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.
Bookmark the web address for this page or use the short url http://ldv.org.uk/24174 for Twitter and emails.
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.

Your email is never published. Required fields are marked *

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

Advert



Recent Comments

  • User AvatarRichard Underhill 30th Jul - 12:58pm
    The size of the TUC has halved from its peak under Len Murray. Many of the current members are in the public sector, which employs...
  • User AvatarRichard Underhill 30th Jul - 12:54pm
    Neil Sandison 30th Jul '15 - 10:10am " genuine asylum seekers who have registered in Italy " This means recognised Convention refugees. There are arrangements...
  • User AvatarSara Scarlett 30th Jul - 12:53pm
    Liberalism =/= centrism. Liberalism is not centrism. Liberalism should not be centrism. Liberalism is something different. Whatever the positioning of Labour, Liberalism has to look/sound/be...
  • User AvatarSara Scarlett 30th Jul - 12:48pm
    As political manifestos go, the Orange Book was rather lacklustre… However, this doesn't sound like a manifesto. It looks set to be a sad attempt...
  • User AvatarRichard Underhill 30th Jul - 12:46pm
    Richard Stallard 30th Jul '15 - 1:42am "Don’t forget that NONE of them should be trying to break into Britain illegally. If they are asylum...
  • User AvatarDavid Raw 30th Jul - 12:35pm
    Sorry, but one Orange Book was more than enough....... and the people of Yeovil gave their verdict.