Once, I lived in a civilisation where the idealism required of a doctor was taken for granted. Doctors went beyond the call of duty (for want of a better phrase), made home visits, worked weekends, didn't get paid much, and that was taken to be part of the job. They became doctors because they wanted to be doctors; there was an oath involved. I guess the same is true of today's Junior Doctors, but what's pushed me into this idealised remembrance of doctors past is the proposed withdrawal of emergency care.
Surely not. How could any doctor - ? Questions like that. A petition came around yesterday, asking me how I'd feel if my elderly relative was in A&E and the Health Secretary still wouldn't yield. I don't know how I'd feel about the Health Secretary in that situation, and I'm still not sufficiently informed about the dispute to take a view of the politics, but I really can't believe that a real doctor would stay on the picket line while my bleeding, groaning, agonised elderly relative (cue music) was wheeled past on a stretcher. A person who could do that wouldn't be a doctor, whatever their qualifications.
Idealism is always personal. To be a doctor is a thing of the heart. To be a teacher, lifeguard, police officer, nurse, vet, paramedic, carer, Samaritan, volunteer is the same. It's a weakness: you do it because it has to be done and you "heard the call". That doesn't mean: back down because you're an idealist and people need you and you can't stop yourself backing down. Although that may be what will happen. The real failure of the way we do politics is that it separates idealists from their ideals. I know what I think of politicians. I hate the way that they're bringing doctors down to their level. This must be so painful for the doctors.