Sunday, 16 September 2012

What about the children?

At times it is worth a visit to the twilight zone, a look into an alternative reality whereby our politicians only did what is right, what is in the best interests of our society, what is good for the children. Not what is often simply in their own self serving interest.

It is surprising, very surprising that no one in any political movement has examined this issue, more precisely “is it good for the children?”

A simple suggestion indeed, but what if it became our guiding legislative principle, we are, after all only caretakers for the next generation, and caretakers can be good or bad. Westminster is a stark example of bad caretaking with rising, soaring child poverty.

Take for example NHS privatisation, service cuts and PPI/PFI. As these issues continue to impoverish and dismantle our social contract by an exponentially soaring debt burden that has transferred to the unborn, can we honestly argue that this is good for the children?

Consider also that the UK is at the forefront of the world’s list of most unequal nations, and consider if that can possibly be good for the children.

Imagine an updated proposed or implemented Scottish constitution, one that is yet to be written, but one that the current Holyrood government guarantees will include nothing that negatively impacts our children. Holyrood could pass such legislation in this or next year’s sessions.

Holyrood could guarantee to set up an independent body of perhaps a dozen randomly selected citizens from a pool of volunteers to examine each and every article of legislation passed or enforced in Scotland. If it is viewed as good for the children, neutral or wouldn’t affect them it continues the legislative process. Alternatively Holyrood could simply propose an act whereby legislation perceived as not good for the children could be challenged and struck.

This is the only principle that Holyrood need propose for inclusion into a future restored Scottish state, the only big bazooka as the financial gurus would call it that is likely to grab a nation’s attention.

Enshrine the sovereignty of the individual by protecting tomorrow’s citizens.

It will do so because such a proposal is almost unique, certainly in our modern western civilizations.

It will do so because virtually everyone will agree that if it isn’t good for the children, and we can demonstrate that it isn’t good for the children, then we shouldn’t be doing it, proposing it, or allowing it.

It will do so because it will shift the independence debate away from the SNP; from the same old, same old arguments, from the bickering, from the internecine party warfare to where the debate should be, what kind of Scotland we want for tomorrow, what kind of Scotland we want for our children.

Imagine the effect if this is put before Holyrood, as an overriding aspect of future Scots law.

The Union parties would have to vote for it, or against it. Expect their backers to want it to be killed. Big chemical, big pharmaceutical, big oil will all see drawbacks to a law protecting children. The City certainly would not support it because the fees and charges our pension pots currently suffer under as we stagger through crisis after financial crisis would need to be capped or moderated if proposed for future amendment. Parents requiring support from their children through usurious finance charges, is not good for the children.

The principle is simple; the objectors will be many, for today’s adults cannot be asset stripped unless it is deemed “good for the children”.

Imagine the cleft stick that Holyrood could place the Union supporters in. London will be unable to insist on legislation that could be deemed detrimental to the children. If it insisted it is not impossible that Westminster governments might fall.

The Union parties would have to oppose the proposal; they are likely to be ordered to do so. However, if the Union parties do oppose the proposal, it would strip their veneer, it would lay them bare to every citizen of these islands, and they would be perpetually seen as the parties who don’t care about children.

The effect would ripple right through Scots society, it would galvanise Scots as they realise this referendum isn’t about the SNP, it isn’t about Labour, or their more minor partners, the Tories. It would help people forget the irrelevance that is the Liberal Democrats.

It would, more than anything else conceivable, bring the focus sharply back onto the real purpose of this referendum.

That it is about nothing more or less than Scotland’s future, and the ability of Scots to shape it directly without any disastrous dilution of their democracy.

It will remind folk, or shock them into acknowledgement for the first time, that a vote which is diluted by over 90% is a worthless vote when it comes to writing your own story, to choosing the path that you need to choose.

It will do all these things and more simply because it is in the best interests of the children, and who among us except the predatory, the depraved and the simply evil wouldn’t put the good of the children first.


  1. Another good one Hazel,and maybe your husband!I have always been for independence from as far back as I can remember,but now the way I see what is happening and what will happen I can only say that;"INDEPENDENCE IS THE SAFEST ROAD TO TAKE IF WE WANT A FAIR SOCIETY"

  2. One thing that anoyes me is when the bbc are reporting on the NHS. They hardly ever distinguish between the English NHS and the Scottish NHS. They announce that the NHS is this or that but never say if they are referring to England or Scotland. I know our NHS is doing far better than south of the border, but they are not allowed to make that public.

  3. Hi there
    I couldn't agree more. The Scottish Government - that's the SNP led one - has just finished consulting on a new children and young people bill and will promote a children's rights framework. But it refuses to incorporate the UNCRC into domestic law - which would achieve what you seek here - as such an approach, its lawyers claim (erroneously) would give children's rights precedence over their parents and adults whose are enshrined in ECHR. There is a push on to persuade the Government to provide for child rights impact assessments on all policy, law and spending decisions which again would achieve what you seek (which I agree with!). The SNP has the opportunity to do exactly this and is being dragged kicking and screaming. Not everything comes down to the evil Unionists....