So there I was, trawling through the job listings on w4mp when I came across a rather unusual advert.
For those who don’t know, w4mp is a British website primarily for parliamentary interns that lists available jobs in Westminster. Most are unpaid; the rest are under £25k a year.
It was with surprise - and more than a hint of suspicion - then, when I came across a job with a salary of “€91,980 plus expenses”.
I thought it was some kind of joke.
The listing states:
Based in Brussels, with some time in Strasbourg, you will carry huge responsibility, acting as an Independent-minded MEP.
Yes. An advert for an MEP in the upcoming elections has been listed on a website for interns.
What party, I hear you cry, would try and recruit interns as members of the European Parliament? And how on earth can someone be an independent-minded MEP? Surely an MEP votes in line with their party, right?
Wrong. If we continue reading…
Although advertised by the Jury Team (a political party), if elected you will be free to make your own decisions and vote as you wish on behalf of millions of people within your region.
Unfortunately there’s no turning to the party’s founder, and former Tory HQ director general, Sir Paul Judge for clarification. Because in an interview with the BBC’s Daily Politics he described the Jury Team as a “not-party party”.
Clear as mud, Sir Judge, clear as mud.
So I resorted to the party website…
Are you unhappy with the way things are? Do you believe they can change? By joining the Jury Team, you are becoming part of a political party like no other.
The Jury Team is a political movement created with the goal of making politics more accessible, politicians more accountable and political institutions more transparent.
The Jury Team intends to put forward 70 candidates for the UK and we are offering everyone the chance to run as a candidate for the European Parliament.
How very revolutionary. And the revolution doesn’t stop there because the Jury Team are a new political party, and in virtue of this - as with all new parties - they need a gimmick. UKIP had Kilroy-Silk - the Jury Team has “modern technology”…
The BBC dedicated a whole article to the gimmick: the party’s candidates will be selected by text.
I mentioned that I was suspicious when I saw the advert listed on an intern website; the oxymoronic “not-party party” did not quash these concerns, and neither did the texting gimmick. But what makes me most uncomfortable about the Jury Team is its paradoxical nature.
Bear with me.
Let us recall the ‘relativism paradox‘: relativism fails because the relativist says there are no absolutes, and yet has to claim that the relativistic principle is absolutely true. The principle is undermined by its very existence.
Now let us consider the Jury Team, or what I will entitle the ‘Jury Team paradox’: the Jury Team fails because the Jury Teamist says the party-political system is corrupt in virtue of having different parties with different aims. And yet the Jury Team is a party with its own aims (the 12 “proposals” can be found on the website) - the details of the aims are irrelevant.
The Jury Team is undermined by the principles for which it stands; it is undermined by its very existence.
I am still not entirely convinced the Jury Team is not a joke.
Either way, though, its advert is pretty damn good - see top of post. And for that I’ll forgive it a multitude - if not all (it’s hard to ignore inherent paradoxes) - sins.
This post can also be viewed on my personal blog here.