In the run up to the general election we were increasingly finding that BSL users wanted to join in the discussion but couldn’t.
Here you can watch what BSL users themselves had to say. Each video has a transcript below to make them fully accessible.
There are 21 videos for you to enjoy
What do deaf people think about the election?
Louise’s transcript: What does the election mean to me? Well, it really depends on the individual but for me I think what’s best is engaging with my local MP and being able to tell them what’s important to me for example Deaf rights or education (ie reducing the speed limit from 40MPH to 20MPH near deaf schools).
For those kind of adaptations you need a good relationship with your MP and the best way to do that is by having an interpreter with you so that you can clearly articulate what you want.
When it comes to voting, everyone is different, for me the key thing is the relationship with my local MP.
Neal’s Transcript: For me the election is an opportunity to create change. If you’re not happy with the current government now is the way we change it.
I would like to see the government being more supportive of deaf access including Access to Work. There are problems with AtW, especially with the cuts, and I hope the new government recognises that and makes changes to improve Access to Work in the future.
With the benefit cuts I worry about the future.
Sara’s Transcript: There’s not long left until the election. I have a number of concerns. Firstly, I’m worried about benefit cuts. Deaf and disabled people need their benefits to be able to live. I have four children, all are profoundly deaf, and it’s important that they are supported.
My friend is in full time employment and has an interpreter provided through Access to Work. With the recent cuts they haven’t been able to have an interpreter and meetings have had to stop. That’s very sad.
James’ Transcript: Personally, I think the General Election is a waste of time. It seems that it’s just an on-going debate about money, loans and the deficit – but that’s all it is, just talk. I can’t see any real action happening, just talk, and that’s why I’ve lost interest in it.
What’s important to me is making sure we have fair laws that includes everybody regardless of ethnicity and disability. I want to see that everybody is happy, but it is difficult to please everybody. I believe that what is important is a stable economy and that everyone has a good sense of wellbeing – affordable mortgages, sufficient food etc. That’s what is important to me.
Jeff’s Transcript: I think that for this election people have more awareness of the alternatives to the two ‘traditional’ parties – Conservatives and Labour – which I think is brilliant. The choice is very exciting, as is seeing how a coalition will work.
What’s most important for me? I feel it’s about time to stop the ‘blame game’ and the abuse of people who cannot defend themselves – for example immigrants and people claiming benefits. The systems we have allow people to become wealthy whilst the media focuses on attacking the marginalised. I want to see that rebalanced.
Phillipa’s Transcript: I’m very excited about this Election. It seems that there are a lot more people engaging with it and sharing their thoughts on social media. The previous election didn’t feel like that, I didn’t feel that many people were very involved with it. I think a lot of people will vote this time and that’s very exciting.
As for the issues that are important to me… I grew up on a farm and as such Agriculture is important and how food can affect health. Meat is becoming increasingly cheaper and I worry about that. Britain now imports a significant amount – what effect that is having on the British markets? We should encourage British farming and production.
Aliya’s Transcript: The election is important to me as I have the right to vote and make changes to the country. A lot of people complain about issues that face us but they have the opportunity to make change! That’s why it is important to vote.
There are a lot of issues which are important to me but if I had to pick one I would say ‘Community’. Its important to me because I grew up in the deaf community and the Asian community and I have strong community values. Some people think only about themselves and their money. They don’t think about community and people – that’s what’s important to me.
Fifi’s Transcript: The amount of information provided by the political parties is overwhelming. Very few parties mention BSL, there should be at least one party fighting for a BSL Act and if there were I would definitely vote for them!
Paula’s Transcript: This election is different to the previous ones – it seems that with most people are using social media to discuss it and that makes it feel more accessible. Whilst that is great I have to be honest and say that personally I still find it difficult to follow. I think there is too much information and it seems that people are focussing in on small things.
I find the English used in the manifestos difficult to read. I already have an idea of who I am going to vote for – I will stick with who I traditionally vote for. It’s great to see the newer parties, parties that were not in the running before. It’s good to see diversity, not just two traditional big two – Labour and Conservatives.
I’ve definitely noticed that people are becoming more aware of politics.
Paula’s Transcript: What I would like to see is a BSL Act. I think it’s easy to forget about Sign Language and a BSL ACT – there is still an element of oppression.
Another issue which is important to me is Deaf Education and its improvement. The education system is poor, I am a parent of two deaf children.
Hearing parents of deaf children are still unsupported, especially in the amount of options open to them, oralism etc. They have to fund their own courses to learn to sign, just to be able to communicate with their own child! In Scandinavia parents are automatically given free training and I would like to see that system here in England, Scotland and Wales. It would be great to see that course provision for parents.
Eleni’s Transcript: My views on the General Election? I have a problem with the media coverage of it – BBC news, ITV news etc, when they have their question time they never have an interpreter present. You have to rely on following the subtitles. David Cameron, Nick Clegg and the rest all speak really quickly and it’s impossible to follow so I lose interest and change to a different programme.
There hasn’t been a change to access for deaf people. When a deaf person visits a hospital, for example, they can see a long list of spoken language translations but BSL is not on the list. It’s always been that way.
It’s the same when trying to get information on benefits. It would be great if we could get he help we need in BSL but there isn’t that provision. You have to try and communicate with a person who doesn’t sign, just talks at you. There have always been those barriers and there’s been absolutely no improvement! I want to see a change – even a small one.
Karamat’s Transcript: My family are from Pakistan. My parent emigrated to the UK in 1958. I was born here and have lived in Britain all my life. There seems to be more migrants from Europe now. Growing up Deaf I didn’t have access to the information given by the government – Labour, Conservative etc
I feel that there are new parties – SDP, UKIP. What UKIP say is that they want to stop immigration, and that’s getting a lot of people’s attention. I personally agree – I think we should stop immigration, we’ve got enough. I think people that don’t work and are on the dole should be made to work. The Conservatives should do that. They should also stop cutting the number of police. I think that in the election I will vote for them (UKIP).
Naimo’s Transcript: I’m really confused by the whole election. Each party has their own information but will they actually keep to what they have promised? Will the future be better than the past? I need more time to think about it before the election. Maybe I wont vote, but then again I believe voting is important.
What’s important to me? Well, DLA for one. I’ve heard that DLA will be cut, but if it is then what happens to the money that’s been cut? Does it get added to AtW for example? Do deaf people need AtW more than DLA? If DLA is cut but extra funding is given to AtW to allow deaf people to work (physically we are able to work) then I think that’s a good use.
Shireen’s Transcript: I think there needs to be more access to interpreters in hospitals. If a person is hurt they should be able to communicate. There should be more interpreters in education, the NHS and if you want to work then more Access to Work.
It’s important that deaf people can communicate. Maybe deaf parents need access to an interpreter. It’s important that deaf people get access to whatever they need. It’s very important.
AnnJulie’s Transcript: I think a BSL Act is important and we need to fight for it. It seems as though government do not think it’s important and historically it has been overlooked.
It’s been recognised recently but it’s not an official language protected by law. It’s been a long wait and we need to fight for it. Hopefully we’ll see what happens after the election.
AnnJulie’s Transcript: Deaf education is important and I am concerned about the future for deaf children. Deaf schools are closing down and I think it’s important to keep deaf schools open. The current aim is ‘inclusion’, deaf children in mainstream schools, but the biggest question for me is is it appropriate for deaf children to be in mainstream education? Deaf children need to keep their BSL, does that happen in mainstream schools?
The best option would be teaching assistants who have BSL skills, but does this happen? It’s still a struggle. My concern is the closure of deaf schools, I think we need to keep them open and that’s why we need a BSL Act in government.
Golda’s Transcript: Yes I think I will vote, maybe, because unfortunately I don’t know who I want to vote for. I don’t have a very deep understanding of the parties – Conservatives or Labour. I think the Conservatives are about finance and Labour are more flexible and they think we are all equal – including deaf people. In the future that might be useful but you have to think about money.
The economy is important but then so is people’s suffering, which is more important? Deaf people want rights and I worry that they (conservatives) will discriminate against deaf people. Maybe Labour is better?
Of course they are both awful, but…
Fahad’s Transcript: I am really interested in politics. It’s important in everyday life and I want to know what is going to happen to the deaf community – are there going to be improvements?
In my dream world we have a BSL Act. That would be so amazing! Deaf people experience a lot of barriers and we need to change that.
There are Acts in other countries – Finland for example – and we need it here. I don’t want to see people suffer. We need to support the BSL Act and I hope we achieve it. Thank you.
Nasrin’s Transcript:I haven’t voted yet because I am trying to understand the different parties. It’s a new experience for me and I don’t know all of the information – who is good and who is bad. I need an interpreter to translate the information so I then can understand.
Fahad’s Transcript: I’m not sure if I will vote in the 2015 election. I want to, of course, but still I am not sure where the parties stand on deaf issues. The information isn’t clear. That’s one of the reasons I’ve come here today and I hope that the training will mean in the future I will be more involved.
Siyamak’s Transcript: Yes, I want to vote but I don’t know where to. I’m not experienced in politics – I haven’t met my MP. There needs to be more BSL, there’s none. That would help, then I can vote.