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Judicial CP - January 1949

Corpun file 8760 at

Evening News, London, 12 January 1949


The Cat is On the Shelf

In that not very distant Parliamentary welter of muddled thinking about crime, the infliction of corporal punishment for offences of gross and cowardly violence was swept away.

Corporal punishment has, for a long time, raised the strongest feelings of objection from the illogical school of progressives. Even light caning by schoolmasters is apt to produce bellows of protest; corporal punishment for criminal offences, while it is inevitably in a different category, they were determined to abolish.

The rod therefore, as they desired, is now on the shelf.

No doubt they sincerely believe they have helped forward the humanitarian cause by putting it there. We acknowledge their motive.

Do they, however, derive very genuine satisfaction -- apart from support for their doctrines -- from the present wave of ruthless and savage crime? Does it please them that rape, robbery with violence and brutal assault on unoffending citizens are coming back into the daily calendar of events?

How do they regard the suggestion put forward by an association of shopkeepers for mutual protection by a system of security guards?

Do they like it when every cowardly, neurotic little thug who possesses a stolen pistol or a knuckle-duster thinks he can get away with it -- partly because no lash will fall across his hide?

Of course the "cat" is a harsh punishment. But the crimes for which, until recently, it was ordered by judges were infamous crimes.

If you believe, as does the sentimentalist school, that there is no right and no wrong, that every crime is only a result of psychical maladjustment, you may try out your theories in your own life.

But you are imprudent (to say the least) to impose them on a society which, for centuries, has believed that good and evil do exist, that evil men will reap the consequences of their evil actions, and that crime calls for punishment in this imperfect world.

Corpun file 8761 at

Evening News, London, 26 January 1949

Birch Bad Boys, Says the Vicar

'Maudlin Interviews are Worst Treatment'

By "Evening News" Reporter

Press cuttingADVOCATING more use of the birch, the one punishment, he says, which the delinquent youth really fears, the Rev. H.W.R. Elsley, vicar of St. Michael's, Wembley, writes in his parish magazine: "It is notorious that magistrates of recent years have been appointed to juvenile courts only when it was known they were against corporal punishment.

"The very worst treatment for a really naughty and precocious boy is a maudlin interview with a sentimental lady magistrate.

No Fears

"There is no punishment that he fears, with the dreadful result that we are maintaining at public expense a family of over 11,000 children in approved schools.

"The motive of fear is a low one but it is the only motive that actuates some people. I ask the sane person, with no axe to grind, whether fare dodging would increase or decrease if the only penalty on discovery were a private scolding by a benevolent magistrate?"

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