The week before Christmas saw a nursing strike in the UK. Everyone seems to feel they "deserve" more money. No-one seems to want to pay for them to have it though.
Amid this most alarming of industrial action, despite claiming a decade of real-term wage deflation, the socialist-leaning First Minister of Wales was reported as giving his view; Giving nurses more pay means “fewer treatments, fewer nurses, less money for the health service”.
The British healthcare system is, so goes the wearisome propaganda, "the envy of the world". One making the rest of the free world so greenly covetous that in fact none chose to emulate it.
The list of failings are legion. Over ten per cent of the population on waiting lists. The inability to make a same-day appointment with a doctor. And the shocking inferiority in patient outcomes, to such extent that practically the UK comes 21st in a league table of the top 20 OECD countries.
Yet none can be attributed to lack of funds. Even when compared to traditional high spending neighbours. Could you do better with 180 billion quid?
But sadly the sacred cow cannot be made better, as reform is clearly a euphemism for "selling the beloved NHS to Trump". Or whoever fits the American runaway capitalist ghoul de jour.
Maybe, just maybe, eyes are opening just a little.
In this pursuit, current affairs mag editor Fraser Nelson elected to adopt a spot of atomisation.
First, how about highlighting the equivalent. Using each single percentage point pay raise; "Every extra 1 per cent pay rise for the NHS workforce is the financial equivalent to hiring 16,000 extra nurses or 500,000 operations". Huge numbers. Clearly you cannot prioritise the cakeism of both pay and care.
Then, how about the precise make-up from the public purse of nurse packages. Using the return on each pound they put in; "who else has a pension scheme in which members can generally expect to receive between £3 to £6 in benefits for every £1 they put in?" And that's before you get to the fact that the typical nurse package has a value of £50,000 (ouch) and can begin phased retirement when aged just 55.
These pair alone are at once both eye watering and stomach churning.
Yet it is that reduction - that atomisation as seasoned Sales pros know it - that helps make the stark visible. Capable of reframing debate. Giving foundational platform to the core numbers of the debate.
Those citing such figures - and they are spread around the political horseshoe - do so not to bash such essential blue-light workforce. But to ask, how can we make all this function better?
In similar vein, if you can atomise down to outputs per single unit of input - eg, what a day wasted or a dollar not invested leads to - then such ramifications, knock-ons and status quo extensions should become front and centre in your prospect's mind.