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.’
July 13, 2010
‘Mandy Pour Homme is a fruity, playful and charismatic perfume,’ said the former Business Secretary, ‘it is effortlessly seductive, infused with hyacinth, jasmine and cedar with just the delicate hint of duplicity and double dealing.’
Speaking at the launch of his new fragrance, Lord Mandelson said: ‘I like to think that this perfume captures the very essence of New Labour. You are initially hit with a glorious burst of anticipation, hope and excitement, closely followed by the foetid afterwhiff of corruption, deceit and betrayal.’
Mandy is being marketed as ‘a perfume for the modern man about town – in a Cabinet meeting, at the Newsnight studio, on a billionaire’s yacht – a thrusting presence in the corridors of power, jauntily cocking his leg and leaving his scent wherever he goes.’
The fragrance, produced in conjunction with Lord Mandelson’s in-house perfumer Jean-Baptiste Grenouille, is notable for the strong emotional effect it produces upon all those who smell it. Journalists described the scene at the end of the press launch when Lord Mandelson stood, dabbed a little of the perfume upon his silken handkerchief and waved it about, releasing the fragrance into the air.
‘It was amazing,’ said one normally hate-fuelled hack, ‘as soon as we caught a whiff of Mandy we were immediately struck by an uncontrollable feeling of love – it was an emotion so strong that we all felt irresistibly compelled to forgive Peter for all his indiscretions and hold him aloft as the High Prince of purity and innocence. At last I can finally understand how he managed to stay in power for so long.’
Lord Mandelson’s perfume is launched just a few months ahead of the release of Tony Blair’s new fragrance, produced in conjunction with Calvin Klein. Tony Blair’s ‘Self-Obsession’ is believed my many to be so rich, even the faintest whiff of it can induce nausea, headache and vomiting.
‘I really don’t feel that Peter is trying to steal my thunder by releasing his own stench of malignant narcissism before mine,’ said Mr Blair, ‘but enough about him, let’s talk about me.’