During the winter months whenever I had a cough or sore throat, I’d pop into a chemist’s or sweet shop and purchase a packet of Fisherman’s Friends.
Yes! I am aware that there are many other cough drops and throat lozenges on the market, but if you’d stop interrupting and read on, you’ll understand why Fisherman’s Friends is the brand particularly pertinent to this article.
Last week, on the Radio 4 Today programme, the BBC’s Europe Editor, referred to Britain’s tough, hardy fishermen as the gender neutral ‘Fisher People’ and was immediately ridiculed by many sources.
You won’t be surprised to learn than Piers Morgan was one of them. For once, I find myself agreeing with him.
‘Fisher People’ – which sounds like a race of scary aquatic aliens that Doctor Who might come up against in the Colin Baker years – is a term that no-one had ever heard before.
It just popped out of the BBC correspondent’s mouth like a tiny, almost-sucked-to-the-end Fisherman’s Friend. But, unlike my favourite lozenge, it left a nasty taste in the mouth.
If the Europe Editor had done her research before trying to be ‘fashionably woke’, she’d have discovered that while many hundreds of women work in the fishery business, only 2.7% of the people who actually go out in fishing boats to catch fish for our chip shops and supermarkets are women. One of them was interviewed and said she’s happy to be referred to as a female fisherman.
With so much else going on in the world to worry and confuse us, it’s a shame that the Today programme’s Europe Correspondent didn’t possess a similar amount of common-sense as that friendly female fisherman.
Because when you consider a definition of ‘Neutral’ is ‘Having no strongly marked or positive characteristics or features’, who on earth, man or woman, would enjoy being described in that way?
Mind you, if the makers of Fisherman’s Friends do decide to go along with the PC trend, I’ll never ask for a packet of “Fisher People’s Friends”.
I’ll just switch to Uncle Joe’s Mint Balls. Let’s see the BBC try and gender neutral them!