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Nelson’s final moments, as told through a PC filter

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.

18 comments to Nelson’s final moments, as told through a PC filter

  • George Atkisson

    I would say that reflects modern military thinking as well. I recall that while US forces were patrolling in Iraq, some top level REMF* ordered our troops to wear reflective vests at night for ‘safety’. The order was ignored, and roundly mocked, but the mindset remains.

    *REMF – Rear Echelon Mortar Forker

  • When I was in the U.S. Army back during the Cold War a REMF was someone in the rear echelon with severe Oedipal issues.

  • Snorri Godhi

    Are we supposed to be offended by the parody, or by the reality that it highlights?

    BTW what is that about “kiss me, Hardy”? I thought that Nelson was more interested in the ladies, especially if married.

  • Something’s not working. I suppose what’s not working is the humour, which is laboured and feeble.

  • Mr Ed

    Snorri, as life ebbed from what remained of Nelson’s shattered body, amongst his final words to HMS Victory’s Captain, Hardy were ‘Kiss me, Hardy‘. The context has been a schoolboy joke for almost 200 years, but perhaps not any more.

    The greater point of the article is that the UK’s new thinking Armed Forces, the Blairmacht, are almost as politicised as the Red Army, but unlike Stalin’s raping savages, are frightened to be themselves.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    Graham, I dunno, I thought it was pretty amusing. But given the state of the world, it is not always easy to see the joke for the reality.

  • Watchman

    I’m not sure I’d like to tell the average squaddie they were emasculated by political correctness myself – bit of a risk they may set out to prove you wrong.

    As both the members of the Royal Navy that I know are female graduates of reasonably sound political mind, I suspect they would just take the joke though.

  • Paul Marks

    The only good thing is that such an absurd society can not long survive.

    The end will be terrible, but at least it will be the end.

  • Paul Marks

    Firemen forbidden to go into buildings to fight fires – yes it can not last much longer.

  • Watchman


    Firemen have never been meant to go into a building at the risk of their own lives, unless someone else’s life clearly was at risk. The prevailing view has generally been during the period we had a fire service that the firemen, as people, were more important than property. I am not sure how a society that thinks that is absurd cannot survive.

    I agree sometimes the decisions appear wrong – the easy way to tell is if all the experienced firemen think it is silly – but there is a reason for these decisions. The problem with the logic you present here is simply that it ends up going towards repealing all the factory acts and requiring no thought for worker safety from employers. That hardly seems ideal.

    In reality health and safety should be proportionate – I speak here as someone who keeps getting jobs like health and safety rep and equalities rep (either I irritate my bosses too much or the people running these groups irritate them…) – but should not interfere with basic functions. It is the normal problem of over-focus on rules and fear of litigation that prompt people to make stupid decisions. The old HSE inspectors I met were generally fine with people doing potentially dangerous things, so long as they were done sensibly.

    Ideally though we wouldn’t have government doing this – but so far I have not seen a solution that does not rely on unions or employers, neither of whom are trustworthy in this…

  • Jerry

    IMHO, like most humor, it helps to have a grain of truth in it. This had about a pound and half !!
    Had me laughing and saddened at the same time.

  • Snorri Godhi

    Re-reading my comment i see that i might have given the impression that i did not get the joke, or at least that i didn’t think it was funny. Sorry about that: i did think it was funny, no longer an original sort of humor, but much better than average.

    So it’s working as humor, but Jonathan said that we are supposed to feel offended, and i wasn’t.
    Plus, in spite of Mr Ed’s help, i still don’t know *why* Nelson wanted to kiss Hardy.

  • Mr Ed

    Snorri, how could anyone know *why*? Nelson’s spine had been shattered by a sniper’s bullet, he had had a bit of alcohol to haze his death agony, he was giving orders to the last, perhaps wanted some comfort, totty being thin on the deck, as it were, in the heat of the Battle of Trafalgar.

  • David Bishop

    A plausible interpretation is that Nelson’s dying words were in fact, “Kismet (fate), Hardy”.

  • Julie near Chicago

    Well, I thought it an excellent lampoon of the mindset that Everything Must Be Done According to the Rules of Political Correctness.

    And that what matters, in every situation, is that the Official Recognized Rules be followed to the letter.

    And after we’re done grinning ruefully, let me recommend Samizdatistas go watch the 1997 BBC series 1990, available to the suicidally-inclined on UT, all 16 episodes of it. If anybody other than I missed it, it’s another (fictional) example of totalitarian dystopia, and rather well done in a nauseating sort of way. What does that have to do with Lord Nelson? Not sure, but the satire has adumbrations of totalitarianism, at least if one is predisposed to hear them, so it reminded me of the show. Which I’m enjoying, in the moments when I up periscope above of the sloughs of despair.

  • Kevin B

    For Snorri from the phrase finder:

    According to the contemporary accounts, Nelson last words were:

    “Take care of my dear Lady Hamilton, Hardy, take care of poor Lady Hamilton”. He paused then said very faintly, “Kiss me, Hardy”. This, Hardy did, on the cheek. Nelson then said, “Now I am satisfied. Thank God I have done my duty”.

    The later story, that Nelson’s last words were “Kismet [fate] Hardy”, aren’t supported by any contemporary evidence. In fact, ‘kismet’ isn’t recorded as being in use in English to mean fate until as late as 1830, a quarter of a century after Nelson died. That euphemistic version of events is thought to be a later invention that attempted to avoid embarrassment by covering up the supposed homo-erotic imagery of men kissing. That was misguided in more ways than one, not least because platonic kisses between men at times of great emotion weren’t viewed in the way in 19th century England.

  • Snorri Godhi

    Thanks for the feedback!