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.’