Crippen hears about tokenistic BSL bill

A leading Deaf campaigner has appealed to fellow users of British Sign Language (BSL) to reject a “tokenistic” new bill that claims to offer them new rights.

BSL Bill 2022

Jeff McWhinney, former chief executive of the Deaf-led organisation the British Deaf Association (BDA), has called on BSL-users to carefully examine the content of the British Sign Language bill. He states that the bill would not provide BSL with the legal status that Deaf people have been demanding since the 1980s and is “not good enough” and offers no important new rights to Deaf people.

The bill would recognise BSL as “a language of England, Wales and Scotland”, but the bill also states that this “does not affect the operation of any enactment or rule of law”. This appears to mean that the bill would provide a symbolic recognition of the language rather than offering any new rights for BSL-users who want the right to BSL interpreters when accessing public services such as the NHS, local government, and education.

Ironically, the bill, which McWhinney claims has been significantly watered down by civil servants, is not even available in BSL format. He added: 

“Deaf people must ask parliament to translate the bill into BSL so they can really understand what they are not getting, and then they can discuss it.”

He also believed that Deaf people were being misled about what was actually in the bill and told Disability News Service:

 “Deaf people believe they are getting extra rights for BSL. They are not.”

You can read the full story in Disability News Service.

Description of cartoon for those using screen reading software            

Two grey suited men are in the Conservative office. One is holding a piece of paper with ‘New BSL Bill’ printed upon it. The other is sat at a fax machine and is holding up another piece of paper which has written on it ‘Deaf people ask for BSL Bill to be made available in BSL format’. The man holding the Bill says: “They want WHAT – are these people never satisfied?!”

2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by A6er on 11/02/2022 at 14:56

    Reblogged this on Tory Britain! .


  2. To tell the truth, it is so sad to realize that actually, the British Sign Language bill can’t provide Deaf people with new rights because it is really absurd and, from my point of view, it makes no sense in that case. In my opinion, there are a great deal of novelties which could be included in this bill and a great deal of new opportunities that Deaf people could get. I don’t really understand why the government preferred to neglect these things and was able to mislead people. I absolutely agree that it is important to translate the bill into BSL because Deaf people need to know the real state of affairs and need to realize what they are not getting. There is a lot of deception in our world which should be eradicated. I really hope that Deaf people will be aware of all the real information regarding this bill and their eyes will be opened to the truth.


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