Sunday, 15 June 2014

Who will care for our language more?

This may be an unfair question, although it is one which BSL users in Scotland should consider in the run up to the Independence Referendum in September.  We know that Westminster can be more than a little dismissive of anything other than English, but is this also true of politicians in Scotland?

Kirsty at Yes Scotland headquarters in Hope Street
There is evidence of a greater appetite amongst political parties in Scotland to interact with the Deaf community.  Here is a link to Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon addressing members of the Deaf Community in Glasgow as part of the Scottish Government's National Conversation in 2011.  This event is something which we at Sign for Scotland support and would like to see become the norm in future political campaigns.

The Scottish Green Party is also very welcoming.  In 2007 they became the first party in the UK to produce campaign videos specifically for the Deaf and the hard of hearing.  You can watch one of them below.

British Sign Language is used by an estimated 13,000 people in Scotland.  Under First Past The Post, we would need to live in a handful of concentrated areas to make any real difference, but the Scottish Parliament is more proportional, and this gives us the potential to collectively influence election results in a way that hasn't been possible before.

 Minister for External Affairs and International Development - Humza Yousaf MSP
"The UK lags behind countries like New Zealand, Finland, Austria and Hungary when it comes to rights and cultural respect for Deaf people; but the desired changes may still take decades to come to fruition. Sarah tells me that Deaf people in other countries have had to wait 15 to 20 years for Governments to respond with specific legislation." The Limping Chicken, March 12th 2014
We're far more likely to shape policy decisions with independence and that fact alone will make our parliament care more about our language. And the policies that Scotland introduces can help other movements around the world.  The forward thinking approach taken in independent Sweden is one model which Deaf groups use when approaching their own governments and is a good example of what we can achieve.
All it takes is a little courage and a 'Yes'.
If you like this blog, then please consider visiting our other sites:
Facebook - Sign for Scotland
YouTube - Sign4Scotland
Twitter - Sign4Scotland

No comments:

Post a Comment