‘Fairer Scotland’ minister fails to grasp GIRFEC thistle

Latest Schoolhouse blog post: ‘Fairer Scotland’ minister fails to grasp GIRFEC thistle

Alex Neil, the Social Justice Secretary, hosted a Fairer Scotland Q&A session on the Scottish Government’s Facebook page the other evening. It wasn’t a roaring success, just like the real life events in Glasgow and Kilmarnock, where the Named Person issue dominated discussions, and many questions surrounding the scheme – including those about consent, necessity and proportionality – received no satisfactory answers.

There was another real life FS event in the ‘Fair City’ of Perth last week, at which the said Minister only appeared for a short time and remained in ‘listening’ and ‘smiling’ mode throughout. The audience was replete with council employees and other ‘professionals’, many of whom were already fluent in the shared ‘Newspeak’ language of the ‘Enabling State’ (in which only state dictated outcomes will be enabled), with hardly a local in sight (although some of the ordinary parents and grandparents who were there, including a retired social worker, were greatly concerned about GIRFEC, data theft and the named person scheme).

The Schoolhouse representative who attended raised questions about non-consensual data processing and the surveillance aspects of the Named Person scheme on behalf of families who believe their parental responsibilities are being actively undermined, and their rights to privacy and confidentiality breached, because they have taken the lawful decision to home educate their children, sometimes as a result of failures on the part of schools. The points were said to have been noted, but the lack of acknowledgement of the actual suffering of real life families is deeply worrying, most especially for minority communities like ours who routinely face unfair discrimination.