Battle of Trafalgar Today

Submitted by Dennis Robb

Nelson:  "Order the signal, Hardy."

Hardy:  "Aye,  aye sir."

Nelson:  "Hold on,  that's not 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 gobbledegook is this?"

Hardy:  "Admiralty policy,  I'm afraid, sir.  We're an equal opportunities employer now.  We had the devil's own job getting 'England' past the censors, lest it be considered racist."

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.  Its part of the Government's policy on binge drinking."

Nelson:  "Good heavens, Hardy.  I suppose we'd better get on with it ... 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."

Nelson:  "What?"

Hardy:  "Health and Safety have closed the crow's nest, sir.  No harness;  and they said that rope ladders don't meet regulations.  They won't let anyone up there until a 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."

Nelson:  "Wheelchair access?  I've never heard anything so absurd."

Hardy:  "Health and safety again, sir.  We have to provide a barrier- free environment for the differently abled."

Nelson:  "Differently abled?  I've only one arm and one eye and I refuse even to hear mention of the word.  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 visual impairment and limb deficiency."

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.  And they don't want anyone breathing in too much salt - haven't you seen the adverts?"

Nelson:  "I've never heard such infamy.  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's a couple of legal- aid lawyers on board, watching everyone like hawks."

Nelson:  "Then how are we to sink the Frenchies and the Spanish?"

Hardy:  "Actually, sir,  we're not."

Nelson:  "We're not?"

Hardy:  "No, sir.  The French and the Spanish 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 co-ordinator hear you saying that sir.  You'll be up on disciplinary report."

Nelson:  "You must consider every man an enemy,  who speaks ill of your King."

Hardy:  "Not any more, sir.  We must be inclusive in this multicultural age.  Now put on your Kevlar vest;  it's the rules.  It could save your life"

Nelson:  "Don't tell me - health and safety.  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:  "I believe that is now legal, sir."

Nelson:  "In that case ... kiss me,  Hardy."

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