Sexist Laurie Penny Exploits Unemployed
Pays Staff Below Minimum Wage

It’s a tough life being the New Statesman’s “voice of a generation”, but luckily Laurie Penny – our  favourite privately educated revolutionary who learnt about the hard knocks of life at Wadham College, Oxford – has found the solution to all her problems. Hire some help. She is advertising for an intern to help her with a book, which due to media demands she doesn’t have time to commit to herself. If only she spent more time typing instead of rioting…

The job is to “find statistics and quotes and case studies, talk over what I’m writing and hunt down sources and stories for me, and keep meticulous notes of all sources in academic format.” For this the lowly researcher will be paid the grand sum of £500 for 85 hours work. As a fearless left-wing campaigner for higher living standards for the workers surely Laurie must know that £5.88 per hour is short of the minimum wage and far from the “living wage” she publicly supports (£7.85). Apparently the job would  “suit someone who is currently out of work, working part-time, or parenting”. What planet is she on that she thinks parents can afford childcare on £5.88 per hour?

Even more controversial than the flouting of minimum wage legislation is her contempt for sexual equality legislation. She clearly states: “I’m probably looking for a female researcher”. The EHRC clearly says: “Stating a preference for a man or woman in a job advertisement is unlawful sex discrimination unless the requirements of the particular job mean that it is lawful to employ only a man or a woman”. Form an orderly queue…

UPDATE : Should point out for the sake of completeness that Penny’s practical understanding of unpaid internships was cushioned by the fact that she was lucky enough to have an inheritance to rely on when she was starting out in the media. Not everyone has that advantage…



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