The Scottish Government’s “grotesque” named person proposals are a “disturbing manifestation of the politicisation of parenting”, a leading sociologist has warned.
Dr Frank Furedi criticised a climate of over-zealous child protection policies commenting that: “Government initiatives are underpinned by the assumption that parents cannot be trusted and must be subject to constant surveillance”.
Writing in the Independent, Dr Furedi, who is Emeritus Professor of sociology at the University of Kent and author of “Paranoid Parenting”, said, “since the turn of the century, the regime of child protection has become steadily more pervasive and intrusive”.
“The relentless erosion of children’s freedom has been paralleled by the constant tendency to politicise parenting”, he asserted.
Dr Furedi warned that parenting had, “become an all-purpose cause for all the evils afflicting society” and said: “Politicians of all parties have waded in and have transformed child rearing into a constant political issue”.
Commenting on the Scottish Government’s named person scheme, Dr Furedi said: “Arguably, the most disturbing manifestation of the politicisation of parenting is the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act.
“This grotesque act empowers the state to appoint a ‘named person’ for every child, from birth to the age of 18. The duty of this state-appointed named person will be to act as the child’s guardian.”
He criticised Scotland’s Minister for Children and Young People, Aileen Campbell, and her attempts to justify the need for state guardians.
He said Campbell “thinks that this erosion of parental authority is OK and offers reassurance with the not very reassuring words that ‘we recognise that parents also have a role'”.
Dr Furedi questioned the minister’s use of the word “‘Also’?” and said: “If the experience of the past 15 years is anything to go by, political intervention in child rearing is likely to become more prescriptive and intrusive”.
Earlier this month a legal challenge was launched against the named person plans in Scotland.
Papers were lodged at Edinburgh’s Court of Session by The Christian Institute, Christian charity CARE, Tymes (The Young ME Sufferers) Trust, the Family Education Trust and concerned parents.
Last month the No 2 Named Person (NO2NP) campaign was launched, uniting a broad spectrum of groups and individuals to oppose the controversial plans.