Thursday, 10 January 2013

The same tired old refrain (Some swearing)

PR is a fast-moving, forward-thinking industry. In my opinion it simply has to be; you cannot stand about waiting for stories to break or a friendly journalist to take a sudden interest in your story.

Politics (I thought) was similarly fast-moving and forward-thinking; indeed, there shouldn't be many people thinking further forward than politicians.

And yet today I feel like both of these opinions have been utterly squashed. The first was by a PR firm for whom I otherwise have great respect for and the second was by the Conservative party, who are apparently trying to out-shit even their own bloated caricatures.

Firstly, the PR firm. I understand the argument that is suggested, to whit: you are getting an education, and as a result, you should pay towards the cost. I disagree with this idea for a couple of reasons: first, I'm producing content. I will grudgingly accept that I ought to put some cost towards my university fees, although £9,000 (I know, technically I pay only a fifth of that, but I am speaking generally) goes a little past ridiculous and into the realm of the truly ridiculous. All three of my students today, one French and two Russian, expressed utter disbelief that we had such an insane system. Mind you, the Russians also needed convincing I was British because I was, in their words, "Too animated."

It's nice to see the stereotypes of Britain as a nation of stick-up-arse, stiff-upper-lip, what-ho-Jeevesing chaps and chappesses has absolutely not gone anywhere. In any case, the education I receive at university is entirely linear; I am taught, I produce content, but none of it is going to add to the prestige of the university - the books on which we write our essays have already been examined in minute detail, which I imagine is the point. It gives us, the students, more data on which to base our conclusions, thus ensuring our essays have at least the semblance of a well-researched piece of work.

An internship is entirely a two way street. I am still receiving an education, except this time the work I produce will go to directly padding the bottom line of the company who have interviewed me and decided that I am good enough to work for them. They have, presumably, satisfied themselves that I am not going to defecate into an envelope and mail it to their clients. They have faith, I suppose, that I am not going to take photographs of my genitals and post them to the official twitter feed. And while these are extreme examples I also hope that they understand that they are taking on someone who has no more skill or ability than a graduate in this area - and that occasionally they will need to go over my work, as they would the graduate's, because nothing will be perfect first time.

The only difference seems to be that the graduate would be paid his wage, and I would receive £100 per week as expenses. A monthly ticket to the office from my rent-free parent's house would set me back £440. The minimum wage would mean paying interns just under a thousand pounds a month, and increase of £600. That's at minimum wage.

He has a point.

So come on PR firms. Be forward-thinking and awesome like I know you are, and pay your interns what you think they're worth.

And if you really think they're worth £2.50 an hour, then I suggest you fire whoever's recruiting them.

I've nothing to say about the Conservative party, save to share this little nugget where the guy in charge of collecting tax explains how to avoid paying tax.

It should be noted that of course this is young Osbourne. He may have radically changed his ways and not done any of those cheeky things like, say, flipped his house for £400,000 of profit.

Depressing day.