LAST week, SNP justice secretary Humza Yousaf came under more fire for his belief that the police should arrest us for incorrect things that we say in our own homes. Seen as a threat to freedom of speech it would be more useful, perhaps, to see this as yet another attack upon the family.

If the Hate Bill passes it will be a criminal offence to say "hateful" things in your home, or at least, the hateful things that the Scottish Government deem to be unacceptable.

Additionally, this month a new law that makes the lightest of smacks a criminal offence will also come into force. This comes on the back of the Named Person legislation that has been quashed by the Supreme Court but whose intention was to give all children a state guardian, from birth, to allow the state to monitor the wellbeing of every child in Scotland.

Look further into the recesses of the Scottish Parliament and we find an ongoing review of child protection law and practices that explains the need for change based on, "our modern day understanding of emotional harm".

Here we find a desire to prosecute parents that have not only caused harm but where there is a "risk of harm".

The list of potential emotional harms comes from parents who, "threaten a child with physical violence", or make a child feel "worthless", which includes appearing to be "irritated" by a child.

Exposing a child to "antisocial role-models" or "advocating bullying" or "rewarding bigotry" or rewarding the child for "lying" are also potentially prosecutable forms of behaviour.

This list raises all sorts of questions.

Are we now to see a threat of a smack as a crime too? Will the parent begging the child not to tell teacher about this threat be seen as a "lying" child abuser?

Will a visit from the antisocial black-sheep of the family result in a visit from the social? Or will laughter at your son’s joke about that Celtic or Rangers player be enough to find the “rewarding of bigotry” police at your front door?

With all of this and with leaflets being produced to encourage children to tell teacher if their parent smacks them, we find ourselves in a situation that mimics regimes of the past which similarly tried to change the culture of society through children, by undermining parental authority and destroying the very meaning of privacy.

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