Helen Martin: Kilted Big Brother is frightening prospect

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EDINBURGH is one of five areas in Scotland where state guardians for every child have already been appointed under an extremely controversial Scottish Government plan which is being hotly contested and isn’t due to come into effect until August 2016, if at all.

It is a spectacular own goal for the SNP government, and therefore the entire Yes campaign with only a few furlongs to go to referendum day.

This administration is so keen to make its mark it’s prepared not just to go against the wishes of the people who are clearly hostile to the idea, but to do so despite no public consultation having yet taken place on the proposal of state guardians, and the plans being legally challenged on the basis that Holyrood will be acting beyond its powers and breaching parents’ human rights.

Some Scottish parents have already been told by hospitals that health visitors or school teachers will be sent copies of medical reports on their child and will be informed if the child fails to keep an appointment.

Jings, if it’s like this with devolution, how much worse and more creepy could it get in full independent government?

Even I am now considering whether it might be better to be governed by a party we haven’t elected, based in London, with little knowledge or concern about the five million or so folk here, than to be micro-managed by an over-controlling domestic authority that has neither the time nor the inclination to listen when people tell them they have got it wrong.

Naively, I suppose, I was leaning strongly towards “yes” believing a truly Scottish Parliament would concentrate on the important basics of providing jobs, decent education, health services, social care, fair benefits and a thriving economy, areas where our assets, interests and ways often differ from England’s. I also, foolishly it seems, believed it would stay out of my kitchen, my drinks cupboard and my family life. I am sorely disappointed.

What is the point in gaining “freedom” from Westminster, only to lose it again to a kilt-wearing Big Brother regime going even beyond European legislation?

With minimum alcohol pricing, proscribed diets and potential bans on e-cigs, the health police are in full flow. The real police are armed to the teeth and now invasion of privacy and state parenting is setting itself above mum and dad. It makes Ukip’s “breed your own population increase” seem nothing more than a tactful suggestion.

This is a crucial and complex time for the “Yes” campaign and a battle that won’t be won with despotism and orders. Alex Salmond was the one who said Scots don’t respond to bullying and threats. Politician, hear thyself.

A little more conversation, please

MY man “George” tells me he got to the bottom of the Edinburgh Marathon barriers that left Abbeyhill in lockdown and residents unable to get to work. The council told him a distribution company was contracted to deliver leaflets stating access and exit would only be denied for 30 minutes while the elite runners went by and 60 minutes for the main pack. The leaflets were not delivered.

Unfortunately, the stewards on the barriers weren’t told the shutdown only applied for those 90 minutes and neither were the police. Parties and breweries spring to mind.

Bin alterations are impossible to keep up with

POOR Lesley Hinds gets all the duff jobs from trams to rubbish. Three million is to be spent on changing refuse collection . . . again. The 240-litre green bin will be replaced by a grey 140-litre.

The green one is now for mixed recycling which won’t have to be sorted any more. Except that the blue bin will stay for glass and electrical items (which I certainly didn’t recycle before). The red one will go altogether (cardboard and plastic now in the green one) and the small grey and black one for food waste will stay the same. We know the grey 140-litre won’t be big enough, it will take me at least six months to train Himself in the changes, and God help the colour blind.

Bit of dirt will do wonders for you

BABY drops dummy? Lick it clean and give it back to him. Cuddle your dog to share friendly bacteria. Food fallen on the floor? Pick it up and eat it. Not only did a bit of dirt never kill anyone, but it will save you and your children from asthma, allergies, hay fever and food intolerances.

According to one of Britain’s leading immunologists, Professor Graham Rook, we need contact with friendly bugs to be healthy. My generation were told to eat dropped food on the basis that “God kissed it before the Devil licked it”. Ancient wisdom wins.