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Close Up

Foreword

My regular readers will all be well aware of the fact that my stories tend to be rather long, This, my latest offering is no exception and runs in total to some 43,000 + words. Set in the near future in post Brexit Britain, it explores how four different establishments react and adapt themselves to the latest law, which once again allows corporal punishment to be used. Although all four stories address the same theme, they are each individual, stand-alone pieces and can be read quite independently. So readers do not need to wade through the whole lot at one sitting but can read it at their leisure as and when they wish. Each segment is clearly titled so that you can find your way around. So just read the introductory remarks and then take your pick by scrolling through the text.

The four segments are as follows:-

North London Magistrates Court

Grimthorpe Reformatory for Older Boys

Rigby School

HMS Endeavour – Naval Cadet Training Ship

All participants in sexual situations ate aged 18 years or older.

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AD 2022 – WELCOME BACK CANE AND BIRCH

In spite of our diminished international status at the present time, we Brits can be justly proud of the legacy which we have, to date, left the world. Our greatest achievement has been to make English, the language of a small island located just off the European mainland, the lingua franca of the entire world. I often tell people that they should be grateful that we had our moment of glory at the time the world was colonised by Europeans — and mainly by us Brits. Just imagine what the world would have been lumbered with if the Chinese had had their day of glory then and had diffused their language left right and centre. It really does not bear thinking about!

And then there is our contribution to gastronomy: free flowing table salt; you know it’s that stuff you fill the salt shaker with and which never clogs the hole. You must all have experienced how infuriating things are on the continent, where this culinary miracle had not, until recently, been adopted, and where the benighted people have had to resort to putting grains of rice in the salt shaker to keep the stuff mobile. Of course they do not help themselves much either in that they mistakenly put the salt in a shaker with multiple small holes rather than with the one sensible central hole as in Britain. The shaker with one hole they misguidedly use for pepper, which ensures that you get great gobbets of that condiment on your food rather than the gentle waft which is all that is needed. And then they have the nerve to say that we Brits don’t understand food. Is there any wonder with such attitudes and practices that we Brits voted to leave the EU on June 23 2016?

But then we come to corporal punishment, originally a traditional British speciality at all levels of society and one which we introduced to the locals as we colonised the world in earlier times. Alas as we allowed ourselves to be seduced into joining what is today called the European Union, we aligned ourselves with the rest of Europe and outlawed – not without vociferous protest from certain supporters I might add – our hitherto regular and vigorous use of the cane and birch. At first its use was abandoned in state schools but by 1998 public schools were also obliged by law to stop using the cane and other such instruments of punishment. Although in fact most public schools had voluntarily stopped using the cane, mainly due to peer pressure, a few stalwart old style establishments persisted right until the last day when the law came into force. So Britain had finally aligned itself with Europe; corporal punishment, once the ultimate act of discipline had become a no-no and was not to be used on anyone ever again, however much they deserved a good thrashing.

That is how things stood in the year 2016, when we the British people voted in a referendum to have done with their interfering and left the European Union to steer our own ship; so now some years later, in the year 2022, we are completely free of outside meddling in our affairs. Even as part of the EU, there had still been a strong lobby in the UK, mainly from the public schools, to allow corporal punishment still to be used. Not surprisingly, once more on our own, that lobby’s voice became deafening. Crime had risen in the streets; there was little discipline in the schools anymore; the young generation had no respect either for people or property and even such keen disciplinarians as the army and navy training establishments were at a loss to know what to do to keep their delinquent cadets in line. And with no threat of physical pain hanging over their heads like a sword of Damocles, young tearaways, in all walks of life, simply did as they wished in the full knowledge that nothing much would happen to them.

And so now in the year 2022 the government of the UK, by more or less universal acclaim from the populace, reintroduced corporal punishment in an act of parliament entitled, most appropriately: bahis firmaları The Reintroduction of Corporal Punishment Act 2022. The act was wordy and complicated, but essentially gave free rein to schools, magistrates, reform institutions, prisons, and the army and navy to employ corporal punishment to keep order and punish wrongdoers. It was hailed by all and sundry as a step in the right direction to put some order into what had become an increasingly lawless society. It should be noted that many of our erstwhile colonies, now independent, had never relinquished the use of the cane, introduced them by their British colonisers and wondered why on earth we had ever dropped its use.

Rigby School

Headmaster: Mr. C. D. Moulton-Danvers MA Cantab

As might well be imagined, there was a great deal of discussion in all establishments educating young lads from well-to-do families and Rigby School, an elite smallish public school located in Ditchfeild (pronounced DitchfEEld in spite of its peculiar spelling) was no exception. Rigby School had been noted for its rigour in dealing with its pupils and the cane and birch had been in regular use until the rot set in and they were finally abandoned. In fact, in the “good old days” Rigby was a much sought-after educational establishment, as parents were sure that their unruly offspring would literally be beaten into shape. Ask any old Rigbyan and he will tell you that in his day the cane and birch reigned supreme.

The present Headmaster, Mr. Cedric Montague Moulton-Danvers, was now aged some sixty years; he had first entered Rigby, as had his father and grandfather before him, from prep school as a boy aged thirteen in 1973. Apart from a four-year absence when he was at Cambridge University reading mathematics followed by a year at a teacher training college, he had spent his entire life at the school. Returning as a graduate (first class honours in both parts of the tripos, no less) in 1983 he was appointed junior mathematics master. He had not been a prefect when he was still a pupil at the school and as such he had always been on the receiving end of the cane, and on one or two occasions, the birch. However, in appointing him as junior master, the governors and the then Headmaster found in him an ardent beater of boys’ bottoms and thoroughly approved of their choice. The fact that he was also an excellent and well-liked teacher did not seem to count as much in the eyes of the governors and the then Headmaster as the fact that he was a strict disciplinarian. And so over a period of years he progressed to become the Head of the Mathematics Department and ultimately to the post of Headmaster, to which he acceded to 1993 at the young age of only thirty-three, when the then headmaster died of a stroke.

Although corporal punishment had been forbidden in state schools in the early 1980s, a diminishing number of public schools, among which Rigby was one of the most prominent, clung on to the use of the cane and the birch until 1998, when the law finally forbade is further use in all schools. It is worth noting however, that Mr. Moulton-Danvers, faithful to the concept of corporal punishment until the very end, thrashed the naked backsides belonging to two sixth formers, whom he had caught smoking the very day before all corporal punishment was finally forbidden by law.

Moulton-Danvers remembered well that last occasion, when, having given each lad a very severe twelve cut thrashing with the birch, he had enlisted the help the then Head Boy, Jonathan Henshaw, to add a complement of punishment with the cane. So he, the Headmaster, with the two lads naked arsed across two chairs, had first given each of them twelve cuts with the birch which elicited howls of pain from the supplicants. This had then been followed by the Head Boy who had given each lad a further twelve cuts of the senior cane across what might be described as the “preconditioned” arses of the two miscreants. So it is true to say that corporal punishment went out with a bang at Rigby

Suffice it to say that when this monumental flogging was over, the two lads could barely walk back to their bedrooms, so great was their pain. And so after that, the cane and the birch were, perforce, retired from active service. The birch, which as we all know has a very limited “shelf life” and quickly reaches its “use-by date”, was discarded. But the faithful canes, which had already made contact with hundreds of naked bottoms over the years, were put away in a cupboard: they became souvenirs of the “good old days.”. No one regretted more than Moulton-Danvers the retirement of the cane from school life. No one knew better than he how to lay on the cane with the panache and expertise acquired by years of diligent application and practice and no one mourned its passing more than he did.

The Headmaster looked back on that final occasion after which the cane had been retired from service. That last time was now over twenty years ago and in that period no boy had kaçak iddaa suffered any form of beating at Rigby, much to the regret of the Headmaster and many of his staff, who had seen the withdrawal of the right to cane as a retrograde step. So today, we find the Headmaster and the Board of Governors of the school in their quarterly meeting. On top of the agenda is not unnaturally the change in the law allowing the re-introduction of corporal punishment into, among other establishments, public schools. Mr Moulton-Danvers, as Headmaster, though not a member of the Board of Governors, was always, as a matter of courtesy, invited to attend these meetings, prior to which he had always submitted a quarterly report. The Chairman of the Board an elderly military man, Colonel Peters, suggested that the Headmaster bring the Board up-to-date on the significance to the school of the newly enacted law on the reintroduction of corporal punishment. In Mr. Moulton-Danvers, the Board could not have had a better advocate for the case that the School re-adopt the practice.

The Headmaster began: “Well gentlemen, I am sure that many of you will agree with me when I say that I view this change in the law to be a step in the right direction. Since the abolition of corporal punishment in schools and other establishments around the United Kingdom over twenty years ago, the behaviour of young people and I include here members of the upper classes, boys from well-to-do families who can afford a private education for their offspring and who are pupils at schools such as ours, has gone from bad to worse. There is no longer any self-respect, let alone respect for other persons or property. The good manners for which we as a nation have long been noted, or perhaps I should say more accurately, had been noted, is now a concept of the past. Moreover, boys have become unconcerned about their personal appearance; I see it every day here at Rigby: shoes are not polished; socks are not pulled up properly, shirts are left partly unbuttoned; ties hang loose like a noose around boys’ necks.”

“In general there has been, over the last twenty years, a great deterioration in the manners and in the appearance of our boys; “slovenly” comes to mind as a word to describe them. And faced with this, what have we their teachers had as a means of correction? Well gentlemen; the short answer is nothing other than words; words whose effect is somewhat similar to water off a duck’s back. In fact, the effect of words can well be summed up by the old rhyme: “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” Well gentlemen, the change in the law now offers us something a little more potent than words, in that we may, as of now, re-introduce corporal punishment into the school, a move which I earnestly recommend you, the governing body, to consider. Frankly gentlemen, there is nothing like a good bare arse beating to make a lad see sense; and it does him no harm either psychologically or physically, other than the transient discomfort as he nurses his aching backside. I myself was beaten in this very school countless times and am none the worse for it. I am sure that many of you also have had the same experience.”

The Headmaster’s comments on the new law provoked quite a long discussion. A few of the younger members of the Board were somewhat reluctant to see the cane reintroduced after a twenty absence, but the older more traditional governors were all totally in favour. The general feeling of the board was summed up by the Chairman: “Gentlemen, would it be fair to say that we are on the whole favourable to the Headmaster’s suggest that both the cane and the birch be reintroduced into regular use at Rigby. I don’t say that we should go back completely to the old system in place for many decades until the abolition of the cane in 1998, where all the prefects were allowed to beat their classmates and there were prefects’ courts and that sort of thing: but I cannot but feel that with the knowledge that misdemeanours can be punished physically in the form of a good old-fashioned beating will make the boys look before they leap.”

“As the Headmaster has just said, the teaching staff has at present little recourse against the bad behaviour of the boys other than words. Certainly serious misdemeanours can always be punished by expulsion, but I am sure that we all agree that expulsion should only be used as a last resort. My own personal view is that a good beaten arse from time to time is worth a thousand words. So might I suggest that we agree that that corporal punishment be reinstated as of the next school year which will commence some six weeks from today in September? I think that we the Governors should again impose an absolute limit of twenty-four strokes of either the cane or the birch at any one time and leave it to the good sense of the Mr. Moulton-Danvers who has been both on the receiving and giving end of the rod in his long career at Rigby to decide exactly how the re-introduction should be carried out and kaçak bahis who precisely should be authorised to beat the boys when necessary. The Headmaster has my total confidence in this matter so might I suggest that we put the matter to a vote?”

The proposal was seconded and carried unanimously, giving the Headmaster carte blanche to re-introduce the cane and the birch as he best saw fit into the modern-day Rigby school of 2022. The Headmaster thought it prudent to inform all parents that Rigby was proposing to readopt the use of corporal punishment in the form of the cane and the birch. And so a letter was sent out to each and every family with boys enrolled at the school. It suggested that if they did not wish to see their offspring beaten then perhaps they should consider withdrawing the boy and placing him in another school where the cane was still outlawed.

To be utterly clear he said that as of the new school year any and all boys who were pupils at Rigby would be beaten if deemed necessary. He was gratified to find that he received not a single murmur of disapproval from any of the families; this he took to reflect the general view of the populace at large: the reintroduction of beating in schools was long overdue. In fact, he received quite a few letters from parents, usually from the father, lauding the decision to reintroduce the cane and the birch into daily life at Rigby. Armed with such assurances he felt confident that the right decision had been taken and went ahead with his plans for the coming term. Whether the boys, those future recipients of painfully sore arses, would have agreed with their parents, is a moot point; happily, their view in the matter was of no consequence!

As he was starting from scratch, or better, with a clean slate to use a metaphor more appropriate to a school, the Headmaster, after some thought came up with the following proposition; it was in fact not a proposition as he had no need to obtain the approval of the Governors. So he simply formalised his intentions and informed the members of staff involved of the part they would play in the hierarchy of masters and prefects who would be authorised to beat their charges. Briefly put here is how the new system of corporal punishment would function.

The birch would only be used sparingly and only by the Headmaster himself.

The cane could only be used by the Headmaster, the Head Boy, each Housemaster and each House Captain.

No teachers or prefects were to be allowed to use the cane.

For serious offences each teacher could send a boy to the Headmaster for punishment by means of a punishment slip. Such slips would mean that the delinquent lad would be thrashed that same evening after supper at eight thirty. Whichever House he belonged to, he had to return to the Headmaster’s study in the main school building, suitably attired at the fatidic hour to have his backside beaten.

Any prefect catching a boy breaking any rule at all, could issue a demerit slip. Such slips were placed in box and recorded by the school secretary in a register. Five demerits condemned the miscreant to a beating administered by the Head Boy. The Head Boy’s study was in the main school building and those boys destined for punishment were listed each morning on the general notice board outside the main Assembly Hall. The Head Boy wielded the cane in his study immediately after prep each day and before supper, which the boys took in their respective houses.

Unrelated to the demerit system, the Head Boy could summon boys for punishment if he thought they merited it

Any misdemeanours outside the school hours were dealt with by each Housemaster and the House Captain of each house. Prefects could only award demerit slips inside their house or could recommend a boy for a beating by his Housemaster or House Captain for a major infraction. So effectively, out of class time, each house functioned in exactly that same way as the main school. and again the House Captains could summon boys for punishment for individual misdemeanours outside the demerit lip system.

The prefects were now only chosen from the final year class, the upper sixth where all the boys were eighteen year of age. Their job was to act as policemen and see that the rules were being obeyed by the boys during the day between classes and in the evenings in their respective houses.

Having settled in his own mind the new hierarchy: those who would be allowed to beat the boys, he ordered ten sets of the best quality rattan canes from the school’s supply company. Each set was made up of five different canes, ranging from the lightest of junior canes to the most seriously painful of the senior models. The Headmaster had already realised that none of his present staff had any experience of administering corporal punishment as all of them had been appointed as relatively young men, post the 1998 ban. He wondered if he should get them all together and give them some instruction as to how to proceed, for there were a number of tricks to ensure that the cane landed in the right place and with the right force; but that would surely come with some experience; which knowing how disobedient boys were in general, would be plentifully available.

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