This article provides a response to the recent paper in this Journal by Ray Jones entitled` The best of times, the worst of times: Social work and it's moment'. Jones' paper is welcomed for its use of history to inform the current debates about expertise and identity. The objective of this response is to address a perceived gap in Jones' paper with regard to the insufficient and over-simplified approach to the purpose of social work as a dual activity of mediation between care and control. The paper begins by summarising Jones' main points about what is 'special' about social work. This leads on to a critical commentary on the discussion on expertise and identity in social work. The need for a more nuanced and critical appraisal of our history, with explicit attention to the regulatory role of social work is emphasised. A less passive relationship between social work and its history is promoted and critical questions are raised in particular to his consideration of 'What now?'. This leads to a conclusion that offers alternative suggestions that can ensure a more critically oriented approach to use of history to inform our complex and necessarily contradictory present.