Importance of BSL not falling on deaf ears

Written by Tom Freeman on 3 June 2015

A recent editorial in the Herald suggested Mark Griffin’s British Sign Language Bill is not the kind of legislation to “capture the imagination”, but judging by yesterday’s Stage 2 proceedings the Education and Culture Committee disagree.

After all, as I’ve covered in this briefing before, the Committee has engaged a wide base of BSL users through social media, including an active Facebook page.

There appeared to be a fair bit of support from the Scottish Government, too, as Learning Minister Alasdair Allan backed many of the amendments.


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The minister also brought forward a number of amendments from the Scottish Government. “We intend to set up a BSL national advisory group to inform its development. The group will involve a significant number of deaf BSL users as well as representatives from public bodies subject to the bill,” he said.

Mark Griffin revealed the bill had originally been allocated to the Health and Sport committee. “Through this process it’s been shown clearly and rightly the minister for Scotland’s languages is the right point of contact for BSL users.”

In right to reply in the Herald to the paper’s editorial, Mandy Reid, policy officer at the Scottish Council on Deafness wrote: “Bills can and do fire up the imagination of the public. This bill has and will continue to do so as it continues its progress through the parliamentary process. The support has been garnered with little support so far from the Scottish media.”

Ouch.

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