This story probably sounds more interesting than it actually is. In tonight's "Evening Standard." a story was run about Nick Clegg's stance on social mobility and the new governmental move to cut out Interns getting their positions through family connections. This move is a great move for social mobility.
"For too long internships have been the almost exclusive preserve of the well connected. Unfair, informal internships can rig the market in favour of those who already have opportunities. We want a fair job market based on merit, not networks. It should be about what you know, not who you know. A country that is socially mobile bases opportunity on your ability and drive, not on who your father's friends are."
I don't think I need to explain the policy any further than that. There has always been a certain amount of nepotism and networking especially amongst old school alumni and close families which could and invariable does mean that someone who would be better suited to a opportunity and a much needed spring board into a career would be passed over in favour of the Chairman's old school friends inept son. This is a big stride forward and is a positive move.
Should the media focus on this as a great achievement and a positive policy for the beleaguered Deputy Prime minister?
Instead the Standard ran the horrifying news that when Nick was a young adult his father, Nicholas who was chairman of united trusts bank, helped him secure a post between his £10,000 a term Westminster school and Cambridge. Well stop the presses!!!!
So he comes from a rich background. Well no one chooses their family or background, after all the whole idea of Social Mobility is that, no matter your background your path is for you to chose. Birth is not a right to privilege. Could Mr Clegg not be trying to rectify the injustices of a system that he benefited from having
realised how corrupt is later? Who is to say that he didn't resent his father's interference in his life and wanted to get the positions on his own merit? After all the Standard then goes on to reveal that his other two internships at "Nation Magazine" and "GE24" were both attained through the going through the interview process and competing with everyone else. His first job, working for former European Commissioner Lord Brittan was also on a recommendation by Lord Carrington a former foreign secretary but the Standard does not go into details as to what the basis of the recommendation was. Carrington could have worked with Clegg or observed his work at "GE24" and been impressed or he could have been a close family friend. It isn't clear and would be unfair to say.
What is unfair is that the media, spurned on by the comments of John Mann MP in DPMQ's is the accusation of "Hypocrisy." This is a good policy, one that will benefit people's lives and careers and we are looking at the negative side of a man's past, something that he has forsaken to make a difference for people. It would have been easy for him to become a Conservative or a chairman in a company but no, he chose the role of a LibDem and is, in his own round about way, trying to help make Britain fairer. The accusations would be fairer if he was using his name and networks to get his sons jobs but as that hasn't happened, yet, it's not an issue in my opinion. It would be the same as, when I was a youth I did not fasten my seat belt in the car on a few occasions, courting death and injury but I will certainly be telling Sophie to do her seat belt up and making sure it is done. Does this make me a hypocrite to?