So I have this picture in my mind’s eye: standing outside their respective homes in the teeth of the pandemic are ex-health secretary Jeremy Hunt, now the chancellor, and his successor, Steve Barclay.

It is a Thursday evening so they are banging pots and pans in appreciation of the fact that not many miles away, health professionals will have spent the whole day wrapped in claustrophobic PPE, including a tight-fitting face mask which will leave facial indentations for hours to come.

Some of that NHS staff will be unfortunate in the normal course of their training to “lose” patients half a dozen times over as many years. Now they are confronting multiple deaths daily. That too takes a heavy toll.

This is part of the reason why so many private hospitals and health agencies are stuffed full of people we have trained in our National Health Service. There comes a point where they need to get some of their life back. Retention is just as problematical as every other aspect of this current crisis.

Withdrawing your labour when lives depend on your care is a desperate measure designed to highlight a very desperate situation. It is why it has never happened before in the case of the biggest nursing union.

Now let’s fast forward to this week when a whole 45 minutes was granted to union reps to put their case to the relevant minister.

Mr Barclay explained that there was no new money and that any on the table would have to be found via accepting “productivity challenges”. Efficiencies.

This has become the standard government mantra to all the current disputes, despite their all having different expectations and myriad contributory factors. The other line being peddled is that “giving in” to pay demands would fuel inflation and ultimately cost every household £1,000 a year. Nobody has quite explained that arithmetic.

Nobody has wondered aloud whether the £37billion hit to the economy contrived in just 44 days of Liz Truss’ government might just possibly have a bearing on the available finance.

Nobody has apparently thought it odd that during what everyone agrees is a cost-of-living crisis, the bosses of the top 100 companies in the land feel able to pay themselves an average £4.5m quid.

Not even to mention the billions lost when the unscrupulous scammed Rishi Sunak’s business survival plan and were swiftly written off. Or the eyewatering sums spent on England’s failed test and trace scheme.

These hits to the treasury budget are seemingly all part of life’s rich tapestry. No need, apparently, to discuss the treasury’s own “productivity challenges”. And they wonder why nurses are fuming.