'Around 80 unemployed people were driven to London on Sunday from Bristol, Plymouth and Bath. But the coach company mistimed the length of the journey and dropped them off at 3am instead of 5am. Instead of staying, the drivers left the drop-off point.
One volunteer, Robert Cooke, 30, from Plymouth, said: ‘A couple of people have complained about things that weren’t controlled by CPUK – the coach drivers who insisted on leaving, and the weather.’
The complaints were reported at length by The Guardian, which quoted two unnamed jobseekers claiming they were forced to camp overnight under London Bridge before they started work on the river pageant.
They were then picked up by BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, becoming the subject of its main interview slot at 8.10am, and again by The World At One at lunchtime.
Labour’s former Deputy Prime Minister Lord Prescott also weighed in, demanding an inquiry in a letter to Home Secretary Theresa May.
He said: ‘Not only was it under the bridge, but they were then sent to a camp which they described as “swampy and wet” after this event, almost becoming a development of labour camps. Is this going to be the circumstances for the Olympic sites?’
Labour’s deputy chairman Tom Watson wrote on Twitter: ‘Young people as commodities with few rights in a show of opulence by state elites? Isn’t there a powerful symbolism to that?’'
The Mail also has some direct quotations from people willing to be quoted, unlike The Guardian/BBC alliance who relied upon anonymous comments and the bluster of John 'does anyone take this individual seriously' Prescott:
'Among the volunteer stewards defending Close Protection UK yesterday was Robert Cooke, 30, from Plymouth.The BBC have dropped the story as far down their news website as they reasonably could bearing in mind it was headline news 48 hours earlier. But the damage has been done, the story has been established in the public mind and no doubt one or more lefty 'comedian' will be opining on the return to Dickensian labour conditions under a Tory toff lead government on Friday's News Quiz.
He pointed out that the company could have done nothing about the cold weather, or the coach drivers’ decision to leave after dropping off the stewards two hours early.
He added: ‘Organisers found somewhere for us to shelter, and said that if any of us wanted to get into our sleeping bags to keep warm, then we could.
‘Most of us just stayed up chatting. It was a good laugh, and we had access to the portable loos the whole time.’
Mr Cooke, who hopes to work for CPUK during the Olympics, added: ‘They have paid for all the training for my licence and an NVQ in crowd safety.
‘They gave us boots worth £80, and a uniform. We worked out that what they’ve spent is the equivalent of us being paid £45 an hour.’
In a message to the company, Kirsty Nicholls, 23, also from Plymouth, said: ‘I would like to thank CPUK for the amazing experience I was a part of this weekend.
'I am extremely grateful for this opportunity. We were treated with the utmost respect and highly praised for the work we had done.
‘I personally volunteered to do all three days work as I found the experience incredibly pleasurable. I look forward to a long career with CPUK.’
Markus Hanks, another volunteer, said: ‘Thanks for a great time at the Diamond Jubilee. Brilliant company to work for, great staff, brilliant atmosphere between everyone, looking forward to working with Close Protection UK again at the London 2012 Olympics. I’m supporting you and the Close Protection UK 110%.’
One text message to CPUK’s operations director Danny Sheehan said: ‘Just wanted to say thanks for the weekend, had a great time, got some good experience. Look forward to working with you in the future.’
Another said: ‘Thank you for the chance of the work experience in London’, adding that it had stood them in good stead of getting a job.'
The BBC gave huge airtime to the SWP last year in order to publicise their campaign against such work experience schemes. The BBC long ago ceased to have any claim to be an impartial news organisation, for a while they have been a campaigning organisation on many subjects and a real Conservative Prime Minister would address the problem, I leave it to you to decide why David Cameron has done nothing.
Meanwhile the BBC who went with this attack have been caught out. The Telegraph reports that:
'Documents released under Freedom of Information laws show that 6,283 people have worked for the Corporation (BBC) for free since 2007.The BBC's hypocrisy is staggering but predictable. What is also predictable is that our CINO
Asked what rights interns had, the BBC stated: "Volunteers do not have any employment rights," adding that it had “no budget” for paying them a wage or expenses.
A BBC source said last night: "These interns do a valuable job - they really help out with any number of projects and they do it all for nothing in the hope of getting a job at the end of it. '