Accusations were being liberally hurled yesterday as those on the right leaning side of the blogosphere went after those on the left over the much discussed subject of interns, and payment for their services. After the fog of battle cleared, we were generally no better informed than before hostilities commenced. So here on Zelo Street, we’re trying to make some sense of it all.
Everything kicked off after the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines, who styles himself Guido Fawkes, and whose “world exclusive” claiming that French rock musician Jean-Michel Jarre was fleeing his native country in favour of settling in London had just been exposed as a hoax (to no surprise whatever), went after Political Scrapbook and Left Foot Forward.
“Shame on Scrapbook and Left Foot Forward” thundered the Fawkes blog. The Great Guido had even garnered a favourable looking comment in support of this action from the group Intern Aware. But then came a most inconvenient intervention in response from Laurance Durnan at Scrapbook: the Fawkes blog, he asserted, does not pay its interns the National Minimum Wage (NMW).
To this there was no counter, which suggests he was right. Moreover, there was no equivalent condemnation by the Fawkes blog of its soulmates on the right, who have quite openly been advertising for full time and unpaid internships, with no recompense other than “expenses”, so maybe lunches and travel to and from the office, then. Zelo Street has two examples of the genre.
For starters, there was the dubiously talented array of non-job holders at the so-called Taxpayers’ Alliance (TPA), who offered an expenses-only deal for an admin intern back in 2011. Perhaps the TPA, especially given the apparent generosity of their still anonymous paymasters, have now changed their tune? But we have yet another right-leaning example of parsimony to come.
The Commentator, that well-known repository of intolerance, dishonesty and casual defamation, was most indignant at Staines’ suggestion that it did not pay its interns, but should: “For the final time, people, we DO pay interns. Please correct your false statements on this ASAP” came the squeals of protest.
But, quite apart from the hypocrisy of The Commentator demanding corrections of others while not bothering to do so itself, in February last year they were advertising for a totally unpaid – and full-time – internship. Moreover, they were, in using W4MP, sponging off the taxpayer in so doing. To no surprise at all, The Great Guido has not issued so much as a peep of protest in their direction.
Not that the right-wing is a repository of hypocrisy, you understand. Perish the thought, eh, Fawkes and Commentator people?