There is no wonder that Greg Stone’s discriminatory comments found their way onto Guido Fawkes’s blog, when you consider the level of discrimination Fawkes’ distributes himself. For example, his blog on Gordon Brown where the words ‘madness’, ‘bonkers’ and ‘prime mentalist’ are used when talking about Brown. Furthermore, this very offensive image of Brown is also included:
Fair enough, he doesn’t like Brown politically. However, the personal comments that Guido is levelling at Brown are examples of outright discrimination, and are unhelpful in the context of the ongoing disability activism in society, which is trying to improve the conditions and decrease the level of discrimination of disabled people in society. Guido’s disregard for the offence he is causing to the disabled community is highlighted by his support of Greg Stone’s comments around Hazel Blears, likening her to having a stroke. On one blog, he can be seen as telling those offended by the comments made by Greg Stone to:
“Get a life. He mocked people’s choice of ties, dress sense etc.”
Well actually, he didn’t just mock that, and mocking that is bad enough anyway, if you want to be a serious MP fighting for a party that represents equality. I am not going to rehash my views around Greg Stone, but when someone who is seen as an established blogger, can support levels of discrimination that should not be tolerated within political circles, it is hard not to feel the need to comment. I respect he is allowed his own opinion, however, equally I am too, and I do not think that personal attacks on Brown, or supporting discriminatory comments around how people look and so on, is fair or right. Brown politically as I have stated has problems, however, fueling the view he has mental illness is not fair. Even if he does have a mental illness, is Guido saying that Brown should leave office? Well if he is, and I am sure he and many others are, then they are just systematic of the high level of discrimination in society towards those with disabilities. Even if Brown did have mental health issues, and I am not for a second saying he does, as I don’t think he does, however, even if he did, that is his own personal issue and we should not force him out of office if he does. Churchill had a mental illness and did quite a good job, there are many famous people who have had mental illnesses and carried on competently. Furthermore, it is important to recognise that mental illness is a social construction in itself, and what may be seen as a mental illness in Brown may actually just be a reaction to the high level of stress Brown is under every day. Who wouldn’t feel stressed if you had to deal with what Brown had to deal with. I am not arguing that Brown is in somehow treat differently to other MPs, but everyone responds differently, and we have to remember that MPs are humans too. Acting as though they are some type of robot is wrong, and the public can often be partly to blame for the level of acceptance around discriminatory comments such as Guido’s as they often don’t like to see their MPs as humans.
The prevalent use of Guido as a credible source in newspaper reports for example, highlights how there is still a long way to go to tackle disability discrimination. There needs to be more recognition of how supporting arguments such as Brown being mentally ill, or just not saying anything in response to them, encourages the view that those who are constructed and labeled as being mentally ill should be segregated and hounded in society. Instead, there needs to be more recognition of how this engrained attitude in society is reinforcing the stigma around mental illness, and thus, to achieve equality more people have to stand up and make it clear that this form of discrimination is not right, hence why I have argued for Greg Stone to be removed from being a Liberal Democrat candidate. We cannot fight for equality and then support a PPC who reinforces the discrimination around those with disabilities and so forth, hopefully the local party meetings around his selection, which are apparently near to occur, may think contra to Clegg’s decision to support him.