Magazine article The Spectator

Banned Wagon

Magazine article The Spectator

Banned Wagon

Article excerpt

ONE of the depressing aspects of modern life is the tendency of worthy organisations to be hijacked by fundamentalists. One might have imagined that there was more than enough neglect, child-beating and paedophilia to occupy campaigners of the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, but apparently not. The organisation's raison d'etre has become a campaign to make criminals out of the 70 per cent of ordinary British parents who it says smack their children.

`In September 2001 it became illegal to hit a child under three in Scotland,' reads the blurb for its `Full Stop' campaign. `We saw this as a real step forward and were disappointed when the UK government subsequently refused to reform the law on physical punishment.' All the NSPCC wishes to do, it claims, is to afford children the same protection against violence as is already enjoyed by adults.

If there is an effective law against smacking adults on the backside, it has never been tested in court, for the simple reason that it is obvious to everyone except the NSPCC's fundamentalists that very different methods of discipline are appropriate to children and adults. …

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