The leaders of Britain's trade unions will meet on Tuesday, with popular unrest at a level not seen for twenty years.
The Trades Union Congress (TUC) general council has the chance to make history - or to complete a hat trick of missed tricks.
At September's congress unions backed a demonstration against youth unemployment before the end of 2010.
This psychic foresight would have put the trade union movement on the streets with the revolting generation.
The general council kicked the idea into the long grass - deciding to hold an indoor rally in Manchester on January 29 2011.
In October the general council met just before the government's spending review signalled hundreds of thousands of job cuts.
The council decided not to organise a demonstration until next March - despite calls for swifter action from some members.
Next week is another test of the union leaders' resolve and tactical acumen.
In 1983 the NGA print union - now part of Unite - had its funds seized by the courts over a dispute in Warrington that contravened new anti-union laws.
The employment committee of the TUC general council voted to give the printers their full support.
The then TUC general secretary Len Murray left the meeting and told waiting journalists he would not be implementing the decision.
If - as seems certain - the general council sits on its hands next week the left union leaders need to show as much bottle as Murray.
They should stand on the steps of Congress House and pledge their full support for the students, the lecturers and the wider anti-cuts movement.
They shoud call a day of action - a lunchtime walkout, occupations of public buildings all over the country. Something that gives confidence to the workers who want to join the popular unrest and builds towards more generalised industrial action.
Will anyone be as brave as Len Murray?
If so what action should they call?
Are the general council right to be cautious?
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