The Blog of
Nadine Dorries
The smack police
Posted Wednesday, 11 April 2007 at 11:28

What a mess. On Tuesday the government announced that they are going to allow parents to know how many paedophiles live near their home, nursery or children’s school – today they say, well, actually, that’s not the case.


Talk about a government in chaos. From captured sailors to vulnerable children, they just can’t get it right. What does that say about both the integrity and the competence of this government?


Yesterday, twice in one day, two politically correct children’s charities did themselves immense harm. Barnardos, for not supporting the moves towards introducing a Megan’s Law, and the NSPCC. That is not an easy thing for me to say. I wholeheartedly applaud the work of the NSPCC and I am a supporter of the full stop campaign, but yesterday’s announcement was misguided and smacked of someone trying to justify a job.


The NSPCC want shop assistants to be trained to intervene in mother and child disputes in shops. In other words, they want shop assistants to become experts in how to spot a slap happy mother and shop her to the NSPCC.


Apparently, one way of shop assistants ‘intervening’ would be to hand the mother a leaflet.


OK, stop laughing, here we go, picture the scene.


Once I was in Tescos with my two year old, who decided that she wanted something she couldn’t have. Her entirely reasonable reaction to this (reasonable in the context of being two) was to throw herself onto her back and to scream as loud as she could, whilst flailing around, and emptying the contents of the shelves onto the shop floor.


My reaction was to check my mobile for messages.


I could have stopped her. It would have involved slapping her legs, which would have made her scream louder. Or frogmarching her out of the shop by the hood of her snow suit, another option. However, then we all would have gone hungry that night because there was nothing edible in the house.


No, it was much easier to let her burn herself out, and then, when she sat there, frightened by the extent of her own rage, and realising that she had actually achieved nothing, pick her up and give her a big cuddle.


Like most mums, I demonstrated to her that tantrums don’t get you what you want, and if you frighten yourself by being so mad and too little to understand where all that anger came from, mummy still loves you. So it’s all ok and the worlds still a safe place, despite the fact that you have just discovered that a monster lives somewhere inside you... and his name is Temper.


What the NSPCC wants shops to do is to provide an area where another adult could sit with the angry child.


I would have thought that the NSPCC, of all the erstwhile organisations in this country, would have realised that children absolutely hate shopping. Should you happen to have a spare adult lying around the house, you don’t take them with you to sit in a sterile area of a shop with your aggrieved child, you leave them at home, in comfort, with a box of toys for the toddler, a comfy chair and a cup of tea!


The other option is that the shop assistant hands you a leaflet.


I’m not saying anything – especially not what I would tell a shop assistant to do with a leaflet telling me how to handle my toddler's tantrum because I am far too polite.


This is big brother. This is a politically correct children’s charity demonstrating one of New Labour's most insidious achievements -   that has appeared without anyone possibly even noticing and what many organisations have imbued - how to talk in spin and riddles and tell others what to do and how to live their lives.


What is interesting is, that the press release on the NSPCC web site, is no where near as draconian as the representative from the NSPCC last night on the PM programme. She sounded like an officer from the smack police. Do they exist? Well, they don’t yet, but if we don’t get rid of this government soon they may well do.

Sally said:
Responded: Wednesday, 11 April 2007
How times have changed, today, well at least as it is depicted in a current tv advert, it's the mum who has the tantrum on the supermarket floor. Big Brother and more! I've just read on the BBC News that Indian women civil servants now have to fill in an official form giving details of their menstrual cycle and dates of last confinement. Where is this going to end? Women are still exploited all over the globe and it's time we were treated as at least equals.
Jane - Redhill said:
Responded: Wednesday, 11 April 2007
Nice to see you back and on good form Nadine.
Bryan, Sheffield said:
Responded: Wednesday, 11 April 2007
Sorry Nadine - telling twice and then smacked legs did it for mine everytime....and they still love me.
Dave said:
Responded: Thursday, 12 April 2007
I'm totally 'Browned'off with this government.I don't know about benefit claimants taking lie detector tests,but they should be compulsory for our present Labour lot.Now for the smacking issue: Bribing errant schoolchildren with ipods,etc is not the right way to go.Beating them is not the correct way either.I believe I'm more or less your age, Nadine, and being the middle child of three, was the focus of my father's punishment regime.His threats to 'thrash you within an inch of your life' were carried out, or certainly felt like it. Any wrongdoing by my siblings (or myself)and retribution was carried out by my father using his leather strap on my rear and back.I can also remember having my head held under the cold tap for several minutes at a time.I took all the beatings from this man who I grew to resent and eventually hate. Throughout my life I cannot remember having any sort of conversation with him.They were not the best days of my life. When I managed employment in a well paid job I purchased my first house, moved in and rarely saw my parents, until it came to the point that contact ceased many years ago.He died five years ago but I have never truly grieved for him. I never attended his funeral.I once made the mistake of losing my temper with one of my sons (secondborn ironically)and started to smack him hard.I stopped abruptly, realising I had, for those brief moments, turned into my father. I have never used physical punishment since, and my three have grown up to be fine young people. Apologies for using you as my agony aunt Nadine.
Chris said:
Responded: Friday, 13 April 2007
I cannot believe the NSPCC could seriously advocate such a policy. I have 3 boys (only 3 1/2 years between oldest and youngest) who are now teenagers, but I still remember the nightmare of shopping back in their younger days. Once in a chemist off a busy side street with a narrow pavement the youngest then 3 throw an Oscar winning tantrum because I said no to a sweet. I carried like you then proceeded to carry on buying what ever it was I went in for keeping one eye on all the children. Whether through boredom or embarrassment at their little brother the older two slipped out of the door onto the pavement! I looked at the two shop assistants and my youngest screaming on the floor of the otherwise empty shop and took the decision to nip out side and herd the other two back in. When I had done this the shop assistant launched a verbal attack on me for abandoning the youngest in their shop for all of 2 mins, she ranted that they were not responsible for my children. I interuppted her and asked her if she had children to which she replied no, I simple said I thought not. I gathered up my brood and left!
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Nadine Dorries MP
House of Commons
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