On a point of accuracy, the law that you seek succour from is in fact English law, and that differs from Scottish law on this matter – at least in nuance and duty placed on the parent. From my observations I would describe English law as one of the most reactionary and unenlightened among advanced West European countries when it comes to children. Scottish law, unlike the English law that you may prefer, is not comfortable with the notion of leaving parents routinely free of a robust need to justify the infliction of violence.
Smacking in a way that leaves no damage is rather less extreme, but its efficacy as a rationally applied tool in discipline is questionable.
What is your evidence base for what is seemingly a contradictory, or at least gramatically contorted, opinion (to which you are entitled) – rather than something to be presented as though it were ‘fact’? Moreover, what is the objective test for pain “that leaves no damage”? The need for evidence is especially pertinent since you take it upon yourself to belittle others’ evidence, as when you pointedly remark that “the details of the survey were for a TV programme with an agenda.” With respect, we, including you, all have our agendas, we need to beware of that.
A total ban on smacking would criminalise parents for doing something that causes no physical harm
But again, what is your objective test that proves it "causes no physical harm"? There is an onus, moreover, on you to provide a test that can be readily utilised in everday family life, given that you are justifying the inflicting of pain as a matter of discipline.
In addition, we outlaw inumerable matters that 'cause no physical harm', Why should we make an exception in, of all things, the infliction of pain on children?
But most significantly, you stray back to your presumption of the right of one powerful human being to decide when the inflicting of pain on another powerless human being is admissible – nay desirable, as in:
the parent should consider the implications to the child's emotional development when the infliction of pain is considered an acceptable and sensible way of registering disapproval. (my italics)
I also cannot see the logical coherence between, on the one hand, your admonishment that “the parent should consider… when the infliction of pain is considered”, and then on the other hand your readiness to excuse parents on grounds of emotion or stress. You are sliding from justifying the inflicting of pain, and at the same time admitting the need for scope to excuse it.
This is the kind of ethical quagmire that inevitably arises when you start from the premise that “the infliction of pain” on children by adults is admissible (and there again is that recurrent use of language that really worries me - “when the infliction of pain is considered an acceptable and sensible way of registering disapproval”, and notions of “efficacy”).
IMO, what you assert remains unacceptable and lacking in ethical, logical or common sense; it detracts from the maturity we might expect from an adult in a position of power over children. What you most recently say is just a reversion to arguing that those in power positions (parents) have the right to determine whether pain is to be inflicted on the powerless (children). If you have moved at all, I think that is on semantics - on removing the word ‘deserving’ when describing some children being subjected to adult violence. Your basic premise seems to still be that it is variously appropriate or efficacious or sensible or not harmful for parents to hit children; with respect you remain wrong on all accounts