Dynamic charity, ENABLE Scotland, has launched a campaign against the type of prejudicial words which can encourage cruel and mindless hate crime against people with learning disabilities. Joan McAlpine MSP has publicly pledged her support for this worthy cause. Curiously, Joan also openly promotes pro-indy website Wings Over Scotland? Its editor, Stuart Campbell, frequently refers to his ‘enemies’ as “retards” or as “retarded” – the very words targeted by ENABLE’s campaign. Surely some mistake? AhDinnaeKen investigates:
By Longshanker aka @ergasiophobe
ENABLE SCOTLAND, the charity dedicated to improving the lives of children and adults with learning disabilities, launched a new campaign yesterday.
The campaign’s core aim is to rid Scotland of the casual use and abuse of hateful and hurtful words commonly aimed at those with learning disabilities.
Discriminatory words such as, ‘mong’, ‘spaz’ and ‘retard’ cause the most distress and hurt to the victims and such words are usually the precursors of physical attacks.
Joan McAlpine MSP supports ENABLE’s campaigning aims. It is an upstanding and worthy campaign and one which AhDinnaeKen wholly condones and hopes succeeds in its objectives.
AhDinnaeKen invites Ms McAlpine to come clean over her recent endorsement of Wings Over Scotland – a site edited by an individual who freely and commonly refers to others as ‘retards‘ or ‘retarded‘ with the aim of diminishing and denigrating them in a hateful, intolerant and degrading manner.
It may be that with such a busy schedule writing her Daily Record column, Ms McAlpine is only partly aware of the reasons for the “huge snash” the site receives. She appears to be under the impression that such ‘snash’ has something to do with the site’s alleged lampooning of the “establishment’s hypocrisy“.
In Scotland it’s worth reminding Parliamentary Liaison Officer McAlpine that she is also part of the establishment – the Scottish establishment.
If her support of ENABLE’s campaign is sincere, then she must either condemn the crude abuse of ‘retard’ – hereafter referred to as the R-word – by Wings’ Stuart Campbell, or admit that she got it wrong regarding her preference for Wings over that of the “traditional media“.
AhDinnaeKen is prepared to give Ms McAlpine the benefit of the doubt on the matter.
For a period of years, Mr Campbell has relied upon the R-word, to diminish, denigrate and degrade. It’s something he’s well known for within and without the Scottish constitutional debate. For example:
In 2010, the day after the UK’s General Election, Campbell referred to Northern Irish voters (above) as “spectacularly retarded”. Five months later in the USA, Rosa’s law, was signed into law by President Barrack Obama. It officially replaced the use of “mental retardation” to describe people with learning disabilities to “intellectual disability“. The American law officially recognised the hurt, offense and stigma such labelling causes to the individuals affected.
Despite the implementation of Rosa’s law, Campbell still persisted within the pages of Wings Over Scotland and his Twitter accounts – @WingsScotland and @RevStu – to freely use the R-word in its pejorative sense:
Example 1 – Why maybe the Unionists are right May 28 2012
“If you’ve failed at Point 1 and the entire audience is comprised of semi-evolved retards, at least plant a few researchers in there with something halfway-intelligent to ask.”
This disgusting and derisory piece of alleged ‘lampoonery’ was written because Mr Campbell decided that the audience in the first of the BBC’s televised Big Debates wasn’t up to his expected intellectual standards. The casual use of the R-word demonstrates the contempt Campbell has for people in general and his complete insensitivity toward those with learning disabilities.
Example 2 – The Heavy Nudge May 29 2013
“Every time one young man is dissuaded from singing sectarian songs by stories like that of Calum Graham – either because he realises his actions are ugly, brutish and retarded, or simply because he doesn’t want to risk the possible consequences – the voice of bigotry literally gets quieter, and volume is its lifeblood.”
Again, the R-word is clearly used in the pejorative and this time it’s aimed at a named individual. It follows the words “brutish” and “ugly” in a linear narrative and is typical of Campbell’s twisted and perverse sense of morality and logic.
Example 3 Twitter and Transphobic comments
The above Tweet was how Campbell described the debate when he was accused of being a transphobe after belittling Chelsea Manning’s reasons and wishes to be called Chelsea rather than by her former name of Bradley.
Incidentally, due to Campbell’s denigration of Chelsea Manning, Ms McAlpine’s estranged husband, Pat Kane, finally distanced himself from Wings – describing Campbell as both “unpleasant and intolerant“. Maybe that’s the kind of “snash” Ms McAlpine was referring to when she promoted Wings in her Daily Record column.
Example 4 – Denial of offensiveness of the R-word
The above discourse is literally breathtaking. Mr Leslie is referring to Campbell’s use of theR-word as offensive. The subsequent denial by the Wings man is damning.
Example 5 – Redefining the offensive even more offensively.
Curiously, Campbell’s definition in this tweet appears to have been lifted straight from the online ‘The Free Dictionary‘. He was careful to omit the first definition on the page: “Often Offensive: Affected with mental retardation.”
There is also a footnote on the same page which elaborates on the use of the word: “In the past, when a child had a mental condition that made learning difficult, people used to say that he or she was retarded, backward, simple, or educationally subnormal. Nowadays these words are avoided because they are thought to be offensive.”
‘Thought to be offensive’ by most reasonable people of sound mind perhaps, but clearly not by Campbell. AhDinnaeKen would be most interested in anything Joan McAlpine had to say on the matter given her public support of ENABLE Scotland’s newly launched campaign.
She might even like to reflect on some authoritative voices – summed up neatly below:
Or this, from ENABLE themselves:
“Be the change is about reflecting on your own behaviour. Stop using those words. Don’t let other people away with it. When you hear it, challenge them. Say, look, that’s not funny. And, by doing those things, we’ll get rid of this language for ever.” – Jan Savage, ENABLE assistant director of campaigns and membership.
Will Joan have the decency to say “look that’s not funny” to Wings Over Scotland aka Stuart Campbell? The jury’s out.