MIKE GULLIVER

Deaf geographies, and other worlds.

Early Day Motion – reworded

Re: http://limpingchicken.com/2013/03/19/deaf-news-31-mps-back-bsl-campaign/

Motivated by the Limping Chicken news that “31 MPs from the major parties have called on the government to do more to support BSL users across public services”, and in response to the extremely polite, somewhat misleading, and half-way house EDM which – really – misses the core point that BSL recognition simply hasn’t happened properly yet, here’s my rewording:

That this House joins the British Deaf Association, the Royal Association for Deaf People and Signature in celebrating the 10th anniversary of the Government’s official recognition of (the linguistic validity of) British Sign Language (BSL) on 18 March 2003; notes that (many of the organisations that originally participated in the BSL recognition campaign, and the Deaf community itself are unrepresented in this list due to their belief that no sufficient recognition was forthcoming; further notes that) BSL is used by many (tens of) thousands of deaf people (and many hearing people) as their first or preferred language alongside (and often instead of) English; further notes that BSL users still find it hard to access (even the most basic) health, education and other services as well as employment due to a lack of public awareness and interpreters; further notes that (this basic lack of access also extends to BSL user’s ability to contest their own lack of access; further notes that lack of public awareness has not been improved by the Government’s own failure to correctly represent the nature of BSL which, despite its linguistic rhetoric, it still administers as a ‘communication tool’; further notes that the Government’s funding for the encouragement of BSL and for raising awareness not only largely missed the point but was often perceived as divisive; further notes that any recognition of BSL that does not provide its users with the same rights as users of other indigenous languages of the British Isles: English, Welsh, Gaelic, is without value, and falls short of requirement; further notes that a full recognition of BSL would not only celebrate a language and empower its users, but more widely reveal the creative communicative potential of the UK citizenry, and radically transform undersatnding of the linguistic heritage of our nation; further notes that) some good work is being done by different Government departments to support BSL users but that this is piecemeal (and increasingly under threat from ongoing attempts to constrain disability-related budgetary spending, which should not impact cultural or linguistic provision) and not co-ordinated; urges the Government to (recognise its legal obligations under the UNCRPD and) renew its efforts in this direction in 2013; and calls on the Government to (identify in an initial consultation with ALL parties concerned, and not only its traditional advisor organisations, who it should be listening to, and then) prepare a short, cross-departmental report which pulls together all that it is currently doing to support BSL users (, details how those users actually view the support provided) and to identify (and address with all haste) the barriers that still remain to (both governmental and public understanding of BSL and of the Deaf community, preventing) BSL users’ full participation in, and contribution to, British society.

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This entry was posted on March 21, 2013 by in Musings and tagged , , .
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