Unpaid work is exploitative. It is not conducive to social mobility. This was all covered in a previous blog post on roughsociety and has been tirelessly campaigned against by groups such as Intern Aware, amongst a whole range of others, both organised and unorganised. ‘Tirelessly campaigning’ is a phrase familiar to Lyn Brown MP for West Ham in London.
On Ms. Brown’s official website (www.lynbrown.org.uk) it clearly states that she is an advocate of the London living wage of £8.30 per hour. This information must come as a metaphorical kick in the teeth for her next ’employee’ who will be nonsalaried. To top it off, this unpaid intern will be replacing a salaried member of staff according to Westminster sources when asked by the BBC.
This is a disgraceful and archaic display of contempt for the poorest members of society. Those applying are people so desperate for experience that these opportunities are of value to them. Unfortunately, they are not of enough value to Ms. Brown to demand a wage. In an age where the Labour Party is expected to provide a viable alternative for the electorate, this party has proved itself once again as incapable and lacking direction.
Paying workers a salary should be a complete non-issue. You work for an employer, regardless of who that employer is, or what the trade is, or what the work entails, you are ultimately creating value. Nick Clegg has said it. Ed Miliband has said it. Lyn Brown has said it. Speaker Bercow continually berates MP’s for arguing and shouting in the chamber, claiming it is the thing his constituents hate the most about politics. He is wrong, it is the hypocrisy of our leaders that drives the people to apathy, the broken promises they make and the contempt with which they do so.
Politicians in this country are far too comfortable to truly be accountable. The expenses scandal has escaped the memory of many in the public, the internship promise made by Clegg probably went unnoticed in the first place, but if it didn’t, it too is consigned to the horizon of the electorates mind. In a time of savage cuts to public spending, the only thinking occupying the news sphere is ‘what will the unions do?’ Well here we have an issue that transcends the political spectrum. Employing somebody without paying them a wage is a barbaric abuse of power and people across the parties, and across the country should be united in confronting the government (and the opposition) in keeping to their promises for once.