The ballot for the next president of the Royal College of General Practitioners will soon be upon us. The field is strong, the going expected to be good, and in the interests of a spirited but fair race, Dr No offers – or perhaps that should be would like to share with you – his Ten Top Tips for RCGP Presidential Candidates.
1. Establish, first and foremost, that you care. You must make it clear that you care so much it hurts. Never miss an opportunity: books, blogs, twitter and media appearances are all ideal settings in which to show how much you care.
2. Steer clear of telling, or offering advice: instead share. This can conveniently be wrapped up with caring, as caring and sharing, ideally expressed as caring and sharing so much it hurts.
3. Write up your back-story in a way that explains why you care and share so much it hurts. If your back-story includes alienation, abuse and early death, so much the better; but whatever nuggets it contains, use it to show how you triumphed over anguish and obscurity to become the one who, above all else, cares and shares.
4. Elevate the status of women by referring to all human females over a certain age as ladies. The fact that some of these ladies may not always be ladies is neither here nor there: what matters is that ‘ladies’ sounds ‘nice’, and some of the niceness will rub off on you.
5. Identify disaffected groups, and garner their support, for they are most likely to rally to you and – crucially – vote. Fertile grounds in medicine include locums, IMGs, trainees (especially serial exam failers) and female doctors. Tell them you care so much it hurts about their trials and tribulations. Back this up by sharing tips on how they too can, like you, rise above their humble beginnings and achieve caring and sharing greatness.
6. Establish a high profile web presence. Post, tweet and share regularly, showing how much you really do care and share. Set up a dedicated campaign website explaining your unique vision for your presidency. This is the perfect site to host your back-story.
7. Get books published! In this day and age, vanity publishing has lost much of its stigma, so get on with it! As a GP, you are well placed to write about lifestyle matters. Look at achievements in your own life and ask: how did I do that – and then turn the answer into a book. Trainees (especially serial exam failers) are another fertile market. Run courses to back up the books; and then promote the books on the back of the courses.
8. Always dress smartly. Get seen with important people, like real politicians. Never miss a photo opportunity: the grander the setting, the better the promotion. You must aim to achieve an impression of well-connectedness. Think: Number 10 good; Buck House better!
9. Doctors with political ambitions have a reputation for being obsessed with medical politics. Counter this with occasional posts about your family life. This must be done delicately, to avoid accusations nauseating smugness. Ideal occasions, because they are public holidays as well as family celebrations, are religious festivals.
10. While caring and sharing must always be your primary message, the ghastly fact is that even in this day and age, there are some out there who don’t care, and when they do share, they share quite the wrong sort of thing. Gently remind these people from time to time that even while you care and share so much it hurts, you can, when the need arises, turn your hand, so to speak, into an iron fist in a velvet glove. This must always be done subtly: a throw-away remark about independent legal advice here, a subtle and inoffensive allusion to possible legal action there. Invariably, that is more than enough to keep the sad scum-bag b*stards from screwing up your presidential ambitions.