The government is this morning encouraging us to blow the whistle on unpaid work placements. Social mobility is apparently being hindered by unpaid internships and Nick Clegg is clamping down. Allow Guido to blow the first of such whistles.
Co-conspirators have pointed out that yesterday the LibDems published their internship scheme online:
“Our internships are short, intensive volunteer placements that offer you the opportunity to gain experience of the practical and professional side of Party politics, giving you the chance to join the team at Liberal Democrat HQ and parliament and experience life at the heart of Westminster.”
Guido’s emphasis. And it’s not just a couple of kids helping out with stuffing envelopes, there are graduate interns in the following departments:
“Campaigns, Policy (x3), Media, Fundraising, Chief Executive’s Department, Diversity, Liberal Youth, Membership and Development, Parliamentary Whips’ Offices (x3 Commons and Lords).”
Guido has asked for confirmation of just how many of these “volunteers” are in Cowley Street at anyone time. So everyone else has to pay the minimum wage for their staff, except the LibDems who run their party machine for free?
UPDATE: Cowley Street squirmed a little on the line before doing a quick headcount. Apparently there is only one intern in the office today, and though they are not on a wage the spinner was quick to stress they are getting expenses. Which makes everything ok.