Shovelling fog

Members of the FOG campaign are to be congratulated on their tenacity in seeking to pin down the named politicians fronting the all-out assault on families by the Scottish Government and its cheerleading allies, all of whom stand to gain from the forced implementation of GIRFEC (Getting Information Recorded For Every Citizen).

Introduced in Highland as a  ‘pilot’ without statutory basis, it was unquestioningly adopted and zealously implemented by obedient servants (of the state, not the public) in a comprehensive exercise to ensure that virtually every child could be deemed ‘at risk of not meeting his or her wellbeing outcomes’ as defined by (you’ve guessed it) the Scottish Government (although their data stealing strings are being pulled from elsewhere – a rather more complex topic for a future post).

We home educators – always among the first in line for the state steamroller and therefore more alert to impending threats to our freedom – have been banging the same old drum for well over a decade as governments (plural) have managed to fool professionals (who really should have grasped the implications for themselves long ago) and sought to mislead the public into believing that the near identical evil twins ECM (Every Citizen Monitored) and GIRFEC were all about protecting vulnerable children.

Astonishingly, they almost (but not quite) got away with their clever con trick, leaving no grave unrobbed in the process, but ECM was placed on the back burner in England after the general election and was subsequently binned in the Isle of Man after serious meltdown in social services. Meanwhile GIRFEC zealots in Scotland will shortly realise that parents make difficult and dangerous prey when protecting their young from data theft and potentially dodgy named persons, so professionals who ‘just follow orders’ can expect a hostile reaction from their unwilling data subjects.

The story so far of FOG v. Scottish Ministers Who Know Best for Everyone Else (because they think we are all shallow enough to ‘aspire’ to their parenting template) goes something like this:

7th March 2014: FOG writes to Aileen Campbell, the alleged Children’s Minister (whose relevance is clearly lost on the vast numbers of children living in abject poverty in Scotland through no fault of their own) advising her of the establishment of the Families Opposing GIRFEC campaign (whose members would rather see the funding of food parcels for children in real need than pay professional hand wringers to record and risk assess the effect of pet bereavements on the middle classes of Morningside and Milngavie). They also ask questions about the CHYP Bill and GIRFEC, specifically the contentious provisions also raised in the home educators’ petition, namely data theft, universal womb to tomb surveillance and a Named Person sanctioned by state to force him/herself on your child without consent (there’s a word for that, as well as a veritable catalogue of Named Persons who have been convicted of grooming and abusing children in the service of the state or its ‘vetted’ third sector ‘partners’).

7th April 2014: FOG writes again to Aileen Campbell with a list of questions, concluding optimistically that they hoped to “be able to inform people following our campaign that the Scottish Government does value their opinion and has taken the time to answer their questions and address their concerns.”

15th April 2014: Just when FOG is about to give up hope of any response, they receive a letter from Michael Russell the Cabinet Secretary for Education & Lifelong Learning, who has clearly decided, as Aileen’s boss, that early intervention by the organ grinder himself is required to fob off these foolish FOG parents. For those who are already losing the will to live and can’t bear to read it all, ‘shovelling fog’ is a succinct summary of its contents.

3rd May 2014: Not being satisfied by the aforesaid fog shovelling response, and after taking soundings from parents, FOG writes back to Michael Russell seeking clarification of various points and direct answers to questions. This is a great riposte, so please read it all.

16th May 2014: A bit quicker off the mark this time, Mr Russell sends a further response to FOG, predictably failing to answer the questions posed or address the genuine parental fears expressed. Instead Mr Russell proceeds to reiterate the Big Lie that GIRFEC has been successful in Highland (where the scandal of parental complaints going unacknowledged has yet to be investigated), assert that the GIRFEC does not breach Article 8 or the Data Protection Act (despite unanimous legal opinion and case law to the contrary),  and to claim that ‘consultation’ on ’guidance’ (to support the illegal policies and practices that parents and children were categorically not consulted on before being forced through parliament) would act as a final ‘fix-it’. By refusing to rule out illegal data stealing and enforced ‘services’, he effectively dismisses genuinely held parental concerns, based on direct experience of GIRFEC zealots who won’t take no for an answer, and closes down ‘engagement’ – just as ‘Engage for Education’ (whose cartoonish strapline ‘we ask, you say, we do’ is a perfect example of Newspeak) did when parents didn’t provide the correct consultation responses and it all got a bit too challenging for them. We quote: “Further commenting on this page has been disabled by the blog admin.” In other words, let taxpayers foot the bill for their own oppression.

From the above, a veritable pattern seems to have emerged whereby parents ask straightforward questions, only to be told that they are too stupid to understand what’s good for their own children by the now established cult of GIRFEC worshippers. Despite repetitively chanting the same early interference ‘wellbeing’ mantra, which has no solid evidence base and has already been seen to cause serious harm to children in the Isle of Man, they have been bubbled good and proper by ordinary parents who will not allow their children to be sacrificed on the altar of SHANARRI indicators. If they really do care about the wellbeing of every child, it’s high time that teachers, health visitors and the rest of those who are being expected to snoop on behalf of the state refused point blank to defend the indefensible.

Having successfully transformed former public servants into state snitches on the back of anti-family propaganda and a faux children’s rights agenda, duly followed by legislation to drive a wedge between parents and their offspring, this government is is poised to target children directly for any ‘intervention’ they see fit, as we have already seen with the Young Scot card data stealing, the wholly inappropriate Evidence2Success survey in Perth and Kinross and the fingerprinting in schools scandal. Given the vulnerability of children and young people to ‘grooming’ by authority figures and the unquestioning obedience culture which has infected state employees and grant dependants in the third sector, the Milgram experiment should serve to sound loud alarm bells.


As one home educator commented:

“This [Milgram video] really should be compulsory viewing for every Named Person and the sort of LA fodder who appear incapable of thinking for themselves. It’s part of the reason home education is so despised as we are bringing up human beings who rightly question ‘received wisdom’ and in doing so are bound to upset the vested interest rentseekers’ apple carts. It is scary just how many people will ‘just follow orders’ without compunction and that deference to authority effectively allows the diffusion of personal responsibility.”

Meanwhile, news has also reached us of a Capita conference on Scottish Children’s Services, which was somewhat confusingly billed as being in central London but is apparently to be held in Edinburgh on 18th June, although the venue seems to be a closely guarded secret. Perhaps it’s just as well when we read from the brochure that one Marj Stewart, Former Implementation Lead, GIRFEC Policy Area, Scottish Government, will be leading on ‘Implementing the Children and Young People’s Bill’, including discussion of such gems as ‘Enforcing the Named Person role’.

This rhetoric of enforcement (which is already rabid in Perth & Kinross where “consent [for information sharing] should not be sought, as to do so would give the subject (child or young person and/or their parents/carers) a false belief that they can control the decision, which they cannot.”) clearly gives lie to Aileen Campbell’s earlier ‘assurances’ about parental engagement with the Named Person being voluntary, while Michael Russell has simply resorted to the old familiar smoke and mirrors routine.

No doubt the prohibitive cost and secret venue for this ‘children’s workforce’ conference are designed to prevent participation by pesky parents who have an entirely different perspective on their own children’s ‘wellbeing’ needs from the ‘professionals’ who are being paid so handsomely to undermine them. Fortunately, they will have an opportunity to attend an alternative, parent-focused conference on 9th June, free of charge and at a non-secret venue in Edinburgh, where the emphasis will be on ‘Rejecting the Named Person role’. Let battle commence.


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