If you think junior doctors’ 26% pay demand is out of order, have a reality check

Junior doctors: this image was taken during a previous strike, in 2016. They’ve been stripped of cash over a very long time because voters kept letting the Tories back into power.

My word, Tory ministers really do spout some nonsense when they’re on the telly, don’t they?

The latest case study is one Maria Caulfield, who thinks that an 8.6 per cent pay rise, when inflation is above 10 per cent, is decent.

Remember: MPs have lost just 0.6 per cent of their already massive pay packet – in real terms – since 2010; junior doctors have lost 26 per cent – more than a quarter of their pay (in real terms) since 2008.

Almost half of them are struggling to pay their rent or mortgages while MPs like Maria have publicly-subsidised second homes.

The point about bankers’ bonuses is right on-the-nose: why do Tories think it’s so much more important to uncap those bonuses for people who provide no useful function to the population at large (but may help boost a few Tory and Tory donor bank balances) than it is to pay doctors, who save lives on a daily basis – not a fortune, but simply a living wage?

Worse still, Rishi Sunak is planning to take away junior doctors’ democratic right to withdraw their labour – strike – meaning soon he’ll be able to impose whatever starvation wages he likes. They will quit in droves and (logically) he’ll use the exodus as an excuse to say a publicly-funded health service doesn’t work – when it is in fact more true to say that a Tory government doesn’t work.

Interestingly, the Independent Pay Review Body, that the Tories love talking about when it suits them, has been supporting a better deal for junior doctors – so the Tories aren’t mentioning it. So they haven’t accepted that body’s recommendations in full. It’s another Tory lie.

Finally, a one per cent pay rise would only cost £700 million if all NHS staff were included in it. It’s a good idea to increase pay for all these people because they must be struggling too – but it’s a nonsense number to be bandying around about the junior doctors’ dispute.

Here’s Peter Stefanovic’s video, which says all of the above (and more) in a much better way than I can:

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