This morning's Today programme was instructive, with Francis Maude, normally a reliable Tory operator, up against Mark Serwotka, unelected leader of the PCS, the main union behind today's strike action. Pretty simple for Maude to be the voice of reason, you might think. But no.
Serwotka's straightforward questions about the government's alleged refusal to discuss key issues with the unions were simply not answered by Maude, who blathered and made a series of counter-claims which highlighted how difficult his position was. Maude was outflanked comprehensively by the union leader, supported by an increasingly exasperated Evan Davies.
I have never had any time for Mark Serwotka since his approach to his job is a throwback to the bad old days of unions squaring up to the government but credit to him, he destroyed Francis Maude. What a shame he can't bring these skills to the negotiating table to avoid an unwinnable strike which will simply harden government resolve. On this issue the unions have a good case. It is just a shame their leaders consistently let them down.
NB: I am a public sector pension holder.