A Tory town mayor has been ordered to apologise after he called disabled people “mongols” during a Swindon Borough Council meeting.
Nick Martin, Mayor of Swindon questioned whether disabled people would be allowed to have sex with one another, and said to shocked attendees of the meeting: “They aren’t still letting those mongols have sex with each other are they?”
This is our open letter to Mr. Martin.
We write in response to the conclusion of the Standards Committee Panel, and your public apology for using a word you now agree you shouldn’t have.
Firstly, the use of the word Mongol is extremely outdated. For the past 50 years it has been considered a term of insult and we find your remarks derogatory. We strive for a world without labels and where people are respected in their own right. The vast majority of children born with Downs Syndrome will go on to complete their education, get jobs, and live largely independent lives. These people are not a burden to society; they are loved and valued. We are staggered that you firstly denied the use of such a word, which led to an investigation at the expense of the taxpayer, and hope that you will be asked to repay this if you have not already done so.
Secondly, issues relating to sex are for those individuals’ private lives; not for others to comment. Why should people with Down Syndrome or any other learning disability not have sexual feelings and intimacy needs?
Finally, you are quoted as saying “I will publicly apologise as I have been asked to and I will continue to apologise”. People deserve a proper apology and an acknowledgement of your wrongdoing; not a statement of what you have been made to do in political correctness.
Nick, you are in a position of public duty and your ignorance in this day and age is frankly embarrassing. People look up to your position as an ambassador, and your comments and ignorance have been viewed worldwide. Therefore, we call to hear what effective action you pledge to address this wrong doing.
We encourage you to meet more people with learning disabilities and invite you to our centre at a time that is convenient for you. We want you to accept that your comments were made in error and accept these were indeed disgraceful comments, and commit to doing something to change that.
About the Author: Diane Blackmore is the UK Social Justice Advocate for Saving Downs, and the Chief Executive of the Charity Follow Your Dreams, a UK charity supporting children and young people with Learning Disabilities
Notes: Follow Your Dreams is a national charity operating in the United Kingdom that inspires children and young people with learning disabilities to follow their dreams. Their vision is for children and young people with learning disabilities to recognise their potential, be ambitious and be provided with the opportunities to follow their dreams. The charity focuses on children’s abilities, growing and developing skills through the delivery of creative and interactive events, dreams and workshops. For further information www.followyourdreams.org.uk
Saving Downs is a New Zealand based, but very much worldwide voluntary organisation. They focus on raising awareness around the discriminatory and eugenic nature of the practice of antenatal screening in our country; provide a balanced perspective on life with Down Syndrome; Give support for parents with a prenatal diagnosis; and Advocate for social justice. Their mission is to ensure that antenatal screening exists only to provide unborn children with Down Syndrome and their parents with life-affirming, unbiased care through education, support and understanding.