The day before the Paralympics – Galloway must apologise for his “window-licker” comment

Sarah Ismail

Last week, I was unpleasantly surprised to read that George Galloway had said in relation to the Julian Assange case, “I mean not everybody needs to be asked prior to each insertion. Some people believe that when you go to bed with somebody, take off your clothes, and have sex with them and then fall asleep, you’re already in the sex game with them.”

This is, of course, not at all true. And last night, George Galloway gave me, as a disabled woman, yet another unpleasant surprise. I discovered that he had commented on Twitter to a Rangers fan “you badly need medical help son. Will decent Rangers fans please substitute this windae-licker … “.

In 2003, a poll by BBC Ouch listed ‘window licker’ as the third most offensive term that could be used relating to disability. It is well recognised as a derogatory term for disabled people. It is a completely unnecessary term for a football player who may have had a bad day on the pitch.

george copy1 The day before the Paralympics   Galloway must apologise for his window licker comment

Now I know that George Galloway has a high profile career as an MP, particularly outside the House of Commons. As  @Skipjack451 wrote: “I wonder what the disabled members of your constituency will make of your use of the slur ‘window licker’?

George Galloway may have been making the comments in his spare time, but Twitter is a public place where he has almost ninety thousand followers. Any of them could be disabled or have disabled friends or family members.

Disabled people nationwide are watching George Galloway’s actions with interest. We all expect better from our elected Members of Parliament. However, this comment is particularly disappointing to us the day before the start of the 2012 Paralympic Games. Personally, I may not quite agree that Paralympians are any more Superhuman than Olympians or any other athletes. However, I do know that Paralympians are strong, talented sportspeople who deserve the same rights, recognition and respect as Olympians.

For the next ten days, disabled people worldwide will be watching the actions of London. Do we really want to show them that our MPs make disablist comments in their spare time for no good reason?

I agree with Mencap, who are calling for Mr Galloway to apologise immediately for the Tweet, adding: “Hate crime and bullying are a daily reality for many disabled people and the use of language like this only furthers hostility and violence.”

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  • Jackthesmilingblack

    “for calling a Twitter user a ‘window licker’”
    Never heard this expression before, but am beginning to get a flavour.

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