Deborah Ross: A belt is fine as long as it's wielded with tender affection

If you ask me


If you ask me, I am completely with the Tottenham MP David Lammy who has said parents should feel free to smack their children, and fail to understand those parents who don't put at least 10 minutes aside every day just for smacking although not, of course, to the point of reddening the skin, which is a bit of a drag. Ten minutes? We're all busy, I know, but is that too much to ask, really? Seriously, what is wrong with parents today? Do they actually want their children to grow up and plunder Foot Locker? And why isn't Jamie Oliver on to this? Why?

I, too, believe there is nothing wrong with "a loving smack" undertaken within "a loving household" just as, following this logically, I also believe there is absolutely nothing wrong with the caring cane as employed by a caring school, and don't get me started on the doting slipper, which is fine so long as it is done in a doting way, or as I have always said to my own children: "Lean over while I dote on you with this slipper". And then: "This won't hurt me as much as it will hurt you, but we can pretend otherwise, can't we?" And: "That is not reddening. It is only vaguely pink, you dolt."

And as for "a return to Victorian values", I am all for this as well, along with my husband's statutory right to beat me, so long as the stick isn't thicker than his thumb, and my husband would never, ever beat me with a stick thicker than his thumb. He is a good man, and only visits opium dens three times a week, so is probably at home more than a husband who plays golf. As for our kids, they would never plunder Foot Locker. "I wish!" says our son, who is always far too busy going up chimneys, and as for our young daughter, she is much too busy being on the game, but if under-age prostitution was all right for the Victorians, then it must be all right for us. Sometimes, my daughter will play up and say: "I don't want to have sex with some old gentleman. Can't I watch The Simpsons instead?" at which point I have to tell her: "You'll do as I say, young lady, or it's the doting slipper for you!"

So, "yes" to smacking and "yes" to Victorian values, which will restore order and discipline to society, and to those who say otherwise, that violence only breeds violence, and it's diminishing all round, I would say this: "Stay still while I give you the affectionately tender belt". A belt is fine, as long as it is wielded tenderly, and with affection, within an affectionately tender household.

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