MSPs in Edinburgh by a majority have declared their support of legislation to ban physical punishment of children (“Scotland first in UK to outlaw smacking of children”, The Herald, October 4).

The example of Sweden, the first country to enact such legislation,

in 1979, is often invoked by the proponents of such legislation. However, it has to be recognised that there are those 30 years later who do not approve of the outcome there.

The chairwoman of the Nordic Committee for Human Rights has stated that in Sweden, parents are afraid of their children. They don’t dare to correct them for fear of

being reported.

While I am not much of a supporter of the saying “spare the rod and spoil the child” and the verse in Proverbs 13:24 – “He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him” – I, a person admittedly in advanced years, am not a big fan of witnessing today’s parents having seemingly endless negotiations with their young children about their behaviour.

This legislation, when enacted, will have societal consequences over a period. Whether or not we will have the same consequences as those described above by some in Sweden, only the passing years will tell.

Ian W Thomson,


HAVING now successfully stopped the prorogue of Parliament via the courts, Joanna Cherry SNP MP now seeks to have Boris Johnson jailed. This is in addition to the SNP wishing to criminalise ordinary Scottish parents over smacking.

This prolific use of the law to attack anything the SNP perceives

as “ bad”, with the help of its Green allies, is bordering on stupidity.

If you criminalise a parent for an innocuous chastisement of a child you set in motion all manner of consequences, such as that parent having a criminal record and the bond between parent and child being damaged.

This is taking a sledgehammer to break a nut. Collateral damage is assured but will the state be able to repair the damage it has caused? Not on current form from the SNP. This is just another burden on overworked police and social services.

Dr Gerald Edwards,


DID SNP MSPs support the Greens’ smacking bill because they genuinely believe in the legislation – or are they merely using it to create legislative disparity between Scotland and the rest of the UK?

Nicola Sturgeon will doubtless add this to her list of differences the Nationalist establishment has engineered in Holyrood – many, sadly, purely for difference’s sake.

Martin Redfern,

Edinburgh .

NOW that MSPs have voted in a smacking ban, will they now take a truly momentous step and ban abortion?

Scottish Green MSP John Finnie, who introduced the legislation, said the smacking ban would “send a strong message that violence is never acceptable in any setting, and that our children deserve at least the same legal protections that adults enjoy”. Will this courtesy also be extended to the preborn child?

The latest statistics show that abortion is at a 10-year high in Scotland, so what will our MSPs do to help the 255 children killed each week in this so-called civilised and progressive nation of ours?

I suspect the answer is “nothing” because not one MSP voted in favour of John Mason’s recent motion to reduce the abortion limit in Scotland. Not a single one.

Women and their children

deserve better than abortion, and

the Scottish Parliament is failing them all.

Martin Conroy,

Cockburnspath, Berwickshire.

I AM very far from impressed by the “ban on smacking” children, which the Scottish Parliament has just passed. If our MSPs were really motivated by the best interests of

and best outcomes for Scotland’s children then they would leave parental discipline alone and prioritise promoting marriage.

On average, children whose parents are married and remain so have better health, better results in school and are less likely to get in trouble with the law. This better start in life feeds through to better mental health and greater success in adult life. They are also less likely to be a burden on the taxpayer.

Evolutionary psychology confirms it is generally in children’s best interest to be raised by their natural parents, because the parents have a genetic interest in them. One aspect of this is the Cinderella effect that children are much more at risk of abuse and murder by step-parents rather than natural parents.

It is truly remarkable the one policy that would actually most benefit Scotland’s children – promoting marriage – is the one policy our politicians will simply

not even mention.

Otto Inglis,


THE outlawing of smacking children by the Scottish Parliament raises pertinent questions regarding the upbringing of children.

Whether or not any evidence exists that limited physical chastisement results in emotional damage, I have no way of knowing, but the fact is the vast majority of the generations who experienced such treatment were not adversely affected, the reasons

being that such punishment was administered as a last resort within a setting of parental affection, consistent discipline, stable example and mutual respect.

Reports from teaching organisations indicate that in a significant number of households, the behaviour engendered by the absence of these characteristics, either through indifference or incapacity, is resulting in escalating problems in the classroom, placing increasing strain on their members.

It would therefore appear that tuition in parenting from an early age is at least as desirable as potentially criminalising concerned and conscientious parents.

Duncan Macintyre,


IT seems to me that people who are opposed to the SNP have latched on to the smacking ban and criticised it, on no other grounds that the measure has been passed by a Nationalist government.

Both major parties have passed, and continue to pass, legislation aimed at improving the quality of life and at boosting children’s life chances. That is fine. That is what governments are for, amongst other things.

But the SNP government approves a law designed to outlaw physical punishment, and the sky falls in. Political opponents sneer at it because they happen to dislike Nicola Sturgeon and all she stands for.

In my view the legislation is an eminently sensible and humane gesture, and long overdue.



THE smacking ban is the tip of the iceberg. The prevailing group-think in social work, education, children’s charities and politics is that children should not be punished at all.

Children are thought to be so “vulnerable” that any discomfort

or frustration could have serious negative effects on their “wellbeing”.

Already, we see punishments being replaced by mini-counselling sessions in schools under the banner of “Restorative Approaches”. This weak and indulgent process seeks excuses for misbehaviour and leads to a break down in discipline in the longer term.

So, watch this space. By one means or another, from redefining Child Abuse to Children’s Rights activism, parents will be put under pressure to refrain from punishing their children at all.

While some MSPs have opposed the smacking ban, none have tackled the underlying philosophy.

As the state continues its project of “liberating” children from the authority of their parents and other adults, children will suffer as they grow up without the clear boundaries and structures that

they need.

Richard Lucas,

Leader of The Scottish Family Party, Glasgow.

CHILDREN’S Minister Maree Todd claims that by introducing a ban on smacking of children the SNP is reaffirming it wants Scotland to be “the best place in the world for children to grow up…. and can realise their full potential”.

Perhaps if this is their aim it could investigate the following issues: why Edinburgh’s Sick Kids Hospital won’t open until autumn next year at the earliest; why our education system is declining year by year with the P1 testing debacle; the fall in subjects available at schools due to the lack of teachers; and why the promise of free childcare is failing due to staff recruitment issues and private nurseries

closing down.

It takes more than a few headline-grabbing bills to improve the outlook for our children.

Jane Lax, Aberlour.

If a child hits an adult do they get prosecuted? If not, why not?

Michael Watson, Rutherglen.

I HAVE still to make up my mind on the controversial smacking ban issue, but it might help to know if Messrs Johnson, Farage, and Trump were skelped or not skelped on their wee bahookies by their immediate forebears.

R Russell Smith, Kilbirnie.