Let me put my cards on the table. I was against Project 2000 from the start, partly because it offered little to psychiatric nurses and partly because it seemed little more than a mechanism by which general nurses could work through the crisis of identity with which they had been struggling since the mid-1970s. Clearly a unified profession would bolster professional status more than, say, a situation where any sub-group, for example mental nurses, might claim a separate identity. To begin with, this would dent claims that there are intrinsic elements which characterise nursing as a unique activity. An independent psychiatric profession would damage such a claim on several levels. For instance it could hardly be based on a definition of nursing, for what would be the point of that if nursing was precisely what the sub-group was separating from? The breakaway group would have to define itself in a way which would give it the rudiments of a new nonnursing identity. It is one of the mysteries of nursing history that psychiatric nurses have not done this, that they have opted instead to remain part of the wider nursing fraternity and done so, at times, with considerable deliberation. On the occasion when a government committee (Jay 1979) recommended the abolition of mental handicap nursing the nurses concerned robustly campaigned against such a change and they have generally retained their commitment to a unified profession ever since.