THERE may well be a vote later on today on the vexed question of whether parents should be allowed legally to smack their children
The amendment to the Children and Young Persons Bill has been tabled by Kevin Barron MP, who also proposed the full smoking ban two years ago.
Should parents smack their children? Probably not. Are those who smack their kids child abusers, or even bad parents? Not usually. Should parents who smack their children be criminalised at the stroke of a parliamentary clerk’s pen? Of course not.
And should police officers’ time be spent investigating the complaint of a three-year-old who’s annoyed because he got a smack on the legs from his harrassed mother? Is that the best use of police resources?
Finally, is it the role of the state to raise other people’s children? Of course not.
Physical chastisement isn’t necessarily (or even usually) abuse. And an unenforceable law would end up being obeyed only by those who are no risk to their children and completely ignored by those who are the worst offenders.
So if we reach that particular amendment while I’m still here, I’ll be voting against.