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Bradford’s extreme left agenda must not pass

Now that the bill is safely on its way to passing, Sue Bradford seems to have changed her mind.  She threatens to withdraw the bill if a National amendment, which seeks to ensure millions of parents aren’t criminalised, passes.  She wants all force for child discipline outlawed, and now that there is little in the bill’s way, she’s ready to admit it.

Let me be blunt: smacking is about to be illegal.  And that’s exactly how she wanted it to be.

I guess I must give her credit: she initially denied that the bill would criminalise good parents, and in doing so, she gained support by those giving the benefit of the doubt.  Now that we’re almost there, she reveals that smacking should be outlawed in all way, shape and form, and in fact, and force for the purpose of correction should be, because she does not believe any force is reasonable.  She has played her game well.

Her threat to withdraw the bill if Chester Borrow’s amendment succeeds shows just how dirty she’s about to play this game.  Borrow’s amendment was perhaps the one sensible thing that happened to this bill in its entire lifetime (possibly in the history of child discipline law in this country).  Whereas Bradford sought to create criminals, Borrow sought to solve the problem.  Whether Borrow’s proposed amendment—or indeed, Bradford’s bill—is workable is arguable, but Borrow has the fundamental principle right: that parents have the right to be parents, but they do not have the right to harm their children.

Compare that to Bradford’s bill.  Bradford seeks to eliminate the use of force for correction completely.  Those who fear the government bossing parents around, over-controlling their very homes are not unjustified, because that is exactly what the government is doing.  Bradford is, in effect, telling people how to raise their children, because obviously, her way is the best way and the only way and should be taken as absolute gospel.  She is planning to outlaw smacking, because she believes that smacking is unjustified.

If anything, Bradford’s bill is likely to backfire, because it is taking an extreme measure to address an issue whose magnitude is arguable.  Will the bill be taken seriously?  I have my doubts.  It will be seen by most as some attempt to impose some far-left (note I said “far-left”, not “politically correct”) agenda on a largely innocent nation.  Unnecessary control, if you will.  Bradford is looking to lay a blanket over our entire nation, in the hope that it will extinguish the cosy fires in each of our lounge fireplaces.

I almost find it shameful that I’ve having to make an effort to ridicule this bill.  The logic simply does not exist.  What evidence does Bradford have to suggest that smacking for correction purposes harms our society?  If her argument is that smacking is synonymous with the abuse that leaves children with bruises, broken bones, or loss of life, then I must point out (if this wasn’t a manipulating tactic, which I doubt) that there are undoubtedly millions of parents that use it reasonably and effectively.  Do we really see that many children who are constantly being abused?  The vast majority of parents use physical discipline both reasonably and effectively, and no-one—and I mean no-one—would argue for one moment that outright abuse (and there is a line, and we all know where it is, except perhaps for Bradford, Labour and the Greens) can be justified.

There was a problem with the old law, and that is that it was not working.  It was not working because “reasonable” was loosely defined.  We all agree that some instances of section 59 being used in defence were disgusting.  But, much in the spirit of Borrow’s amendment, good parents have the right to know that they are, as typical, everyday parents, within the law.  Borrow’s amendment allows parents to be parents.  Bradford’s bill forces her own parenting beliefs on ordinary parents.  Which is guided by the better principle?  Go figure.

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