On my mind
IN the past we were quite efficient in Britain at methods of punishment.
For example, beheading was a favourite, but normally not good enough for the lower classes. Burning was the preferred punishment for heresy (yet a double whammy if you ended up in hell), and hanging was a very common method of execution from Saxon times.
Drowning, the prerogative of murderers, was very cost effective and boiling alive, heavy on fuel costs, was a speciality for poisoners.
Among the lesser punishments, and at a minimal cost, were placing in the stocks, whipping, flogging, birching, strapping, caning and slippering.
The teacher who caned me in the primary school with a piece of bamboo was carrying on the noble tradition of physical punishment by the strong against the weak.
He taught me that hitting someone was the best way to express his feelings and demonstrated that it was perfectly okay to hurt someone else, provided they are smaller and less powerful. One day I can be a hitter too.
Just to prove it’s not just Brexit that divides a nation, the law proposed last week by the Welsh Government to ban the smacking of children has split people in two (not a known mode of punishment).
The legal defence at present is “reasonable punishment”, which has the precision of a bowl of custard.
Now we know that raising children has its challenges from joy to guerrilla warfare and they need discipline. But good discipline results in children behaving well; physical discipline results in children being hurt, physically and emotionally.
Smacking anybody has to be a moral failure – it’s called “assault” when you do it to an adult. It smacks of lack of parenting skills and creativity when a bit of positivity, love and respect works wonders.
Follow Graham on Twit[email protected]