This blog is written by Simran Massey, who studies MSc International Social and Public Policy (Development) and was a recent LSE Intern for MP Alan Brown, House of Commons, UK Parliament.
While pursuing a MSc in International Social and Public Policy (Development), my goal has been to push for economics to integrate itself better with social science research. I could not have started my LSE Parliamentary Internship at a less opportune moment and was lucky to visit Westminster and work alongside my MP at the House of Commons, UK Parliament. Having previously interned with the Government of India (Ministry of External Affairs, Ministry of Power and National Institution of Transforming India) during my undergraduate years, I felt particularly inspired to join efforts to transform the development space to reflect the challenges that are unique to the twenty-first century. During my first master’s in Public Policy from St. Xavier’s College, Mumbai (2018-2020), I was always intrigued by politics and this highly motivated me to apply for the Parliamentary Internship programme via LSE Careers.
Prior to joining LSE, I was a visiting Research Scholar at the Institute of Economics and Econometrics, University of Geneva and was working with professors on environmental economics and climate change policies. This motivated me to apply for MP Alan Brown as he is the Scottish National Party (SNP) Spokesperson for Energy and Climate Change and also sits on the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee and Nuclear Energy (Financing) Bill Committee. In working towards my goal to be a development economist, I gained a lot of insights while working for Alan because of his firm commitment to the idea that critical questions for global development are inexorably linked to concerns for human development in our time. Indeed, I am grateful to my MP for giving me various opportunities to attend committee meetings and conferences about COP26 and climate change, including issues such as climate finance to developing countries and emissions trends.
As Mary Wollstonecraft once said, “Invention, it must be humbly admitted, does not consist in creating out of void but out of chaos”. As a young intern, it was flabbergasting to witness protests outside No. 10, Downing Street on issues ranging from the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Cost of Living and Energy crisis to ultimately the collapse of the Government in July 2022. With the support of my MP and his helpful Office Manager, I was fortunate to attend the Prime Minister’s Questions (PMQs) while Boris Johnson was still in office and even witnessed the session when Sue Gray’s final report came out in May 2022. The PMQs were impacted by controversies over Johnson’s actions relating to the ‘Partygate’ scandal, pertaining to a number of parties held in violation of COVID-19 public health restrictions.
At LSE, I am also a Student Representative of the Green Impact Team, Department of Social Policy, which recently won the Sustainability Award. It was overwhelming to have MP Alan Brown as a speaker for LSE’s public event in July. Discussing how the UK can become a world leader in achieving the net-zero strategy, MP Alan Brown along with Professor Ian Gough and Dr. Ganga Shreedhar explored the potential and socio-economic benefits of renewable energy and on what the UK can do to meet its climate commitments while tackling the energy crisis. Indeed, the future is intersectional, with economics and politics operating in tandem.
The most enjoyable part of the internship was being able to visit my MP’s constituency in Kilmarnock, Scotland. It was like being at the right place at the right time! In June, I was fortunate to work from the constituency office in Kilmarnock on the day of the First Minister’s statement regarding the Scottish Independence referendum. This Scotland trip proved to be beneficial in surreal ways as I also gained inspiration for my LSE dissertation topic on ‘Green Jobs, Regeneration and Social Inclusion in Kilmarnock’. My dissertation aims to look at the green transition in Kilmarnock, from being a factory town earlier and how this would require skill development and public policies to ensure social inclusion among affected workers. Moreover, my internship gave me valuable insights to think about the role economists can play as public experts in preparing societies for the future.
Now, at this time, I find myself uniquely placed to work on macroeconomics solutions in the energy sector and climate finance, guided by the unique insight that development economists are poised to provide in the post-pandemic era. While engaging with the social communities on my journey to be a world citizen, the LSE Parliamentary Internship has significantly contributed to my academic career in the UK and I would highly recommend it to other students.