Scotland’s controversial Named Person scheme is “legalised spying on family life”, a newspaper columnist has warned.
Writing in the Scottish Sunday Express, Paula Murray questioned whether there is a need to assign a ‘state guardian’ to every child under the age of 18.
She said, “the vast majority of parents are responsible mothers and fathers who want nothing but the best for their children”.
She commented, “I feel uneasy about the idea that an outsider – whether a teacher, health visitor or someone else – is appointed as a child’s ‘extra parent'”.
And if a child’s family disagrees with the named person, Murray argues, it would be easy for the “appointed individual” to make the parents’ lives very difficult.
“I don’t for a moment believe that these Big Brother plans will actually benefit anyone.
“If anything, they will end up interfering with the rights of both parents and children”, she said.
Murray highlighted the fact that a teenager can “drive a car, join the armed forces or even have children of their own, and their state guardian will still be peering over their shoulder”.
“It is legalised spying on family life and I don’t like the sound of it”, she added.
She also raised concerns about the future of the Named Person plans.
“And here is the big question – if the state snooping starts at birth, where does it end?
“Because it is not going to be on your 18th birthday”, she said.
Earlier this month the No 2 Named Person (NO2NP) campaign was launched in Edinburgh at a conference attended by more than 200 people.
Last week, the Scottish Government announced that 500 health visitors are to be recruited to deliver the scheme, at a cost of over £40 million.
A spokesman for the NO2NP campaign said: “The creation of jobs is usually to be welcomed but this is a needless investment in state-sponsored social engineering.
“How many extra teachers are they going to have to provide state guardians to act as government snoopers for children of school age and at what cost to the public purse?”
An editorial in The Scotsman also questioned whether the Named Person scheme is “really the best use” of 500 health visitors.
It posed: “Could people not be more usefully employed by a more careful targeting of resources on the children most in need of close attention?”
The Christian Institute is preparing to challenge the proposals in the courts through a judicial review later this year.