Fall of a named person


The inimitable Kenneth Roy, writing in the Scottish Review, on the children's minister's resignation.

Fall of a Named Person

Two days before his resignation, Mark McDonald MSP conducted his last
public engagement as Scotland's minister for childcare and early years. He was in Uddingston for the launch of North Lanarkshire Council's 'fantastic Sid and Shanarri wellbeing kit' (his description).

Before we contemplate Mr McDonald's abrupt fall from grace, you might
want to know a little about Sid and Shanarri. According to the official bumph they are 'two colourful characters.' Sid is a monkey, Shanarri a spider, and together they have adventures in the Wellbeing Wood.

Their 'storybooks' – there are eight of them – have been designed for
Scottish local authorities with the aim of developing a better understanding of what 'wellbeing' means. This is a concept that pre-school children – the target market – have difficulty in grasping. I sympathise. After many years on this planet, I have difficulty in grasping it myself.

Sid and Shanarri are here to help us. To the unwary toddler, they may look innocent enough. In fact they are propagandists for the Scottish government's wellbeing strategy, of which Mark McDonald MSP was chief
proselytiser until his departure from office at teatime on Saturday, just as the football results were coming in.
Nicola Sturgeon had said that she wanted Scotland to be the best place in the world in which to bring up children. Presumably that was why, in May last year, she promoted Mark McDonald to one of the most sensitive portfolios in her administration. The new children's minister was to be big on Baby Boxes, but that was the easy bit. He was also expected to deliver, or help his boss John Swinney to deliver, the highly contentious Named Person project and the whole GIRFEC/SHANARRI nonsense.

The role, above most others in Scottish public life, called for a high degree of maturity. Instead it got Mark McDonald.
For more about the wellbeing wood where Mark encountered Sid (Vicious) the monkey and the SHANARRI spider's web on his very last ministerial assignment, North Lanarkshire Council has posted this nauseating piece of GIRFEC propaganda.