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EU's plot to ban 'ladies and gentlemen' dubbed 'pure wickedness' in woke row

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The comments come after the European Commission performed a dramatic U-turn on plans to scrap the use of gendered terms including “ladies and gentlemen” and “man-made”. Instead, the EU suggested replacing the common turns of phrase with less exclusionary versions such as “dear colleagues”, “human-induced” and “synthetic”. The terms were to be discontinued to encourage EU officials to update their language under new “guidelines for inclusive communication”.

Phrases would be avoided that the EU considered stigmatising to gender, sexual identities, ethnic backgrounds or culture.

Helena Dalli, the European Commissioner responsible for equality, said the guidebook “clearly needed more work”, after the 32-page document was scrapped this week.

Journalist and author Christopher Howse dubbed the row “pure wickedness” in an article condemning the attempt to control language.

He said: “This is the real trouble with rewriting languages, especially in a bloc like the EU, where people have died for their nations and languages.

“Languages have real genders, and they can’t be changed by declaring a new gender identity.

“If European commissioners stuck to French, the natural language of bureaucracy, instead of using English when it suits them, they would have to admit that a car, voiture, is feminine, and if they wanted to talk of a man’s car they must use a feminine possessive adjective: sa voiture.

“And, to speak of a woman’s new bag, sac, which is masculine, they use the masculine possessive adjective: son sac.”

The scrapped guidance asked EU officials to scrap the pronouns “Mr, Mrs and Ms” unless they were specifically requested – the default would become “Mx”.

Officials should never “presume” a person’s gender or sexual orientation or ask which pronoun a person “prefers”, according to the document.

This is because the question implies that gender identity is a personal preference within the control of an individual.

It also called on officials to “never use gendered nouns such as ‘workmen, policemen’ or masculine pronouns (he, his) as a default”.

Mr Howse lamented in his piece for The Telegraph: “I very much regret that the use of language has been turned into a party political thing.

“The Left think that the Right are not people with different opinions, but that they are bad people.

“Now we’re in danger of being deemed bad people for using the word policeman or postman.”

After the proposed document was scrapped, Ms Dalli explained: “It is not a mature document and does not meet all Commission quality standards.

“Concern was raised with regards to some examples provided.

“I therefore withdraw the guidelines and will work further on this document.”

The latest development is part of a wider row bubbling within the EU about political correctness.

In addition to adjusting gender-specific phrasing, the manual attempted to ban references to Christmas as it was not celebrated by everyone, and to adjust phrasing relating to colonisation.

The equality commissioner’s document provoked ridicule amongst right-wing politicians from a number of countries.

Italian right-wing MEP Marco Zanni said: “We hope that Brussels invests better their time and above all the money of European citizens, working on the most urgent issues and on real emergencies.”



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