Colin Craig is chasing (and getting) publicity for his smacking stance but this could be a risky strategy.
Conservative Party leader Colin Craig has admitted that he smacks his children if they misbehave, despite the law being clear there is no justification for the use of force as part of parental or caregiver discipline.
During an interview on RadioLive today, Mr Craig was asked if he would start to smack his own children if the law was reversed.
“I occasionally do it now,” he replied.
He said the physical discipline of his own children was technically against the law if police saw it in the public interest to prosecute.
“And how would I know what they think?”
He said mostly his discipline consisted of “a flick of a finger on the back of a knuckle”.
“It hurts for a moment,” he said.
Police have said they “do not intend being drawn into a political debate on this issue in an election year.”
Craig obviously thinks it’s a vote winner. It may win some support from traditional (often Christian orientated ) parents, but I wonder if he is misjudging how popular it will be. He’s aware of some possible difference between people polled and parental practice.
Polling by Curia Market Research of 1000 respondents last year covered the issue of whether the law banning smacking should be changed to smacking being a reasonable form of correction, with 77 per cent agreeing, he said.
Mr Craig conceded that did not necessarily mean the same numbers of parents were ignoring the law and smacking their children.
Openly talking about ignoring current law is a risk. Members of Parliament need to be seen to be complying with the laws that Parliaments make – there is already a widespread negative perception of “do as we legislate, not as we do”.
Craig also runs a risk of the reinforcement of another perception of the Conservative Party being a (fairly fundamentally) Christian aligned party. Despite his attempts to play down any religious focus he can come across as a bit of a happy clapper.
If he is seen too much as a happy clapper smacker it may limit his appeal.