Evil Diaries: Casual Labour

3 mins. to read
Evil Diaries: Casual Labour

At supper quite a few years ago I was sat adjacent to two of the host’s children, then aged around 18 or 19. We turned to the matter of interns where these two insisted that interns should be paid as much as real full time long term workers. The logic of this escaped me since teenagers are generally unemployable and only to hand for, say, at most six weeks in a row – i.e. having learnt something they become bored or reckon that skinny dipping at Ibiza would be more engaging. I told them that that was so.

This caused a bit of pushback to put it mildly and I therefore rose to the challenge and pointed out that interns in my office should really be paying me for the, say, six weeks. After all, the youths of today can barely string together words of any value at all. Worse, they cannot compose a letter or know how it should be typed and presented and with what consequences for my office’s filing system.

Further, I remarked that very few employers serve vintage champagne at 6.00 p.m.. This caused a collapse of stout parties. They still elected to go to Ibiza. As to whether they went skinny-dipping I cannot say. I was not there.

And I was reminded of all this by a recent edition of The Spectator which drew readers’ attention to fundamental difficulties caused by young parents of young children where an au pair is recruited. Apparently, the minimum wage legislation applies. And then there is all the employment law with tribunals. Can you believe it?

I and my brother and sister got superbly well looked after by a young lady who was a direct descendant of Kaiser Wilhelm. She was formal good-humoured practical and utterly reliable. We thought she was great. She brought along a father who had picked up duelling scars at university in the late twenties. He gave my father a bottle of schnapps. That was unusual in the Oxford of the mid fifties and, as far as I am aware, none of it was drunk. It just sat in the pantry.

Less practical was a young French lady who was a bit slovenly and who approached my father declaring that she was determined to concentrate on her English. My father said that that was indeed a worthwhile objective at which point she said she had found a course which would cost £50 and since she could pay £2 would my father put up the rest – i.e. £48. Since his salary was about £700 a year he resisted this proposition. She left shortly afterwards. Her boyfriend taught French at my preparatory school but rather queered his pitch by advising that this was an important subject to study since French had been the diplomatic language of Europe fifty years previously. Poor fellow, he got howled down and left this engagement shortly afterwards. Presented with a target like this, small boys are not kind.


As part of Starmer’s let’s get silly plans he wants to stick VAT on private school fees. I won’t go over the arguments for and against this move but, leaving aside that this is not an economic proposition from HMG’s point of view, it is essentially an act of vandalism. It is designed to garner a few votes from the envious and ignorant and, of course, Alan Bennett who thinks that private education causes a fissure (his use of English) right down the country. He has no children.


I have stopped putting up recommendations to 10 Downing Street’s honours committee for various awards since the election precludes getting clearance from the politicians. But I would like Joanna Lumley to be upgraded to my preferred courtesy title for her, The Marchioness of Larfs. So I copied her in on the action. But I have yet to receive a reply from her.


Late action: Ten days ago, LDG announced that Richard Griffiths of the Channel Islands has gone up from under 3% to 15%. I assure younger readers that Richard is not a fool and that he is also very rich. Still time to climb aboard: pay up to 13p without a moment’s hesitation.

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