Opinion: Cease this injustice

I was outraged to find out yesterday in my copy of The Times that the University of Edinburgh, my alma mater, has been selling off internships with Members of Scottish Parliament (MSPs) for an eye-popping £5,750.

I don’t know about you, but I certainly would love the opportunity to undertake such work, but at such a price I cannot. This is disadvantage defined, as those who can afford it can have such an educating experience.

The internship involves completing “three academic courses which are classroom based, followed by a research project supervised by a member of the Scottish Parliament and an academic from the Institute of Governance.”

Here’s an excerpt of one lucky student:

“I just can’t get over how much my perspective has changed in a mere 15 weeks … I had the most wonderful experience and coming here was the best decision I ever made.” – Naser Javaid, supervised by Jamie McGrigor, MSP

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg recently made a statement on internships, saying that his aim was to make career progression less dependent on “who your father’s friends are”.

Clegg teamed up with Iain Duncan Smith, the work and pensions secretary, to write this on the subject for The Daily Telegraph:

“We want a society in which success is based on what you know, not who you know or which family you are born into,” they write. “So our social mobility drive is aimed at helping the majority of people to move up the rungs of the ladder of opportunity.”

It is encouraging to see a Conservative politician champion social mobility, as IDS has consistently bemoaned the pomp and unfairness that can exist with his party. “This is mobility for the middle, not just the bottom,” they add.

We must ignore the calls of hypocrisy on Clegg, though, as it is simply not the point of the matter. The point is allowing anyone, regardless of background, fulfil their potential. Allowing people to buy internships is totally unfair.

All the time I am deterred from applying for internships which I know I could potentially get onto because they only pay travel expenses or meal expenses. There must be enforced legislation on paying interns the National Minimum Wage, and less dancing around the issue. Lib Dems, help cease this injustice.

Jonathan Baldie is the editor of The Pryer

Read more by or more about , , or .
This entry was posted in Op-eds.
Advert

4 Comments

  • Jonathon Staples 21st May '11 - 2:59pm

    A few months ago, IIRC, HMRC cleared up the law regarding payment of interns – if the position is not entirely voluntary (i.e. no set hours, volunteer can come and go at any time without penalty etc) then as far as HMRC are concerned it’s a job, and as such minimum wage laws apply.

    Other than that, great article – I’m highly disturbed at the idea of lucrative internships being sold off in this way.

  • toryboysnevergrowup 21st May '11 - 5:54pm

    And which MSPs are playing ball with this?

Post a Comment

Lib Dem Voice welcomes comments from everyone but we ask you to be polite, to be on topic and to be who you say you are. You can read our comments policy in full here. Please respect it and all readers of the site.

If you are a member of the party, you can have the Lib Dem Logo appear next to your comments to show this. You must be registered for our forum and can then login on this public site with the same username and password.

To have your photo next to your comment please signup your email address with Gravatar.

Your email is never published. Required fields are marked *

*
*
Please complete the name of this site, Liberal Democrat ...?

Advert



Recent Comments

  • User AvatarDean Moore 25th May - 12:02pm
    @Dav, I do not see how me being a student takes away from anything I've said. There's a Member of Parliament that's also a student...
  • User Avatarexpats 25th May - 11:37am
    Glenn 25th May '16 - 11:22am....Expats.....most of the programs shown on the commercial channels are not BBC programs.... I didn't use the word 'most'; I...
  • User AvatarJ Dunn 25th May - 11:23am
    Again an article which overlooks the *fact*, that the EU fund us with our own British money. If I'm wrong, just send me a £20...
  • User AvatarGlenn 25th May - 11:22am
    Jane Thank you. Expats, most of the programs shown on the commercial channels are not BBC programs. Of the British ones a lot are ITV...
  • User AvatarNigel Jones 25th May - 11:00am
    Equal opportunities is something that almost everyone subscribes to, but as the article states, it is not enough. It does not mean treating everyone the...
  • User Avatardavid 25th May - 10:54am
    If you want to claim the EU is good for Britain, it certainly can't be on the basis of them funding us!