So the RCN are to ballot on industrial action, following the staged pay award in England and Wales. How could the government balls things up so badly, so that this unprecedented turn of events could come to pass?
What the RCN are looking for in their indicative poll is whether there is support for the idea of industrial action, and what form that action ought to take. The answer to the first part ought to be obvious, going by the reception Patricia Hewitt famously got at that conference. And things have gone downhill from there.
But what sort of action should we be contemplating?
The important thing is to hold onto the moral high ground, and to retain the support of the public. If we lose that, we're sunk.
Keep in mind the one objective of this, which is to reverse the staging of the pay award, and have it paid in full. Get that, and the industrial action must be immediately abandoned. The 2.5% is achievable. Anything above that has to wait until the next pay round.
Industrial action should hurt the government, not the patients. Keep the emergency service going, but attack the government's targets and initiatives.
By awarding the pay rise in full to us Scottish nurses, somebody in the Scottish Labour party has committed a tactical error of legendary proportions - not that I'm complaining about it, you understand - it's an error that benefits our case. It weakens the government's justification for staging the award down south. Gordon Brown must be spitting bile. Good. Remember, we owe him nothing. He's behind the staging. Let's force him into a U-turn, then keep the pressure on him so he doesn't shaft us again.