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Anorak | Council Bans The Man In The Street, Mr, Mrs And Laydees

Council Bans The Man In The Street, Mr, Mrs And Laydees

by | 27th, August 2008

A DIRECTIVE to members and staff of Chichester District Council, West Sussex, instructs them to resist and desist form using the phrase “the man in the street”.

The phrase is deemed “inherently sexist, not a fair reflection of reality, and makes the views or work of women invisible”. Quite so. Staff are instructed to use “a positive alternative” such as “the general public”.

Anorak imagines that the phrase rankles with the missive’s writer, and like all pet hates it is irrational.

But you can’t ban just one phrase, although Old Mr Anorak has forbidden “I’m proud of you” from Anorak Towers, and we are grateful to him for it.

The councillors are answerable to the man in the, oops, great unwashed, so the advice is wrapped in a larger programme. Staff are advised to avoid phrases such as ‘manning the switchboard’, and the words Mrs, Miss, girl and lady.

The London Evening Standard (the Mail by night) calls one Tony Colpoys, heads of Ebernoe parish council. He is upset that overused and dated cliché has been banned, and sets out to prove his point with no little irony and wit. Just count the stock phrases and link them up:

“The language guide was sent to me about a month ago and I was outraged when I found that we were no longer allowed to refer to ‘the man on the street’.”

A gentle opening, but outrage is ever present.

“This kind of thing really gets my goat – it’s not as though anybody in their right mind would believe that the ‘man in the street’ referred solely to the male sex. It’s just stupid – I’ve never heard anything like it.”

Brilliant. Keep going…

“I think political correctness is one of the most ghastly things about our society – it’s one of the most repulsive things ever to be invented.”

Never mind. It is of course, political correctness gone mad. Poor Mr Colpoys in his pursuit of satire and wit missed the obvious. But a glance at the paper’s letter writers shows that others have deftly stepped into the breach…



Posted: 27th, August 2008 | In: Politicians, Tabloids Comments (6) | TrackBack | Permalink