It Smacks of Stupidity

The Fugitive at the foot of Ben Nevis

The new British anti-smacking law is incredulous.

I watched David Dimbleby’s ‘Question time’ last night ( a ‘must see’ for grumpy old men and women who never bothered with politics until their sex life went out of the window) with debate on Parliaments latest ruling on smacking children. Unlike some other countries that have outlawed it all together like Sweden, we can still thump our own kids at will and to our hearts content.

I believe smacking children should only be banned if your kids are no longer a danger to themselves and others. It’s not going to happen. David Dimbleby was hosting a student audience and that involved a mixed bag of responses from the spotty lot. On the panel was a student representative in her mid-teens who bemoaned smacking as cruel and abusive to children. Hey, David, ‘Hello’, you ask kids about child discipline? If you want to talk effectively about such a subject wouldn’t it be better to ask a group of people who are too exposed to kids already….like parents? (Oops..wrong expression…that’s a different issue completely)

This new juxtaposed law allows smacking your child up to the age of sixteen and across the a place that won’t render him/her vulnerable to injury. What about older parents like me? It means you can ‘clip’ them on the lower body only. Not around the face or head. Only, on the back of the hand. (What with the back of YOUR hand?) Or, on the leg.

It defines a ‘smack’ as not to cause reddening, broken skin or bone.

Other forms of injury such as scratching, poking, jabbing and pinching must be acceptable. As long as wheals, or sores can be concealed with flesh-coloured emulsion paint. Ruptures, hemiplegia, lesions, severed limbs, lost teeth, gashes and lacerations caused by chisels or chairs are not allowed. Smacking must be done from now on with the fingertips and all fibre glass nails removed first. No birch, slipper, bamboo, R.S.J, or dead livestock, must be used to chastise children.

No bottom smacking unless of course, you are a Tory and willing to pay for it. Children should not be disciplined on Ferry decks in gale-force weather or while abseiling. Driving cars and slapping children is dangerous. A danger to other motorists. No insurance company for instance, will, entertain a claim that admits to ‘giving my kid a bloody good hiding, when my juggernaut jacknifed at Gerard’s Cross.”

From now on smacking should not cause physical or visible harm whatsoever. So, I would suggest that if you need to smack your child you wear those chain-mail gloves that clumsy butchers wear. Also, having wet hands can really sting your fingers when you hit children.

The new law dictates that you may not smack your child by flicking a wet rolled up bath towel. You can only ‘pretend’ to smack them from now on. Making it look like an accident if it does happen. Alternatively, single Mothers will have to go to ‘Nettos’ (a haven for ‘the great unwashed’ where food items are cheaper than hunting in the African Savannah where you can shoot a whole Zebra for just under 300 euros) to get their children humiliated by travellers, underage Mothers and people who think being on the poverty line is getting on the benefit system with Sky TV and 4×4 fitted as standard.

Concerning the struggle of single mothers? Few alternatives to scold children are available. For instance there would be no point in telling an errant infant, “Just you wait until your Father gets home….if I can just remmeber who he is?”

In all seriousness. Your children will thank you one day.

These bits of kids on David Dimbleby’s ‘Question time’ suggested, as do all these other lefty losers that suggest, instead of ‘larruping’ children the parents ought to go back to school again themselves and seek counselling on proper parenting. Learning other calming strategies on children? That the government invest money in teaching parents how to deal with challenging children without the use of measured violence. Excuse me? How much will this cost and when will the country find volunteers with enough balls to sit parents in a classroom and teach them how to deal with Samantha when she puts her gerbil in the blender or when Tarquin finds out the many uses of a claw hammer on a bathroom suite?

There are not enough teachers for our kids let alone telling parents how to suck eggs.

I am 47 and have a twin sister more or less the same age and my father was only three foot nine. But we never answered him back. Only when the ducktape was removed could we apologise. He used to take us into the parlour to stand on a chair. While he removed his belt his trousers would generally fall down and with his underwear wrapped around his ankles he would then fall off the chair, but God help us if my sister and I if we sniggered once.

There was a bicycle pump always kept in the corner. He never used it but we knew what it was for.

Morbidly obese agony aunt Claire Rayner is ‘anti smacking’ which is not unusual as she often looks like she has been smacked too often anyway. Her face is totally indistinguishable from her gable end. I suppose if I was just 2ft tall and had her wobbling towards me I wouldn’t need a smack to ‘do as I was told’ either.

My Father only ever hit me once………..a day…….usually in the morning. As I woke up. Before I could open my eyes he would crack me across the head with a shoe and mutter “One fucking word out of you today and I will put something on your arse Ajax won’t take off.”

I had to laugh yesterday when I went to my 10 year olds ‘open day’ at her new school. We were all ushered in to the assembly hall and started chanting “All things bright and beautiful”. I started to have flashbacks and chest-pains. I noticed that I was surrounded by kids again all taking the piss out of me. They started sticking chewing gum in my hair and tugging my tie. A teacher rescued me and took me to one side and whispered. “Excuse Mr Estelle, the Open day is tomorrow not today!!.”

So the next day I attended the Open day, checking my diary first, and sure enough, I sat quietly as some of the sternest looking teachers lined up behind a gothic chest with a crest like an upside down Swastika. (I’m the only person who can tell that it is) I recognised some parents from the AA and the GUM clinic and sat down quietly placing my pile cushion in-situ.

I joked with a Mother sat next to me. “This school better deliver the goods for my child or this Head will roll.” She whispered anxiously about a ‘strange bullying policy at this school’. That anymore than two instances and the bully is sent home. Suspended for the rest of the week. So, what a great way to get that holiday in term time at a price you can afford!

I exact my own unique and punitive regime to stop bullies. I would give them a taste of their own medicine. It worked for several thousand years before I thought of it as an idea.

I remember one incident at school that still makes my sphincter clench at the thought of what was a cruel turn of events.

It was a blistering day in the hottest Summer recorded since Michael Fish (to the uniniated a British weather forcaster who always forcasted the weather since the birth of time and still does and whats more probably for generations to come) lost his virginity. Nothing to do with sphincters clenching, but I was eleven years old and tumbling down through the class ‘streams’ as if I had bricks strapped to my ankles. My grades were used to line the bread bin at home. I hated school. I saw no advantage in trying to teach children subjects that were irrelevant and less riveting that say, putting air rifle bullets inside next doors home-grown cabbages or clipping clothes pegs to our canary’s wings.

I had foraged around the back of the hospital bins. It was July 1969. This was the year glass medical syringes had changed to plastic ones. I knew this from the amount I had found complete with needles outside in the rubbish. They were throwing out clinical waste for any young lad to endanger. I gathered up the weaponry and slipped the chrome bottomed needles into a tobacco tin for health and safety reasons. I skipped off to school with my arsenal. The afternoon lesson started with English and the draconian Mr Hyme. I drew my Quink ink, bottle, discreetly from out of my desk and filled the syringes one by one. When Mr Hyme’s back was turned I squirted his white nylon shirt with fine lines of inky spatters.

I was frogmarched to the Head with the notorious black book. ‘The Domesday book’ as it was known, held the names of all those who were to be punished corporally and with a list of different types of discipline to ensure the punishment fitted the crime. Depending from which angle you were at, at the time, that is. If you were to get the cane for instance it had to be in the book. The cane was marked as a red tick in the column. The slipper in Blue. Detention in Green. Written ‘lines’ in black.

As you handed over the book you would not know what was to be your fate only when the Head saw what was written about you. All you could do was hope that the Mr Snick had not had a row with his wife that day. Or, hope he was feeling charitable due to a restful weekend in the garden, or a win on the horses.

On this occasion he had a face like a bulldog licking piss off a nettle and rubbed his hands with glee after snapping the book shut with a clap. I winced and felt my bottom squeak as it just did then as it would have done all those years ago.

I screwed up my eyes with dread and felt my mouth go dry.

“Well, boy. Meet me at the Horticultural section after break, and don’t be late.”

I knew it. I was going to get six of the best with a shovel, hoe or some such thing. I mean how many instruments of torture can a shed hold, for cripes sake? I imagined being stretched across the lawn roller and thrashed within an inch of my life by a broad bean pole or rake-handle. The school garden shed was a favourite venue for corporal punishment as it was an acre away and you couldn’t hear the screams. The pond was handy to soak your shredded arse in afterwards, as well.

I hate pain and went through a whole cloakroom of duffle bags to acquire as many pairs of other kids spare shorts, trunks and underwear I could muster. I dove into the toilet and slipped on each layer. 2 pairs of trunks. Four pairs of Y fronts in itchy polyester. That was what all underwear was made of back in the late sixties. Incidentally, women’s lingerie or the new exciting invention of the ‘baby doll’ nightie was also made of ‘Bri-nylon’. Terylene was used for all bed linen too. Nylon under-sheets and top-sheets were replacing good old fashioned ‘flannelette’ and cotton.

This could only mean one thing. With all that man-made fibre about, love making was literally, electrifying. If you both turned over in bed at the same time you could generate 40,000 volts and power the national grid. No wonder girls had beehive hairdos in those days. You could only re-make the bed wearing safety glasses and wellies to be sure of a good ‘earth’. Thinking about that era, ‘clippies’ were working on the buses more than they are today, simply because they must have been better ‘conductors’.

I put the last layer on. Some winter bloomers stolen from Maggie Perkins. Heavily ribbed and with lots of protection in the gusset.

I walked with difficulty to the garden shed and amidst a hail of chants and cheers from the rest of the classroom. They deemed me a hero as I stepped towards the ‘gallows’. I also had my maths exercise book down there as well. My shield of faith against any other bad ‘marks’.

I strolled into the presence of the Head who jangled some keys in his hand.

“Think you’re the class clown do you? I was going to slipper you lad. But its far too hot, so you can thank God I’m not going to,.. this time..” he stormed.

I felt a wave of relief and started to smirk with triumph. It was over.

“Instead” he bellowed.” I’m going to make you stand on a chair in the greenhouse for the rest of lesson time…”

I can just remember sweat dribbling down my inner thighs into by shoes, soaking my socks as I squirmed, shifting from foot to foot upon a chair, while the kids tapped on the lime-splashed windows jeering outside.

I don’t like wearing underwear now, and if I do make sure they have to be as big as the Albert Hall.

Bags of ballroom.

There are many things worse to do to a child than smacking. Having your manhood (I mean ‘boyhood’) turned into a closed cup mushroom while your testicles stick to your legs like PVA while trying not to crap yourself in the process because your bottom is sweating like a breeched sluice. This is one memory that stands alone.

So in future, while you ‘spare the rod’ spare a thought for me.

The moral of this episode in my life?

If you can’t talk your way out of a situation, stick out your chin instead.

One Comment:

  1. Does any one know when this is going to be on TV?

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