It’s been a strange old week. As junior doctors carried out a two-day strike in their ongoing dispute over contracts with Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt, the British Medical Association suddenly found itself in the position of tabloid bogeyman of the week.
Despite polls suggesting 57% of the public supported the strike action (compared to 26% opposing it), coverage in the press has been on the negative side. Particularly in the right-leaning papers, with The Daily Mail, The Sun and The Daily Telegraph all pursuing the narrative that the belligerent striking doctors were bringing the NHS to its knees.
Leading that charge was The Sun. Not content with merely publishing reports criticising the strikes, the paper also printed an article with the headline MILITANT DOCTORS RUNNING FOR UNION POSTS CALLED FOR LEFTIE REVOLUTION TO OVERTHROW GOVERNMENT.
The Murdoch-run tabloid has never been too keen on unions and industrial action, particularly since News International’s bitter fight with print unions 30 years ago. So it must have been delighted when its trusted ‘Whitehall sources’ revealed details of BMA manifestos to journalists.
So who are these terrifying GP revolutionaries planning to storm the Houses of Parliament any day now armed with scalpels and bone drills?
Conspirators such as comrade Andrew Collier, ‘a junior doctor who qualified eight years ago’. According to The Sun, Dr Collier’s priority was ‘ensuring the BMA fought for its members as a real trade union, demanding fierce opposition to unsafe and unfair government reforms’. What a radical – a union representative proposing to do what a union rep is supposed to do!
However, he is a moderate compared to GP Gary Marlowe, who did the unthinkable and criticised the government for keeping health spending levels at ‘one of the lowest proportions of GDP in the developed world’. How dare he want to spend more money on the health of the population! What a threat to freedom and democracy!
Dr Marlowe’s position was backed by another GP, Hamed Khan, who also took the militant far-left stance of wanting to see the NHS survive, saying that it’s ‘clear that the government wants to defund, demoralise and ultimately dismantle the NHS’.
Another candidate, David Mummery, is quoted as saying ‘We must inspire a doctor-led takeover of management, as there is currently no other option’. Presumably once Mr Mummery has achieved that, it will be onward to Westminster to line the bourgeois cabinet up against the wall before establishing a dictatorship of the practitioner.
With such a dangerous bunch of radicals wanting to keep healthcare public poised to take charge of the BMA, what hope is there for this nation? Thank goodness that The Sun is there to keep these rebels in check and look after our best interests.
Tabloid Corrections Facebook page: here.