THIS week I have some friendly advice for high-profile politicians who may be tempted to comment on the junior doctors’ ongoing dispute over pay and hours.

If you fall into this category, please pay attention. You will save yourself some loathing from the public at large, and the public at large will be spared some nonsense which is an affront to our eardrums.

As you may know, the junior doctors are in the midst of a process of strike action prompted by your merry wheeze of deciding that they should work more antisocial hours for less pay.

In your efforts to get the public on your side, you may be tempted to join your colleagues in portraying those junior doctors in a negative light.

You may be tempted, for example, to portray them as greedy, mercenary vermin. Please resist the temptation, as it may bounce back and bite you on the bottom.

You see, Most of us have seen both junior doctors and high profile politicians in action and have formed opinions about both sets of people.

Our opinions about junior doctors might stem from, for example: (a) Having one appear at our hospital bedside when we are sick, injured, frightened and in pain and offer calm words of reassurance – or having them do the same for a loved one.

(b) Having one save our life or that of a loved one by sticking broken bits back together, stuffing parts that have come out back where they should be or working out which disease has struck and how it might be cured.

(c) Doing the above for days on end until they reach a state of exhaustion which would have most normal people hallucinating beasties climbing the wall and calling an employment lawyer.

(d) Doing all of the above for the sort of yearly cash sum that many politicians would demand for two days work as a “consultant” for some crook.

On the other hand, our opinions about certain politicians might stem from, for example: (a) Seeing vast numbers of them flipping their houses, claiming everything from the weekly supermarket shop to random items of furniture on expenses, enjoying five-star “fact-finding” trips and first class world travel and generally behaving like pigs who’ve just got six numbers on the Lotto – all at our expense.

(b) Cheerily accepting enormous pay rises while piously telling doctors, teachers and other people at least 50 times more useful and several orders of magnitude poorer than most politicians that belts must be tightened.

(c) Being party to a decades-long public service wrecking spree.

(d) Failing to make any number of enormous corporations pay their whack – probably in the hope of being given a cushy directorship.

To put it simply, trying to make us loathe junior doctors will merely make us loathe you a lot more.

The only ones you’ll convince are the people who think junior doctors who leave the NHS should repay the cost of their training, even though they already are paying in the form of student loans.

Unfortunately for you but fortunately for the gene pool, such people are few in number.

Bring in actual wildlife

THIS Saturday from 2pm to 3pm, Swindon’s Pets at Home branches will be running workshops for people wishing to attract wildlife to their gardens.
Flowerpots, trees, hedges and even compost can apparently be made more attractive to all manner of creatures.
I prefer to leave that sort of instruction to excellent workshops such as this. My skills when it comes to attracting creatures are limited only to certain species – ones generally not covered by these events.
I’ve found, for instance, that happening to live near a location popular with fly tippers, especially if the junk is left uncollected for a wee while, is a great way of attracting rats. This in turn is a great way of attracting stray cats and urban foxes who like something a bit more challenging than raiding binbags.
In addition, a hole in the fence at the secluded far end of the garden, especially one concealed by shrubbery, can provide great cover for a frolicking drunk who isn’t allowed in the town centre any more.
Who needs goldcrests and great crested newts anyway?  

Lots more to learn

SWINDON is apparently feeling the effects of a nationwide teacher shortage.
I can’t think why there’s a nationwide teacher shortage.
After all, the starting salary is a whopping two thirds or so of the average a graduate might expect to earn in other professions.
As if this were not enough of a draw, they might be fortunate enough to end up in a school where the pupils think nothing of strolling from the classroom whenever they please, and lamping anybody who tries to stop them.
What young person wouldn’t relish the challenge of dealing with such a situation, especially if they’re not allowed to lay so much as a finger on the culprits?
Clearly pay and conditions have nothing to do with the shortage.
What is needed is loads more cheery adverts saying everything in the profession’s wonderful.