Where’s a cat when you need one?

In November 1912, the use of flogging with the cat was extended to those procuring prostitutes and for crimes against women and children. An anti-flogging amendment was rejected by 297 votes to 44.

Some were opposed. George Greenwood (Liberal, Peterborough) called flogging “the methods of barbarism”.

Arthur Lynch (Nationalist, West Clare – this was before Irish independence), described the horrors of a flogging he had witnessed.

“[The flogger] was an artist in it. He laid on the lash with such vigour that at every stroke the victim’s whole frame quivered, his eyes rolled in, his muscles stood out as though they would burst through his skin, and his face turned livid. Even the hardened warders present, whose hearts had been inured, turned almost sick at the sight and were unable to face it.”

Others were more positive. The police were convinced the wider use of flogging would cut crime (it didn’t, as it turned out).

The Archbishop of Canterbury said “I am willing to risk one innocent man being flogged in a generation.”

Lord Willoughby de Broke said “I certainly favour flogging for the first offence, and I am willing to run the risk of being flogged in mistake.”

Lord Lansdowne said “A punishment which may not unfairly be described as brutalising is a proper punishment when we are dealing with men who are brutes”.

Will Crooks (Socialist, Woolwich) said “There’s a lot of maudlin sentiment about all this. I’m glad these scoundrels have a skin that can be tanned.”

And the Hon Edward Wood (Unionist, Ripon) said “When I was at school I was whipped three times before breakfast on one occasion, and I’m none the worse for it. It had an extremely deterrent effect on me.”

Ah yes, the old ones are the best. It never did me any harm.

Flogging as a criminal punishment continued to be used until the end of the Second World War, and there’s no shortage of people who’d support its reintroduction today.

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4 Comments

  • Or torture, of course.

  • Corporal punishment used wisely against villains saves the tax payer money, and educates those who are dumb enough to break the law.
    One strike for 1st offence, two for the second then squared for subsequent offences, one soon learns to respect others.
    Prison should only be used to keep those who are a danger to society locked away.

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