Neil MacKay – He is right and wrong

Neil Mackay has an interesting article in the Herald today and he is actually both right and wrong to be honest. The title is a little misleading as what he is really talking about is the controversial Health and Well Being census that the Scottish Government want to roll out to those over 12 and for the sexual health part over 14’s. Neil says that ” A TIDE of illiberalism has swept the western world over recent years and Scotland, just like the rest of the UK, is far from immune. In America today we see a woman’s right to control her own body, to have access to abortion, in peril of being swept away”. 

The progress we made in the West from the late 1990s is now under threat as angry authoritarianism rises. Scotland is at risk of sliding back into bigotry, backwardness and bitterness. The recent moral panic surrounding sex education should make it clear to anyone in doubt that the liberal gains achieved over the last 20 years aren’t inviolable and can be rolled back. A cabal of voices – including some Conservatives and members of the Alba Party – whipped up the kind of confected outrage that’s not been seen since the days of Mary Whitehouse.

I suppose Alba members are always to blame for everything in Scotland these days and while I don’t agree with all of the concerns expressed by members of all parties on social media and in the press I am less inclined to get worked up by the issue due to the nature of my job as a Community Learning and Development Worker.

Now there are protections built into the census, parents can opt children out, and pupils can opt out themselves as Neil rightly says. Data gathered is confidential and anonymity preserved, again Neil is correct. However, if any red flags are noticed – evidence that a child is being sexually abused or at risk of other harms – then action can be taken to help the child concerned. My experience of GDPR is that the process is rigorous where I work and I also know that my colleagues would never accept anything less with this type of process and young people would always be given the right to opt out of the process.

Neil goes on to say  “It should come as no surprise that among the voices protesting about sex education are those who’d limit or remove the right to abortion for women. What absolute wickedness these people – often posing as god-fearing Christians – would inflict on our young. They’d remove access to information which would help teenagers safely navigate the world of sex, yet put them in the position of having to deal with unwanted pregnancies or STDs”. Absolute rubbish to generalise so widely, while as I said I do not agree with all of the concerns raised I totally accept and agree that parents and others have the right to raise them, and to campaign against something they believe is a risk, to try to shut them up, is just plain wrong. Neil says “those opposed to it are also clearly playing dark political games”. Again, more generalised nonsense. Many of the voices trying to weaponize the safety and education of Scottish children are those who’d want to roll back rights not just for women but for minorities too”.

What can be more illiberal than shutting down all opinions because that is what I suspect Neil is implying here, that people with concerns should shut up. Scotland under the SNP Government is in danger of becoming an extremely illiberal country when the voices from all sides are not heard, when the courts and the police become arms of the state and debate is discouraged. Is Scotland an illiberal country? No it is not, yet, but if we can’t talk, debate, challenge, share or find common ground we are in danger of becoming just that.

Article is worth a read though.

join the Alba Party here

Grumpy Scottish Man – Reaching Out

 

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13 Responses to Neil MacKay – He is right and wrong

  1. Cubby says:

    Another crap article by McKay. Thankfully I do not pay to read his articles.

    So if you are against an inappropriate peeping tom questionnaire being issued to children McKay arbitarily just says you are against all manner of other things. Lazy rubbish journalism.

    Sex Education is not asking children about their actual experience in a creepy questionnaire. Two different things. These matters should be left to social workers.

    Apart from that Somerville should just go. Hardly a role model for school children. Just another of Sturgeons pals promoted because she is a pal who loyally does what she is told.

    • Cubby

      I think the census certainly comes across as lewd as in design but these things have tended to be asked in the past but maybe not so blatantly. Mackay I agree is not the best and his article does look like a little point scoring but i did it interesting as I think sometimes we all have to take a breath but I don’t like the idea of shutting down discussion, that is what the gender warriors do.

      Thanks for commenting.
      Bruce

  2. Stuart MacKay says:

    I read the article and it was a waste of my time. Lazy journalism at it’s laziest. So Scotland is on the verge of having it’s own version of Kristallnacht? Really?

    I find it amazing that the politics of Montana, Texas and California are now the politics of everybody or at least that is how the debates and the journalism is framed. If all you do is read Twitter or Facebook all they then I guess that must be true. The UK media and politicians have long had a love affair with all things American. We’re now reaping the benefits.

    • Stuart

      Yeah I can see where you are coming from, for myself it was more the trying to shut down discussion and debate that bothered me more. There is too much of that in Scotland now for my liking and it needs to stop. We should encourage debate and discussion or we will end up like the USA and that can never be good.

      Thanks for commenting.
      Bruce

  3. panda paws says:

    “Data gathered is confidential and anonymity preserved, again Neil is correct. However, if any red flags are noticed – evidence that a child is being sexually abused or at risk of other harms – then action can be taken to help the child concerned”

    If you can identify a particular child then it be definition is not anonymous. Who is noticing the red flags? Statisticians? They are not trained to. So who else has access to the data and what training do they have?

    “The recent moral panic surrounding sex education”

    It isn’t sex education. It’s a survey. If you fill in a survey about your shopping habits you’ve not had shop education.

    “who’d limit or remove the right to abortion for women.”

    The VAST majority of those (on twitter anyway) against it are feminists.

    “They’d remove access to information which would help teenagers safely navigate the world of sex,”

    What? How does not completing the survey remove access to information?

    “Many of the voices trying to weaponize the safety and education of Scottish children are those who’d want to roll back rights not just for women but for minorities too”.

    Is he having a laugh? The majority of those concerned about the survey are the same people fighting to retain sex based rights women already have. None of them want to remove rights form other groups but seek to ensure that giving other group’s new rights they legally don’t have (though de facto have been given) do not conflict with women’s current rights.

    That’s before we even get to the fact that teenage boys LIE about sex (exaggerate) and teenage girls underplay their experience. So the data will be next to useless.

    Honest to God I despair of the standard of journalism (churnalism) in this country.

    • Panda

      I am more concerned about the shutting down of the debate, there is too much of that in Scotland now. I would imagine there will be a key word system built into the survey somehow which many use now I think. I agree journalism is rubbish in Scotland and Mackay uses the article to hit out but I found it interesting I must say although again aware it was a Mackay article and you have to be careful. People sometimes just need to take a breath and we should never try to shut down honest concerns, that is dangerous also.

      Thanks for commenting.
      Bruce

    • ObairPheallaidh says:

      Excellent post Panda Paws. I’m worried ..

  4. Lanark says:

    Another MSM smear on Alba. They’ve always hated Salmond and seem very keen on Sturgeon.

    Could it be the union is safe in her hands?

  5. ObairPheallaidh says:

    He’s no worth quoting. If he wants to undermine the independence cause on behalf of his masters, and I believe he does, then he needs front up. Sleekit we digs in his columns doesnae really cut it wi the big boys. My advice to Mr macKay is up that game fella or the future is the bottom rung on the minimum bung.

    Playing the wounded soldier when someone digs him up for being the snide wee ‘Indy supporting’ Brit paid hack his works reveals him to be, just outs him as unsuitable for the task of making a difference in the battle to save the Northern Territories.

  6. ObairPheallaidh says:

    That is a fair enough point from a far fairer man than myself.

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