The government is once more playing a double game over the question of regional pay in the public services in general and the NHS in particular.
Ministers claim to be against regional pay, but fail to deal with NHS trusts actively planning to remove themselves from national pay bargaining arrangements.
When this issue was raised with the Department of Health in August, it insisted that the "pay cartel" of 20 NHS trusts in the South West region had made no formal proposals and was in "open and transparent" discussions with staff and unions.
Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has failed utterly to defend the NHS national bargaining framework even when urged to do so by shadow health secretary Andy Burnham this week.
It is likely that Hunt will wait until one or more cartels has broken away from the national framework before judging that the old system is broken and needs replacement by local or regional arrangements.
Right-wing think tank Reform is treading in the footsteps of Policy Exchange, which was founded by Tory MPs Nick Boles, Michael Gove and Francis Maude a decade ago.
Policy Exchange flew the flag of NHS regional pay two months ago and now it's Reform's turn.
Reform deputy director Nick Seddon tries to fool the public by claiming that the current national pay freeze contradicts the Health Secretary's "goal of improving quality and efficiency in the NHS."
His implication is clearly that regional pay would enable trusts to raise salaries artificially restricted by national pay bargaining.
No-one should fall for this line. These right-wing think tanks are intent on undermining the NHS as a national, non-profit, publicly funded and accountable health service.
Hunt's effective shoulder-shrugging over NHS Direct's bombshell announcement that it will shut 24 of its 30 call centres confirms that the NHS is definitely not safe in Tory and Liberal Democrat hands.
Mitt Romney may have conceded on Thursday that he had lost Florida to Barack Obama in Tuesday's presidential election, but the state elections board does not expect to have its final tally until noon tomorrow.
What a relief it must be to the rest of the US that the outcome of the election didn't depend, as it did in 2000, on Florida's 29 electoral college votes.
Twelve years ago, confusion ruled as new phrases - hanging chads and pregnant chads - were devised to describe ballot papers as a way of judging their validity.
Such was the chaos that the college rode roughshod over election malpractice complaints by supporters of Democratic candidate Al Gore and handed George W Bush the keys to the White House.
Both the US and the rest of the world are still paying the cost of that disastrous decision.
It is clear that the task of running a transparent, trustworthy and timely election is beyond the capability of the Florida authorities.
To save the good citizens of the sunshine state further humiliation, perhaps it's time to enlist the internationalist assistance of Venezuela's electoral national electoral commission (CNE).
The automated system of the independent CNE incorporates fingerprint identification and issues fraud-proof results shortly after polling stations close, prompting former US president Jimmy Carter to call Venezuelan elections the best in the world.
Could it be time for hidebound Florida to import best democratic practice from Venezuela? Just a thought.
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