The Retreat Of Common Sense

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the Scottish Justice Minister is to propose a ban on corporal punishment
of children under three years old. All going well (or rather badly),
this half-baked proposal will become law throughout Scotland next

get this straight; if you smack your two year old after this law
is put on the statute books next year, then you are a criminal in
your own household. Something else smacks here, it just smacks of
a plain lack of common sense and, like Mr. Bumble, I'll say that
the law is a bachelor!

again, the State declares itself to be the parent of last resort,
the supreme paternalist and the haven for every loony leftist and
pan-pacifist that stalks this land today. Neither must we forget
that the EU court of human rights is once again breathing down the
neck of an increasingly servile Britain.

proposed ban does not go far enough for "anti-violence"
pressure groups such as Children First who demand an outright
ban at all ages and whose ilk continue to insult parents by accusing
them of "beating" their own offspring. In this age of
political correctness, these minnow groups gain the ear of government
far too easily.

to the main point, the State is interfering again and, despite its
bluster about the family being the main building block of society,
it plainly declares itself to be the self-appointed cornerstone
of society. When will they stop? The government is acting like a
two-year old itself in demanding the right to control everything
within its sight.

me tell you about two year olds. I feel qualified in this subject
being the father of one myself. In fact, Peter, bless him, reminds
me a bit of the State. Being what they call a 98 percentile,
he is a big lad and likes to throw his weight around; just like
the State, I muse to myself.

he wants something but it is refused him, he takes evasive action
and engages in whatever means is necessary to get it. Just like
the State, I muse again to myself.

a toddler, he believes he is the centre of everything and that all
should revolve around him. I muse again.

tries his hand at various things, such as inserting books into the
video cassette player, and I muse again that, like the State, he
does not do a lot of things very well (at least in his case, he
will improve). So, we have two wills here presuming greatness, that
of the toddler and that of the State. Very similar, I am sure you
will agree. But how do we keep the presumptions of the former in

smack is a time proven means of keeping in check the embryonic arrogance
that threatens to develop into a spoilt child. Let's face it; parenting
techniques that have survived millennia of numerous field trails
and tests tend to stand on their own two feet. For sure, there are
other techniques, and one must not overdo them, but no one tactic
is suitable for all situations. Take away chastisement and you have
a stunted parent.

make a few predictions about this derisory proposal. It will swell
the ranks of the spoilt brats we already knew were appearing on
a future horizon. It will increase divorce rates as the already
tense pace of family life increases due to uncontrollable children
being given an even longer leash. It will decrease parental affection
as such prolonged tantrums erode the parent-child bond in a subtle
but real manner. It will actually lead to destitution of certain
"offending" families.

this is all a bit far fetched? A man was prosecuted with assault
in Scotland in 1998 after repeatedly smacking his daughter in public
for refusing to go for dental treatment. The politically correct
machine of the State cranked into action in a truly persecuting

was a state school teacher and was immediately demoted to a librarian
on the ridiculous presumption that he was suddenly (after all those
years) a threat to his pupils. Last May, his ruling body of teachers,
charged him with gross misconduct and moved to strike him off the
list of teachers.

the local government served a compulsory supervision order on his
children and social workers visited his home once a week to check
the children's health, education and well-being. It is fair to say
that political correctness has, rather than protecting the child,
made her life hell and made things far worse in that family than
any parental chastisement could have done.

I said, the toddler-like State does not do things very well when
it has no right to do them at all. Pushing toast into a VCR is not
a disaster, being pushed out of job and being labelled a criminal
is. May this piece of legislative nonsense never see the light of


Watson [send him
] writes from Edinburgh, Scotland.


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