“Wokeism” is biggest reason for public health decline, says Doncaster parliamentary candidate

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A Conservative councillor and parliamentary candidate received backlash from fellow members this week following his comments around gender identity.

On Thursday (18 January) Sprotbrough ward councillor Glenn Bluff claimed that “wokeism” is the biggest reason for decline in young people’s health during a meeting of full council.

Coun Bluff is set to stand as parliamentary candidate for the Conservatives in the Doncaster North constituency at the next general election.

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His comments were made during a debate on the Director of Public Health’s annual report, which focuses this year on Doncaster’s young people.

Coun Glenn Bluff.Coun Glenn Bluff.
Coun Glenn Bluff.

The report found that inequality continues to be a significant factor impacting young people’s health and wellbeing.

LGBTQ+ and disabled people, and people from lower socio-economic and ethnic minority backgrounds are disproportionately affected by health issues.

During the debate, several Labour members attributed the government’s austerity policy of 2010-19 as a factor towards declining health.

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Coun Phil Cole discussed the stagnation of life expectancy since 2010, saying that the government has “undermined” efforts to improve this.

In response to comments, Coun Bluff said:

“No surprises that we’ve heard austerity mentioned, thank you very much councillor Cole. I notice there’s numbers here about suicide and about mental health.

“The biggest change since 2010 is not about money, it’s not about financing the NHS, it’s all this c*** that we get coming through the system, that’s confusing our kids in school.

“The wokeism, the education, this stuff about gender, it’s confusing our children. We have children coming home and they don’t know what they are. They don’t know if they’re male, female, they don’t know what they’re doing.

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“In generations to come people won’t be talking about austerity because they’ll recognise that it was needed at this time. What they’ll be talking about is the wokeism, the gender politics, this rubbish that’s coming through on the left side of politics.

“It’s confusing our kids, it’s confused an entire generation, it’s giving people anxieity, it’s causing major mental problems throughout our society and it’s got to stop. You will see these levels increasing regarding suicide, anxiety and mental health because we are feeding c*** to our kids in education and it’s confusing them.”

In response to his comments, Acting Director of Public Health Rachel Leslie said: “Although the risk of suicide is higher for people from an LGBTQ+ background I wouldn’t say the elements you’ve described are a causing factor.”

Later in the meeting, discussion moved on to the Choose Kindness initiative which will see the launch of community hubs and clubs promoting compassion and equality.

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Referencing Coun Bluff’s comments, Coun Rachael Blake, founder of the initiative, said:

“An element of Choose Kindness is about what we heard earlier, which I can only describe as a rant, which I actually found deeply offensive. It’s about standing up when people make comments that others find offensive.

“I found that comment offensive on a number of levels. I can’t imagine what it must be like to be unsure about your gender and then hear it politicised when really it’s an incredibly personal issue.”

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