Scottish government's deletion of the word 'mother' from maternity leave documents after advice from Stonewall is lunacy – Brian Wilson

When I read the story about the word “mother” being excluded from Scottish government documents, I was suspicious.

Are 'mothers' to become a thing of the past? (Picture: George Marks/Retrofile/Getty Images)

It sounded too much like one of these fabricated tales about the EU insisting on straight bananas which Boris Johnson used to dispatch from Brussels.

Incredibly, it appears to be true and the word “mother” no longer appears in Scottish government documents relating to maternity leave. On a pedantic note, you can’t really have “maternity” leave if you don’t have “mothers” since they both have the same derivation.

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How much of the language will require changing to accommodate this lunacy? And how disrespectful is it, particularly of women, that the views of a pressure group, Stonewall, should have covert impact upon the policies of the Scottish government, only to be revealed through sharp eyes and Freedom of Information requests?

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For whom exactly does Stonewall speak and why is such attention paid to it? Certainly not, it seems, for Malcolm Clark, director of the LGB Alliance, who said: “Gay people don’t want the word mother removed. For a word that has such resonance and is understood by everybody to be cancelled by a lobbying organisation, without any public discussion, is just absurd.”

Of course it is but now the matter is out in the open, MSPs should debate publicly what is being done in their name. Is it the settled will of the Scottish people that the word “mother” should be removed from their vocabulary? I doubt it – but those who think otherwise should be obliged to explain. Getting rid of “mothers” really is quite a big social change.

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