Goodbye Named Persons, hello self-control

So at long last the UK Supreme Court has blocked the Named Person scheme suggested by SNP. That is what I’ve expected and personally hoped for, due to many arguments against it. I do agree in the basic idea that children, being the weakest part of society, need to be protected from unhealthy surroundings, may it be in their parental home, their school class or their virtual space. Some parts of the discussion I followed suggested that parents can be the worst threat to children and their wellbeing. I don’t think it’s that easy. As soon as children reach school age, they spend a huge part of their days at school. As soon as they get a mobile device, they spend another huge part of their days online. Threats and risks are everywhere, and bullying classmates can possibly destroy more than a depressive mother, depends on the situation really. I do agree that all children everywhere and not only in Scotland should be motivated to speak their minds towards neutral thirds when they suffer from worries, anxiety, anger or whatever they cannot deal with on their own. Easily available contact points where they can go to would be a good idea. But children, even of younger ages, should be considered self-thinking and feeling human beings, not objects to get patronised. They should be allowed to deliberately choose the people they want to put trust in. If they are their parents: perfect!

Of course, there are cases when helpless infants get abused by their drug consuming parents, for example. But every healthy person on earth would report them to the police as soon as they get their finger on it, why waiting for a routine control by a named person and passing responsibility to others? Maybe reasonable means of monitoring endangered children should be amplified: a mandatory frequence of doctor’s visits, for example, frequent questioning of parents who are known on the record for issues such as drug abuse, violence, paedophilia etc.

Btw, did you know that due to the Protection of Children Act 1978 where parts of the Sexual Offences Act 2003 still based on, the possession of (see the easy to understand Sentencing on Wikipedia) „material solely for own use“ of level-1-pseudo-photographs of children „depicting erotic posing with no sexual activity“ only leads to a fine or conditional discharge? Paedophilia isn’t the topic here, and I don’t feel entitled to judge people who are doubtlessly ill and need the help of a therapist. We do agree though that people who get turned on by material like this most probably have paedophiliac tendencies, right? But if I understand the valid law correctly, the same people get away with a fine and are not forced to do a therapy. Therefore they can live on as usual and raise a family, including own children. These children would be in an increased danger of possibly getting abused. Strangers who poke their nose into everything wouldn’t necessarily help with that. A stricter law and obligatory therapies for people with addictions, behavioural anomalies and problematic sexual preferences however would help. No matter if the risk is at home, at school or in the internet (where named persons wouldn’t be of any use). The aim should not be controlling the parents and patronising the child, the aim should be helping adults who might become a danger for children avoiding exactly that.

The Named Person scheme would have given too much power to randoms and would indeed have been a privacy infringement. This is a no-go in a democratic society and could lead to a surveillance state. That kind of control proved itself an expedient to the advantage of totalitarian dictators in the past. Control is the opposite of freedom. So I welcome the Supreme Court’s decision. But freedom must not open doors for people who haven’t learnt to seize control of their own demons. Everyone has the right to live a healthy, violence and abuse free life from the moment of their birth to the second of their death. It’s the state’s task to ensure that. Control actually is a key word here, but it should be about self-control of people who got out of control.

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