"...in my day we accepted the rules of the game, and the 'naughty step' or loss of the £100 trainers reward (for the time being) as a punishment didn't come into it."
You accepted the rules because you had no say in the matter - children never do. That doesn't mean that violence has ever been the right solution though. In the past people had no choice but to accept violence as a form of punishment, and as a result society was actually more violent than today. Women were routinely beaten by men, and child cruelty was rife. Both still occur, but on nothing like the same scale.
We live in more enlightened times, and we know that hitting children is wrong. Bullying a child into submission is a coward's way of achieving a result, and it is never a solution - the bullied child harbours resentment, and is more likely to become a bullying parent.
I agree with your view that inept parents tend to see their children's behaviour as someone else's problem - they abdicate responsibility and blame schoolteachers, or society as a whole when their offspring go off the rails. The fact is, parental responsibility is sometimes difficult,as any parent knows. It's hard work at times, but hitting as a response to bad behaviour is never the answer.