JAN MOIR: Why it's wrong to ban parents from smacking their children
The smacking of children by their parents is to be banned in Scotland, by decree of the banning-mad Scottish government.
Smacking, whacking, fracking (for gas) and chanting (sectarian insults) at football matches have all been ban-ban-banned, along with smoking in enclosed public spaces, cigarette displays in shops and — to my embarrassment in the Stirling branch of Waitrose — buying alcohol before 10am.
I was only provisioning wine for dinner that evening, Nicola, not planning on necking it by the bottle in the supermarket car park.
The SNP are wholly determined to make Scotland into a healthier, groovier, better behaved and (whisper it) socially superior country. Never mind those dreadful education results and the cancer waiting lists, lookee here at our record on secondary green issues, passive smoking and the consumption of deep-fried pies.
Scotland is set to be the first part of the UK to ban smacking after Nicola Sturgeon's government endorsed a proposed new law (pictured posed by models)?
And while there may be improvements, some of them even laudatory, it's like polishing the car door handles while the eco-engine sputters and dies.
So hold it right there and let's consider the really big issues. Like getting your erse skelped by your mammy, as we say in ancient Celto-Jockesse.
I grew up in an era when, if you weren't being belted by your teachers, you were being thrashed by your parents for being belted by your teachers.
At school, the brutes would use a leather tawse of various weights and width, chosen according to individual savagery. Some would even soak them in malt vinegar, for that extra spritz of pain.
At home, my parents would use anything that came to hand, including a kettle that my exasperated mother once used to ding my brother on the bonce, while we all tried not to laugh.
Especially when she filled it up afterwards, and water came spouting out of a new hole.
Corporal punishment was banned in Scottish schools in 1986, and rightly so.
Yet Environment Secretary Michael Gove, football supremo Sir Alex Ferguson, class swot Gordon Brown, millions of us — we all lived through an age of crime and home-grown or class-based punishment. And it didn't do us any harm.
Back then childhoods had boundaries and discipline, they had to be survived and negotiated. Few spent their youth being pampered and spoiled, coddled in a safe space terrified of being frightened by the violence in a Shakespeare play.
And I know which of these experiences was the one that equipped me best for the life that was to come.
Nicola Sturgeon (pictured yesterday promoting a wind farm off the west coast of Scotland) signalled the move to ban smacking last month?
Look, it goes without saying that I don't condone or approve of parents who brutalise their offspring, who punch or kick them or even make a habit of slapping them.
But I do believe a child who hurls a rock through a window, or runs into the road in front of traffic, should be smacked to stop them doing it again.
Have Nicola Sturgeon and her supporters gone too far by telling parents how to control their own children? Yes. The move makes Scotland, once the cradle of the grave chastisement, the first part of the UK to outlaw the physical punishment of all children, bringing the country into line with most European nations.
Meanwhile, 'reasonable chastisement' is still allowed in England and Wales.
There is an argument that bans such as this — another broad, peremptory erosion of personal liberty — actually weaken society, instead of providing enlightenment.
You might not think that, I agree, if you were a ten-year-old who had just been delivered of a sharp clip around the ear for finishing all the chocolate digestives.
I'd hoped we live in a civilised age where parents could be allowed to decide how to discipline their own children without interference from the state.
And most seem to manage that with the threat of the naughty step, or withheld treats, without recourse to physical punishment.
Yet surely it is the traditional right of every Scottish mammy to give her wee Jimmy or Morag a whack on the rear with the slipper without government intercession? Clearly — sadly — this is no longer the case.
Parents, Nicola is saying, cannot be trusted, despite the fact there are already proper laws in place to stop adults from abusing or beating up children.
Surely a countrywide ban on smacking administered by a controlling, power-mad government will only put more pressure, not less, on the family unit.
Given the trend for historic allegations, how long before children dob in their parents for that smack on the knee when they were six? And after delivering a whop on the bottom, can mums and dads now look forward to being branded monsters — unless they come up with the readies for a new Xbox?
Above all else, what are Nicola and her gang going to do with any parents caught administering a smack — tears before bedtime and then put them in prison?
Yes, marvellous, hurrah, that really will solve everything. Time for a ban on bans, especially the banal ones.
Wrinkles and all, Kristin's a senior siren?
Celebrities choosing to pose make-up free? Even more of them this week, including Davina? Oh HOW BRAVE! Are there any George Medals lying around that we could pin onto their trembling, noble chests?
When it comes to senior siren glamour, it's brimming glasses aloft to Kristin Scott Thomas (pictured) in her new film, The Party. Playing the part of Janet, a shadow minister who throws a celebration in her North London home to mark her promotion to the Opposition front benches, Kristin, 57, is all crispy hair and baggy eyes, every line on her faced earned, every wrinkle a story in itself.
When it comes to senior siren glamour, it's brimming glasses aloft to Kristin Scott Thomas (pictured) in her new film, The Party
A one-act dash that is shot in black and white, The Party is almost a film of a play — but with a crack cast that includes Timothy Spall and Emily Mortimer. Spall is magnificent as the husband with some news of his own, while American actress Patricia Clarkson is just a killer as Janet's contemptuous best friend.
She's pleased about Janet's promotion, but not that pleased, if you know what I mean.
Loved this little film — and not just because it's only 71 minutes long!
Make way for the Markle Adviser-in-Chief
Prince Harry took Meghan 'We are in love' Markle to tea with the Queen at Buckingham Palace
Prince Harry took Meghan 'We are in love' Markle to tea with the Queen at Buckingham Palace, so one presumes the first phase of her induction into the Royal Family is over.
Now things are about to get serious for the star of stage, screen and Suits. Royal watchers predict an engagement announcement is on the horizon, which must be equal parts excitement and sheer, glutes-clenching terror for the 36-year-old. The fates, after all, are being tempted.
Meghan cannot be unaware of what happened to Grace Kelly, the actress who abandoned her Hollywood career for a life behind palace walls when she married Prince Rainier of Monaco in 1956. Afterwards, she seemed to live a diminished existence in a dull principality, with other dusty European royals.
Meghan is a divorced American actress with some deliciously dodgy family members. Some would say she is not entirely suitable for the Royal Family, but a lot of current members aren't suitable, so hush your criticism.
Following tea with the Queen, what fresh social hurdles are next on her horizon? And who is guiding her, offering a sisterly hand on her shoulder, a quiet word of caution about the ripped jeans, a hint about what to do when it comes to pheasant strangling?
Meghan needs some help along this treacherous route to romance — but from whom? Need you ask!
I would like to offer my services as Markle Adviser-in-Chief, and have spared no expense assembling a quick primer just to get us started.
Firstly, afternoon tea. A meal between meals. Specialities include a speckled slab of lard called 'fruitcake'. A scone is a knuckle of floury carbs and is pronounced 'yuk'.
Would Cindy Crawford have made it as a model today??
Following in mum's footsteps: Catwalk star Kaia
Cindy Crawford has been criticised for letting her daughter become a model at a young age. But she ain't bovvered by 16-year-old Kaia's foray into the shark-infested shallows of the glamour industry.
Earlier this month, she said: 'My daughter has just got her driving licence. I'm a lot more concerned about her driving by herself than her entering the world of modelling.'
Is she really that sure? A former supermodel, Cindy seems remarkably relaxed considering the modelling world is full of sleaze buckets and snakes on the make, just like the film world.?
Any industry with a surfeit of beautiful young women always attracts sex-mad older men who are keen, just like Harvey Weinstein, to get their crabbed hands on that lovely young flesh. Cindy clearly feels she can protect her girl from the pitfalls.
Elsewhere, I can't imagine Kaia is doing much for the body image issues of normal girls. As the latest catwalk darling, she is as leggy as a grasshopper and as slim as a whittled wand.?
The prized model silhouette of the moment is so freakishly thinspirational that it puts more pressure on girls who ache to be as slim as Kaia, Alexa Chung and others.
One wonders if the curvy, sporty, fit young Cindy in her heyday would even make it onto the catwalk today...?
Meghan must learn how to wave from a moving vehicle, and wear tiaras while nibbling prawn starters. She must also sew pound coins into her hems so that skirts don't float around her ears in a helicopter down-draft. You think that's obvious? No one told Kate.
I will also be on hand to explain the hierarchy within royal lady circles. The tiny one with the crown? She is the Queen. Liz Hurley? Not actually royal, m'dear, only thinks she is. Ditto the Duchess of York, who isn't really a duchess, and will possibly ask to borrow a fiver.
Do not be alarmed at Princess Anne, who often barks at her brothers and sometimes smells of horses.
Warning: do not approach Princess Michael of Kent, unless you are armed with a chair and brandishing a whip. More to follow, Meghan, but call me with any problems for the time being. Good luck!?
Justin Trudeau seems like a nice man, but sometimes I worry that he is too darned nice. The Canadian prime minister is always crying about sad things, which shows his empathetic side, I suppose. Yet is that necessarily a good thing in a leader?
Justin Trudeau cries over death of Canadian rocker?Gord Downie
Whether he is doing yoga on his desk, composing his 'vlogs' and blogs, or taking his kids into parliament because it's all about the family, not the country, right? I want to love Justin, but I can't.
A suave progressive, he's sometimes too flippant, with the air of a man who fails to convince us he's not always looking at himself in the mirror.
Even The West Wing wouldn't dare make him up, which says it all.?
Autumn is here and the rains are upon us, so let’s ponder this week’s urban horror. Not just people on their phones — people on their phones under their umbrellas. Double danger of a spiking and a soaking. What is wrong with everyone??
Tissues ready, because some of Shakespeare’s plays are reckoned to be too shocking for snowflake Oxbridge students. They need trigger warnings and safe spaces to deal with the killing fields of Macbeth and the more eye-popping scenes in King Lear. I mean that literally, kids. ‘Out vile jelly, where is thy lustre now?’ cries Cornwall, as he gouges out Gloucester’s eye in Act III.
They won’t be able to cope! Wait until the shivering little darlings find out what happens to Bambi.?
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