THE plight of Darlington’s Mr Punch came to the nation’s attention after he railed against the impact of ‘snowflakes’ on his business earlier this week.

Children’s entertainer Brian Llewellyn has had bookings cancelled by those who thought his show glorified domestic violence. He believes this is an example of political correctness gone mad, of do-gooders killing fun and cotton wool wrapped kids.

Judging by the ferocious online response the story prompted, large swathes of the public could not agree more with the veteran puppet-master, whose shows have entertained generations of youngsters.

It is easy, and tempting, to go along with this narrative, but to be entirely outraged by Mr Punch’s predicament is to gloss over the intentions of those who have questioned its appropriateness in certain contexts.

Time has moved on since Punch and Judy had their heyday and in common with other products of the past, some elements of the tradition jar with a modern era that strives to protect children from behaviours that were once accepted, once commonplace.

Mr Llewellyn frames his show as a morality tale, a stance many will sympathise with. He believes it is important for children to see Punch get his comeuppance, to understand that the world can be a dark place but that good things – such as the puppet eventually jailed – happen and justice can prevail.

Violence in the guise of children’s entertainment is common, as many of Mr Llewellyn’s supporters have pointed out, highlighting computer games, Tom and Jerry and a raft of other pop culture references as they ask if authorities would ban those, too.

That kind of whataboutery is largely irrelevant – schools and councils do not have the power to obliterate violence from our cultural landscape. They do, however, have the power to decide what goes on within their remit. The much-maligned ‘do-gooders’ tasked with protecting youngsters are not only presumably driven to do so, but are also surrounded on all sides by legislation and guidance that urges caution.

Ultimately, if a school doesn’t want to stage a show that depicts violence or a council doesn’t feel it appropriate to erect a Punch and Judy show close to a domestic abuse charity, that’s on them.

Becky Rogerson, from Teesside charity My Sister’s Place, was sneered at for highlighting evidence that proves children are affected by what they see, that young victims of abuse can be detrimentally affected by being exposed to representations of violence, no matter how lighthearted.

In the rush to express outrage and defend the nostalgia of a world gone by, too few will listen to the arguments of Mr Punch’s detractors as they decry lefty liberals for dismantling tradition and destroying the country as we know it.

Punch and Judy, rough and tumble childhood play, exposure to cartoon violence and video games may not have had a lasting negative impact upon you or I. But we’re the lucky ones – domestic abuse affects one in five UK children and if the experts say adapting our traditions, no matter how well loved they are, could help to mitigate its impact, perhaps we could hear them out before decrying their efforts entirely – since when was it so terrible to do good, anyway?