“Guardian” Law Should Concern You

Scottish National Parliament Ministers took it upon themselves in the fall of 2013 to ensure that all of Scotland’s parents are properly qualified to care for their children, purportedly to protect their “rights”.

Even in the face of threatened legal action and angered outcries from numerous parents and organizations opposing the ludicrous legislation, the SNP pushed through its plans that will require every child under the age of 18 to have a state-appointed “guardian” to look after it.

On the 19th of February, 2014, the Parliament debated and passed the Children and Young People (Scotland) Bill, which is meant to implement the UNCRC (United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child) in Scotland.

Under the Bill, the NHS (National Health Service for Scotland) will appoint a health worker to act as a “named person” for every child up until five years of age. Thereafter, the responsibility is passed to councils (teachers will likely be asked to assume the role) until the child reaches 18. The measure is designed to identify and act upon any potential cases of abuse or developmental difficulties at an early stage, but in the process, the named person will have legal access to information about a child and his family from law enforcement and health authorities.

Part 1, Article 5 of the UNCRC, which was adopted in September of 1989, declares:

States Parties shall respect the responsibilities, rights and duties of parents or, where applicable, the members of the extended family or community as provided for by local custom, legal guardians or other persons legally responsible for the child, to provide, in a manner consistent with the evolving capacities of the child, appropriate direction and guidance in the exercise by the child of the rights recognized in the present Convention.

The UNCRC protects specific rights of children under 18, categorized by four major themes: survival, development, protection and participation.

Once every five years, each state that has ratified the convention is required to report to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child for a periodic review on how it is fulfilling its obligations.

The Scottish Parliament seems to be taking its responsibility to an extreme, and legal watchdogs are crying foul, citing a clear breach of the European convention on Human Rights (ECHR).

Conservatives in the Nationalist-dominated Parliament unsuccessfully argued that a guardian should only become involved if the well-being or safety of a child is at stake, attempting also to reduce the upper age limit from 18 to 16.

Liz Smith, the Scottish Tory young people spokeswoman, had this to say after her amendments were voted down,

“This will tip the balance of family responsibility away from parents towards the state – something which most parents find completely unacceptable…Forcing all young people to have a named person will, inevitably, dilute the resources available for our most vulnerable children.”

The Christian Institute charity, intent on “dragging” the Scottish government into court “in defense of family life against state intrusion”, obtained legal advice from one of the UK’s most distinguished QCs (British Counsel of high rank), and said it would initiate a £30,000 legal challenge due to the legislation’s “dreadful extension of the state’s tentacles into family life. 

The Charity’s director, Colin Hart, said, “We do not take such action lightly. However, there is a clear need to take such an unusual step… Senior politicians and the law officers have the powers to act as and when required. It is clear that this Bill breaches European rules through its attack on the family. This is Big Brother politics writ large. Ordinary Scots should be very afraid.”

Instead of drawing down the government’s already shrinking cashbox for child welfare in the form of this new layer of family surveillance, why not use existing “agencies”—whether formal or not—that are perfectly capable of capturing early warning signs of neglect or abuse? Perhaps the SNP could use a reminder of the fabulous resources already in place: the immediate family and relatives, friends, neighbors, teachers, doctors, health visitors, police, social workers, and the charities that specialize in child welfare issues.

The Guardian’s Kevin McKenna opined, “What (the Scottish) people do not need is another well-meaning, middle-class, professional nanny peering into their lives. I’ll be surprised if this piece of legislative suburban junk isn’t deemed contrary to article 12 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights: ‘No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honor and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.’”

McKenna foresees the nasty consequences of this law in action, in the form of many working-class people being labeled “guilty” of something “unstated and inferred,” envisioning cases where innocent families will be pulled apart simply “on the whim of a government that doesn’t know when to stop and that wants us to sign up to its ‘one-size-fits-all’ model of family life. Soon, they will be designing the family and telling us how big it ought to be, according to postcode, of course.”

In a chilling new idea proposed by the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, in his weekly column, he advocates that parents with radical political beliefs should have their children taken into custody by the state, a notion already apparently taking shape for parents that support major political parties like UKIP (UK Independence Party), who are already being targeted by social services.

In 2012, under far less extreme circumstances, a couple who were members of the UKIP and whose record for fostering children was exemplary, had their foster children taken by a council of local government. Social workers explained to the foster parents that the children were removed from their care because they (the parents) belonged to a “racist party.” What the council deemed as “racist” was the party’s opposition to “active promotion of multiculturalism.” Ironically, the UKIP is the third largest political party in the United Kingdom and is expected to win upcoming European Parliamentary elections.

While the Mayor’s idea is being ostensibly promoted as a means of curbing “child abuse” by stopping the radicalization of children so they won’t become “potential killers or suicide bombers,” Johnson suggests its application might also be appropriate for children who are taught to be “full of hate.”

The Mayor presented another example in which children, in “extreme circumstances” could be taken into state custody: if their parents support the right-wing British National Party—vehemently opposed to immigration.

Due to the U.S. DHS (Dept. of Homeland Security) characterization of liberty lovers as extremists and even violent terrorists, it is no longer hard to imagine the same standard being applied in America, where parents with conservative and libertarian views could face having their children seized.

The world will observe with great interest how far Scottish and British citizens will allow their governments to intrude into their personal family lives. If these new dystopian measures are met with only minimal resistance in this part of the world, it can quickly become a portal of entry for many other world governments to exercise ever greater control through ever more pervasive surveillance.



Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *