Most people in the UK know about Admiral Nelson and the Battle Of Trafalgar, but how would the battle have gone I wonder if it had taken place today.
Well, I would hope that most people in the UK today have heard of Admiral Nelson and the Battle Of Trafalgar, but with history in schools not focusing on the same topics as when my generation went to school and also the UK having a far more diverse population, I wouldn’t be surprised if less than 50% of the population are aware of it today. Sad really, but anyway, back to the story.
Let’s go back to 21st October 1805, to Cape Trafalgar, which is off the southwest tip of Spain. The British Navy under Admiral Nelson took on the combined fleets of France and Spain and won a decisive victory, but sadly Admiral Nelson lost his life.
Let the battle commence once again, but this time it’s in the 21st century and we are going to eavesdrop on a conversation between Admiral Horatio Nelson and his second in command, Vice Admiral Sir Thomas Masterman Hardy as the battle is about to start.
Nelson: “Order the signal, Hardy””
Hardy: “Aye, aye sir”.
Nelson: “Hold on Hardy. 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. The Royal Navy is 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 main brace 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: “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””
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 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: “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 are 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 coordinator 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”.
You can read more about The Battle Of Tragalgar on the Royal Navy site.
Image Used Under A Collective Commons License from: https://www.flickr.com/photos/damiavos/6273703487