For a moment – maybe two or three moments – Alf was struggling to suppress his feelings of outrage.
A High Court judge in Britain had said immigrant parents should be allowed to slap and hit their children when they are new arrivals in Britain.
Nothing wrong with the slapping of children in Alf’s value system.
It’s the discrimination on cultural grounds that was upsetting (but only until second thoughts kicked in):
To the outrage of children’s campaigners, Mrs Justice Pauffley suggested police and social services should make allowance for foreigners because of the ‘different cultural context’.
Her remarks came in a legal challenge from an Indian accused of beating his wife and seven-year-old son.
The boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons, told the court he was hit on the back and leg with a ‘long belt’.
The father denied ever striking the child with a belt but admitted he would deliver a ‘slap or a tap’ to discipline him.
This would be much the same defence as Alf would bring to proceedings, should he be prosecuted for slapping and/or tapping his offspring.
Fortunately he was able to discipline his kids in the days before Wotz-er-name Bradshaw from the Greens and her PC supporters made his methods illegal in the curious belief this constraint on good parenting would stop kids being battered to death.
Alf’s kids have grown up all the better for his idea of discipline, just as Alf is a splendid example of an honest and upright citizen well raised by parents who did not spare the rod which – as we all know – would have spoiled the child.
But let’s get back to the discriminatory British judge:
In her ruling the judge concluded: ‘I do not believe there was punitively harsh treatment of [the boy] of the kind that would merit the term physical abuse.
‘Proper allowance must be made for what is, almost certainly, a different cultural context. Within many communities newly arrived in this country, children are slapped and hit for misbehaviour in a way which at first excites the interest of child protection professionals.
‘In this instance … the boy did not appear to have suffered more than sadness and transient pain from what was done to him.’
Inevitably there are elements in British society who took a dim view of the judge’s ruling.
Reacting to the comments, an NSPCC spokesman said last night: ‘Children need to be protected irrespective of cultural sensitivities. Different practices are no excuse for child abuse taking place in this country and the law doesn’t make that distinction.
‘Every child deserves the right to be safe and protected from physical abuse and the courts must reflect this.’
A good slap never amounted to abuse in Alf’s book.
Arguably, you can get away with it in Britain because:
Under the Children’s Act 2004 it is illegal for parents to smack their children if blows cause bruising, swelling or cuts. Guilty parents can be jailed for up to five years.
Walloping the missus is another matter:
The judge concluded the man had not physically abused his son but had subjected his wife to a ‘horribly aggressive and violent assault’ including strangling her.
Mrs Justice Pauffley gave no detail about the progress of any police investigation into that assault.
So far so good.
But let Alf now point out why he changed his mind about the double standard – one for the Brits and one for the immigrants.
Maybe (he mused) there is a case in this country for different standards of law enforcement based on culture.
In that case, our indigenous persons should be required to meet a much higher standard than the rest of us, who (as we are often reminded by some of these indigenous persons) are immigrants who brought our undesirable cultural baggage with us.
This includes our disposition to slapping our kids, something an indigenous parent would never do.
Well, hardly ever.
Alf’s expert witness on this matter is his dear old friend, Tariana Turia.
Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia says the arrival of Christianity in New Zealand and colonisation introduced the concept of smacking children to Maori.
“Our people did not hit their tamariki. That only came about through colonisation and through Christianity actually,” she said on Marae on Saturday.
She said the strongest opponents to Sue Bradford’s private member’s bill – banning physical force being used against children as a punishment – was from Christians who wanted to reserve the right to “smack their children lovingly”.
“Well, I’ve never seen anybody give a child a loving smack.”
Tariana was not alone in blaming the newcomers for bringing the smack with them.
The Anglican Church’s social justice commissioner, Rev Anthony Dancer, said Mrs Turia was “absolutely right” in regards to Maori having had non-violent ways of disciplining their children because that was recorded by missionaries.“Mission schools did introduce the cane and promote it as a good thing but the corporal punishment within family life would also have been learned to a large extent by others involved in colonisation – such as traders and seamen.”
Accordingly Alf makes the case for our law being implemented in the same way as the good Mrs Justice Pauffley has suggested, so that police and social services make allowance for we comparative newcomers to these shores because of the “different cultural context”.