The Junior Doctor Contract Forum on Facebook is the hot bed of activity for planning and debating all elements of the junior doctor dispute. So much so that the Daily Mail and Telegraph like to hang out there looking for quotes that make doctors look bad. Hello if you’re reading this.
Something I find worrying is that they are increasingly likely to find these things on the JDCF. I’ve recently got in arguments over Labour anti-semitism and the BBC’s coverage of Tory election expenses. Why? They really have very little to do with the contract being disputed. The answer seems to be that like a lot of social media, an echo chamber has developed and is getting increasingly echoey.
Legitimate criticisms of the Tory decision to impose a contract have extended into criticisms of anything slightly left of centre on any issue. Anyone who says ‘I think the Tories are bad for this contract, but generally they’re better on economic and foreign policy’ is shot down quicker than a Blackhawk in Somalia.
This is probably not a good idea.
The support for junior doctors exists because we all believe we are in the right. Start sniping over your fellow junior doctors over the difference between anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism will do nothing to further the demise of the contract and only serve to alienate previously supportive colleagues.
The Hunt’s assertion that the BMA is a millitant left-wing organisation is nearly as stupid as the contract he proposes. But looking at the vast majority of discourse on amongst the largest group of junior doctors in both physical and virtual space he’s looking increasingly correct. The contract dispute is being used to drag in supporting stupid petitions calling for things that will never happen, and crank conspiracy theories. As a Labour member, I can’t help but feel we really need to not alienate Tory supporters. Especially at a time when concerted rebellion among Tory backbenchers would more than likely force a U-turn on any ideas the Tories put forward. Instead of asking Tory supporters to go to their MPs and say ‘look this contract isn’t just a left-wing gripe; it’s just really dumb’, anyone with a Tory leaning is being crucified for not thinking Corbyn is the solution to all the world’s ills.
This contract is not a bad idea because it’s Tory. It’s a bad idea because it’s going to decimate the medical workforce and stretch resources to a point of danger. This contract is being proposed by Conservatives, and will most ably be resisted by Conservative MP and members. Alienating them is simply bad strategy and will do infinitely more harm than the few likes that are garnered from people who already support your ideas on a post that’s completely unrelated to the contract at all.