Via Lindsay Perigo, a New Zealand-based writer, former radio current affairs fellow, and general stirrer. As he says, if you are not offended by all of this, something isn’t working.
The Story of Admiral Nelson, Updated
Nelson: Order the signal, Hardy.
Hardy: Aye, aye, Sir.
Nelson: Hold on, this isn’t what I dictated to Flags. What’s the meaning of this?
Hardy: Sorry Sir?
Nelson (reading aloud): “England expects every person to do his or her duty regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, religious persuasion or disability”? What gobbledygook is this, for God’s sake?
Hardy: Admiralty policy I’m afraid, Sir. We’re an Equal Opportunity Employer now. We had the devil’s own job getting ‘England’ past the censors lest it be considered racist. Strictly speaking, I shouldn’t be calling you “Sir,” Sir, but rather, “Person of Consensus-Based Enhanced Authority.”
Nelson: Gadzooks, Hardy! Hand me my pipe and tobacco.
Hardy: Sorry Sir, all naval vessels have now been designated smoke-free working environments.
Nelson: In that case, break open the rum ration. Let us splice the mainbrace to steel the men before battle.
Hardy: The rum ration has been abolished Admiral. It’s part of the Government’s policy against excessive enjoyment.
Nelson: Good heavens Hardy! I suppose we’d better get on with it, then. Full speed ahead.
Hardy: I think you’ll find that there’s a 4 knot speed limit in this stretch of water.
Nelson: Damn it man, we are on the eve of the greatest sea battle in history; we must advance with all dispatch. Report from the crow’s nest, please.
Hardy: That won’t be possible Sir. Health and Safety have closed the crow’s nest. No harness, and they said that rope ladders don’t meet regulations. They won’t let anyone up there until proper scaffolding can be erected.
Nelson: Then get me the ship’s carpenter without delay, Hardy.
Hardy: He’s busy knocking up a wheelchair access to the foredeck, Admiral. Health and Safety again, Sir—we have to provide a barrier-free environment for the differently-abled, wheelchair-mobile.
Nelson: Differently abled? I’ve only one arm and one eye and I refuse even to hear mention of the words. I didn’t rise to the rank of Admiral by playing the disability card.
Hardy: Actually, Sir, you did. The Royal Navy is under-represented in the areas of the differently-sighted and the differently-limbed.
Nelson: Whatever next?! Give me full sail. The salt spray beckons.
Hardy: A couple of problems there too, Sir. Health and Safety won’t let the crew up the rigging without hard hats. They don’t want anyone breathing in too much salt either. Apart from the racism inherent in its whiteness, it’s full of sodium. Haven’t you seen the Ministry of Health adverts?
Nelson: I’ve never heard such rubbish. Well, break out the cannon and tell the men to stand by to engage the enemy.
Hardy: The men are a bit worried about shooting at anyone, Admiral.
Nelson: What?! This is mutiny!
Hardy: It’s not that, Sir, it’s just that they’re afraid of being charged with murder if they actually kill anyone. There are a couple of Legal Aid lawyers on board, watching everyone like hawks.
Nelson: Then how are we to sink the Frogs and the Spanish?
Hardy: That’s “residents of France and Spain,” Sir. And actually Sir, we’re not.
Nelson: We’re not?!
Hardy: No Sir, the residents of France and Spain are our European partners now. According to the Common Fisheries Policy, we shouldn’t even be in this stretch of water. We could get hit with a claim for compensation.
Nelson: But you must hate a Frenchman as you hate the devil.
Hardy: I wouldn’t let the ship’s Diversity Coordinator hear you saying that, Sir—you’ll be up on Disciplinary Report for Hate Speech.
Nelson: You must consider every man an enemy who speaks ill of your King. That’s a matter of black and white.
Hardy: That’s “monarch-person,” Sir. And your point is controversial and problematic, Sir. Apart from “black and white” being offensive to people of colour, we must be inclusive in this multicultural age. Now, put on your Kevlar vest. It’s the rule. It could save your life.
Nelson: Don’t tell me, Health, Safety and Disability. Whatever happened to Rum, Sodomy and the Lash?!
Hardy: As I explained sir, rum is off the menu and there’s a ban on corporal punishment.
Nelson: What about sodomy?
Hardy: Good news there, Sir—sodomy is now compulsory.
Nelson: In that case … kiss me, Hardy.