Supporting Mr Grayling's views on this, Edwina Currie, who in another incarnation was allegedly a government minister for bad eggs, says that everyone knows that a 'light tap' (?!) on the legs has beneficial consequences particularly for toddlers. When asked by a BBC Radio 5 Live presenter if she had ever been physically assaulted by her parents when she was a child, Ms Currie intimated that her parents had never laid a violent hand upon her because she had been a good child.
This now leaves all parents out there with a problem. How will you decide if the child you are rearing is a good child or a bad child ? If yours is a good'un your tapping hand can stay at rest, but if you've got a bad'un get down to the gym and start working on building up your leg tapping muscles.
To be sure, we are human. We all make mistakes. Sarcasm and pontification are very easy. Many parents smack their children but most of these on reflection would acknowledge that the violence they used was related more to their own frustrations and limitations and was less about the child to whom the smacking was administered. If we can take something from this insight - even if we feel unable to take a moral position on it - perhaps it is that we can convey the exercise of adults' violence to children towards the state of obsolescence.
*The Daily Telegraph, January 19th, 2009