The Welsh Office announced yesterday that Wales was not allowed to ban the smacking of children, even though the Assembly want to do so. Apparently it goes beyond the Assembly's powers.
Child smacking has always confused me - why on earth is it legal to hit the people least able to defend themselves or hit back? If i smack a 25 stone, bald headed, tattooed maniac not only will I expect a proper beating back from the leather wearing biker, I would also be arrested for assault and brought before a court. But if I hit a 5 year old crying child I'm fully within the law!
Defenders of assaulting children (which is what it is) say that "it's the only language they understand". Well my dog would probably understand my anger with him for pissing on the carpet better if I gave him a kick instead of just saying "No! Bad dog!" but if I did that the RSPCA would be all over me. Same thing with my Nain, she's gone a bit batty in her old age and never understands me, a good smack and she'd know damn well that i was trying to tell her not to dribble on the sofa but I doubt the child smackers would applaud me for that.
So what we're left with is a situation that child abuse will remain legal in Wales for the simple reason that England don't like the idea. I'm glad to see that the Western Mail accompanied their article on this subject with a call from Welsh police chiefs to devolve the justice system to Wales. After all, Labour AM's have themselves acknowledged that criminal justice will inevitably be devolved - the longer Hain and his palls in Westminster hold back, the longer Welsh children will continue to be beaten. (now that a good slogan for a Yes vote in 2011 - "Vote Yes or Kids Will Be Beaten"!)