MPs are preparing for the arrival of a new piece of wearable technology that will help them navigate difficult terrain and always guide them towards the high moral ground.
The EPS, or Ethical Positioning System, operates by triangulating a person’s political standpoint via a number of morally aware ‘smart satellites’. If a politician starts to veer off course, perhaps about to break a manifesto pledge, the Sat Nav will interrupt with the message: ‘You are no longer on the agreed route, please perform a U-turn now.’
The new system replaces the old and unreliable moral compass. ‘In theory the moral compass should have worked,’ explained philosopher AC Grayling, ‘but many politicians found it confusing and were clearly unable to tell which way it was pointing. All too often they either they left it at home or held it upside down and headed off in entirely the wrong direction.’
The Ethical Sat Nav has the advantage of always being in view, attaching to every politician’s forehead via a special rubber suction pad. To convey extra moral authority the unit has a range of respected voices including those of Morgan Freeman, Dame Judi Dench and Sir David Attenborough.
To accommodate different viewpoints, MPs can choose from a selection of moralities: Kantian, Utilitarian and Neo-Aristotelian. However, some politicians have already found ways to jailbreak their Sat Nav so that it shifts into the more dubious Machiavellian mode, although on this setting they do have to put up with the voice of Peter Mandelson.
‘As an election approaches, MPs often get taken off course,’ said BBC political editor Nick Robinson. ‘This new moral guidance system should help to keep them on track, re-calculating their route each time they take a wrong turn and avoiding any politically costly toll roads. It also warns them if they are speeding, avoiding responsibility or lying. If they do all three it flashes up an emergency picture of Chris Huhne.’
The Ethical Sat Nav will be issued to every politician next month, although a faulty trial batch have already been recalled. ‘I had just attached it to my head when it stopped working,’ said one bemused MP. ‘I have no idea why. I was simply trying to claim for it on expenses when the unit gave an exasperated sigh and blew up in my face.’
June 15, 2011
David Cameron has confirmed that the government’s NHS bill will have its life ended by physician-assisted suicide. ‘We tried everything to save it,’ said Mr Cameron, ‘but the condition is terminal. We have therefore decided that the time has come to put it out of its misery.’
Although killing a parliamentary bill is still illegal under British law, Health Secretary Andrew Lansley has been given special dispensation to fly it out to Switzerland where it will be terminated by doctors at the Dignitas Clinic.
‘Personally I would have preferred to put the bill into a hospice,’ said Lansley, ‘but the conditions in the House of Lords leave a lot to be desired. Of course we all hoped that during the 10-week listening exercise the bill might show some signs of remission, but every time I spoke to the doctors they told me there was no hope of recovery.’
The BMA has welcomed the decision. ‘While we do not normally approve of physician-assisted suicide, in this case we are prepared to make an exception,’ said a representative. ‘Sometimes the prognosis is so bad that the best option is a quick, painless death, followed by cheering and a street party.’
Various attempts to save the bill had been unsuccessful leaving it with only weeks to live. ‘We knew things had become serious,’ said a tearful Lansley, ‘because the last time I looked at the bill someone had left a sign by its bed reading “Do Not Resuscitate”.’
However, there is concern that some politicians have been placing undue pressure on the bill to have it killed off, purely for their own personal gain. ‘There was no undue pressure,’ insisted Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg. ‘I saw the charts and the figures spoke for themselves – it was going to die, and so were we. All I want is for the bill to be given a peaceful, dignified death – personally that is something I would also like for myself but I guess you can’t have everything.’
The prime minister has denied accusations that the decision represents yet another humiliating U-turn. ‘I prefer not to think of this as a U-Turn,’ said Mr Cameron. ‘As politicians we abide by a code of ethics that says that when things get awkward we change our minds to save our skins. It’s called the Hypocritic Oath.’