Thursday, October 09, 2008

Children Are Unbeatable!...Almost

One of the disappointments of the parliamentary system is that often the most important or contentious topics aren't raised because of 'procedure'.

Yesterday, for example, Elfyn Llwyd had put down an amendment to the Children and Young Persons Bill that would remove from law section 58 of the Children's Act 2004, the excuse of 'reasonable punishment', or 'reasonable chastisement' as a reason for hitting children.

Human rights are the same for adults as for children, so why is it that our law, criticised internationally by the European Committee of Social Rights and, only last week, by the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, gives adults the right to hit children - within some vague woolly worded explanation.

There are 19 countries in Europe that have banned this, the National Assembly voted to ban this in a vote in 2004 (if only we had these powers in Wales, eh?!) and all four of the UK Children's Commissioners back the removal of this clause.

Yet yesterday, Labour talked it out by giving just four hours for amendments to the whole bill, getting as far as the second set of six groups of amendments.

That's when you feel that democracy doesn't work the way it should do.

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