Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Mr. Grayling and the Cycle of Violence. Part 1.

It came as very little surprise to hear that Mr. Grayling hit his children*. But after that it came as no surprise at all to hear that he had been hit by his own father**.

* (out of love!)  ** (which did him no harm!)

It’s no secret that many of us, perhaps most, have smacked our children once or twice in extremis. Most of us wouldn’t shout about it, let alone boast, but it no longer surprises me that a member of the front bench extols smacking as a normal and useful part of family life.

What does come as a surprise is that Grayling’s children are content to have it published abroad that they are smacked. Have they, like their father, decided that ‘it never did me any harm’? Or do they just have go along whatever their father decides?

I wonder why the last of those seems the most likely...

It is appalling to use children as pawns in an argument, at any time, including by me now; but Grayling cannot bring his children forward in debate and then hide behind them as a defence; so, with apologies to Grayling’s children, I here use them in the spirit which Grayling has introduced. I console myself with the knowledge that they’ll almost certainly never know about my part...

(I understand that his children are 17 and 21.)

Two broad questions spring to mind:

1) Will Grayling’s children hit their children, as a matter of policy, in turn? If they do, will it be because they were hit, and ‘it didn’t do me any harm’? If they don’t, will it because they were hit and have realised how damaging a thing it is?

2) I know nothing of Grayling’s children, but I do know that when I was at boarding school, there was a very high correlation between the most troubled and the most frankly unpleasant contemporaries on the one hand and a culture of beating/smacking/threat in the homes of those same contemporaries on the other. Might we be better able to judge the efficacy of Grayling’s hitting if we knew what sort of people his children are turning out to be?

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