The shocking and prolonged bestial treatment of two year old Liam Fee, leading to his death, leaves serious questions that must be asked and answered at the highest level in the land.
The baby’s mother and her partner, Rachel and Nyomi Fee, have today been found guilty of the murder of the Liam and of all associated charges laid against them – some relating to their sadistic torture of two other boys who appear to have been, in some unknown way and for some unknown reason, in their ‘care’.
Fife Council was one of the early implementers of the highly controversial Named Person form of state guardianship for all children living in Scotland from birth to legal maturity.
Did Liam Fee have a Named Person – who would have been his Health Visitor?
Did that Named Person do much ‘visiting’; express what concerns to whom, at what stages, how often and with what result; request involvement from what other agencies – with what responses; and take what actions – with what consequences?
The two other boys brutalised at the hands of the Fees and fortunate to survive, must also have had Named Persons.
Did those Named Persons – Health Visitors – also do much ‘visiting’; express what concerns to whom, at what stage’s and how often; request involvement from what other agencies – with what responses;’ and take what actions – with what consequences?
During the trial of Rachel and Nyomi Fee, they said that two year old Liam had been ‘self harming’.
It was not reported that prosecution counsel at the trial challenged or interrogated this claim by the murdering pair.
Was this question indeed pursued?
Can a two year old have a sufficiently developed sense of ‘self’ and of social and behavioural norms from which her or his experience differs to lead them to take to ‘self-harming’?
Can a two year old have a sufficiently developed sense of blame and responsibility to hold themselves responsible for what is happening to them – and to turn to ‘self harming’ in self punishment?
These issue requires to be explored and clarified.
The Scottish Conservatives have committed to opposing the statutory compulsory imposition of a Named Person jupon each child n Scotland – and to getting it stopped.
They are right to do so – and the Daily Mail campaign – or its Scottish Edition’s campaign on the mater has been doing substantial good in raising public awareness of the existence of the statute; of the very high level risk of many kinds that it carries; and of its utter unworkability in practice.
However, both the politicians and the journalists must start asking the hard questions and the uncomfortable questions they have not been asking.
This applies now to both the murder of Bailey Gwynne in Cults Academy in Aberdeen; and to the murder of Liam Fee in Glenrothes.
What role in his clearly troubled development was played by the Named Person of the boy who murdered Bailey Gwynne? What support for his wellbeing did that boy receive from his Named Person – whose specific responsibility this is?
What concerns did that Named Person express, at what stage and to whom, during the years up to his fatal stabbing of a fellow schoolboy?
What requests for help from other agencies in the matter were raised by this Named Person – and with what outcomes?
These are no longer life and death issues. It is too late for this in the case of both principals. Now they are death issues.
The lives destroyed are not only those of the tragically dead but those who jointly suffered – as in the case of the two other boys kept in the Fee household; and of the teenage murderer of Bailey Gwynne.
If this Named Person statute is to be railroaded through regardless, with the support of the opportunist Greens – as new Education Secretary, John Swinney seems prematurely determined to do [not for good reason but to avoid loss of political face] – it has got to stand up and speak its own name; with Named Persons acting in accordance with their very weighty responsibilities; and accepting that personal responsibility- even though it is legally their employer who is legally accountable.
And why have prosecutors in these two recent murder trials made no effort to take evidence from the Named Persons of the young people in question – nor even mentioned their very existence?