A View From Middle England - Conservative with a slight libertarian touch - For Christian charity and traditional belief - Free Enterprise NOT Covert Corporatism

Monday, November 09, 2009

Parliamentary interns exploited?

No nonsense with the runners and riders!The House of Commons has been doing everything on the cheap it seems. By that I mean it seems to want to get the maximum benefit out of a very small purse. We must be the only country in the world where foreigners get to have a good laugh at our expense. That's the British way - make do and mend. Currently, we're trying to mend a ridiculous system of expenses. Now another problem may have arisen.

MPs have been used to having young graduates work in their offices for nothing. Or virtually nothing. Pete Barden spent the past summer working as an intern for a Liberal Democrat MP, dealing with duties ranging from opening mail to campaign work and engaging with constituents. He says, "I was exploited but everyone's exploited. It's the way it works." Not all interns agree with the exploitation bit, but nearly all think they should be treated better financially. Maybe travel expenses would be a start, they think.

This is just another element of the crazy way MPs are scared of allowing a proper payments system to be implemented. It is also a real problem in that these interns are mainly apprenticed MPs, hoping to move onto the green benches in a dead men's shoes routine. We need proper researchers on proper pay.

I am still convinced that the next general election will be about the way MPs are paid as much as it is about their approach to the monumental debt crisis. Most voters will be so enraged come next June that votes will go all over the place. What was once a two-horse race will now be a political version of the Grand National. Pity there won't be a political version of Mrs Topham to oversee events!


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