With a meeting approving cuts of £65 million and 1,300 redundancies, the leader of the Conservative group on Hull City Council has landed himself in hot water by calling anti-cuts protesters in the public gallery “retards”:

The term is not without previous political controversy. Fiery Democrat operator and Mayor-elect of Chicago Rahm Emanuel was forced to apologise after calling a group of liberal activists “f***ing retarded”. A spokesperson for the White House, where Emanuel was working as Chief of Staff to Barack Obama, said that the executive “remains committed to addressing the concerns and needs of Americans living with disabilities and recognizes that derogatory remarks demean us all”.

Let’s see if Councillor Fareham does the right thing.

UPDATE: The UK’s leading learning disability charity Mencap have told Scrapbook that the remark was “completely unacceptable”:

If that term was used by an elected representative, it is completely unacceptable. It is a difficult and unsettling time for many people with a learning disability at the moment due to local councils cutting services, so this language adds insult to injury. The ignorant use of language contributes to a culture where people with a disability, and their families, continue to be regularly subjected to verbal and physical abuse.

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  33. Retards is not necessarily a pejorative word is it?

    –verb (used with object)
    to make slow; delay the development or progress of (an action, process, etc.); hinder or impede.

    They are trying to retard the reduction of the deficit.

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  41. Seems that this councillor has a record of using this kind of language, having been censured for use of the word ‘cripple’ in the past. Hopefully someone will be telling the Standards Committee.

    [email protected]

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  55. I find it ironic that you are happy to witchhunt a tory for using retard but you see nothing wrong with calling people nutjobs

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  65. There’s no dressing this up. It’s diabolical language and behaviour. Hull has enough problems coping with Tory cuts and Liberal incompetence at the moment, it doesn’t need this. Truly offensive.

  66. I for one was disgusted witht he comment made, i was sat in that gallery, so an apology is in order, and a public one at that……………………………….

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  95. Someone should report him to the Standards Committee. I’ve complained about the Leader of Lancashire County Council who clearly does not like criticism either.

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  100. As well as the use of the term ‘retard’ which was offensive enough on its own, he also implies they cannot be classed as ‘real’ people! That’s so so bad. Public apology needed too right.

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  110. Guido you numpty.

    To retard is one thing but to call a person a ‘retard’ is something else entirely.

    I think it’s a noun vs verb thing, but hey what do I know.

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  117. The repeat convicted drink driver defending someone calling a group of people with learning and physical difficulties “the usual group of retards”…..if two people ever deserved each other.

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