A curio from the world of government information leaflets

Take a read through Parent Motivators: A Parent’s Guide To Helping Graudates Find Work, as published by BIS under Peter Mandelson’s reign, and you find this advice on page 3 for parents wanting to help their children:

Identify who you know that might be able to help. If they want to work in architecture, travel, etc. is there a friend of a friend who may be able to help set up some work experience or job shadowing?

Ah yes, getting an internship through parental contacts. I’m sure I heard somewhere a Labour politician praising Nick Clegg’s parents for doing just what the Labour government urged all parents to do…

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  • Beyond the (correct) point that you make, this leaflet offers an insight into a very strange, but increasingly common, mentality, shared by New Labour and many parents: that adults in their twenties are still children. It is full of patronising and obvious points, but the underlying assumption is that graduates (i.e. aged at a minimum 21, and with a higher education) need very basic guidance from their parents. Most people in their twenties in the world today, and in human history, have been full-time members of the workforce for several years, and do not need their hands held in this way. Why should UK graduates be regarded as infants?

  • Lord Mandelson knows nothing about nepotism. Nor do the Milibands, Hilary Benn or Harriet Harman.

  • It’s entirely obvious that if you have a system where people can help out their family and friends career-wise, they will do it. It’s not about criticising people that do, but trying to prevent that from being a way to get ahead.

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