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Thursday, February 23, 2012

Power to the Limping Buff Orpingtons? 

What is going on in the deaf community? And what can deaf Liberal Democrats do to help more people participate in politics? And if Mark Pack needs more examples of the power of social media today look at the sudden emergence of the Limping Chicken website.

This is how the new website explains its odd name

Earlier this month, BBC3 broadcast a documentary about five deaf teenagers. In one scene, a university note-taker told a deaf student that she couldn’t take notes for the whole lecture because “my chicken is ill.”

The note-taker’s only fault was being too honest (read this blog in her defence) but nevertheless, those words sparked an online craze in the deaf world, with social networking sites being overrun by jokes, spoof images and tribute videos about her chicken within just a few hours of the programme going out.

Those words hit a nerve because they reminded deaf people everywhere of both how random and frustrating deaf life can be. ‘Chickengate’ not only revealed the common ground deafies share, but also just how connected we are online. So this site was named in the chicken’s honour. Let’s hope its trip to the vet was successful.

We can ponder on the speed of that response and how other events in the future might change the ground game on an issue.

As for the Limping Chicken itself I do recommend you have a look at it. Already there are stories up which may surprise hearing people. For deaf Liberal Democrats like myself, could some of us make useful contributions, not necessarily political. And for all of us, are there points raised on which we could and should take action?

LibDem council groups for example may find the comments on the uselessness of some interpreter services to local authorities of vital current interest. And if they don’t know about the services offered by DeafWorks, here is an opportunity to find out.

Specifically for our own party, how do we make it easier for deaf people to participate? Interpreters at major conferences are great. But so much vital business is done informally, backstage, in small meetings or even in pubs.

If we were an autocratic party with conference goers basically sheep to be bleated at, this might matter less. But our party at its best is not like that. For my part I have given up on going to regional or national conferences as I can get so little done of any value in all the multiples of noise.

I don’t have a back-pocket solution to this. It would be interesting to discuss the problem however. The stories in the Limping Chicken provide a new expression of the narrative of deaf life in Britain. I suggest this can help all of us to define what we need to tackle.

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Comments:
On the uselessness of some interpreter services I should have made this link attacking some council one-stop shopping arrangements more prominent.

http://interpreteranon.wordpress.com/2012/01/07/one-stop-shopping/
 
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