Sunday 15 September 2002

Smacking the Lib Dems

Over on The Edge of England's Sword, Iain Murray asks what I think of the Scottish Parliament's rejection of proposals to outlaw smacking of children by their parents. Scotland is no more politically correct than most places and is in many ways socially conservative. As in England, the PC religion is strong among the Liberal Democrats. In Scotland, the Lib Dems form part of the government in coaltion with Labour. Jim Wallace, Lib Dem leader, is Minister for Justice and was pushing hard for the smacking ban. Wallace is MSP for the low-crime Orkney Islands but Labour's backbenchers tend to sit for urban areas where voters are extremely angry about rising crime. The Scottish Parliamentary elections will be held next May and Labour MSPs are turning from political correctness to populism, especially as the Scottish press has regularly mocked the PC agenda. What will happen after the election remains to be seen but I wouldn't be surprised to see the Lib Dems get screwed - they are still waiting for the introduction of proportional representation three and a half years after entering the coaltion.