It was two years ago, Tom – get over it

MY PREVIOUS post and the responses to it remind me of a ridiculous incident two years ago when Cherie Blair was interviewed by SIX police officers because she had pretended to take a playful swipe at a teenage boy’s head during a photo call.

Whoever the moron was who reported this to the police in the first place should hang their heads in shame. They probably won’t, though; most likely they think it was the right thing to do because “even the pretence of violence towards a child (he was 17) is unacceptable” or some such tosh.

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9 Comments

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9 responses to “It was two years ago, Tom – get over it

  1. richard

    Of course, if he’d been waving a meat cleaver or pretending to shoot her the matter would have taken a slightly different tone…

  2. Johnny Norfolk

    I know Tom it is just to ridiculous for words. However when the police have no option but to do this, something is wrong. Why have Labour done nothing about this sort of thing in 11 years of government. Now thats what is wrong.

  3. I bet if you were a Glaswegian detective, bored to death by calls to domestics in Bearsden, and news of a shout involving the PM’s missus had come in, you’d’ve rocked up as well!

    It was the same with the “cash for honours” nonsense that took so long – I bet Knacker of the Yard gets few chances to talk to such interesting and engaging people. No wonder they spun it out for as long as they could…

    PS you seem to be having terrible trouble with your links – too much http and forward slashing.

  4. Thanks Brian – fixed now.

  5. richard

    “”cash for honours” nonsense”? What investigation were you watching? There was loads of evidence of cash being exchanged for honours. Even Tony admitted that large donors were often given ‘working peerages’ despite which a large number of peers had barely turned up for more than a few sessions, let alone voted.

  6. Andrew F

    Classic social conservatism: just call us liberals ridiculous and imply that we have no common sense, rather than actually addressing our arguments. It’s like reading Richard Little-John in the Daily Fail.

    Quite obviously, there is a distinction between a playful swipe, and smacking a child in punishment – which is presumably designed to cause them physical discomfort. Sensible analogies, please.

  7. Martin Cullip

    Andrew F: You seem to be showing idealism over facts of life. Here’s a (true) scenario for you.

    Our company had an employee last year that was transporting disabled kids. A complaint from a member of the public was received as she was apparently ‘seen’ to be striking one of the children on the bus. We were told by the LA that we were to suspend this woman without pay while an investigation was done. We weren’t told the allegation, we weren’t able to tell her anything except that there was a complaint and she couldn’t work. We didn’t even know ourselves & the terms of our contract with the LA meant we had to stop paying her. She couldn’t apply for another job either while this went on as the accusation would have been flagged up.

    Three months later, the judgement was that she had done absolutely nothing wrong, which knowing the woman, would have been plain from the outset if given a right to reply. The complaint had actually come from an 8 year old child who mistook the act of putting a seat belt around the wheelchair. The kid was too small to see what was going on but innocently mentioned it to his Mum who then complained.

    There was no right for her or us to claim her lost wages from the LA for an unfounded accusation, and the person making the accusation was free from recriminations for messing up someone’s life. We were not allowed to know who they were. Nor was the employee.

    This rubbish has surely GOT to stop. Councils are now logging accusations of child abuse whether proven or not, onto the CRB checking system. Even if cleared, these accusations will compromise the future clearance of those accused, for the rest of their lives.

    Hammer to crack a nut again. I don’t remember these measures pre-1997 so they must be a Labour initiative.

    How many people must have their lives destroyed to protect the miniscule amount of children actually affected by REAL abuse, Andrew? I keep being told I should stop smoking and drinking so I will live longer. Why on Earth would I want to do that if your unrealistic nonsense is the future?

    And Tom, under the new rules, Cherie’s little joke would be logged as attempted child abuse forever too. Think on that.

  8. It’s not so much that I disagree with Tom on smacking – I think parents should use it as sparingly as possible but I also think that the current policy on smacking is adequate. I don’t think parents should be punished for being bad parents unless they are such bad parents that the abuse or neglect they cause outweighs the love and care they give (for example, in the case of sexual abuse). Instead I think they should be given training and help to be better parents in as non-stigmatising way as possible.

    In fact the current policy which effectively criminalises hitting that leaves a mark was opposed by typical Tories at the time. Which is an indication that Tories tend to oppose sensible legislation on this kind of issue because they believe that there should be no intrusion into the home (just like wot they used to think on domestic violence). The current policy makes it easier to prosecute when there is evidence of abuse, but does not outlaw smacking.

    When we rule out cases of violence that leave a mark, the problem with smacking is not really physical abuse. The greater problem is the humiliation it causes. Instead of treating the child with respect the parent who smacks regularly resorts to the easiest option to impose their view. Speaking bluntly I know that I lost a lot of respect for my parents who believed that age nine or ten I was “not too old for a smack”. The smacking never hurt but it was humiliating to be treated in that way. I remember that aged eleven or so I prevented my parents from smacking my six-years-younger brother (because I believed it was wrong) by standing inbetween them and him so that they couldn’t smack him. After they tried smacking me a couple of times and I wouldn’t budge, they gave up on the idea and found other ways of disciplining him.

    I apologise if this is tmi, but I think the example is useful especially as a counterbalance to the classic Tory view that a “good hiding never did me any harm” (actually I have never heard anyone say that without thinking “it clearly did, you repressed idiot”). The example also fits with my earlier reasoning – I do not believe my parents should have been criminalised, but I do think it was bad parenting. The solution doesn’t lie in banning things but in the state helping mothers and fathers to do parenting better.

    Anyway, it’s not so much that I disagree with Tom on the issue itself – but I do object to the tone of the complaint, which strikes me as tantamount to the Tory “political correctness gone mad is destroying common sense and the world along with it” nonsense. In this particular case, the tenuous assumption that the complaint was motivated by a principled stance against smacking is utterly bizarre. There could be any number of reasons, and politically-inspired malice seems the most obvious.

    Tom, why act like a Tory when it’s perfectly possible to argue for the same policy in a Labour guise?

  9. Refreshing stuff, Tom. You mean there are still some people with common sense left in Labour?

    I’d also like to say to Brian Hughes that I hope he keeps his blog going – it’s a good read. Yes, it can be a toss-up between in-depth stuff, which most probably skim over, or the quick flashy paragraph which gets attention, but says nothing much. The latter gives you time to have a life, though.

    I went into all the honours nonsense, and I heartily agree with Brian. I wondered quite how many brownie points Yates was trying to clock up, and why it had got so far in the first place. (Blame the Nats & The LibDems – it’s usually they who get their knickers and facts twisted). And of course it was ratcheted up by the press – mainly the Right – whose favourite party started the loans for honours business in the first place.

    Smacking? Well, if you have a few offspring, and boys first, you might have had the odd occasion to slap a few legs. From my experience it lessens hugely when the more civilised gender arrives, (if it happens in that order)!

    Oh, btw, you can still be un-pc & proud of it. Take me – I’m a smoker, though not a lifelong one – I’ve just run the Great North Run – and I still think Blair should be the PM.

    A triple whammy! And you think you have problems deciding whether or not you’re a bad parent for administering a little discipline!?

    http://keeptonyblairforpm.wordpress.com/2008/10/07/former-prime-minister-starts-newcastles-great-north-run/

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