"The term "pet" has been ingrained in the language of the North East for generations... But in a radical and almost certainly doomed move, Newcastle City Council has instructed its workers to refrain from addressing women in the traditional Geordie manner.
No matter that everyone grows up hearing affectionate greetings such as "Alreet, pet?" and "Howay, hinny", a council edict has proclaimed that they are potentially patronising, sexist and insulting and should therefore be treated with as much contempt as a Sunderland fan at St James' Park....
The trouble stems from an equality and diversity course run by the council for its staff. Its aim is to help them to "treat people with dignity and respect". Part of the course, a council spokesman explained, involves teaching workers "not to use colloquialisms that some may find offensive". "Pet" and "hinny" appear on the blacklist, alongside more universal terms, including "dear", "love", "darling" and "sweetheart".
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