The new politically correct amendments to the Royal Navy 'toasts of the day' do not go far enough. All but one of them needs a thorough overhaul (see suggestions below).
It is the tradition in Royal Navy wardrooms (officers' messes) that on the night of a big dinner a toast will be made; the object of the toast being dependent on which day of the week it is. The toast would normally be proposed by one of the junior members of the wardroom when given the nod by the First Lieutenant who is normally the wardroom mess president.
Up until now the toast on a Saturday night would have been a hearty "Our Wives and Sweethearts" followed by a cheeky retort of "May they never meet!" by one or more of the assembled.
This has been deemed as too antiquated and not in line with the current 'gender balance' of the senior service, so it have been dropped in favour of "Our Families".
The Tuesday night toast of "Our Men" has also come under fire for not including the female members of the crew and has been replaced with "Our Sailors".
Apart from the Loyal Toast, at which Royal Naval officers still remain seated throughout, the traditional toasts for each day of the week were as follows:
Monday: "Our Ships at Sea"
Tuesday: "Our Men"
Wednesday: "Ourselves" (With the usual reply from one or more of the rest – "As no-one else is likely to concern themselves with our welfare")
Thursday: "A Bloody war or a Sickly Season" (Usually seen as a quick way to get promoted as the others died around you)
Friday: "A Willing Foe and Sea Room"
Saturday: "Our Wives and Sweethearts" (Reply – "May they never meet!")
Sunday: "Absent Friends" (Possibly a reference to the fallen)
But, in line with current thinking, I believe that all but one of the toasts needs updating for the modern era of peace, harmony and austerity as follows:
Monday: "Our Ships" (Reply – "If we can afford to buy them and get them to sea with 'planes on them")
Tuesday: "Our Full Time and Reserve Sailors" (Reply – "The few we've got left")
Wednesday: "The Unfortunates of the World" (As "Ourselves" is surely too selfish for modern times?)
Thursday: "May we be a Deterrent to War" (Who on earth wants war and disease?)
Friday: "May we be Ready to Give Humanitarian Aid" (We don't go looking for war these days, do we? We're there to help others surely)
Saturday: "Our families" (Reply – "With the amount of time we're away they need all the help they can get")
Sunday: "Absent friends" (No explanation needed as to why this one stays untouched!)