BSL interpreter’s signing of Brexit chaos goes viral

Following a particularly disastrous week for Brexit, actor and writer Ell Potter tweeted a video of a BSL interpreter doing her best to communicate just what was happening.

No matter what you think of Brexit, I think it’s safe to say that last week was particularly chaotic. Shortly after British Prime Minister Theresa May announced that her Cabinet had agreed to the terms of the Brexit deal, the Ministers for Brexit and Work & Pensions (Dominic Raab and Esther McVey respectively) resigned. #BrexitShambles and #BrexitChaos trended on social media, and despite May vowing to fight for her draft deal, hostility to the deal from people both pro and anti-Brexit raised the risk that the deal would be rejected. This would mean that Britain could leave the EU in March 2019 without precautions.

During a lunchtime broadcast on the BBC World News channel on Thursday 15th November, a BSL interpreter was responsible for communicating this. Ell Potter shared the footage on Twitter.

WARNING: her wording on what she thinks of Brexit is not suitable for work. Swear words incoming…!

Potter raised the BSL interpreter for ‘perfectly conveying the perplexing f***ery of this situation.’

And the video went viral: currently at 4 million views.

Potter soon confirmed her thoughts on BSL and Brexit:

The footage triggered a discussion on how expressive BSL is.

The video also prompted hearing, speaking people to ask questions on how British Sign Language differs from sign languages in other countries, as well as learning that BSL has regional dialects like any other language.

Everyone has different views on Brexit, but let’s hope that this viral tweet spreads understanding and awareness of BSL.

Independent writer, volunteer and performer from Lancashire, England. May every day be GEP: Good, Exciting and Productive!