— Headline, The Telegraph, London, August 4
Constable Martin Flournoy
Knock knock. "Come."
"Police Constable Martin Flournoy. You wanted to see me, Chief Inspector?"
"Ah, Constable Flournoy. Have a seat."
"Thank you, sir."
"Not at all, not at all. Now, constable, I'll get straight to the point. I understand you're rather fond of women."
"Well, sir, I can't say I haven't made the rounds a bit, checked out the local talent if you follow, but I assure you it hasn't interfered with my duties. Last week I issued 12 summonses for dustbins that weren't smartly latched, arrested a bloke for menacing a burglar who was entering his house — "
"Just so, just so. Keep it up and I can tell you, off the record, you're in for a commendation. Now, constable, you are aware of course of our department's obligation under Her Majesty's Gender and Racial Employment Equality Act, section 133 (a), to achieve absolute equality between the sexes and races by 1st January of next year. I'm sorry to say that our female recruitment drive has not achieved all we expected, and we're looking like being short by seven women police."
"Sorry to hear that, sir. If you'd like me to pass the word down the pub that we're looking for seven more — "
"Ah, constable, we've lowered the height and weight standards for women recruits to three feet and 48 pounds, and still no joy. I'm afraid we can't trust to luck. We're going to have to get a bit proactive here. Now, you've acknowledged you are partial to women. Good thing, that. I'm asking you to volunteer for a sex change. You'll thank me for it. Off the record, the Home Office has assured me that women will be on the fast track for promotion. You'll have a desk job before you can say Jack Robinson, no more slogging about with dogs wearing booties and that. I understand your hesitation, but change is the spice of life, isn't that what the convict said when they fitted him with the noose, ha ha?
"Not to worry at all, old son. We have a special training course to get you sorted for life as a woman. Very qualified instructor, she's a tough old bird but fair. Well, that'll be all for now, constable. Does 'Martina' suit you?
"Oh, one more thing. I'm afraid our racial equality target isn't quite on, either … ."
The move is in response to one of their colleagues undergoing treatment to change from a 42-year-old married man into a woman called Lauren. But senior officers have said it constitutes "political correctness gone mad" to have staff on anti-discrimination training when they could be out on the beat.
A total of 510 staff - including 344 police officers - working for Humberside Police in North East Lincolnshire received a letter from the chief superintendent saying they had to attend the half-day training course to help PC Lauren's transition.
Am I the only one who's fed up with the phrase "political correctness gone mad"? Gone mad? As though p.c. is a thing of beauty unless it's pushed too far?