Realpolitik (see also Political realism; from German: real “realistic”, “practical” or “actual”; and Politik “politics”) refers to politics or diplomacy based primarily on practical considerations, rather than ideological notions or moralistic premises. In this respect, it shares aspects of its philosophical approach with those of realism and pragmatism.
"Manchmal werden Leute den Wald vor lauter Bäumen nicht sehen."

Monday, 25 April 2011

016 - Behind closed doors: The perpetuation of unjustifiable biases in key internship positions

Hardly in keeping with his perpetual 'Big Society' proposal, David Cameron has made public his 'very relaxed' demeanour on the issue of providing internships in government offices or desirable professions on the basis of powerful connections between influential figures. This opinion interestingly also undermines their coalition partners' major policies on social mobility coinciding amidst the tensions of public differences on the upcoming AV referendum and local elections. That is to say however, that despite Nick Clegg's vociferous attack on unpaid internships, all Liberal Democrat inernships for 2011 will remain hypocritically unpaid.

In an interview with the Daily Telegraph the Prime Minister claimed to be "very relaxed" about offering work placements to people he was connected to, and the 'right' of middle class families to exploit contacts. "I've got my neighbour coming in for an internship.. ..In the modern world, of course you're always going to have internships and interns – people who come and help in your office who come through all sorts of contacts, friendly, political, whatever. I do that and I’ll go on doing that. I feel very relaxed about it."

This comes amongst a recent embarrassment for the Conservatives after it emerged such internships for City firms were auctioned off at party gatherings for between £3,000 and £4,000 for a small number of days of experience at hedge funds and banks - a move condemned by Labour as "grossly insensitive" at a time when graduate unemployment lies at 1 in 5, subsequently resulting in Mr Cameron placing a ban on future occurrences.

For instance at the Black and White Party in Battersea earlier this year - bankrolled by major figures in the banking sector - in south London, 900 guests had paid a minimum of £400 per head (£4,000 for a table for ten), which is believed to have raised £500,000 for the party. At this event internships at a Mayfair hedge fund, a private band and a PR company were auctioned to the highest bidder.

It should also provide further embarrassment as it cannot be justifiable in a modern democracy that nepotism and connections between the powerful should continue to dominate key positions critical to social progression and mobility, whilst the ruling party parades itself through one of its most brutal policies as making education and access fairer than ever before, which can be seen in the video below:

The demographic of people who are regularly able also to undertake such internships tend to be those who can afford to work for free in any spare time they have. Interns are regularly required to work for free, therefore blocking the path for those of lower social class or poorer financial background into such business or political parties on the basis that free labour is not fiscally viable or possible.

One thing is clear, such measures only serve to widen the gap between rich and poor with regards to social mobility.

- sandlefish -

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