Sir— We have, over these past few months, seen a sharp rise in hostile activity against our profession. The government, and its evil henchmen, have been waging war against us on many fronts. They have sown malicious stories in the press, and have imposed many vexatious rules upon our work. They have mobilised, and strengthened, the power of their police – that crooked bunch of miscreants and misfits, the General Medical Council – and pursued a policy of harassment against our colleagues whose only crime has been the innocent prosecution of their professional duty.
At the same time, we have found, to our sadness, traitors in our midst. There are those who betray our calling; who, when the hour is upon them, shirk their duty, and place themselves in subjugation and subservience. We have seen frailty and failure triumph over sense and decency, and the innocent have died.
There are those who say that this is a phoney war; that there is nothing that could not be resolved at the conference table. Each one of these appeasers hopes that if he feeds the crocodile enough, the crocodile will eat him last. All of them hope that the storm will pass before their turn comes to be devoured. But I fear – I fear greatly – the storm will not pass. It will rage and it will roar, ever more loudly, ever more widely. It will spread to the South; it will spread to the North. There is no chance of a speedy end except through united action; and that is what we must do. We must unite in our struggle against the tyranny of Nazidom.
To form a new organisation of this scale and complexity is a serious undertaking in itself, but it must be remembered that we are at the preliminary stage of one of the greatest battles in our professional history, that we are in action at many points in London, and in Manchester, that we have to be prepared in the Courts, that the media battle is continuous and that many preparations have to be made here at home. In this crisis I hope I may be pardoned if I do not address you at any length today. I hope that any of my friends and colleagues, or former colleagues, who are affected by the political reconstruction, will make all allowance for any lack of ceremony with which it has been necessary to act. I would say to you, as I said to those who have joined our cause, I have nothing to offer but blood toil tears and sweat.
We have before us an ordeal of the most grievous kind. We have before us many, many long months of struggle and of suffering. You ask, what is our policy? I will say: It is to wage war, with all our might and with all the strength that God can give us: to wage war against a monstrous tyranny, never surpassed in the dark, lamentable catalogue of human crime. That is our policy. You ask, What is our aim? I can answer in one word: Victory – victory – at all costs, victory, in spite of all terror, victory, however long and hard the road may be; for without victory, there is no survival. Let that be realised; no survival for the medical profession; no survival for all that the profession has stood for, no survival for the urge and impulse of the ages, that mankind will move forward towards its goal. But I take up my task with buoyancy and hope. I feel sure that our cause will not be suffered to fail among men. At this time I feel entitled to claim the aid of all, and I say, ‘Come, then, let us go forward together with our united strength.’