Decided to write a blog post after seeing a local councillor use the word “nutterage” to insult someone’s contributions on a discussion about the councillor’s response to the panama papers fiasco.
Councillors get a lot of abuse on a daily basis, as a former councillor myself I have been called everything under the sun when all I got involved in politics to do was to help out my local community, it’s part of the job and you (unfortunately) have to accept it. I can understand when sometimes councillors get frustrated and angry with the public however I feel as an elected member you should maintain high standards and professionalism at all times. Insulting members of the public as a holder of public office is in my view unacceptable.
So with that aside let’s get to the subject at heart which is the use of the word nutter as an insult, I guarantee the majority of the population has used “crazy” “lunatic” “nutter” “loon” to describe a situation or person that they feel goes against the status quo, is a bit out of place. The words alone can be used to great and in some cases comical effect, however as always, context is king.
As someone with a mental health condition I have no issues with someone calling me “crazy” or a “nutter” or whatever, often I use the terms to describe things I have done or as a personality trait, I wear them as a badge of honour because it tells me I am not afraid of going against the status quo and being out of place. The important thing to remember is everyone is different and I personally would refrain from using that language around people I did not know.
The issue with the words is when they are used as a very negative personal attack to provoke a reaction and question someone’s mental stability. People with mental health conditions suffer an incredible amount of stigma as it is and I feel holders of public office should be mindful of this. Would it be right for a holder of public office call someone a “poof” on twitter if they were behaving in a feminine manner? Of course not, is calling someone a “nutter” any different?
In conclusion to be called a “nutter” to some people can be really humiliating and place an incredible amount of distress onto some people. I think people absolutely have a right to say whatever they feel is appropriate and political correctness can drive me insane (no pun intended) but in my view it is inappropriate and irresponsible for a democratically elected holder of public office that is held to the Nolan principles of integrity, objectivity, accountability, openness, honesty and leadership to throw such insults about.