The Fable Of The Expensive Table by Minesh Karia

“Dear Juniors,

I get paid an extortionate amount

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of tax payers money to ensure that I care about the NHS.

Let me be absolutely clear. I don’t want to give across the impression I don’t care, even if I don’t actually care.

Of course I care and I would urge you to listen to my rehearsed rhetoric rather than focusing on my actions.

The fact of the matter is that I think we face difficulties in our communication.

Repeatedly, I have asked for you to “get around the table”.

You have been understandably clear that if I drop the threat of an imposition of a dangerous contract, I can stop the biggest doctors strikes in NHS history and we can then restart negotiations around the table.

Repeatedly, I have ignored this and have continued to ask for you to “get around the table”.

Once again, you have pleaded and begged me quite rationally to drop the imposition of a dangerous contract.

Instead of approaching this maturely, I have labelled you as militant, accused the British Medical Association of misleading doctors and have continued to ignore your plea, instead responding through various media outlets imploring you to “get around the table”.

This table is truly a magical table. You can get around my table anytime on a weekday during normal social working hours, be it at my office or at your office. I’ll even bring the table to a militant doctors office if I have to, so long as there is no media present. 

In fact, we don’t even need an actual physical table. What really matters is that the public believe that you don’t want to get around the table and that I do. We can talk about whatever you like over the table- it doesn’t matter to me, for I’m going to impose the dangerous contract anyway.

After many months back and forth on this matter, I think it is quite clear that I don’t really understand what 98% of you junior doctors are trying to say.

Are you saying that if I drop the threat of the dangerous contract then we can actually have meaningful negotiations? Are you saying that when I said “no preconditions” I was misleading because I have a massive precondition of imposing a dangerous contract anyway? Are you Implying that because I spin, I’m a spin doctor?

I fully understand that with a simple written guarantee that I will not impose a dangerous contract, I can potentially stop this strike.

Instead, I want us to focus on the table. Im sure there has been some research somewhere showing that 11 percent of tables come with one extra chair if bought on the weekend. Therefore, it is clear that this research proves that it is all the junior doctors fault.

Finally, I hope you have recently read my latest letter where I have, a few days before you strike, decided that I will send some people to speak to ACAS at some point and that whilst this all sounds like a step in the right direction, essentially I’m still planning to press on and impose the dangerous contract anyway. I’d just like to let you know that my enormous delay in making this decision public was not because I am lazy like you doctors, but it was tactfully planned in the hope that a) it will divide you last minute so that I can conquer you and b) to try and get the public back on my side who are dramatically losing faith in my spin strategies.

Time is in my hands. You have till August to stop me and after that it’ll be too late.

I look foreword to imposing a dangerous contract on you shortly. Once i’m finished with you, I’ll be coming after the rest of the NHS.

Yours,

An expensive table owner.”

#unitedwestand #dividedwefall

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