back to article Council clamps down on 'man on the street'

Chichester District Council has provoked the wrath of Middle England by suggesting to staff and members that the phrase "man on the street" would better be expressed by "general public", since the former is "based on the assumption that the world is male and makes the views or work of women invisible". The West Sussex …


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  1. Dodgy Geezer Silver badge

    I remember, back in the good old PC '80s..

    how we used to refer to one of the local pubs as the 'Fentiperson Arms'...

  2. Anonymous Coward

    My sensitivities have been hurt!

    Having read this enlightening article on the sensible steps being taken by the council, I found myself rendedered speachless by the job advertisement sitting next to it, asking for a "Project Manager", surely this should be a Project Personager?

  3. Neil Greatorex
    Thumb Up

    @ Bootnote

    Revenue^H^H^H^H^H^H Speed cameras.




  4. Alexis Vallance

    Don't fuss

    Nobody will ever read the 7 page guide anyway.

    Although that makes me wonder what sort of format it could possibly be in, since literature has to consist of either 2, 4, 8, 12, 16 etc. pages.

  5. Colin Millar

    Time to end this wicked discrimination

    Why are only 'persons' allowed 'spokes'?

    What about furries, vampires and zombies? They can hardly be descibed as 'person'. Further, use of the word 'spoke' implies that only beings capable of audible communication can participate and when our gaseous bodied thought-communicating alien overlords finally arrive* they will not be pleased at this attempt to exclude them from mainstream life and cultural activity.

    I would suggest we need a radical overhaul of the language in which we replace all species specific references with the word 'dooh-dah'.

    Yours disgustedly

    Colonel RC Matheringham-Smythe

    Tunbridge Wells.

    IHIOGA** that this is scheduled for a week next Monday.

    ** I have it on good authority

  6. This post has been deleted by its author

  7. Ben Mathews
    Dead Vulture

    Shocking, truly shocking...

    That The Register would besmirch the wonders of Marmite.

  8. Greg

    A fatal flaw

    "what we are seeking to do is to be more sensitive and responsive to the needs of others in our society."

    But who the hell *needs* this kind of BS?

  9. Bez


    "Rather more plausibly, council operatives are advised to avoid dismissing old timers as "old woman", "old fool" and "old codger" in favour of "old person"."

    Surely that's *less* plausible? I can readily imagine people referring to "the man on the street" but how plausible is it really that on issuing that statement, hundreds of council staff will be hastily reviewing their annual reports and Tipp-Exing out the phrases "old codger" and "old fool"? It seems the sort of advice that should be superfluous, like suggesting that staff don't refer to pensioners in council documentation by using the phrases "blue-rinsed wrinkly" or "senile old twat".

  10. Gordon Pryra

    He has led a very sheltered life

    "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."

    If thats the worse thing we have in our society, then thank god!!

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Or perhaps

    they couls point out to people that "man" is normaly accepted in this context to mean Human????

  12. Anonymous Coward

    Of course, 'man' couldn't refer to 'mankind', could it?

    Actually, if one wants to be pedantic about this whole PC nonsense, then we should stop calling them 'women' and refer them as 'men' from now on - after all, female actors are no longer referred to as actresses, etc., and calling them 'women' really marks them out as different.

  13. Niall
    Thumb Down

    Womens views

    are not invisible, we just don't pay any attention to them, until they are vocalised repeatedly or until we are presented with a threat to withold certain benefits. At which point we are all ears.

    Thumbs down or under the thumb you tell me.

  14. Tim Russell
    Thumb Down

    PC used to mean Police Constable, now it means Pile of Crap!

    "This includes the sensitivity of various individuals and groups, and current thinking in society in general."

    So for the troubled few they decide to enlighten everyone. I sure as hell don't have a problem with "man on the street" and most defiantly don't assume it means a man!

  15. Ian Ferguson
    Thumb Down

    Old person?

    I'm thirty five, you know!


  16. Anonymous Coward

    Person - sorry, not allowed

    As a manager known for his lack of sense of humour once pointed out to us, you can't use person as it contains the word son which is gender-biased.

    Mine's the one with STRATOS written on the back (in-joke).

  17. dervheid

    Almost as bad...

    as a recent in office announcement, informing us of the appointment of a new "Handy Person". (Yes, it is a bloke!)

    Pass the PC sick bag please.

  18. oliver Stieber
    Thumb Up


    I think we should be referring to councils as dick heads and calling them councils suggests that they have some ability to govern in a reasonable manner.

  19. Luke Wells

    If only

    If only I could find a job wiring pointless advisory documents for lots of money.

    For every word or gesture there is, there is a country, religion, or group of people that will take offense to it. Why can't we just get on with our lives rather than worry about these sorts of things.

  20. breakfast

    Hey! Marmite is tasty!

    That Colpoys feller sounds like a reactionary old gimmer to me.

  21. Anonymous Coward

    I think you'll find..

    That the correct term is "per-offspring". As "son" is gender specific.

    Human therefore becomes Huperoffspring.

    Simple really.

  22. Steve Kay

    In Chichester?

    A white, middle class, well-to-do town, where less than 700 aren't white (out of a population of 106,540 people)?

    Mind you, further reading of the NAO shows that there's 56k women to 50k men in the area, so mayhaps this is long overdue?

  23. Campbell


    Could we stop this guessing that someone somewhere will be offended PC nonsense please?. FFS people these phrases have been used for countless years if anyone was offended don't you PC nutters think you'd have heard about it by now?

    Wait until someone complains then, like the ASA, uphold that one complaint. Just don't let trivial things like one complaint out of 60-odd million citizens stop you.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Chichester BC Human Resource Management Strategy

    Ironic that they have one.

  25. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

    Report needs more work ...

    '... operatives are advised to avoid dismissing old timers as "old woman", "old fool" and "old codger" in favour of "old person".'

    It is good to know that there are politically correct terms for dismissing old people. What are the politically correct terms for dismissing children, and the middle aged? Do we need some quotas to ensure that people of all ages are dismissed equally?

  26. Jess

    The use of the word "man" to cover both genders ..

    .. implicitly implies equality.

    The replacement of that word with a different word gives the impression of accepting second best.

  27. Anonymous Coward

    That old codger managed to offend even more

    "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."

    His quote is offensive to goats, homosexuals, mental patients and stupid people. He should have said:

    "This kind of thing really _annoys me_ - it's not as though anybody _who is not mentally challenged_ would believe that the 'man in the street' referred solely to _males_. It's just _obtuse_, I've never heard anything like it."

  28. Andy


    Well with all the problems facing society today; education, environmental problems, crime and violence in the streets, unemployment and the credit crunch.

    I'm glad to see that so much time, resource and money is being spent making sure that totally inoffencive and harmless expressions no longer repress and discriminate the common person.

    No doubt millions of affected people will now sleep soundly in their beds tonight, under the safe and unassuming blanket of political correctness that are local governments provide.


  29. Steve

    Current thinking in society...

    "This includes the sensitivity of various individuals and groups, and current thinking in society in general."

    I thought it was fairly well acknowledged that society currently thinks this is a load of bollocks, a waste of taxpayers money and is usually traced back to some hal-wit councillor who thought he/she/it could win more votes with the shirt-lifters/darkies/baby-droppers by patronising them and treating them like kids.

  30. michael

    I know you where joking but


    the man in words like manager comes from manunpiulate not form human or from man

    of corse manunpiulate means to fiddle describing all managers perfuctley

    yes now I am jokeing

    (I know I can not spell it is after lunch on tuesday)

  31. Pete

    This takes pathetic to a whole new level

    I was considering brainstorming some new PC terms but I thought it would be a load of nanny-state labourised bollocks.

    There is nothing wrong with suffusing the word 'man' into posts. Should we relabel our species as Hupersons?

    Get a grip you overpaid council idiots - get the bums off the streets, help out the broken homes, stop treating fat people like they are diseased and pour money into education instead.

    I get really wound up by people nit-picking at what are now considered to be non-pc terms.

    Britain is officially* the most PC state in the world and I want to leave.

    *I made that up but it feels that way.

    Mine's the man-sized one in a manly dark colour.

  32. Anonymous Coward

    Gareth Keenan knows how to be politically correct

    Gareth: "My dad, for example, he's not as cosmopolitan or as educated as me and it can be embarrasing you know. He doesn't understand all the new trendy words - like he'll say "poofs" instead of "gays", "birds" instead of "women", "darkies" instead of "coloureds"."

    Gareth: "I'm not homophobic, all right? Come around, look at my C.D collection. You'll find Queen, George Michael, Pet Shop Boys. They're all bummers."

  33. Greg Bromage
    Dead Vulture

    "Promotes the view that the world is male"

    ...and it also promotes the view that everyone is "on the street".

    What percentage of people are in their houses or offices at any given time? Are their views to be ignored, beholden to the point of view of people whom have nothing better to do than stand in the middle of the street?

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Please don't use person!!!

    Son is masculine. Kin would be more suitable so it shouldn't be person, but perkin

    Paris (coz I'm sexist)

  35. Anonymous Coward

    A seven page guide?

    That'd be a MANual then, wouldn't it?

  36. Anonymous Coward

    Furries, people?

    Since when?

    Alien because we have no masks.

  37. Maurice Shakeshaft

    And what's wrong with political correctness...?

    On what basis does the Council Spokething presume to claim that "they" are "Community Leaders"? The civil servant is getting its role out of perspective. If there are any "Community Leaders" then it is the politicians - and there are precious few who can claim either title honestly - who are voted into office. If the politicians have asked the Civil Servants to waste taxes preparing this nonsense the voters should so enquire and then hold the politicians to account. The Politicians determine policy, the civil servants advise and implement - or have I missed something? - I guess I have in this "new" world.

  38. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    First of all, I suggest you find out what your local council dose, how much choice it has on spending and how much people there a paid. You will probably feel a little better and live a little longer.

    Just as a starting point, a front line customer service officer, who has to work face to face with people day in day out, dealing with the finances and problems of alcoholics, drug addicts and so on (the type of people you really don't want to spend to much time with and can be violent) earns around £17-£19k in most places. Would you like to sit and explaine to people like that why they owe you money they don't have?

  39. Chris
    Black Helicopters

    Cunning Linguists

    The manual runs to seven pages because it has been printed in 21 different languages inlcuding braille and esperanto.

  40. Markie Dussard
    Dead Vulture

    The real question should be ...

    ... are the editorial staff at El Reg attempting to get Nelson over at "Speak Your Branes" to create a new Vulture's Vadge category. This all reads like a deliberate attempt to provoke the hard-of-thinking to fulminate publically, which you have all duly done.

  41. Stuart Elliott

    Political Correctness

    Perhaps they should have a council meeting of the 100,000 inhabitants of Chichester and ask them, the 'man on the street', what they think about the amount of taxpayers money has gone into producing the seven page load of bollocks..

    Let's see what sort of response they get from that.

  42. Adam Williamson
    Thumb Down

    It's perfectly right.

    The only problem here is that it's exactly right.

    "it's not as though anybody in their right mind would believe that the 'man in the street' referred solely to the male sex," fumes some (male) Tory twat. Except that it is. The phrase is sufficiently old enough that it was used to mean exactly what it said. When a newspaper discussed what "the man in the street" thought it really did mean the man in the street, because the woman in the street was supposed to be thinking about knitting.

    Call it political correctness all you like, but that doesn't make it wrong.

    Knee-jerk reactions to anything at all which attempts to address sexism, racism, or any other form of prejudice as "political correctness" are far more damaging in the long run.

  43. Dave

    "current thinking in society in general"

    == misguided thoughts derived from believing Guardian op-ed pieces. Whereas we all know that current thinking in society in general is mostly: "how little can I pay for 24 cans of Stella? what's on 'Stenders tonight?"

    OBTW WTF is the IT content in this ridiculous piece? Did Chichester BC use Google translate to render these guidelines into the 21 requisite languages?

    We recently got canvassed by our local council about a residents' parking scheme. 1 page of questionnaire about the scheme, consisting of four questions. 3 pages of 'community & personal information' consisting of 21 questions including seemingly needing to understand if I originate from one of twenty seven possible ethnic backgrounds including "Irish (traveller)"


    How in the name of all that is sane can anybody imagine that someone who is "Irish (traveller)" would

    a) have become a settled resident?

    b) want to park a vehicle?

    c) at least by paying for the privilege??????

  44. Anonymous Coward

    People of Chichester

    You are paying for these idiots!

  45. Anonymous Coward

    I'm offended

    "manning the switchboard"

    They use an actual switchboard?? like a board of switches?? Surely they should be using something with buttons and integrated circuits?

    Now, what about one of my school teachers... Mrs Manning... should she now be referred to as "married-person personning" to avoid gender-specificity?

  46. David Frank
    Paris Hilton

    OLD can't use that!

    I was told by a local council PC manager last year that you cannot use the term "OLD" as it;

    1. Refers to age of a human

    2. "OLD" is refers to decrepid or unreliable as you often throw things out simply because they are "OLD"

    So unfortunately this particular council has dropped a major PC clanger here!

    Anyway I must go as we have a "very unreliable" human wearing a skirt waiting for me in the welcome suite!

    Paris! because she will still be horny when she is "unreliable"!

  47. RW

    @ Greg & Chris

    Greg quoting some council flunky: "what we are seeking to do is to be more sensitive and responsive to the needs of others in our society."

    These are strictly imaginary needs. The thought process is closely akin to the insane health & safety regulations that forbid all interesting activities on the grounds that someone *might* get hurt, instead of accepting that, yes, people do get hurt on occasion and H&S regulations should be limited to the relatively few activities that have a proven track record for causing serious injury. A skinned knee or a wounded ego is not a serious injury. Likewise, calling someone a spokesman does not deny anyone any needed ego stroking -- except for a few insane feminists with no sense of perspective.

    Chris: "The manual runs to seven pages because it has been printed in 21 different languages inlcuding braille and esperanto."

    Reminds me of when I was working in a public body that annually issued property assessment notices to all property owners in British Columbia and prided itself on having had the information leaflet translated into a large number of languages, including some indigenous tongues with under a dozen speakers left. I laughed myself silly when a gentleman whose name implied he was a Sikh wrote an indignant letter about the paternalistic attitude implied in the translation. To paraphrase, he bitched "you are telling me that someone capable of buying real property is incapable of reading English."

    Good point. The PR types and spin doctors were puzzled and could not formulate a coherent response.

  48. Stewart Haywood


    Oh, sorry, I mean ovaries, Oh no, too far the other way, I mean gonads.

  49. Adam Williamson
    Thumb Down


    I live in British Columbia. My apartment is in fact owned by my partner's mother, who doesn't speak English. I imagine she's rather happy to have all the relevant council information translated to Chinese. I don't see how communicating with people in their first language is "paternalistic".

  50. Neil Greatorex

    @ Hmmmm By Andy

    Let me guess, you either forgot the humour tag or you work in HR.

    If the former, sorry mush.

    If the latter; you fucking parasite!

    General question to HR twats: How do you sleep at night knowing that you have never, ever, ever made a positive contribution to the bottom line at ANY company.


    Those of us that bring in revenue should rise up. Rise up I tell you!


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