My Fear of Getting the Cane by Jenny Agutter
Channel 5’s The Wright Stuff debated the issue of caning last Friday. The debate was sparked by press reports that Coleen Nolan has said she wants to see the cane reintroduced to British schools – twenty years after it was banned. She was speaking in the wake of a new poll conducted by Mori which has shown that a majority of parents favour a return to corporal punishment. This story was also covered by The Daily Telegraph complete with many interesting comments. Coleen, who appears on the Loose Women show on ITV, says if a teacher gave her kids the cane she’d probably go in and shake their hand!
What fun host Matthew Wright had with two canes that he had been given as props! Brandishing them with relish at the start of the show, he told every one to be on their best behaviour or else! The guest panel consisted of Yasmin Alibhai-Brown, Len Goodman and actress Jenny Agutter. When Jenny Agutter said she had trouble getting up in the morning after late nights in the theatre, Mathew picked up his cane and said “just think of this!” Jenny replied “yes, I’ll have to think of getting the cane!”
But why were there two canes on Matthew’s desk? He explained that they were genuine former school canes and that one was a junior cane, used on smaller children, and the other was for senior pupils.
Strictly Come Dancing judge Len Goodman told a story about the time he received twelve strokes, an unusually large number, for stealing a bike and then lying about it. Not surprisingly, the majority of callers on the show were in favour of caning being reinstated. And our Len, undeterred by his own experiences, favoured bringing back the birch too. He was realistic enough to point out that it ain’t going to happen though.
As for the demure Jenny Agutter – smaller class sizes are the answer apparently. A harassed female teacher from Birmingham, who wanted to be able to use the cane, was less than impressed with her liberal arguments. Perhaps she could be persuaded to quit teaching and take a job as Ms Agutter’s personal assistant with special responsibility for getting her out of bed in the morning!