article is so relevant to my family's life, and I feel compelled to write to illustrate the nonsense that GIRFEC is. I am a 46-year-old married mum of three children to the same dad. Our eldest daughter is a police officer. My middle child is very recently diagnosed with ASD (autism spectrum disorder). If Dumfries and Galloway Council had successfully steered me down their 'attendance order' and 'child plan meeting' path, I shudder to think where we'd be.
My age, marital status or my children's paternity shouldn't matter. It does under GIRFEC, and from my experience, giving those facts softens the blow for further confessions and asking for help from 'professionals', because there is a tick box that satisfies them. If you're a parent being truthful and asking for help, then you are doomed to give up your children to social services' idea of whether you are a 'good' or 'bad' parent. The general public assume that social workers are skilled professionals who would never cause 'good' families to have to prove themselves at best, and at worst, lose their children.
My 13-year-old son has had subtle struggles since he started school. He didn't cause the school worries or difficulties – quite the opposite, he was awarded the citizenship cup in P7. Fast forward to S1, and he refused to go to school. I'd assumed that school refusers were lazy kids, kids that simply didn't feel the need to participate. I soon realised that there was something else going on that didn't involve laziness, bullying or underachieving – autism. Under GIRFEC, and with CAHMS in such a state, the blame is put on parents, and the consequences of that blame is horrendous.
ponders the question of why Tom Johnston quit the political arena after his notable spell as Secretary of State during the war. As I argue in what was the first book-length study of Johnston's career ('Thomas Johnston, Lives of the Left' series, Manchester University Press), this essentially boiled down to two factors. First, his outlook was at odds with the centralism of the Attlee Labour government, something he was in a position to foresee in 1945. He was keen to protect and grow the Scottish institutions he had brought into being in his time in office. Second, he had no appetite for the resumption of adversarial party politics. He had thrived in the exceptional circumstances of wartime when a bi-partisan approach prevailed and decisions could be taken swiftly in a context of collaborative endeavour.
Re James Robertson's response to me on 'ithers' in 'To A Louse.' No, the 'vast majority of editions of Burns' do not print 'ithers': I acknowledge no such thing. Historically, the majority of Burns editors print 'others'. This is true, inter alia, of Currie (1800), Cunningham (1835), Hogg-Motherwell (1834 and 1836), Chambers (1838 and 1851), Thornton (1966), Kinsley (1968), McGuirk (1993), Crawford and MacLachlan (2009) and Irvine (2013).
And the reason they print 'others' is because of the print version of the text from the 'Kilmarnock' edition (1786) onwards, as authorised
by Robert Burns.
Barke's edition is an odd but understandable choice of exemplar by James since it represents the over-driven attempt at 'authenticity' by an editor (Barke), who has an unhelpfully politicised agenda. This agenda makes him pretty useless generally for the academic scholar of Burns. No doubt James would object to someone else coming along and souping up the Scots in his excellent fictions.
Part of the reason I scorn 'ithers' as 'middle-class' is because of the pan-loafy Scots (should that be Scoats?) in which it results as favoured by so many of the bourgeois Scots language activists (historically) who never actually spoke any dialect of Scots (genuinely) in their puff. Even one of my great heroes the dramatist James Bridie, commits the sin of quoting 'as ithers see us' in his play 'The Anatomist.' QED.
If this debate goes on we might cover the separate issues of 'performance', the minority version of 'ithers' in print from 1877 onwards and the manuscript version…great fun for all!