In these weary days of fake news, the goal in the SNP seems to be deflection for the Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon story, from the SNP civil war, and from Nicola Sturgeon in general. To that end, we get this piece of nonsense, key SNP figures told by Nicola Sturgeon to prepare for possible election.
Is the noose of destiny tightening around the throat of Nicola Sturgeon?
Is it better to go out as a defeat First Minister and tuck that FM pension away than to hang around and see Team Salmond plot and plan for her exit! Although any excuse will do to bolt, we should be careful about this election scare story. Has Nicola Sturgeon got enough ‘Scottish roubles’ put away, has she a fallback position of another job in the wings? The fact that SNP parliamentarians have been told by Nicola Sturgeon to prepare for a possible Scottish election if the government at Holyrood fails to pass its budget today doesn’t impress me.
Nicola Sturgeon gets a lot wrong and she isn’t any good at strategy despite the hype by the press as a canny politician. That muck of her being a thinker has no place in the history of Scotland, from botched job to botched job appears to be the history of Sturgeon in political office of State.
Health was a disaster.
Face of indy was a disaster.
Law career turned out to be a dud.
The Scottish Greens by use of the discredit list system see themselves in a position to extent pressure to get through their agenda. The only thing good about a Holyrood election is that it might suppress their votes and help get rid of some of those clowns. An election doesn’t help Sturgeon; her minority government only stands to lose seats and voter share. Of course this seems like a ‘tactic’, a tactic used before way back in 2009, when an SNP minority government had its budget defeated by the Scottish Parliament. Salmond as First Minister then threatened to go to the polls before the deadlock was broken.
Elections cost money and are a risk!
If the purpose of Sturgeon’s possible election is to secure a fresh mandate from the electorate to secure another referendum on independence, she is onto plums; the issues in the Scottish NHS will feature highly in any possible election. And given the number of child who have died under Sturgeon’s watch with her new handpicked Health Minister, you can feel how uncomfortable would be. Nicola Sturgeon uses children as ‘props’, this is part of her ‘Chief Mammy’ agenda to stay in power, the illusion of being liked and popular.
The use of a Trojan horse in history is well known, publicly, the government has stated that it is focused on getting its spending plans passed and is confident of reaching a compromise. If they are confident then what is Nicola Sturgeon saying re election?
I would suggest she is laying a false trail of bird seed, the closer the turkeys get to the oven, the more they will want to turn back and save their skin. Scottish Green leader Patrick Harvie is a turkey who doesn’t want the pleasure of hopping into the gas oven.
In what must be laughable, Finance Secretary Derek Mackay is appealing for MSPs to “act responsibly”, this is a man who betrayed his wife and kids and is calling for MSPs to “act responsibly”?
How does that work when we all know he is a rocket?
Mackay must secure the support of the six Green MSPs to pass his budget, with all other opposition parties committed to voting against it, we are in this situation due to the list system, I have always favoured smaller MSP constituencies so that MSP must win a mandate from an area they stand in.
Scottish Greens Patrick Harvie has dismissed suggestions his party could bring down the government by rejecting the SNP’s budget as a “myth” but this type of ‘soap opera’ doesn’t play well with the voters. Scotland is in political flux, no one going to the polls at this time can guarantee that they will keep their seat. The only exception in general is those who may it to the top of the list, minus a few places where special circumstances exist.
SNP committee convener Gillian Martin used the fable spectre of a second Scottish independence was at risk to a Green MSP by tweeting:
“You’ve seen the way the other parties coalesce against us to try and bring down the government. Since 2014 everything for them is about defeating the pro-Indy Parliament.” She added: We are at risk of an election that might see pro Indy parties lose seats and put us in a weaker position.”
The writing is on the wall for Holyrood 2021, we are looking at a hung parliament, a parliament that cannot get a referendum bill through, anything between now and then is meaningless.
Nicola Sturgeon has no decent record to lead the SNP into an election, high tax, bad services, ineffective government and she is a bitter angry woman who needs pushed out the door.
At present Polls show the SNP remains in the lead in Scottish Parliament voting intention, but that the nationalists have lost ground. Can you seriously imagine Nicola Sturgeon pulling the plug for an early election when so much bad PR is swirling around her personally?
Scottish Conservative shadow finance secretary Murdo Fraser claimed uncertainty around the budget showed the SNP were “unfit” for government which is an open secret. He added:
“The SNP has neglected the day job so badly that it’s now struggling to get the single-biggest responsibility taken care of. Nicola Sturgeon is so resigned to the weakness of her own administration; she’s been forced to rally the troops for another election.Hers would be the first government in the history of the Scottish Parliament to call an election because it couldn’t pass a budget. That would be a shameful legacy, and shows just how unfit the Nationalists are for government of any kind.”
Rallying the troops this time might not be so easy, you don’t plunge a party not unified into an election, because you find that even in your own side, there are people with an interest in seriously seeing you lose.
Scottish Liberal Democrat campaign chair Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP said:
“We’ve made clear to the SNP that we want a budget that focuses on education, mental health and local government funding. “If their inability to get a budget through necessitates a new Scottish Parliament election then I have every hope that people in Scotland will want to use that to eject the Nationalists.”
Quite so ma’am!
A Labour spokesman said:
“No credible anti-austerity party would propose” the draft budget put forward by the SNP”.
If I was Scottish Labour, I wouldn’t want a Holyrood election at this point in time being the third party in Holyrood, the ground operation isn’t exactly dynamic at the moment.
Finally, the only reasons for Holyrood election is if Nicola Sturgeon wants out the door, or wants to gamble, but since she would be gambling FM ‘roubles’, I don’t think she has the mind to pull the pin. The Scottish Greens in a way are like the SNP at Westminster, people see them as useful idiots, a few coins thrown their way will probably see them back in their cage and the ‘soap opera’ will be over. The high drama, the cliff hanger will yet again prove to be a huge letdown at Holyrood.
Who is up for an election?
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University
A man attempted to rape an 18-month-old baby while filming the abuse, a court has heard.
Joshua Gould, 23, from Essex, abused three children and documented the abuse over a number of years.
Gould was caught with 1,300 sick images of children being abused and 52 extreme pornographic images which involved a female dog, on an external hardrive.
He appeared at Basildon Crown Court to be sentenced after pleading guilty to eight charges, reports Essex Live.
As he was jailed for a decade – with another eight years to be served on license – one person exclaimed that “ten years was not enough” for the convicted sex offender, as he was taken down from the dock.
His charges include: one count of attempted to rape a child under the age of 13, four counts of assaulting assault a girl under the age of 13 by touching, two counts of taking indecent photographs or pseudo photographs of a child and one count of possessing pornographic images of intercourse with a dead or alive animal.
Gould was snared by police officers at an address on Seabrooke Rise, Grays, on January 13 last year.
When they stormed in, Gould was arrested and detained in the car park whilst officers searched the property. Essex Police raided the property as the IP address was shown to have been uploading indecent images of children.
Gould admitted in a police interview the possession of the indecent images and was adamant his girlfriend, who he lived with at the time, knew nothing whatsoever of his shameful crimes.
He told officers he was “wrong in the head” and “found pleasure in the images”.
Afterwards, he wrote a letter to the police officer investigating him and explained what they would find on his devices, which included a mobile phone, a laptop and an external hardrive.
Officers soon realised that the indecent material contained live abuse images – where the defendant had filmed himself harming innocent children, one aged just 18 months.
Some of the material was dated as far back as 2012 and showed him exposing himself during a game of ‘hide and seek’.
When he was interviewed again, he refused to answer questions asked by police and instead wrote down a name of the child he had abused. The police needed to identify the toddlers that were harmed by Gould and in doing so, their parents had to identify them through the indecent material.
Police found more than a thousand indecent images on Gould’s devices, including 240 moving and 62 still images of the most serious category A, 200 moving and 73 still images of category B, and 19 moving and 750 still images of category C. Officers also discovered 52 extreme pornographic images involving animals and oral sex or sexual intercourse with an adult female dog.
In some of the sick material, some of the young male and female children being abused were as young as three-months-old.
Gould looked down when he stood at Basildon Crown Court’s dock on Wednesday, January 30. He pleaded guilty to eight charges before him.
Representing him, Mark Savage said: “The defendant had been committing these crimes for a number of years. He is still a young man and he would have been a young teenager when he began offending in this way.
“The actions have carried on to adult life and I don’t underestimate their impact.”
He added: “From the moment he was arrested he did not seek to undermine his culpability, he contacted the police, he wrote to the police, and he wasn’t represented initially. In fact, he explained to the police ‘this is what you will find on my equipment’.
“He cannot explain why he has offended in this way, he made full admissions, and he said he ‘was not right in the head’, he was disgusted by his behaviour.”
The judge replied with, “that’s why he is dangerous in my view” when Gould’s counsel said “he doesn’t know why he has done what he did”.
Mr Savage continued: “He said, very clearly, ‘there is something wrong with my thinking,’ he loathes himself for what he has done.”
The counsel then told the court that the children involved were also ‘too young to be fully aware of what had happened’ to them.
Judge Samantha Leigh, who sentenced Gould, first saw the case when it came before her with only charges relating to the possession of indecent images.
Judge Leigh then believed the images contained live abuse and sent the case to be reviewed and to allow a full and proper investigation.
She told Gould in the dock: “Parents had to identify their children from the photographs, which of course makes it worse in their mind.
“They have now seen a very small part of what you did to their daughters. This has been going on for a number of years, and you said you were an opportunist, but that’s not what I have from some of the footage and from the span of time.”
Gould, who resides at Stevenson Avenue, Tilbury, was sentenced to a total of ten years behind bars with eight years on licence thereafter, for the attempted rape of a child.
He was given three years in prison for three counts of assaulting a girl under the age of 13 by touching. Gould was then handed a three-year sentence for one count of taking indecent photographs or pseudo photographs of a child, and nine months for another count of the same indictment charge.
All of his sentences were ordered to run concurrently, at the same time, meaning Gould will spend 10 years in prison, following by eight years on licence. As he pleaded guilty, he will have to spend at least two thirds of the sentence in jail before he can be considered for parole.
The Westminster child abuse ‘coverup’: how much did MPs know?
Claims that the establishment covered up a paedophile ring at the heart of Westminster are finally being investigated, decades after rumours first surfaced. Michael White, who was a parliamentary reporter at the time, asks veteran politicians why no one wanted to believe the worst
All have denied charges levelled by alleged victims, some of them in files passed on by current MPs convinced of an extensive establishment coverup that lasted decades. But so did Cyril Smith, who got his knighthood in 1988 despite officials warning Margaret Thatcher of paedophile allegations against him, confirmed only after the former Liberal MP was dead. Freedom of Information (FoI) papers filled in fresh details this month. Smith is again central to today’s claims.
The allegations centering on Dolphin Square, a 7.5-acre, 1,250-flat complex by the Thames, include claims that boys in nearby Lambeth care homes were recruited as rent boys and ferried to the apartments for violent orgies where VIPs, defence and Whitehall officials, establishment types, as well as Tory MPs (one “cabinet minister”), were said to be participants. The Yard has spoken of “possible homicide” being committed. Historical and more recent allegations have been backed by Labour MP John Mann, who first encountered them as a Lambeth councillor in the 80s, but was told by police contacts that their inquiries had been stopped on orders from superiors.
How could it happen, politicians prominent in the 80s ask themselves? Were some of them mixed up in coverups, voters ask? So does the media, though it, too, has questions to answer. I was a Westminster political reporter at the time. I have been asking around.
This is a controversy with a long fuse. About 30 years ago, one of Margaret Thatcher’s junior ministers took me aside at Westminster and told me of serious allegations against a senior colleague. Since his version of events involved the abuse of other well-placed Tories’ children, it sounded pretty implausible to me. It still does, so I will not repeat it here, though both men are now dead and other versions of the same rumour have since surfaced.
With one borderline exception, it was the only such allegation that I heard as a working political journalist in the 1980s that was not also known to a wider public beyond Westminster. In the pre-Twitter era, such stories often surfaced via Private Eye, which picked up all sorts of gossip, some of which it concluded was untrue. Occasionally, a smear might be traced to security sources trying to damage someone, as may have been the case with my junior minister: a willing conduit for malice against a reforming minister who threatened vested interests?
As the Met’s Operation Midland ploughs through long-neglected allegations – the IPCC is now formally involved, too – and the New Zealand high court judge Lowell Goddard takes up the onerous chairmanship of the official inquiry, how do surviving politicians of the 70s and 80s react to what they are now reading? To allegations of politically powerful coverups, even of murder linked to Dolphin Square, where MPs have lived on weekdays for decades? Mostly with alarm and surprise, tinged with regret at their own naivety or complacency. Coverups? Perhaps one or two, concede a couple of people I spoke to. Among such sentiments from old stagers – MPs, ex-MPs, some now peers – and other veterans of Whitehall and Westminster, come admissions that they did hear – or read in the Eye – of shocking sexual allegations against some colleagues at the time.
They came to believe claims of a double life made against the then-Liberal leader Jeremy Thorpe. But they did not against some others since named – including Tory Peter Morrison, who was implicated in an abuse scandal centred on North Wales children’s homes, and even Cyril Smith. “A peculiar character, living with mum, but no one suggested anything else,” admits one avowedly naive Lib Dem colleague of the period.
In contrast to the sex-abuse cases that have rocked TV and showbusiness, no one actually saw anything. Most MPs are less worldly than celebs, Mrs Thatcher among them. A child of provincial Lincolnshire, raised in an austere Methodist household, what did she know about such things? A more clued-up figure would not have said, in praise of her deputy, Lord Whitelaw: “Every prime minister needs a Willie.”
Among more than a dozen old stagers I interviewed recently – most willing to speak only off the record – none recalls hearing anything about the now-notorious paedophile haunt Elm Guest House in Barnes, let alone about such crimes allegedly being committed at Dolphin Square – also part of the IPCC’s new inquiry. Up to 70 MPs lived in Dolphin Square, often without knowing their neighbours, fellow MPs included. “I only realised [a Tory colleague] had been living here for five years when I met him in the lift,” one recalls. “I thought it was where rich men parked ex-mistresses, old ladies with dogs,” says another former resident.
A common reaction to lurid gossip at the time, among political journalists as well as politicians, was that “It can’t be true – or someone would have been arrested.” Respectable provincial newspapers routinely protected readers from sordid tales. Tory ex-ministers with security experience also point out that “in those days the police were much more subservient to senior politicians. You did not get chief constables with minds of their own.” The police were more corrupt, too, some point out.
But, as in other recently uncovered scandals, the culture was different, too. One Conservative ex-MP recalls once being with Whitelaw, the ultimate old-school insider, when yet another “Tories and prostitutes” sex scandal broke in the Sunday papers. The reaction of the future home secretary and deputy prime minister was immediate. “Why has this been allowed to come out?” Whitelaw is now accused of demanding that police drop an investigation into the Westminster paedophile ring.
But widespread political coverups, even of a murder at Dolphin Square? “I don’t see how it would work,” says a former Labour chief whip. Whitehall was not wholly out of the loop. Robert Armstrong, Thatcher’s cabinet secretary from 1979 to 1987, tells me: “One got to know a certain amount about politicians’ sex lives, but I never heard a whisper about paedophilia.”
Officials such as Lord Armstrong were not wholly passive. As Edward Heath’s civil service adviser during his abortive Lib-Con coalition negotiations after losing the “who governs Britain?” election in 1974, Armstrong says the then-PM knew the rumours about Jeremy Thorpe’s private promiscuity. “Thorpe mentioned the possibility [of becoming home secretary in charge of security files], but that’s the last thing Heath would have offered him,” he now says.
Years later Armstrong gave Thatcher what he calls a “veiled” warning not to sanction Jimmy Savile’s knighthood for charitable work. She ignored it, as did David Steel in proposing Smith for a knighthood in 1998 despite known allegations against him by the alternative Rochdale Free Press, repeated in Private Eye. Armstrong’s successor, Robin (now Lord) Butler, flagged up concerns about Smith, we now know. So did the political honours scrutiny committee.
That Armstrong and Butler at least raised a problem may reassure the prominent Whitehall-watcher Professor Peter Hennessy. Journalist turned academic, now a peer, Hennessy remains astonished that a triple-lock defence line of security services, police special branch and the tax authorities did not tip off No 10 more effectively about dubious recipients of honours. But as a 1970s Westminster political correspondent, Hennessy too admits he shared widespread scepticism towards the Eye’s allegations against Smith and others.
Each case is different. Colleagues recall John Wakeham, Margaret Thatcher’s “Mr Fixit” and powerful chief whip in the mid-1980s, telling MPs who came to him with concerns about Morrison having cottaging skirmishes with the police: “If someone brings me some evidence I can do something about it, if required.” Wakeham would say years later: “I got no evidence at all.”
Morrison, scion of a wealthy Tory dynasty and MP for Chester, had powerful friends, including Thatcher, the defence of whose premiership he organised (disastrously) against Michael Heseltine’s challenge in 1990. The suspicion persists that, somewhere along the line, he was protected. “It never got out, but people said: ‘They’ll never be able to do that for Peter again,’” recalls one Tory. Morrison quit the Commons in 1992 and died in 1995, aged just 51.
“He was a very unhappy man and drank himself to death,” explains the former Tory cabinet minister and friend, who remembers being equally dismissive of unsavoury rumours about Cyril Smith. “I looked at Smith and thought, what an unlikely figure, that huge bulk and he could hardly walk properly.”
Evidence suppressed about Cyril Smith? Wakeham’s assumption today remains that the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) must have decided the evidence wasn’t good enough. This month’s FoI revelations confirmed that in 1970 the then-DPP did examine a Lancashire police file and concluded a conviction would be unlikely. Others say the problem was wider. This week’s claims on BBC Newsnight that officers were told to suppress their video evidence against Smith and forget it – on the orders of a senior colleague – suggests the critics are right.
Quite apart from the instinct to cover up rumours of abuse, another attitude was widely shared at the time by the press and public, too. “There was a universal desire to ignore it,’’ says another of the retired MPs interviewed. “We just didn’t understand it. It wasn’t deliberate neglect, more a lack of experience,” explains a Labour woman of cabinet rank. “Forty years ago attitudes were more relaxed,” explains Labour veteran and Old Etonian Tam Dalyell.
There were other significant features of the period. Though divorce was no longer a bar to elected office and homosexual behaviour between adults had been legal since 1967, it didn’t always feel that way: voters were less tolerant of MPs following them into the permissive society. Besides, people did not talk openly about private sexual behaviour, as they do now. Some MPs had affairs (women, including Barbara Castle, as well as men) and a few (Labour’s Tom Driberg, later Lord Bradwell) chased male members of the Commons staff. Driberg was protected by his old press patron, Lord Beaverbrook (much as Edward VIII’s love life had been) and by the security services. Most of it remained mere gossip.
Another factor different from today was solidarity. “There was a feeling at the time that you didn’t make trouble for other MPs,” recalls Dalyell, one of parliament’s great troublemakers for 40 years, but on political, not personal, matters. Dalyell shared the general distaste for Geoffrey Dickens, when the Tory populist made paedophile allegations – now being re-examined by police – in the 80s.
Suspecting Dickens of mere publicity-seeking, perhaps in collusion with a tabloid, he refused his appeal for help. “I’m much more concerned about our economic problems than this mire,” he recalls his admired ex-cabinet colleague Joel Barnett, a parliamentary neighbour of both Dickens and Cyril Smith, confiding at the time. Dickens, whose habit of mis-saying “fido-pilia” did not help his cause, was dismissed as a joke, though not all contemporary MPs discount claims that a senior home office official might have destroyed files. “That civil servant is a very bad man with nasty sexual habits,” one recalls being warned about one such.
Dickens was proved right in naming diplomat Sir Peter Hayman, later jailed. But suspicion of such boat-rocking MP colleagues lingers on, with eyebrows raised against the likes of Tom Watson, Simon Danczuk or John Mann, who have all campaigned for the investigation of abuse allegations. So does the hunch that some of the claims today by former victims may prove to be fantasy, exaggeration or revenge – “someone getting their own back”.
If the Westminster majority understood little about the gay world inhabited by some of their colleagues, paedophilia was a closed one. As the Daily Mail demonstrated in its campaign against Harriet Harman and Patricia Hewitt, two future cabinet ministers who worked at the National Council for Civil Liberties (now Liberty), the “anything goes” 70s tolerated a campaign that openly advocated consenting sexual relationships with children – the Paedophile Information Exchange – to affiliate to the NCCL before being discredited.
“We just didn’t understand,” ex-MPs now say. Just as women in all walks of life experienced bottom pinching (they knew which male colleagues were “not safe in taxis” ), unwelcome advances, and worse, so both sexes were what they call “more relaxed” about male acquaintances with an unhealthy interest in boys, girls or Commons secretaries. Society’s default position was to disbelieve complainants to the police. A northern Labour MP, now a peer (“I was so ugly the perverts didn’t fancy me”), recalls being spanked on his bare bottom by a teacher. But when his father offered to go to the police, his mother said: “We can’t do that, the man’s a priest.” Denials by those in authority were usually believed – the opposite of today.
Politicians of the day, beset with familiar problems such as economic growth, were fearful of delving into claims often made by those on the margins of society. They were wary of the twin Whitehall elephant traps known as “the can of worms” and “the slippery slope” that leads to who knows where. “Whatever you do, don’t go near the Kincora boy’s home scandal [in Belfast], it’s a can of worms from which you won’t escape,” one probing MP was warned only last year. He took the advice. But Kincora, too, is back in the headlines.
Ignorance, naivety, complacency and discretion, loyalty too, all are contributory explanations for decades of neglect. As the famous opening sentence of The Go-Between, LP Hartley’s novel of sexual intrigue, put it as long ago as 1953: “The past is a foreign country: they do things differently there.”
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Trans guidance for Scottish schools breaches 11 children’s rights, campaigners warn
Controversial guidelines governing the inclusion of trans pupils in schools could breach as many as 15 articles of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, according to a new campaign for women and girls.
Many councils and schools have adopted the guidelines, without assessing the impact on other pupils, according to the group Women and Girls in Scotland (WGiS).
The report comes ahead of a public meeting in Edinburgh tomorrow (Thursday) which is being held by ForWomen.Scot, another group calling for greater protection for the rights of women and girls.
The advice to schools, written by LGBT Youth and the Scottish Trans Alliance, states that trans pupils should share overnight accommodation on school trips with pupils based on their gender identity rather than their biological sex, and should be allowed to take part in sports, and use changing rooms and toilets based on the gender they identify as.
Any pupils who have concerns about this should be asked to wait and use facilities after a trans pupil has done so and “they should be reminded of the school’s ethos of inclusion, equality and respect”. There is no need to tell parents if their child is to share accommodation with a trans peer of the opposite sex, the guidance states.
However WGiS says note of these measures have been assessed for any impact on other pupils – particularly girls, which is a legal requirement under public sector equality duties.
As a result the group has carried out its own Children’s Rights Impact Assessment using the model published by the Scottish Children’s Commissioner.
Its 51-page analysis, which is to be published online, warns that key aspects of the rights of other children are likely to be breached in schools where the guidelines are adopted. They say non-trans children will be affected, most notably girls who benefit from single sex provision in intimate settings and in sports. “The guidance sets up a conflict of interest, particularly between male-bodied transgender young people and girls” the report states.
The group says it submitted the analysis to the Children and Young People’s Commissioner for Scotland (CYPCS) in November and was promised a response within three weeks, but has yet to receive any formal feedback.
WGiS says that by failing to address concerns relating to privacy, dignity, safety or as a result of religious belief, or the impact on children who have previously suffered sexual harassment, assault or abuse, the guidance “does not clearly demonstrate respect for the views of the young people who are affected by these issues.”
For example, the group’s analysis argues: “A school environment where a victim of abuse, objecting to sharing facilities with male bodied people, is to be reminded of ‘respect’, and then excluded from her own space and peer group, is not likely to be one that is fostering her health, welfare, self-respect, dignity and autonomy or taking into account her sex-specific needs.”
In sport, there are issues of fairness for girls if male-bodied pupils are competing against them, but also in contact sports such as rugby, issues of physical safety which have not been addressed, the report adds.
The only children consulted over the guidance were a small number of trans pupils, and the group is calling for a fresh consultation allowing a wider range of young people to give their views, anonymously if necessary.
Leya Terra, spokeswoman for WGiS, said group recognised the sensitivity of the issue and added; “transgender young people must be safe and comfortable at school, but this should not come at the expense of the safety and comfort of others.”
“The guidance has been written with the intention of supporting transgender young people in schools, but there is no evidence that it has fully taken into account the needs of other protected groups of young people,” she added.
Neither have councils which have adopted the guidance, or CYPCS itself – which endorsed it – fulfilled a legal duty to carry out an impact assessment, she said. “It is our understanding that no impact assessment in regards to this guidance has been carried out by anyone.”
She said WGiS would welcome the opportunity to work with LGBT Youth Scotland to edit the guidance to ensure it upholds the rights of all pupils. Alternatively, the group is calling for an independent organisation to develop new guidance, using a children’s rights-based approach.
A spokeswoman for the Scottish children’s commissioner confirmed his office had welcomed the guidance when it was launched.
Head of Strategy for CYPCS, Máire McCormack said: “This is a complex children’s rights issue and at a global and national level there continues to be a developing understanding about gender non-conforming children and young people.
“The Government has a responsibility to ensure that there is guidance available for those working with all children and young people to help support them. We recognise that concerns have been raised about the application of the current guidance in practice and it is clear that further work must be done.”
However she said it was the responsible of the Scottish Government and councils to make sure the policy supported the rights of all pupils.
“The Government and all those responsible for education have a duty to ensure that any guidance used in schools follows international human rights standards and undertaking a Children’s Rights Impact Assessment is an important part of taking a rights-based approach and ensuring compliance with existing domestic and international law.”
A man caught for a THIRD time making indecent images of children including the depraved sexual abuse of toddlers has been spared jail AGAIN
David Kimbrey admitted a string of offences involving making indecent images of children and possession of extreme pornography when he was sentenced at Worcester Crown Court on Friday.
The 27-year-old pleaded guilty to making 143 category A images, the most serious bracket which shows adults having sex with children.
He also admitted making 70 images at category B, 139 at category C, a single count of possession of extreme pornographic images involving animals and possession of 1,028 prohibited images of children
Blondel Thompson, prosecuting, said a warrant was executed at the defendant’s home address in Camp Hill Road, Worcester in November 2016 by members of the online child exploitation team.
Miss Thompson said the defendant’s mother answered the door and several devices were seized including USB memory stick found in the pocket of Kimbrey’s jeans and two laptops.
Images were found in an inaccessible thumbnail format.
Miss Thompson said the children being abused in the category A images were aged between two and three years. In the category B images the children were said to be aged six to seven and in the category C images they were aged between two and four. The bestiality images involved a woman having sex with a pig.
Kimbrey gave a no comment interview to police upon his arrest.
Judge Jim Tindal said the offences crossed the custody threshold and were so serious they were ‘right at the top of the range’ in terms of the sentencing guidelines.
However, he decided not to jail Kimbrey because of the progress he had made including private treatment he had received to prevent future offending, arguing that a suspended sentence was ‘a more powerful incentive’.
He said: “I have pulled back from the brink because I’m being told by the experts how far you’ve come. You need to keep going in the same direction. Your work isn’t finished here.
“If it goes backwards or if you breach my order you have been given fair warning, you will be going to prison whatever the psychological consequences for you.” Asked if this was clear the defendant replied ‘crystal’.
Judge Jim Tindal, speaking to the defendant, said: “What concerns me most about this is that you keep doing the same thing or rather you kept doing the same thing.
“You first committed this sort of offence back in 2009 and you were sentenced to a community order in 2010.
“This is now effectively your third conviction for this sort of offence on top of the breach of the sexual offences prevention order.”
However, he said: “The impression I get is that you have now turned a corner which for you is much more difficult than for other people who commit these sort of offences because of your autism.”
The judge also took into account that the defendant could ‘develop suicidal feelings of an extremely strong kind very quickly’.
Judge Tindal sentenced him to two years in prison suspended for two years and ordered him to complete 300 hours of unpaid work and 50 rehabilitation activity requirement days.
He ordered the forfeiture and destruction of the devices on which the images were found, made a sexual harm prevention order and ordered him to make a contribution of £350 towards the £535 costs requested by the prosecution.
A dental student found guilty of sexually assaulting a six-year-old girl will face no punishment after being granted an absolute discharge.
Christopher Daniel, 18, denied carrying out numerous assaults on the girl while he was aged 15 to 17 and she was between six and eight.
He was granted the discharge by Sheriff Gerard Sinclair after being found guilty at Dumbarton sheriff court at the end of a three-day trial. It means that Daniel, from Glasgow, will not be placed on the sex offenders register and the guilty verdict was not recorded as a conviction.
The victim’s family were not allowed to see a report sent by the sheriff to the Crown Office explaining his “wholly exceptional” decision, an STV investigation has found. They believe…