniversary with video reflections from some of those most closely involved with the campaign. We fought the law and we won!
In episode 1, Angus Saul speaks to the Christian Institute’s in-house Solicitor Advocate, Sam Webster.
In this episode Angus speaks to Liz Smith, a Conservative MSP who was one of the very first to sound the alarm over the intrusive scheme which became known as “The Snoopers’ Charter”. She takes us on a fascinating journey as she revisits the changing political landscape over the five years from the law being passed to finally being dropped.
In this episode Angus speaks to Jim Sillars, former Deputy Leader of the SNP. He says on reading the legislation he realised it meant the named person could knock on someone’s door and say “I’ve got more responsibility for your child than you have”. This “utterly ridiculous” situation led to his involvement with NO2NP.
Angus speaks to Alison Preuss, co-ordinator of the Scottish Home Education Forum and one of the earliest opponents of the scheme. Alison reflects on the coming together of a coalition of disparate groups and parents who had different views on many things, but a shared concern over the ‘Snoopers’ Charter’.
Angus speaks to Stuart Waiton, Senior Lecturer in Sociology and Criminology at the University of Abertay in Dundee, and an outspoken opponent of the scheme. Stuart says his “jaw dropped” as he recognised the sheer breadth of intrusion into family life from the authoritarian ‘Snoopers’ Charter’.
The Institute’s Scotland Officer, Nigel Kenny, shares his involvement and close-up insight into the award winning campaign against the ‘State Snooper’ scheme – and the pleasure at winning in both the court of law and the court of public opinion.
Experienced social worker Maggie Mellon talks about her involvement in the campaign and explain why the State makes such a “lousy parent”.
In episode 8 Angus Saul speaks to the Institute’s Deputy Director for Public Affairs, Simon Calvert who explains how the Scottish Govt’s refusal to listen to ordinary people saw the unworkable scheme limp on for three years after the Supreme Court ruled against it.
In the last in this series looking back at the long road to victory Angus Saul hears from James and Rhianwen McIntosh, a couple directly affected by the ‘State Snooper’ scheme even before the law came into effect.