LADIES and Gentlemen… was there ever a phrase more redolent of the qualities that make us such a civilised nation?
It’s good-mannered, it’s old fashioned and it’s generous in spirit. Of course not many of us really qualify to be called a “lady” or a “gentleman” any more – at least not in the sense that we are rich, leisured, landowning folk.
But the phrase charmingly conspires to pretend that no matter how lowly we are we’re all deserving of the same respect.
Often it’s a phrase that precedes one of those formal events we do so well: the Loyal Toast, school speech day, weddings.
And it’s also used in the context of safety announcements whether on aeroplanes, at train stations or on the London Underground.
Or rather it was: London Underground has decreed that from henceforward it will no longer be addressing its passengers as “ladies and gentlemen” on the tannoy.
Why? Because apparently it might be offensive to those customers who don’t identify as either a man or a woman and so prefer not to be called anything so gender-specific.
Read the rest in the Express.