It has been a good day for Nick Clegg. Today, he launched Opening Door, Breaking Barriers, a new approach to tackling the thorny problem of social mobility.
He said he wanted to stop people getting on in life purely because of “who they know” and has announced that informal internships for young people in Whitehall would be banned.
“They should get an internship because of what they know,” he told the BBC.
“It’s not just because of someone who’s met somebody at the tennis club or the golf club, who’s whispered something into someone’s ear and they’ve got an internship for their son or daughter.”
Bravo Nick Clegg! Now, finally, we understand the point of the Liberal Democrats! Well done you!
… Oh dear:
Nick Clegg has admitted he was wrong to employ an unpaid intern, on the day he launched the Government’s flagship social mobility strategy.
Student John Medland criticised Nick Clegg for paying him the “bare minimum” in expenses while working in his office.
The revelation comes after the Deputy Prime Minister criticised internships as “the almost exclusive preserve of the sharp-elbowed and well-connected.”
When asked if he was wrong to employ an unpaid intern, Mr Clegg said: “Yes.
“I am not the slightest bit ashamed to say we were in a system that was wrong.
“That is why we are putting an end to informal internships in Whitehall.”
Ah yes. It is horrible when you get trapped a “system that was wrong”. You quite literally have no choice at all. No shame in that.
Mr Clegg was also forced to admit his father “had a word” with a friend to get him the first of three internships at a Finnish bank.
He worked there unpaid for a brief period between leaving £10,000-a-term Westminster School and going to Cambridge University.
Never mind all that. The important thing is that Clegg has now grasped this nettle firmly, and will be introducing reforms which ensure that unpaid interning comes to an end, so that all the future Nick Cleggs of this world can be paid for their efforts.
The bankers and politicians who were recruited under the old who-your-father-knew/unpaid internship system have now clambered to the top of the greasy poles of high finance and political office. Fortunately, they are all absolutely brilliant chaps, and evidently the best people for their jobs.
The country is safe in their hands.