Revive the Labour Diversity Fund to pay Labour interns….
LabourList has been running a commendable campaign to hold Ed Miliband to account for his pledge during the Labour leadership campaign to end unpaid internships. This issue does shame Labour and its time for that shame to be tackled head-on, especially, as a Party, we supposedly pride ourselves on representing working class and less well-off people and being a party of ‘opportunity’. We cannot represent these people while denying them an opportunity to enter politics by our own exclusive practice.
The solution to this problem, for Labour at least, lies in another blast from the past. During the leadership campaign, Ed Balls suggested the idea of a Labour Diversity Fund which would have been aimed at diversifying the backgrounds and make-up of Labour candidates. When he raised the idea, this was intended to be aimed at those under-represented not just in terms of ethnicity or gender but also social background.
This still needs tackling and the LDF should still be set-up with that as one of its aims but it strikes me that the Diversity Fund could also assist with the internship issue. Could it not be the fund from which Labour MP’s can draw money to pay their interns in lieu of a proper agreement being reached amoung all the political parties for centrally provided funds? I do not see any reason why it could not; the unions and MP’s especially should be encouraged to pay into this project which would be a great asset to Labour. Indeed, I would be happy for such payments to be made mandatory for all of Labour’s representatives. It has always dismayed me that the LDF seems to have sunk without trace since the leadership election, here is an opportunity to revive it and give it a great and worthy purpose which would see Labour blazing a trail for all political parties to follow…