I AM an independence supporter and left-winger who belongs to no political party.

I am also someone whose family background has not been orthodox, and who therefore doesn’t speak from a traditional standpoint. In both these capacities I wish to express my bitter opposition to the Named Person plan which is defended in Andrew Learmonth’s article (Fresh attack on SNP’s named person policy, The National, December 29).

With the Tories the sole party to vote against it, and its prominent opponents including Christian groups holding traditional, sometimes homophobic, views on the family, a right-left vicious circle has emerged in which the left, by reflex, supports the Named Person plan, leaving a monopoly of opposition to the right, further entrenching the left’s support for it.

Defenders of the Named Person plan portray it as voluntary, pointing out that, technically, there’s no obligation to engage with the Named Person. The service is “available” and children and families “will have access” to it. Read the Scottish Government’s list of “Resistance-related risk indicators”, which even predates the Named Person plan, and you’ll see how far a parent will get with rejecting the “Child’s Plan” that the state imposes on the family.

Then there’s the “no-big-deal” argument that it’s just a further development of pre-existing policies: “For most [Named Persons] the new role is quite similar to roles they already perform”. In which case, why bother with it? The answer is that actually assigning a government official to be responsible for each child is a fundamental innovation. But the plan’s most damning feature is the lack of prior consultation with parents.

If the government had the resources to monitor every child in Scotland, it had the resources to consult every parent, but it didn’t. This silence is repeated in SNP campaigning material. The government [including minister for children Fiona McLeod, pictured above] defends the NP plan when attacked, but never spontaneously brags about it: not in the 2014 pro-independence referendum literature about “helping families”, not in any list of SNP achievements that I’ve encountered, not in the most recent local 2016 election leaflet. The SNP knows fine that parents would massively reject it, and the contempt for their opinion that this silence reveals matches the contempt embodied in the Named Person plan itself.

Katherine Perlo

YOUR correspondent John MacLeod does little to dispel the suspicion that those campaigning against the SNP’s named person policy have a fundamental lack of respect for those working in child protection (Letters, December 30).

Why the insistence on quotation marks around “professionals” – does Mr MacLeod not consider “teachers, social workers, doctors, nurses etc” as such? They are not amateurs. Would he rather they keep their concerns to themselves until a child’s health and/or wellbeing have been seriously damaged?

I am fully supportive of taxi drivers reporting any concern about comments made by children in their cabs, or indeed about their presentation. I wonder why legislation is necessary to prompt them to do so.

Children are not the property of their parents, but neither are parents the only people with responsibility to ensure children are kept safe. It takes a village to raise a child, and any responsible citizen should be quick to act if they fear a child is being mistreated, whether as a result of neglect or abuse at the hands of adult or due to bullying or harassment by peers. The named person policy merely adds a legal duty to the moral one that already existed.

Joan Brown

We can’t claim to be Christian yet back Trident

MAHATMA Gandhi once asked “Why is it that Christians are the only people who don’t see that

Jesus was non-violent?” To which I can only echo a despairing why indeed. This Christmas, as we celebrated the birth of the Prince of Peace, our Prime Minister David Cameron paraded his support for Christian values – love, compassion, sympathy and all that soppy stuff.

Words are easy peasy. This is the same man who justifies the most blatantly unChristian object in the universe. Trident, our sea-launched H-bomb, is the world’s most powerful machine for the mass killing of human beings. That is what it does when it does the only thing it is designed to do.

Those who are not willing to press the button, “extremists” such as the SNP, and Jeremy Corbyn are – ex hypothesi – unChristian atheists. Oh dear; this is logic, Captain Kirk, but not as we know it on planet Earth.

People who try to live by the non-violent principles that Jesus preached will inevitably find themselves in conflict with the powers that dominate the world – the merchants of death, weapons manufacturers and arms dealers, the money worshippers, the high-priests of Moloch and Mammon.

On Saturday January 2 I will join the Glasgow Catholic Workers at the gates of Faslane and stand alongside Sister Megan Rice, who caused “the biggest security breach in the history of the [USA’s] atomic complex” (the New York Times), shut down a nuclear weapons plant for two weeks, and spent two years in prison.

We will ask for God’s forgiveness for our complicity in the ongoing blasphemy of Trident.

Brian Quail

NOT so much an attempted coup, openly, on the streets, but furtively, sneakily, by the back door is what the present TTIP (Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership) negotiations are about.

Ian Stewart (Letters, December 30) is right in warning of the risk each affected sovereign nation will face if any such TTIP deal is done. That such negotiations are already happening behind closed doors does not augur well. The essence of this proposed partnership is to transfer power from publicly elected governments to private, non-elected companies.

Not only is this transparently undemocratic, it is disgraceful that any representatives of the democratic process, ie elected parliamentarians, should engage in any such matters, let alone even entertain such a politically sinister proposal as TTIP.

Lobbying might have status in the US, that is for the US voter to decide about, but it doesn’t have such respectability in the

UK. At least here, if big business does achieve parliamentary influence it had better not flaunt it. TTIP, as Ian Stewart’s letter says, is all about handing over political power to big business and effectively removing sovereignty from nations, including sovereignty of the people, and putting this power into the boardrooms of big corporations.

Any such proposals deserve instant dismissal. We might as well be told we are going to have elections but that these will be carried out without polling stations.

Ian Johnstone

DAVID Cameron’s response to the increasing havoc caused by climate change is exemplary. Winding down the renewables industries and pouring resources into fracking is a great start, just the thing. And we can look forward to fun when that wonderful juxtaposition happens, fracking combined with floods leaching out those toxic chemicals. All that remains then will be for David to start praying for the victims, and we’re sorted!

Derek Ball

MR Walthew (Letters, December 30) misses the point when he accuses me of being selective. Unless as nationalists we can criticise ourselves, we lose any sense of moral high ground.

Human rights are a moral as well as political issue and his accommodation of a nation with one of the worst human rights records is worrying.

No one is questioning the fact that the Tories’ record in dealing with human rights abusers is appalling. However, this in no way excuses Alex Salmond et al for chasing Iran’s money in the same way that he did with China when he was First Minister.

Rev John Nugent

Letters to The National, December 31, Part 1: 1950s-born women paid into pensions in good faith