A bad day for Scotland’s children

Perhaps the BBC could explain how it’s headline – Supreme Court rules against Named Person scheme – relates to the facts of the matter. Maybe they could tell us how, if the Supreme Court has “ruled against” it, the measure is going to be implemented anyway?

What the BBC chooses to call the “charities” which brought this action are, in fact, a bunch of self-righteous religionists and politically motivated interest groups. While we must accept the ruling – which actually only relates to information-sharing aspects of the legislation – we are entitled to be concerned that the British Supreme Court is prepared to such undue influence over public policy to religious fundamentalists.

Those who put the well-being of children before petty politics and mindless adherence to scriptural dogma will be rightly angered by a decision which is the end result of an insidious and despicable campaign that not only tried to rationalise putting children at needless risk, but also sought to undermine the secular nature of the state in Scotland.

This may be a good day for those who put superstition before enlightenment and ideology before principle, but it is a bad day for Scotland’s children and for the secular democracy to which so many of us aspire.

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8 thoughts on “A bad day for Scotland’s children

  1. Kenneth Coutts

    Oh dear! What were the reasons for the decision.
    Me thinks it infringes on the secrecy around religious groups and their closed shop mentality.

  2. Del

    Don’t deny small groups the right to challenge the law. After all, four northern islanders took Carmichael to court and won a partial victory. Yet Carmichael and his pals in government were frothing about SNP-supported fruitcakes.
    On that premise, religious fruitcakes are just as entitled as anyone else to raise an issue of law.
    The supreme course DID find an issue – one to do with data protection under Article 8. They did NOT mark the act down for destruction; they simply pointed to an ‘issue’ and suggested effectively that the Scottish Government might like to use a 6-week period to resolve it. Which they will.
    Yes the BBC continues to lie in the way they have reported the story. But let’s not go mental over it; in a couple of months there will be a NP plan B.

    1. finnmacollie

      So. The courts have ruled that it is perfectly legal for a minister of the government to lie in order to gain political advantage but child protection is unlawful!

      Must confess to not listening to or watching the BBC today. The thought of them being orgasmic would have put me off my tea.

      Just a wee thought, whilst realising the Supreme Court didn’t exactly kick this into touch;
      does a London court overruling the Scottish legal judgment not contravene the Treaty of Union?

      1. vagabondo

        The Supreme Court may be located in London, but it is supposed to be implementing Scots Law. It is the successor to the Scottish Law Lords in the House of Lords.

        My reading of the judgement and (video) and
        is that the Act relied on the Named Persons being bound by the data protection policies of their employers (NHS or local authority) but the Supreme court thought that an explicit clause was needed to restrict information sharing to that which is pertinent and proportionate.

    2. Peter A Bell Post author

      I have no issue with the challenge. Or the decision. My issue is with the campaign against the named person measure and the spinning of the decision by the mainstream media.

      I will acknowledge right here that the article above was written in anger. Which is generally a bad idea. I believe the anger to be justified, however. If only because the Supreme Court’s decision will allow the dogma-bound religionists and low-life political opportunists to rationalise their despicably dishonest campaign by making out that it was always about the issue that the court ruled against.

      I accept the decision f the court, obviously. And, having cooled off a bit, I can see that the legislation may well be improved as a result. But let no-one imagine that this was any part of the purpose of those who have been bent on preventing the Scottish Government pursuing its efforts to offer better protection to children and young people. They had their own agenda. It it had absolutely nothing to do with the well-being of children.

      1. Fearghas MacFhionnlaigh

        Hi Peter,
        I habitually read and normally appreciate your lively and insightful posts. Not so the above, I’m afraid, even in its more generous revisited version. Ironies, as they say, abound. Most glaringly, you have written what surely amounts to a self-righteous, dogmatic, opponent-demonising diatribe of your own, well worthy of a Mail or Express attack on supporters of Scottish independence.

        I am in my late sixties. I have argued for Scottish independence since I was fourteen. I have only ever voted (and canvassed) for the SNP. But I am also a Christian. I know of others like me. I imagine there are high numbers. Perhaps we would both be astonished how many.

        Posts like your present one are becoming increasingly common in the independence camp. I confess to a growing alarm. I am beginning to wonder whether a Scottish State set up by the new indy-left would have any place for me or my like. Whether the new ‘Model Scotland’ might even feel the need to rescue our children from us. The State as Saviour. The citizen as “creature of the State”.

        Readers will not have picked up from your post that Christians have made an illustrious historical contribution not just to Scottish but to human democracy. As I have written elsewhere, we can look back for example to Berwickshire founder of the Scottish tradition of philosophy John Duns Scotus (1266-1308). His writings influenced John Mair (Gleghornie,1467-1550) who became a highly significant professor at the University of Paris and sought to curb the autocratic power of the Pope within the Catholic Church. His ‘Conciliar Movement’ principles influenced the Protestant Reformation of the 16th century, and also the struggle for constitutional government against absolute monarchies in Europe of the 17th century.

        The treatise ‘Art and Science of Government among the Scots’ by Calvinist-humanist George Buchanan (1506-1582) had a huge influence on political thought in Britain and America. John Milton in his ‘Defence of the People of England’ wrote concerning just government: “For Scotland I refer you to Buchanan”.

        Presbyterian minister, and St Andrews Professor, Samuel Rutherford (1600-1661) in his ‘Lex, Rex’ laid the foundation for the libertarian ideas of the US Declaration of Independence and Constitution. Indeed, the American War for Independence was referred to by the British as a “Presbyterian Rebellion”. John Locke (‘Father of Classical Liberalism’) was himself much influenced by ‘Lex, Rex’.

        The keynote of all this Scottish Christian heritage of political thought was how to oppose the injustice of absolutism.

        Nearer to our own day, the late Dutch Christian philosopher Herman Dooyeweerd (1894-1977) wrote profoundly and extensively on the nature of the “just state”. The jurist and humanist G.E. Langemeyer called him “the most original philosopher Holland has produced, even Spinoza not excepted”. For anyone interested, I have posted an extented example of Dooyeweerd’s analysis of the nature of the State here:
        http://dooyeweerdstate.blogspot.co.uk

        Dooyeweerd’s style of writing is academic and far from populist, but essentially he identifies two structural parameters of a State. The first is the more obvious one that a State can only exist at all if its would-be Government maintains miltary supremacy over the given territory (interesting to consider this factor in the current UK v Scottish v European context). But such raw power could of course be fulfilled by a tyranny (or indeed by more subtle colonisation). So Dooyeweerd’s identified second parameter is that a State is structurally called to seek justice for its citizens (we can immediately see that the desire for Scottish independence is fired by growing outrage at a perceived structural “injustice” regarding how the UK has historically treated Scotland).

        Argument is not my aim here. I would rather encourage you in your valued posts. My contribution is simply intended to alert readers to nuances not alluded to on this occasion.

        By the way, an interesting question which we as Scots might usefully mull in these formative times is whether the terms “secular” and “atheistic” are interchangeable. I would suggest not. An “atheistic” State would self-evidently seem to be one in which the State exclusively endorses and espouses that particular worldview in its legislation, ceremonials, educational interventions, etc. A “secular” State, I suggest, would ideally be one in which the State does NOT presume to pronounce on matters beyond its political competence (such as the ultimate nature of existence), but seeks to secure a safe environment within which differing views can be peacefully and respectfully explored by its citizens.

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