This website uses cookies for anonymised analytics and for account authentication. See our privacy and cookies policies for more information.

The voice of Scotland’s vibrant voluntary sector

Published by Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

TFN is published by the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations, Mansfield Traquair Centre, 15 Mansfield Place, Edinburgh, EH3 6BB. The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) is a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation. Registration number SC003558.

Tabloid attacks Scottish charity over language guide


Organisation says guide is to help negotiate problematic terms

A right-wing campaign group has called a Scottish charity “red pen-wielding zealots” over a language guide.

Scotland’s International Development Alliance (SIDA) was targeted by the Daily Mail over the guide, which it published in February for staff and stakeholders, with the tabloid going to the little known Free Speech Union – which has the controversial right-wing author Douglas Murray as one of its directors - for comment.

The Mail claimed the guide “­published by a taxpayer-funded aid organisation” advised to stop using words such as mother and father to avoid being “oppressive.”

The Inclusive Language Guide states that “only by talking about and reflecting on language can we hope to make it anti-oppressive.” 

It states certain terms can be “problematic.”

Most international development charities publish language guides for staff and stakeholders but aren’t prescriptive. Instead they are for guidance only.

A spokesman for the Free Speech Union told the tabloid: “The only word I'd ban is 'problematic'. 

“It's an attempt to gloss over the fact that the real reason these red-pencil wielding zealots want to ban words like mother and father is to enforce radical progressive dogma. ­

“'Problematic' is a euphemism for 'things I would like to ban for ­narrow ideological reasons.”

However SIDA's chief executive Frances Guy said: “The language guide is aimed at SIDA’s members to encourage them to reflect on how language can reinforce existing power structures, and consider alternative terms that support equality, inclusion, fairness, decolonisation, and global justice.

"We make no mention of banning any words and are clear that context is important. With specific regard to the terms mother and father, we simply encourage people to reflect as to whether a gendered term is most appropriate, or if in fact the reference is to a parent or guardian.

"Of course, if one is referring to a mother then the term mother should be used.”

The Mail also sought comment from the notorious Taxpayers Alliance, which inevitably demanded SIDA’s funding is halted.

John O'Connell, chief executive of the Taxpayers Alliance, said: “This organisation is proposing changes to language based on a radical ideological programme, and is using taxpayers' cash as its support structure.

“The Scottish Government should withdraw funding.”



0 0
about 1 month ago