Archive for July, 2009

Internships: The rich and well connected – A Case Study of Euan Blair

Subject: Euan Anthony Blair

Profile: The son and heir of the former British Prime Minister, Tony Blair

Future big shot

Future big shot

To quote Wikipedia:

“He is known principally for being found inebriated in Leicester Square as a teenager, having a flat purchased by his mother for use while a student at Bristol University and having his appendix removed.”

After graduating with an unspectacular 2:1 in Ancient History from Bristol in 2005, the typical graduate life of struggle and drudgery did not befall Euan. The money and connections kicked in.

In 2005, he spend two months interning at a French radio station owned by France’s richest man, Bernard Arnault – a sometime private guest of the Prime Minister at his country house, Chequers.

A year later he landed another internship working for Republican politicians in Washington DC.

“The former Prime Minister’s son spent his time making photocopies and helping to set up hearings for the committee – ‘just general intern-type duties’, according to a spokesman.”

I am sure having the surname ‘Blair’ was no help at all. After another few weeks interning for Democrats, Euan left to pursue an MA… but not just any MA, an MA at Yale with a scholarship of £50,000.

This came as some surprise to other Yale students, who had no recollection of such a grant being made to a postgraduate before, particularly one with an unspectacular 2: 1 in ancient history. Maybe it was the internships that swayed it?

And now what for our well connected friend? He is about to begin a 30grand graduate traineeship with Morgan Stanley, where his father’s former right-hand man, Jonathan Powell, is a top executive.

Calling All Parliamentary Interns

Will you be attending any party conferences this autumn?

ePolitix.com is looking for interns from all political parties to help us expand our coverage of fringe events at party conferences.

If you are a competent writer and would like to be paid a competitive rate for short editorial articles, get in touch.

Contact researchers@epolitix.com for more information.

This is the kind of thing you will be writing about

This is the kind of thing you will be writing about

ePolitix.com is a parliamentary information and communication service, providing news and comment on policy issues. We aim to provide information which allows MPs, peers and researchers to carry out their work more effectively.

Work Experience and Graduate Unemployment on London News

Ed Balls buys his interns books

The Yorkshire Post reported on Ed Balls’ expenses a while ago and we’ve only just picked this up-

In March 2006, he claimed for two books titled: “The Rebels: How Blair mislaid his constituency” and “Reasons to be Cheerful”. His spokesman said: “The House of Commons office manager purchased two political books as a leaving gift for a university politics student who had been doing unpaid voluntary work in our House of Commons office.

The Yorkshire Post is slightly wrong- as the first book seems to be called: ‘The Rebels: How Blair mislaid his Majority’. Published in 2005, this book gives a ‘more or less scholarly’ overview of rebellion in the labour party. The second is the delightful ‘Reasons to be Cheerful’ by Mark Steel- a touching and hilarious romp through 25 years of political activism and a critique of New Labour’s betrayal of the old left…that’s what I like to see- a subtle undermining of his own party by Ed Balls. Look he can swing on ropes too:

Everyone loves a good photo op

Everyone loves a good photo op

Written by: RosyR

A Tale of Two Interns Vid

Channel 4 News: A tale of two interns

We helped with the research for this Channel 4 Report:  

In parliament itself, hundreds of young graduates aspiring to a political career work for free just to get their foot in the door. Chris Grey is one of 450 Westminster interns who put in 18,000 hours of unpaid work every week. He is effectively paying to work for an MP because he wants a job in a political think tank or as a parliamentary aide, but both demand experience. He can only do his internship because his parents are helping him pay his rent in London.

“I’m lucky enough that my parents can help me out financing this thing, but someone from poorer background who doesn’t live in London – they just simply couldn’t afford to do this,” he said.

“If you’ve got to do this to then get in to become a researcher or move up the party structure, then it’s going to bias the party structure in favour of middle class people who live in London.

“Obviously I would rather get paid. I don’t feel exploited but I suppose I kind of am being exploited really.”

The majority of MPs interns are unpaid and can only take advantage of the experience at Westminster, because their parents help them pay for accommodation in London.

Alan Milburn’s report on social mobility contained a whole chapter on internships, and it said “a radical change is needed”. He said informal arrangements based on family connections should be replaced with open competition and internships should be financed through loans or by getting workplaces to stump up the money people need to survive.

But a study by Martine Martin from the University of Hull, herself an unpaid parliamentary intern for six months, found that one in four interns working for MPs has been privately educated and two thirds rely on family financial support to take up internships.

The study found that 39 per cent of the 77 interns questioned had exhausted their savings to fund their work placements, 33 per cent relied on student loans and grants and 27 per cent had to use overdrafts and credit cards.

Daniella Oliveros-Elvidge moved from Venezuela as a student. She had to give up her degree because she ran out of money. But she got herself one week’s work experience in Downing Street after she collared Gordon Brown at a question and answer session in London.

“That should not be the route for you to get into politics,” she said. “More young people should get involved.

“For somebody from a not very privileged background to go and do an internship, or somebody who cannot really afford to like myself, It is just really difficult.

“I can’t really afford to do an internship with an MP for three months without being paid. I need to eat and pay bills.”

The trade union Unite, which represents parliamentary workers, says the way parliament finds interns is unfair and needs to change.

Liberal Democrat MP Phil Willis has tabled an early day motion backing Unite’s call for an “intern agreement” similar to an employment contract. He has the support of the Speaker of the House, John Bercow.

James Martin: “Most internships are jobs first and learning experiences second”

JM Venue Article pic

“What’s socially acceptable in desirable professions would be unthinkable for traditionally working-class jobs.”

Read the article here: JM Venue Article


Interns Anonymous

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