Chuka Umunna on slavery

Chuka Umunna in The Voice on the question of a UK government apology for slave trade:

African slavery and colonialism are not simply remnants of the past – they helped lay the foundations for the successful modern Britain of today. The effects of slavery are still felt in our communities – many cite the matriarchal nature of our families, with a high preponderance of absent fathers, as an example. In this light, an apology is long overdue, whatever the legal argument.

Chuka Umunna’s assistant on the question of unpaid interns in Umunna’s own office:

As a former employment law solicitor, Chuka is well aware of the legal context in this area. However, for the avoidance of doubt, I can confirm that our office does not use interns in the same way that we do full staff members and interns are under no obligation to work. Our office uses the guidelines established by Internocracy.

If I may refer to the wording of our office’s advertisement on W4AMP website: “as this is a voluntary position these requirements are flexible and those with restricted availability are also welcome to apply.”

I hope this provides clarification.


  1. Gregg
    Posted 14Jun11 at 21:05 | Permalink

    Because letting kids who want to become Prime Minister one day, carry your bags and look-up stuff on the internet for you, is obviously comparable to the slave trade.

  2. Posted 14Jun11 at 21:31 | Permalink

    If you say so Gregg.

    Unlike Mr Umunna, I really am descended from slaves and, unlike Mr Umunna, I’m not asking for an apology from anyone for Britain’s treatment of my ancestors or for any supposed contemporary legacy of the slave trade.

    While my “community” isn’t in the least troubled by the supposedly still-persisting “effects of slavery” and while vapid identity politics sicken me, I am angry that it is extraordinarily difficult for people from working-class or disadvantaged backgrounds, regardless of their ancestry (as if that matters at all), to become elected representatives—especially representatives of the Labour Party.

    So, unlike Mr Umunna, I believe that contributing to the exclusion of the less well-off from public office by means of a system of unpaid apprenticeships in one of the most expensive cities to live in in the World is a rather more significant problem in Britain today and rather more deserving of apology from those sustaining it than the slave trade.

  3. Gregg
    Posted 08Jul11 at 00:25 | Permalink

    If not having been an intern to an MP excludes you from public office then it would seem to me that there is a lot wrong with the system well beyond anything under Umunna’s control. The problem is not that bag-carriers are volunteers rather than salaried staff, but that selection has come to be based on who you know not what you stand for.

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